AMD has been in the mainstream CPU market for many decades. As such, they have produced multiple products which have won the hearts of consumers. Two of those products, which we’re discussing today, are the AMD Ryzen 9 3900x vs 5900x.

While the 5900x is a newer Zen 3 architecture-based processor, the 3900x is known to keep its ground. Having been released in 2019, the Ryzen 9 3900x is an extremely good processor for performance. However, ever since the 5000 series processors came around, there has been a question going around. It curtails whether consumers should upgrade to a 5000 series processor or stay at their 3000 series counterparts.

Specifications

Before we talk about which processor is better, let’s first take a quick glance at the basic specifications of both the 5900x and the 3900x.

Ryzen 9 3900x Specifications

  • Number of CPU Cores: 12
  • Number of Threads: 24
  • Max Boost Clock: Up to 4.6 GHz
  • Base Clock: 3.7 GHz
  • L2 Cache: 6 MB
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 105W

Ryzen 9 5900x Specifications

  • Number of CPU Cores: 12
  • Number of Threads: 24
  • Max Boost Clock: Up to 4.8 GHz
  • Base Clock: 3.7 GHz
  • L2 Cache: 6 MB
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 105W

Now, although the raw specifications look alike, both processors’ performance varies. Most of this variance comes up due to the architectural differences between the Zen 2 and Zen 3 generations.

While Zen 2 processors have 4 cores accessing 16 MB of L3 Cache, Zen 3 processors access double that amount. Zen 3 processors have 8 cores accessing 32 MB of L3 Cache. Simple design improvements have increased performance and efficiency of Ryzen CPUs by a ton! This trend seems like it will keep on going with Zen 4 and above!

Related Article: Ryzen 7 3700x vs Ryzen 5 5600x

Differences Within the Ryzen 9 3900x vs Ryzen 9 5900x

Looking at both processors, we can first see that the 3900x is a Zen 2 architecture-based processor. The Ryzen 9 5900x, on the other hand, is a Zen 3 architecture-based processor. There are other differences between the 3900x and 5900x too:

IPC Upliftment

The main difference between both processors exists in the upliftment in the Instructions Per Clock (IPC).

AMD showcasing Zen 3's IPC upliftment through a PPT presentation.
IPC Upliftment being shown through a PPT presentation. Source: AMD

According to AMD, Zen 3 gives a 19% uplift in IPC as compared with Zen 2 processors. The official AMD testers used various ways to measure this performance including cache prefetching, execution engine and front-end among others. 

When IPC is concerned, the 5900x delivers a decent 15% greater IPC performance against the 3900x. 

This means that with the Ryzen 9 5900x, you’re getting greater value for content creation. The Ryzen 9 5900x will also give you better single-threaded performance than the 3900x. Overall, in the Ryzen 9 3900x vs 5900x IPC war, the 5900x comes out as the victor — singlehandedly.

Power Consumption

Both the Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors come with the same process node, going at 7nm. This technically means that both processors would have similar Thermal Design Power (TDP).

However, we can see that 5000 series processors show higher wattage when under load. Although unclear why, it is speculated that this difference is seen due to an increase in cores in the 5000 series processors.

Talking about the AMD Ryzen 9 3900x vs Ryzen 9 5900x, both processors feature the same number of cores and threads. We should keep in mind that the 3900x vs 5900x also have a 105W TDP. Both processors, however, have the tendency to go up to 140W and above.

Depending on the motherboard, the amount of wattage required for both processors can vary as well. That is why we recommend that you read this B550 vs X570 article to know which motherboard best fits your needs. You can also check out our B550 Motherboard detailed article.

Thermal Differences

There are many variables when comparing temperatures between two processors. Things such as airflow, case design, quality of thermal paste, air or water cooling are a few examples. Continuing with our Ryzen 9 5900x vs Ryzen 9 3900x battle, let’s see what temperature differences are present between both processors.

As we already discussed beforehand, the 3900x and 5900x both feature a 7nm process node. This means that there shouldn’t be a big difference in temperatures — if any at all.

Simply looking at stock coolers provided with the processor, the 3900x takes the lead. The 3900x comes with a Wraith Prism air cooler, while the 5900x does not have any coolers, requiring a separate purchase. Looking at core temperatures, you’ll notice that the 3900x runs as hot as 35-40C when idling. The 5900x seems to run at similar temperatures as well.

When on max load, the 3900x runs as hot as 70-75C while the 5900x goes up to 80C. While that may seem high, Zen 3 was made to give more headroom for higher temperatures. Up to 95C is considered to be “fine” in a 5900x while anything above 85C is too hot for a 3900x.

Higher temperature headroom lets the 5900x stay at boost clock for longer periods of time as compared with the 3900x. However, that does not mean that the 3900x does not stay at boost clocks for an elongated period of time. You’ll notice that these max “safe” temperatures are never even hit on these processors. That is, unless you overclock either the 3900x or 5900x without sufficient cooling. Here are some of the best CPU Coolers for the Ryzen 9 5900x that we recommend you look into. If you go for the latter, we also have an article dedicated to CPU Coolers For Ryzen 9 3900x.

Pricing and Availability

At times, pricing and availability decide which component they wish to buy for many enthusiasts. The same can be said for the ongoing Ryzen 9 3900x vs 5900x battle as well.

Currently, the Ryzen 9 5900x has better pricing and availability, going at roughly $449. The 3900x on the other hand, is scarcely found and has a massive price tag of $499.

With better performance and pricing, the Ryzen 9 5900x is a definite steal right now if it fits your budget!

Related: Ryzen 5 3600 vs Ryzen 7 3700x

Ryzen 9 5900x vs Ryzen 9 3900x Gaming Performance

One of the most credible ways to compare two pieces of hardware is by doing performance tests. As the majority of the consumers buy high-end processors for gaming purposes, we are going to showcase the performance of the 3900x and 5900x as seen in multiple games. The tests have been conducted by PC Games Benchmarks.

Testing Rig

  • CPU: Ryzen 9 3900x and Ryzen 9 5900x
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (8×2) 3200 MHz
  • Graphics Card: RTX 2080 OC 8 GB
  • Resolution: 1080p

As both processors use the same AM4 socket, the motherboard shall remain the same. The RTX 2080 Graphics Card has been used to reduce bottlenecks between the GPU and CPU.

For cooling, the Corsair H100i 240mm AIO cooler has been used to ensure that there is no form of thermal bottlenecks during the tests. Finally, 16 GB DDR4 RAM has been used, which should be sufficient for the nature of the tests being conducted.

All of the games have been tested at 1080p resolution in order to differentiate the performance gap between both processors.

Battlefield V

Comparing 3900x vs 5900x performance with Battlefield V.
Battlefield V performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

Starting off with Battlefield V, the game is extremely CPU intensive. This means that the CPU is used more than the GPU when playing such a game. We can see that the Ryzen 9 5900x has a higher average and minimum frame rate, which is to be expected. However, the 3900x is still giving the 5900x a run for its money! 

With only being ~6% behind the Ryzen 9 5900x, (or being only 10 frames behind), the 3900x shows why it is known as one of the best 1080p processors!

Far Cry 5

Comparing 3900x vs 5900x performance with Far Cry 5.
Far Cry 5 performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

Far Cry 5 is powered by the Dunia Engine due to which it scales through CPU core and thread but does not push it to 100% utilization. Unlike battlefield v, far cry 5 is less CPU intensive.

We still see the Ryzen 9 5900x win over the 3900x. With over 10% greater average FPS seen in the resistance members liberation mission, the 5900x showcases its supremacy once again!

The game stutters a bit when you first go out in the open world. However, once everything has loaded, the same problem doesn’t repeat itself. This is truly where the worth of both processors is tested, which you can see through the minimum FPS.

Grand Theft Auto V

Comparing 3900x vs 5900x performance with GTA V.
GTA V performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V is notoriously famous for being an extremely CPU-bound game. This becomes evident through this particular benchmark test where we see two extreme spectrums at play.

This test is a prime example of exactly how far CPU architecture has come through a generational leap.

What’s causing this immense performance difference is how the L3 Cache is most likely being utilized in both processors. Because GTA V’s map is extremely detailed, more L3 Cache utilization from the same pool loads the map quicker. This is the reason why the 5900x has a ~82.5% greater average FPS than the 3900x in this particular benchmark.

Metro Exodus

Comparing 3900x vs 5900x performance with Metro Exodus.
Metro Exodus performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

Metro Exodus is an extremely aesthetically pleasing game. Metro Exodus is also more bound by GPU in contrast to CPU like most raytracing games. That, however, doesn’t mean this game is not a good benchmark prerogative for CPU testing.

Metro exodus utilizes all CPU cores and threads, however, it doesn’t push the CPU nearly as hard as the other games do. Faster single threaded performance for the 5900x is giving the boost in performance that we can see. The Ryzen 9 5900x manages to uplift the performance by a significant 44%.

Consecutively, the 3900x has a more stable FPS with a minimum FPS of 115 and an average of 145. The Ryzen 9 5900x is going to both extremes with this title — it seems.

Tom Clancy’s Division 2

Comparing performance with Tom Clancy's Division 2.
Tom Clancy’s Division 2 performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

The CPU is stressed a lot by Tom Clancy’s Division 2 due to its optimization. This is even more apparent when you’re playing the game when using DirectX 11. Division 2 runs on a single core only. That is why we’re not seeing a major difference in performance with the 3900x vs 5900x.

With both processors having 12 cores and 24 threads, what’s giving the ~5% FPS boost is most likely the CPU boost clock for the 5900x. We also see that minimum FPS for both the 3900x and 5900x are extremely similar. With the prior being at 108 FPS and the latter at 110 FPS.

This massive drop in FPS is because of the loading time of the map. Open-world games are a good way to test CPUs and how they perform in real-world scenarios.

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Comparing performance with Witcher 3.
Witcher 3 performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

The CPU and GPU specs are the biggest limiting factors in the performance of Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. It is more GPU intensive; however, it still stresses the CPU out fairly well. The massive world map and outstanding graphics make Witcher 3 stand out in the competition. Although it is a 7-year-old game, it still manages to stress the latest technology out.

With the 5900x, you’re seeing a significant performance boost of about ~28%. The difference between the minimum and average FPS for the 5900x is higher than the 3900x. That proves that the 3900x is a more stable CPU while the 5900x is more powerful.

Watch Dogs 2

Comparing performance with Watch Dogs 2.
Watch Dogs 2 performance with 3900x vs 5900x. Source: YT/PC Games Benchmarks

Watch Dogs 2 is a game that drives the count of CPU threads to its limit. The benchmarks clearly highlight the fact that CPU thread count is a major limiting factor to the game’s performance.

Both the Ryzen 9 3900x and the Ryzen 9 5900x have 24 threads. This showcases why both processors present similar outputs in Watch Dogs 2. There is barely a 3% difference in performance between both the Ryzen 9 3900x vs Ryzen 9 5900x.

The dips in performance towards the minimum FPS are pretty clear, however. A drastic difference of 40% between the minimum and average FPS should not be taken lightly. These are only 0.1% lows, but the stutter exists.

Which Is Better In Gaming?

Overall throughout all the tests we saw that the Ryzen 9 5900x was beating the 3900x by a landslide. We noted differences of over 20% in multiple games! So far, the Ryzen 9 5900x is winning in the 3900x vs 5900x battle hands down! On average, the 5900x was ~24% faster than the 3900x in 1080p gaming.

This by no means states that the 3900x is a slouch. As we saw with Watch Dogs 2, 3900x can still give the Ryzen 9 5900x a run for its money — even though it loses out overall. If you’re going for 1080p gaming, then the 3900x is definitely an amazing option to go with! However, if you can find the 5900x for a decent price, we recommend that you go with the better option!

Ryzen 9 3900x vs Ryzen 9 5900x in 1440p

Differences within both the 3900x vs 5900x were pretty apparent at 1080p resolution. Is it the same when we talk about 1440p, though? Not really. The more we increase our resolution the more a game becomes GPU bound than CPU bound.

This phenomenon causes a drastic reduction in differences seen at 1080p resolution. In the same titles where the 5900x was drastically faster than the 3900x, the difference reduced just as much.

Let’s take Grand Theft Auto V as an example. At 1080p, the 5900x was ~82.5% faster than the 3900x. At 1440p the exact same title showed a difference of only ~12%, with the Ryzen 9 5900x leading.

The conclusion of this argument? It’s pretty simple, the higher the resolution, the less CPU bound you to become and the more GPU bound you become. So, which processor should you go for if you’re using a 1440p panel? At this resolution, we recommend that you move to the 5900x. This enables you to eliminate any and all bottlenecks and enjoy crisp gaming performance.

The 3900x is more likely to bottleneck in many latest games, while the Ryzen 9 5900x goes down the brim just fine. However, if you’re looking for 60 FPS, we advise you to stay with the 3900x and save some money.

Ryzen 9 5900x vs Ryzen 9 3900x In 4K

It was going from 1080p, to 1440p, to 4K now. This is the premium zone; even the best hardware starts facing problems at 4K. So, which processor would be better; the 3900x or the 5900x? The simple answer is; it depends.

The complex answer depends on why you have a 4K panel. Are you trying to create content? Video editing? Photo editing? For things like that, you’ll be wanting the 5900x — solid. You’ll be needing a lot of RAM for it too. Here are some of the Best RAM for the Ryzen 9 5900x! For gaming, this gets trickier. 

We already discussed how the greater the resolution the more GPU bound a game becomes. It applies for 4K resolution too. The problem, however, is that you might bottleneck your GPU with an older CPU.

Does this apply with a 3900x too? Technically speaking, you could pair a RTX 3090 with a 5900x and not feel any form of bottleneck at all. However, if you want to utilize the L3 Cache from the Ryzen 9 5900x or overclock your processor a lot, you’ll definitely want to upgrade.

Simply keep this in your mind; the greater the resolution, the more work the GPU has to do. Workloads remain constant for the CPU — at least for gaming. You’ll want the strongest CPU you can get your hands on for content creation and similar things.

Upgrade From Ryzen 9 3900x to 5900x?

Let’s discuss whether you should upgrade from the 3900x to the 5900x or not. There are a few things most buyers check when upgrading. We advise you to do the same as well. Availability, the price for performance, and need are a few things you should keep in mind when thinking of upgrading to any hardware.

The 5900x is currently available at discounted prices of $449. The 3900x, on the other hand, isn’t as readily available and has a price of $499 on Best Buy. Now is probably the best time to buy a 5900x while you still can! The price is 10% lower than that of the 3900x and you’re getting over 20% greater performance for it too!

Going towards whether you really need to upgrade or not; this depends on your use case scenario. If you’re a content creator who needs a lot of CPU power, then the 5900x is the answer for you. On the other hand, if you’re a gamer with a high-end graphics card, you should also upgrade to the 5900x. If, on the other hand, you’re a gamer with a decent graphics card, then upgrading to the Ryzen 9 5900x depends on whether you want to or not. We don’t necessarily recommend it; however, we don’t necessarily don’t recommend it either.

Who is this Article for?

The Ryzen 9 3900x vs 5900x article is for consumers who may be looking to upgrade their processors but don’t know whether they should do it or not. The article takes a closer look into the different architecture of both CPUs, gaming performance benchmarks, performance of both processors at 1080p, 1440p and 4k.

Why Should you Trust Tech4Gamers?

Tech4Gamers has been in the tech niche for over 12 years now. With skilled and hard-working individuals, we research and personally test products before writing and publishing articles on them. All of the RAMs that we picked went through a phase of extensive testing, benchmarks, and comparisons. We have hand-picked after testing all the RAM kits mentioned in this article.

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Also Read: Intel Core i5-12600k vs Ryzen 5 5600x

Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.