AMD's latest Ryzen 7000-series Zen 4 CPUs might be all the rage, but deals on AMD's previous-gen Ryzen 5000-series Zen 3 CPUs look fantastic this holiday season. AMD's Ryzen 9 5900X has been discounted by a whopping 49% on Amazon for Black Friday, bringing its price to just $289, and that deal is now carrying over into Cyber Monday.
The Ryzen 9 5900X is a very compelling CPU for anyone looking for a fast and cheap high-core count CPU that can chew through productivity applications — and a great upgrade for AMD socket AM4 users on earlier processors.
The Ryzen 9 5900X was launched in 2020 and is among the most powerful offerings in the AMD Ryzen 5000-series lineup. The chip comes with twelve Zen 3 cores, 24 threads, a base clock of 3.7GHz, a boost clock of 4.8GHz, and 64MB of L3 cache. The chip supports PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 memory, with a maximum official speed of DDR4-3200, though you can achieve significantly higher speeds via overclocking.
Despite its age, we found in our testing that the Ryzen 9 5900X can still hold its ground against chips like the i7-12700K in benchmarks and applications that can take advantage of the chip's twelve cores. By modern standards, the 5900X's performance level matches closely with the Core i5-13600K, which costs nearly as much as the 5900X after its 49% discount.
For gaming, the 5900X isn't a particularly great recommendation, especially in light of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which can be had for $80 cheaper. But, if you are looking to do a mix of productivity and gaming, the 5900X can more than hold its own and can still provide a good gaming experience with the best graphics cards, especially mid-range offerings.
The 5900X particularly shines as a CPU upgrade for users still on an older AM4 system — even those dating back to 2017, provided they have robust enough power circuitry for this class of chip. AMD's decision to build five generations of Ryzen CPUs around the AM4 platform means that older systems sporting 300- and 400-series chipset motherboards can upgrade to the 5900X with a simple BIOS update, potentially saving hundreds of dollars that would otherwise have to be spent on a brand-new motherboard and memory combo.
At $289, the 5900X represents one of the best CPU deals we've seen to date. It offers competitive mid-range productivity performance with an upgrade path that can save users from spending money on a new motherboard and newer DDR5 memory. With how far the 5900X has been discounted, we'd be surprised if it gets any cheaper this holiday season.
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Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.
For gaming, the 5900X isn't a particularly great recommendation, especially in light of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which can be had for $80 cheaper.
Right now the 3800X3D and 5900X are the same price (well, about $1 more).