Read the PCWorld review on the AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series here…

So you already knew that AMD rules the day in multi-core performance, and you now know it gives Intel no quarter in single-core either. The one area that’s made potential customers uneasy is gaming performance. Even though Intel years ago ceded multi-core performance, it’s still been able to say truthfully: “Core i9 is better for gaming.” There’s obviously a lot of nuance to that statement, but we’ve generally agreed that when paired with the fastest GPU and a high-refresh rate panel—Core i9 is indeed the better gaming CPU.

Until today. Although the wins aren’t as disruptive everywhere else, we do think there is a clear case for AMD’s claims that the Zen 3-based Ryzen chips are the “best gaming CPUs.”

For our gaming section we tested at 1920×1080 resolution, with both PC’s outfitted with Nvidia Founders Edition GeForce RTX 2080 Ti cards using the same drivers. Unlike the previous tests, where we sorted the results by winner, we kept all of our gaming charts ordered by: Ryzen 9 3900XT, Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 9 5900X, and Core i9-10900K. We exclude previous results, because graphics drivers and game updates make it unfair to compare.

First we’ll kick it off with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided set to High. If you look at the chart and pretend not to see the newest AMD CPUs in red, you’ll see the familiar lead that Intel has long had in gaming. With this game set to High rather than Ultra, the test becomes less GPU-bound, and you see that typical 20-percent performance advantage that Intel CPUs have long enjoyed over AMD CPUs.

Now there’s Ryzen 5000, where we see both Zen 3 chips essentially within the margin of error. While we’re really “only” talking about a 2- to 3-percent performance difference between the Ryzen 9 and Core i9, it’s far better than the usual 10- to 20-percent performance hole Ryzen has fallen into before in non-GPU-limited tasks.

Conclusions:

It’s hard to be believe, but it’s been only three years since the original Zen-based Ryzen CPUs were introduced. The original Ryzen reset our expectations of how many cores you could get in a consumer CPU, and it put the world on notice that AMD was back.

With the Ryzen 5000 we’re simply floored by its performance. It’s the best CPU for heavy multi-core loads. It’s the best CPU for single-core loads. It’s the best CPU for gaming. Add to it support for PCIe 4.0, compatibility with many existing AM4 motherboards, and actually reasonable prices, and you get what is undoubtedly the best CPU we’ve ever seen.