AMD Ryzen 9 5900X vs Intel Core i9 10900K: Which Is Better?

One of the most highly anticipated CPUs of the year is finally available. AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X has challenged Intel’s i9 10900K in countless gaming benchmarks, but which one will reign supreme? Both AMD Ryzen 9 5900X vs Intel Core i9 10900K have been successful in the PC market for high-end video editing, rendering, and other performance-heavy tasks.

In this article, MedCPU will compare these two high-end processors to find out which one is better. Let’s get started!

Intel Core i9-10900K and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Comparison

Specs and Architecture

Let’s start our comparison between these top-end chips by taking a look at the base specs…

You can see that there is a problem when comparing these two processors. The nearly $500 10-core Intel Core I9-10900K appears to be missing two cores…or the $549 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 9 5900X added two more cores, depending on your perspective.

Pricing is a different matter. While $488 may sound reasonable given the Core I9-10900K’s two-core deficit and the Core i9-10900K’s core price, the street cost of the Core Core i9-10900K ranges from $549 to $599. 

It’s now right in the price range of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X at $549, but this is where the similarities end.

Intel Core i9-10900K and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Specs and Architecture

Like five years’ worth of desktop processors, the 10-core Intel Core i9-10900K is based upon a 14nm lithography processing, which has been renamed here in 2020 as a 14nm++. Although the company still uses a monolithic approach to its architecture, Intel engineers have shown it to be a strong foundation for iteration and subtle improvements over time, even though it is over five years old.

The new Zen 3-based Ryzens, just like the previous generation, is based on 7nm lithography. The company continues to use a multi-die chiplet method of manufacturing, which increases production yields. AMD can now put more cores in the chip package for a lower price. This keeps the Ryzen advantage of Intel’s 5900X and 10900K cost-per-core ratios.

The Ryzen 9 5900X has 64MB of L3 cache, compared to Core i9-10900K’s 20MB. It also has a TDP (total power consumption) of 105 watts, compared to Core i9-10900K’s 125-watt requirement. Let’s now look at a sidebar.


AMD made bold claims about the Ryzen 5900X’s debut, suggesting that AMD might finally regain the gaming performance crown Intel held for nearly 15 years.

While we still need to wait for third-party benchmarks, these claims are supported by the specifications and AMD’s first-party benchmarks. The Ryzen 5900X could be able to beat the Core i9-10900K almost everywhere.

Intel Core i9-10900KAMD Ryzen 5900X
ArchitectureComet LakeZen 3
Process node14nm+7nm+
Base clock3.7GHz3.7GHz
Max single-core boost clock5.3GHzTBD
Max all-core boost clock4.9GHz4.8GHz
Max memory speed support2,933MHzTBD
CPU socketLGA1200AM4

The Ryzen 5900X has an advantage in thread and core counts, giving it an immediate edge in multithreaded workloads. This won’t make a significant difference in most games. Still, it will allow the Ryzen 5900X to maintain its now-typical AMD productivity lead in high-end tasks such as video editing and transcoding.

AMD’s new generation of CPUs made significant improvements in IPC, clock speed, and other areas. Although the Ryzen 3000-series Zen 2 CPUs offered higher IPC than Intel’s Comet Lake processors but lost significantly on clock speed, Intel CPUs are better at tasks requiring fewer threads and offer more per-core performance gaming.

AMD claims that Zen 3 will make this change. AMD claims that Zen 3 will significantly increase IPC, as AMD claims it can reach 19%. This could eliminate the performance gap at single-thread levels. The 5900X has enough single-threaded grunt for Intel’s top gaming machines.

AMD claims its 5900X can beat 10900K by as much as 21 percent in certain games. However, smaller gains are more common, and it’s not uniform. The Cinebench 1T-test also revealed that the 5900X dominated the 10900K, proving its ability to handle single-threaded tasks. However, AMD hardware is better at Cinebench benchmarks and Intel’s.

The productivity results of AMD’s Ryzen 5900X should be even better. Although we will have to wait until the final hardware is tested to confirm this, AMD’s Ryzen 5900X does look promising on paper.

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Ryzen 9 5900x vs Intel i9-10900K : 1080p Benchmarks

We are all about gaming, so we will first take a look at 1080p benchmarks.

When testing CPU performance, we use 1080p for our benchmark resolution. This lower-resolution uses less GPU power than high resolutions like 1440p or 4K, which are more GPU dependent. The results will be biassed towards GPU performance and not CPU speed.

We can benchmark at 720p because it is less GPU bound and more CPU-bound than 1080p. This allows us to get more accurate results.

It is no longer possible to play games at 720p resolution, so it becomes pointless in terms of real-world usage. However, many gamers still play at 1080p (even professional e-sports players), so the following results will indicate the performance gains you can expect in the real world.

Power, cooling, and overclocking

One of the most notable features of Intel’s Comet Lake series processors is their higher thermal design power (TDP). This has led to a higher power draw for K-series processors. However, the CPU’s internal heat spreader allows them to operate at comfortable temperatures without any cooling.

AMD’s 7nm process node advantage and architectural refinements of its 5000-series mean that their CPUs run at similar speeds to Intel’s but a smaller TDP of only 105 watts. They should run cooler, require less cooling to maintain comfortable temperatures, and use less power from their PSU. This makes them more suitable for smaller form factors, efficient PCs.

Intel has a more significant advantage in Overclocking if you like to tweak your hardware.

5900x vs 10900k: Gaming Performance

Gaming is still dominated by single-clock speed. This also applies to a few workstation tasks, such as Adobe Photoshop. While newer games may use multi-processor power in the future, single-core performance will remain the primary focus for at least next few years.

The 5900X clock speed is lower than that of the i9-10900K, as mentioned. While the Base clock for both CPUs is 3.7Ghz in theory, it only represents theoretical idle frequency. Most CPUs don’t drop below this speed, and certainly not in gaming.

The Intel processor is 0.5Ghz faster than the 5900X in a single-core Boost clock, but that’s only half of the story when it comes to performance. With the AMD Zen 3 CPUs’ architecture improvements, the 5900X can execute slightly more instructions than the i9-10900K despite having lower clock speeds.

See our comparison guide between Intel Core i7 vs i9 :

Pricing and availability

Along with the other 10th-generation Intel CPUs, the Intel Core i9 10900K was released in April 2020. Although the suggested retail price of $488 comes with, some retailers sell it for more – up to $700. At $650, the graphics-free Core i9-10900KF can often be found for a lower price.

AMD showcased the Ryzen 9 5900X at Zen 3 on October 8th, and it will be available for purchase on November 5. The suggested retail price for the Ryzen 9 5900X is $549. Because AMD has a strong relationship with TSMC, supply problems are much less frequent than for Intel. Although Ryzen 5000 CPUs may be in high demand, we will need to wait for the chips’ release to see if that affects pricing.

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Both the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Intel Core i9 10900K are powerful processors. Each one is designed to be the best of the best in their respective categories. However, after extensive testing, MedCPU would like to conclude that AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is better than Intel Core i9 10900K. When comparing the specifications of these two

CPUs, it’s easy to conclude that AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the better one.
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X contains a higher base clock speed and boost clock speed. Furthermore, it’s faster across the board compared to Intel Core i9 10900K.


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