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AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X: performance analysis

Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Battlefield 5, Far Cry 5.

As regular DF readers will know, we use a mixture of games new and old to test processor performance. While recently-released titles tend to provide the greatest challenge to a given processor, driver optimisations and game updates can mean these results can also go out of date more quickly. Therefore, we've chosen a mix of titles here across different game engines and APIs that should provide a better idea of broader performance trends. This should give you some performance expectations you can apply to other currently available games, plus unreleased titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla... assuming that these titles don't operate significantly differently under the hood to their predecessors, which they may well do!

When testing games for our YouTube coverage, we often keep an eye out for particular scenes that prove particularly tough on CPU, GPU or both, so that we can incorporate them into our benchmark suite later. For example, Alex Battaglia's playthrough of Metro Exodus revealed that the opening of the Volga level was both easy to access and incredibly taxing on the high-end hardware he was using, which is why we've used it for testing processors ever since. By selecting scenes that show the game at its most challenging, we can ensure that performance shouldn't get significantly worse that what our results show - and make the differences from processor to processor easier to separate from random noise.

We'll begin with three relatively recent releases, running three different engines: Assassin's Creed Odyssey, running on the popular AnvilNext engine, Battlefield 5 on Frostbite, plus Far Cry 5, on the Dunia engine - a CryEngine offshoot originally developed by Ubisoft Montreal for Far Cry 2 a dozen years hence.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

You're meant to start as you mean to go on, but with Assassin's Creed Odyssey even AMD's marketing materials show around an eight per cent advantage for Ryzen 5000 against its closest Intel competitors. We saw an even larger gap in our testing, with the 5800X and 5900X turning in near-identical scores at 1080p, 1440p and 4K - something that persisted despite several re-tests. Both of the new chips managed an 80fps result at Full HD, which was beaten by the Core i9 10900K by a solid 10 per cent. If we look instead at the Core i5 10600K, a closer competitor to the Ryzen 7 5800X, the margin for the Intel chip is around five per cent. The gap from Core to Ryzen remains relatively constant at 1440p, shrinking to a margin-of-error difference at 4K as expected.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Ultra High, TAA

Battlefield 5

Most of Battlefield 5's global play time is probably spent in its multiplayer modes, which remain chaotic and excellent in their classic style, but we spend most of our time in the game's 'Tirailleur' single-player war story. Like our Metro Exodus test you'll see later, this one begins with a convenient in-engine cutscene and transitions into full gameplay, with CPU load rising and falling throughout the 54-second scene. That does mean that there's the potential for nearby explosions and other randomised elements to affect performance, so try to ignore any momentary frame-time spikes you may see in a given run and look more towards average performance.

Once again, Ryzen 5000 doesn't quite live up to its billing, with vaguely stronger results than past Ryzen processors but still a gap evident between AMD and Intel. 156fps is still quite playable at 1080p, of course, but the top echelon from Team Blue is able to meet or exceed the 170fps mark, an advantage of around nine per cent. Again, we see a similar disparity at 1440p, but this time there's still around a three per cent gap at 4K.

Battlefield 5: Ultra, RTX off

Far Cry 5

When I first got the Ryzen 5800X and 5900X installed, the first game everyone recommended I test first was Far Cry 5. That's because this game has perhaps the greatest reliance on single-threaded performance of all the games in our test suite, making it the perfect test of gaming single-core performance. Normally this means Intel processors have a heavy advantage against Ryzen chips, but would that extend to Ryzen 5000?

Here we see our first truly impressive result. Although the Core i9 10900K still holds onto the highest score at 1080p, the Ryzen 9 5900X and 5800X take the second and third place slots ahead of the Core i9 9900K and Core i7 10600K. The 10900K is just two per cent ahead of the 5900X here, so unless you've got frame-rate tools baked into your brain the gaming experience should be nigh-identical. Compared to the 3900XT, the fastest previous Ryzen processor, the 5900X jumps by 23 per cent - an outstanding gen-on-gen improvement, especially given that the 3900XT only came out four months ago! If we instead compare the 5900X and the 3900X, the margin is even higher, closer to 30 per cent.

At 1440p, the 5900X ties the 5800X and 10900K, with all three cards scoring an average result within 1fps, and it's a wash at 4K too.

Far Cry 5: Ultra, TAA

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X analysis