Ryzen 9 9950X vs Ryzen 9 9900X

AMD Ryzen 9 9950X vs 9900X: Key Differences

Which of the Ryzen 9000 series CPUs should feature in your new PC build?

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The new AMD Ryzen 9 9950X and Ryzen 9 9900X are just around the corner, heralding AMD’s latest line of CPUs. If you’re in the market for either of these new processors, it might be worth holding them side-by-side, to see which you should pre order. Given that the company has kept precise performance data relatively close to its chest, there are only specifications to go on for the time being. But if you’re looking to pick up the best one on release, here’s everything we know about these two AMD CPUs.

Ryzen 9 9950X vs Ryzen 9 9900X: Specifications

One thing AMD has pointed out is that the Ryzen 9000 series is not as fast as current X3D AMD processors – such as the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.

AMD Ryzen 9 9950XAMD Ryzen 9 9900X
CPU ArchitectureZen 5Zen 5
Cores/Threads16C, 32T12C, 24T
Base Clock Speed4.3GHz4.4GHz
Boost Clock Speed5.7GHz5.6GHz
CPU SocketAM5AM5
TDP170W120W

In any case, the initial outlook would suggest that the Ryzen 9 9950X is the more powerful CPU: boasting 16 cores and 32 threads, this is a processing powerhouse. Both models actually possess more cores and threads than the aforementioned 7800X3D, but that CPU’s Extended 3D Technology means that it remains the faster CPU, even with the 9950X having a higher boosted clock speed at 5.7GHz. Don’t scoff at the 9950X, though: these specifications put it leagues above many of its contemporaries, and (if the price is right) should offer tremendous value for money. A recent performance leak highlighted that the 9950X is set to be around 45% better than its predecessor, the Ryzen 9 7950X, in certain use cases. This highlights the many performance improvements that AMD has implemented to the Ryzen 9000 series, given both CPUs are 16-core units.

What can the 9900X offer in comparison, then? It is likely that, irrespective of the price of the 9950X, that the 9900X will be more affordable – given the admittedly downgraded specifications. With 12 cores and 24 threads, the processing power of this CPU doesn’t quite match its older sibling. However, the difference in clock speeds (both base and boosted) is impressively marginal to compensate. Additionally, though both cards are surprisingly energy efficient, the 9900X is even more so. When discussing the upcoming CPUs, AMD’s Senior Technical Marketing Manager mentioned this as a standout feature:

“At the end of the day, we give you more performance without increasing power, and at the end of the day, we give you more performance without increasing the heat. At the end of the day, we bought a non-X3D chip very close to an X3D chip when it comes to gaming.”

Danny Woligroski, Tom’s Hardware

So if you just want to upgrade your CPU without touching your power supply, then the 9900X is the unit likely to free up the most power whilst offering the most impressive performance. AMD’s Computex 2024 demo showed off some impressive framerates and performance for the 9900X in Ubisoft’s Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (229FPS average on an RX 7900 XTX GPU), but it’s hard to determine the true benchmarks for the CPU from a singular instance of gameplay.

In terms of price-to-performance, we estimated the 9950X and 9900X to be priced at $699 and $549 respectively, which would align with general market trends and the predicted benchmarks these two CPUs offer.

AMD Ryzen 9 9950X vs 9900X: Benchmark Performance Leaks

In the run-up to the Ryzen 9000 series release, AMD’s watertight press has begun to show signs of leaking. Benchmarking site Geekbench has apparently unveiled the first official testing specs for the new CPUs – though don’t take them as gospel.

In these tests, the 9950X garnered impressive single-core and multi-core results of 3359 and 20550 respectively, which would put the 9950X as the highest-ranking multi-core Zen 5 CPU score thus far. Curiously, however, the single-core score is actually lower than the 9900X at 3401 (with the 9900X scoring 19756 for multi-core operation).

This is likely due to the 9900X’s compatibility with Precision Boost Overdrive, or PBO: which allows a CPU to run at higher voltages for prolonged periods. These leaked benchmarks suggest that we’re right to place the 9950X as the superior CPU, even though the 9900X boasts a slightly better single-core score.

As mentioned, AMD themselves have kept quiet about the exact extent of these CPUs – though have abstractly referred to the performance benchmarks that they can attain. As you can see below, they have compared the 9900X to a comparable Intel CPU, the Core i9 14900K, and expressed the performance gains in percentages:

How these percentages were calculated isn’t known, which adds a layer of skepticism of how trustworthy these statistics are – so we’re not taking these as gospel. But at face value, what would this performance increase mean? When we compared the 14900K to the 9950X, we discussed how the former was an impressively capable gaming CPU. As such, the 9900X – and by extension, the 9950X – being superior in that regard would be incredibly impressive.

In Summary

On paper, the 9950X is the better CPU: boasting better specs and high-end performance without soaking up too much power. However, depending on whether you think the differences between the two models is worth the extra $150, you wouldn’t be wrong to be tempted by the 9900X; with its streamlined specs and more appealing pricing. If the benchmarked leaks above carry over into the CPUs’ real-time performance, we see the appeal in both units.

Neither card has any kind of pre order, and a concrete release date is yet to be decided, so there’s no incentive at present to rush out and buy either of these CPUs. We’re eager to pick them up and benchmark them, and formally crown a victor in the new Ryzen 9000 series.

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