Our favorite AMD CPU is the cheapest it's ever been right now

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X box shot.
(Image credit: AMD)

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a phenomenal CPU. It's a 12-core, 24-thread monster that can chew through 3D renders and video encoding at a ridiculous frame rate while also ensuring that you're graphics card is kept fed when it comes to gaming.

Right now you can grab it for under $400, that's a 31% saving on its $569 launch price. It may have been released a year and a half ago, but if you're after a chip that can turn its hand to more serious work as well as far more entertaining exploits, then there's not a lot out there that really compares. It's been a mainstay of our gaming CPU recommendations since launch, and even now remains one of the best options if you need some serious CPU horsepower.

The boost clock tops out at a strong 4.8GHz, with the base clock of 3.7GHz also making for a healthy starting point. You're going to want a serious cooler to get the most from this chip, but with all-in-one CPU coolers available for around $100, that's an investment worth making.

The reason I'm highlighting this right now is that it's the cheapest it has ever been. Well, it is if you ignore that brief dip below $300 a few weeks back, which is surely an anomaly in CamelCamelCamel's data and not down to what would surely be the deal of the year so far. That is via third parties though, so maybe someone did make a very costly mistake.

Amazon's got this serious amount of silicon for under $400, right now, making it easily one of the best options for anyone looking for real processing power. Pair it with a decent cooler and a good B550 or X570 motherboard and you're looking at a great foundation for any gaming machine. You'll still need a decent GPU as well of course, but there does appear to be good news on that front, with prices dropping almost to MSRP levels as the year progresses.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X | 12 cores | 24 threads | 4.8GHz | $569.99 $394 at Amazon (save $175.99)

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X | 12 cores | 24 threads | 4.8GHz | $569.99 $394 at Amazon (save $175.99)
This is a great saving on a serious slice of silicon. If you want a chip that is as comfortable working as it is letting you play, then you'll do well to find much better out there at this price point. The fact the rest of the AM4 platform is mostly affordable doesn't hurt things either. If your current gaming PC is getting on a bit, this is a great deal on a great chip worth building a system around. 

It's worth bearing in mind that AMD is due to launch its Zen 4 CPUs this year, which are promising big things, although that's not likely to happen until well into the autumn. These new chips are going to use the AM5 socket and will support DDR5 too, which will undoubtedly make for a more expensive platform. Basically, I don't see this being beaten in terms of value for money for a long while yet. Especially not at this price.

Another option on this front is the recent release of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which showcases AMD's 3D V-cache technology. That's a slightly stronger chip for gaming, although it does so at the expense of more serious applications. If you need to do serious number crunching, then the 5900X is still the better choice, especially at this price.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.