Why PC gamers should wait for these new AMD CPUs

Sayem Ahmed
AMD Zen 5 chip on a colorful background

AMD has just unveiled its new Zen 5 Ryzen 9000 CPUs, but if you’re a gamer, you might want to hold off from jumping to buy them when they launch in July.

AMD’s Ryzen 9000 Zen 5 CPUs are here, with the company officially revealing the 9950X, 9900X, 9700X, and 9600X CPUs. The new desktop CPUs come with improved I/O support for the newer motherboards, in addition to expanded support for DDR5 memory.

Based on AMD’s chiplet dies, they will utilize a mixture of TSMC’s 4nm process node, alongside a 6nm process node in tandem.

AMD Zen 5 Lineup slide on black background

One of the most notable features of the new lineup is that the lower-end CPUs, particularly the 9600X, 9700X, and 9900X are all less power-hungry than their predecessors, making them an attractive option for those looking to build small-form-factor PCs.

Ryzen 5 9600XRyzen 9 9700XRyzen 9 9900XRyzen 9 9950X
Core count6-core Zen 58-core Zen 512-core Zen 516-core Zen 5
Max clock speed5.4GHz5.5GHz5.6GHz5.7GHz
Total cache38MB40MB76MB80MB

Ryzen 9000X3D is inevitable

But, for gamers specifically, clock speeds of up to 5.7GHz on the 9950X might look attractive for single-core performance, but AMD has yet to reveal the ace up its sleeve: The X3D-enhanced chips.

AMD first released the Zen 3 5800X3D with a stacked cache in April 2022 and the Zen 4 7000X3D chips in early 2023. While positioned as a mid-generation refresh, the stacked cache of the “X3D” chips are fantastic for gaming, with the 7800X3D considered the best CPU for gaming, despite not having the highest core counts or clock speeds.

Ryzen 7 7800X3DIntel Core i9-14900K
Cores8-Core Zen 416E&8P Cores
Max clock speed5.0GHz5.6GHz
Total cache104MB68MB

The same could be true for AMD’s latest Zen 5 CPUs, so the new lineup might appear excellent on paper. Yet gamers may wish to wait for the upgraded version later down the line.

Is AMD holding back its 9000X3D chips for Intel?

One theory is that AMD is choosing to launch earlier than usual in July in order to push new products out earlier on in the calendar year, and could enable Team Red to release its X3D lineup in the Fall — right around where Intel is poised to debut their new 15th-gen CPUs.

According to AMD’s internal tests, the newly-announced Ryzen 9 9950X is anywhere from 4% to 23% faster in gaming workloads when compared to Intel’s flagship 14900K. But, if the 15900K releases and the 9950X can’t keep up, then the X3D refresh could turn the narrative around quickly.

AMD could then launch its X3D lineup in retaliation to claw back some market share from Intel. According to May’s Steam Hardware Survey, Intel chips populate 66% of gaming PCs, whereas AMD chips are in just 35% of systems but are consistently gaining market share.

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