AMD didn’t even need its best CPU to beat Intel

A render of a Ryzen 9000 CPU.

Looks like the competition between AMD and Intel is about to start heating up again. AMD’s upcoming second-best processor, the Ryzen 9 9900X, was just spotted in an early benchmark — and the results are shockingly good. If this is what AMD can do with a 12-core CPU, what’s going to happen when the 16-core version of Zen 5 appears in tests?

The happy news (for AMD fans, at least) comes directly from the Geekbench 6.2 database, and it all comes down to a benchmark of what appears to be a retail sample of the Ryzen 9 9900X. The chip scored an impressive 3,401 points in the single-core score, and 19,756 points in the multi-core score. That puts it far above its predecessor, the Ryzen 9 7900X, but that’s not its only success.

The Ryzen 9 9900X managed to beat the Core i9-14900KS, which is Intel’s top desktop CPU right now. In fact, in single-core, the Ryzen 9 9900X now stole the crown and defeated every other desktop chip out there. The Core i9-14900KS comes close, with a score of 3,189, but it can’t quite defeat the 9900X.

Multi-threaded performance is also great, although Intel remains victorious here. The Ryzen 9 9900X is outpaced by the Core i9-13900K, Core i9-14900K, and the Core i9-14900KS. It beats the Ryzen 9 7950X3D by a small margin. However, we don’t know whether the CPU was boosted with AMD PBO.

A benchmark of the Ryzen 9 9900X.

AMD’s Ryzen 9 9900X isn’t even the best that the company has to offer in its upcoming lineup. Equipped with 12 cores and a maximum clock speed of 5.6GHz, as well as a 120-watt TDP, it’s bound to be overshadowed by the Ryzen 9 9950X. However, given how well it did in this benchmark, the power of Zen 5 may not stem from an increase in core counts or clock speeds, but rather from the architecture itself. AMD expects an up to 16% improvement from Zen 4 to Zen 5.

The question is, how much will these CPUs cost? If the pricing is similar to that of the Core i9-14900KS (currently $650), or even the Core i9-14900K ($550), the performance gains will be nice, but not quite as impactful. However, we’ve already spotted the first preorder listings for the Ryzen 9000 lineup, and it seems that AMD may be knocking the prices down a bit. With the Ryzen 9 9900X priced at around $500 or less, Intel would have some serious competition.

With Zen 5 CPUs on the horizon and a rumored July 31 release date, we’re about to enter an exciting period where these early benchmark results will start popping up more often. The one Geekbench result we have for the Ryzen 9 9900X so far is highly promising, but that’s exactly what it is — a single test that may not mean much yet.

Meanwhile, Intel won’t stay dormant for long, as it’ll have its own response to Zen 5 with Arrow Lake later this year or in early 2025. On the other hand, that gives AMD plenty of time to impress with Ryzen 9000 without much competition.