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With the launch of AMD’s Zen 3 Desktop processors, consumers now have access to insane core counts as well as the fastest single-core performance in one powerful CPU. Whether you’re streaming the latest AAA games to your audience, working with professional CG applications, or editing raw video footage, Zen 3 processors are bound to make your work faster and snappier.

However, out-of-the-box performance isn’t necessarily the best you can get out of your shiny new CPU! Let’s try squeezing the most out of your Ryzen CPU with a mild overclock, shall we?

This overclocking guide will offer a closer look into the BIOS settings, recommendations, and testing to check for a stable overclock of an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-Core CPU.

Before we get started, it’s important to point out that different CPUs of the same type, in this case a 5900X, can achieve vastly different overclocks.


A quick disclaimer: we will be pushing the processors beyond their recommended mode of operation and specifications. Motherboards and CPUs do have built-in protections to limit any damage, or ideally, shut down the system before any damage occurs. Although following this guide should be safe for most users as we’ve tried to stick to relatively safer specifications, please continue at your own risk.


Also, please keep in mind that overclocking requires fine-tuning the Voltage for the CPU (Vcore). A dangerously high Vcore voltage can irreparably damage your CPU (and even your motherboard). Please be vigilant when entering voltage values as even a 0.5V increase is a lot for a CPU. We’re not trying to set any records here, so if you follow along carefully, you should be able to safely achieve similar results.


The Hardware: Getting the Pieces Together
The CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X is a 12-core, 24-thread processor with a 3.7 GHz base clock and a 4.8 GHz boost clock. It also features 64 Megabytes of L3 cache and supports DDR4 3200 MHz officially. AMD has set a 105W TDP rating for the CPU – indicating that it’ll require effective cooling to keep thermals in check. An admirable 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes (Gen 4 offers double the speed of Gen 3) connect direct to the CPU allowing for excellent extensibility on a mainstream socket like the AM4.


Motherboard: MSI MEG B550 UNIFY-X

To get this processor going, you’ll need an excellent motherboard that features an AM4 socket and a supported chipset. We’re picking the MSI MEG B550 Unify-X. The motherboard features dual CPU 8-pin power connectors that feed into a direct 14+2 VRM design with 90A power stages to ensure that power delivery is the least of our issues during overclocking.

The B550 Unify-X also has only dual DDR4 memory slots to allow for better memory overclocking potential. In addition to 4 PCIe M.2 slots, 2.5 GbE LAN, and Wi-Fi 6, the motherboard also offers an internal USB Type-C port – ensuring ample high-speed connectivity and storage flexibility.


Case: MPG SEKIRA 500G

For this overclocking guide, we’ll be building inside the MPG SEKIRA 500G PC case. It features a tool-less hinged tempered glass side panel for easy access to PC internals and also supports up to a 360mm AIO water cooler.


CPU Cooler: MAG CORELIQUID 360R

A beefy 360mm AIO liquid CPU cooler like MSI’s MAG CORELIQUID 360R is an excellent choice for an overclocked 12-core processor like the Ryzen 9 5900X. We don’t want thermals being an issue so we’re going with the absolute best in our arsenal!


Power Supply: MSI MPG A850GF 850W

While cooling is an important aspect of overclocking, power delivery is critical too. Having insufficient power or unstable power delivery can result in an unstable overclocking experience.

The MPG A850GF has more than enough headroom to support all the hardware we’re using for this guide and also comes equipped with excellent 12V rails and 2 ATX 8-pin connectors.


Memory, Graphics Card, Storage: G.Skill Trident Z Royal 16GB DDR4 3600 MHz Memory, NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Graphics Card, and Kingston A2000 PCIe SSD

To hit Ryzen’s infinity fabric sweet spot, we’re going with a 3600 MHz memory kit from G.Skill – 16GB (2x8GB) Trident Z Royal DDR4.

Since we aren’t focusing on GPU performance with this overclock, we’re using an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super for our graphics card while a Kingston A2000 PCIe NVMe SSD allows for faster boots into our OS to make the experience smoother and snappier.


Baseline Performance

Before we overclock, it’s important to test your performance with default settings. These performance numbers will be our baseline results that can be compared to our overclocked results.

Baseline Cinebench R15: 3566
Baseline Cinebench R20: 8338
Baseline Blender BMW Render: 1 minute 58 seconds
Baseline Blender Classroom Render: 5 minutes 3 seconds

Cinebench is a popular CPU benchmark that stresses your CPU by making each core render a tile and then assigning a score depending on how fast the full scene was rendered. Both R15 and R20 scores should be higher for our overclocked results. On the other hand, Blender renders are measured in ‘time taken,’ and thus, the overclocked results should be lower than our baseline time.


Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

When you’re overclocking, always change your CPU voltage and clock values first. Once you’ve achieved a stable overclock, enable XMP (memory OC profile) to get your RAM running at its rated speed. If your PC is already ON, reboot and tap the hell out of that Delete key to get into your BIOS before you see the Windows loading screen. Once you’re in BIOS, you should be greeted by a screen like this –


CPU and DDR4 memory
Now, press the F7 key to get into Advanced settings, and on the top left you can see the defaults for both CPU and DDR4 memory.


Navigate to OC and go to CPU ratio
Navigate to OC and go to CPU ratio. Set the value to 46 (it’s okay if it turns red).


AMD Overclocking
Next, proceed to Voltage Settings and change the CPU Core Voltage to AMD Overclocking, and then select Override CPU Core Voltage. Input 1.33 (careful) here and press the Enter key.


AMD Overclocking
Now, hit the Escape key until you get back to the main BIOS screen. Navigate to Hardware Monitor. Overclocking will cause the CPU to get warmer, so, set an aggressive fan profile to dump radiator heat faster. In our system, the case fans are connected to the System1 header (check what header your fans are connected to).

If you’re using fans with a 3-pin connector, use DC with Smart Fan mode.

However, if you’re using fans with 4-pin connectors like we are, use the PWM setting with Smart Fan mode. Next, we repeat the same step with the CORELIQUID 360R radiator fans that are connected to CPU1.


save config and reboot
That’s it! Hit the F10 key and click yes to save config and reboot.


OC Performance

Let’s check system stability as well as the performance uplift by running a few CPU tests. Please note that if you’re experiencing any stability issues while running any of these benchmarks, tune down the clock to 4.5. You can also experiment with the voltage up to 1.35 at your own peril, but we don’t recommend anything beyond that number.

OC Cinebench R15 (Multi): 3885 (8.9% improvement)
OC Cinebench R20 (Multi): 9007 (8.0% improvement)
OC Blender BMW Render: 1 minute 50 seconds (6.77% improvement)
OC Blender Classroom Render: 4 minutes 41 seconds (7.26% improvement)
Overall, we got around a 7-8% performance uplift for CPU-heavy workloads without compromising stability.


Enabling XMP and Overclocking Memory

Now that we’ve run CPU tests without any stability issues, we can move on to overclocking our RAM. Head over to the DRAM settings within OC and change the A-XMP setting to Profile 1 as shown below.


save config and reboot
This should automatically load a preset profile that will allow your RAM to run at 3600 MHz. Again, hit F10 and yes to save your settings.

When using 3600 MHz memory with Ryzen, you should be able to see performance uplift in workloads/applications/games that are sensitive to core latency and memory speeds. From our testing, we’ve seen a 5-10% performance improvement when jumping from 2666 MHz to 3600 MHz memory kits.

For CPU-intensive workloads that stress all the cores on your CPU, like Blender and Cinebench, the results shouldn’t change that much even with the A-XMP profile enabled.

As predicted, our benchmark runs were within 1% of our OC performance numbers – well within margin of error.


Addressing Prime 95 for Stability Testing

We prefer using workloads like Blender Classroom to unearth any stability issues caused by overclocking.

Although Prime95 does put added load on your CPU by running CPU-intensive AVX instructions, it’s very unlikely that users will encounter such a workload in real-world usage. If you’re setting overclocks based on stable runs of Prime95, you could be leaving performance on the table. Just a heads up!


Can You Overclock any AMD Ryzen 5000 Processor Using this Guide?

Yes! But with a few tweaks and conditions. All Ryzen processors have different boost clocks, so an overclock of 4.6 GHz might work on a 5900X but might not work on a 5800X. Please try lowering your CPU clock ratio slowly and run the Cinebench and Blender tests to get a stable overclock if the above settings aren’t doing the trick.

To get an overclock using this guide, you’ll also need to have the following –
- Any AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU (Other Ryzen CPUs would also overclock the same way but they might require very different clock ratios and/or Vcore values)
- An X570/B550 Motherboard (X470, B450 also support overclocking Ryzen 5000 CPUs).
- A decent 360mm AIO Liquid CPU Cooler to ensure you have ample thermal headroom.


That’s it!
What overclock did you get on your Ryzen 9 5900X? Leave us a comment and let us know. Temperatures, frequency, voltages, everything – details, please!