AMD’s AM4 socket and platform is amazingly resilient, sitting pretty on four generations of new product lines. With the same motherboard you bought for a Ryzen 3 1200 machine back in 2017, you can slot in a brand new Ryzen 9 5950X (and probably get a kick out of it). But with the AM5 upgrade on the horizon, should you upgrade or hold out? PCWorld’s Gordon Ung is here to break it down for you in the latest PCWorld YouTube video.
To put it simply, the longer you’ve been holding out, the more you’ll benefit from an upgrade to a modern 5000-series Ryzen CPU. Bumping up from the Ryzen 7 1800X to the comparable Ryzen 7 5800X3D yields improvements in pretty much everything your PC can do, from simple browsing to media-intense applications, sometimes as much as 50 percent gains over older hardware. Even gaming, which you might think is almost entirely dependent on your graphics card, can see impressive gains. Depending on the title you’re playing, that upgrade can once again essentially double your performance. That’s especially true if you’re not playing at a massive 4K resolution.
Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
Returns diminish if you’re coming from newer Ryzen 2000 or 3000 series processors, especially on the higher end. Ditto if you’re starting at a high-end processor and going to something mid-range or budget in the newer series. On the other hand, if you’ve upgraded your GPU recently and left the CPU in place, removing that bottleneck might give you much more performance than you think.
Check out the full video for an exhaustive set of benchmarks to help you make your decision to upgrade now or wait for what’s coming down the line. And if you like this kind of deep dive into nerdy hardware comparisons, be sure to subscribe to the PCWorld YouTube channel!
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Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.