A minor CPU upgrade

About a year and a half ago, I blogged about my first PC build in a decade. I went with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (8 cores, 3.6 GHz).

Over the weekend, Glenn Berry pointed out to me that prices on the higher-tier AMD processors were really coming down, particularly the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12 cores, 3.7 GHz). The price recently fell to $379 (Newegg) or $385 (Amazon), which is considerably lower than the higher-end CPUs available when I built the machine. While they may fall some more, I figured it was a decent time to upgrade (though full disclosure: the Amazon price has already gone up $10 since I ordered). If you're going to do this, make sure the new CPU is compatible with your existing motherboard (your vendor should have compat charts).

And don't forget thermal paste! It's not expensive, but make sure you order some if your new CPU doesn't come with a cooler (which will include some).

Glenn wrote up a really thorough CPU upgrade walk-through here but, for posterity, once the gear arrived, I:

  • Ran Windows updates
  • Updated drivers (both video and chipset)
  • Restarted to flash BIOS (always good to keep this regularly updated)
  • Shut down

I immediately went to work taking out the graphics card, and gently removing the cooler (which works best while the CPU is still warm). If you're not comfortable doing this, there are plenty of videos that describe how to proceed without damaging the CPU.

Once I replaced the CPU, I put everything back together, and made sure it would post. Then I went into the BIOS to make sure XMP and EUFI were enabled, and also tinkered with overclocking again. I started up Windows and, voila, magical performance gains!

Before and after CPU-Z

Task Manager before

Task Manager after

Already noticeable runtime reductions on some partitioning workload tests I had been running over the past week or so. This was a very easy upgrade and once again many thanks to Glenn for both encouragement and confirmation about compatibility and order of operations.

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at SQLPerformance and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him.

1 Response

  1. April 19th, 2022

    […] A friend of mine, Aaron Bertrand, recently took my advice and upgraded his CPU from a Ryzen 7 3700X to a Ryzen 9 5900X. It went very smoothly for him, and I think he is pretty happy with the results. […]