When AMD released the Ryzen 9 3950X in June 2019, I wasn't immediately sure what to think. Taking the original Ryzen platform up to 16 cores from the eight it launched, it offered a very significant upgrade path to first-generation Ryzen customers, but there were also questions as to whether two memory channels would be sufficient to maintain the CPU.
AMD postpones Ryzen 9 3950X for weeks, perhaps to improve inventory levels, but the company's 16-core processor it's finally here. The Ryzen 9 3950X is a "full-fat" desktop version of the Razen family, with two physical tablets and an I / O die, with eight cores powered on both.
Here's what Raisen's stock of AMD looks like nowadays, with basic prices.
At $ 750 for the 16-cores, the 3950X is a fair step up from the $ 500 mark, and the increase in core count (1.33x) does not correspond to the price increase (1.5x). However, this is not uncommon at the end of the market, and the cost of jumping from Intel's main desktop segment to its HEDT platform has always been far greater than this.
Ryzen 9 3950X is a rare processor. First, AMD and Intel CPUs with the most basic numbers usually do not record the highest single-threaded clocks at the same time. Second, although there was a time in the past when it was possible to boost the count of the core processors above and beyond what was available when launching a hardware platform, it does not happen that often. Third, the processor is at a single point in the packages for the respective AMD and Intel products.
In the case of AMD, the 1650-core 3950X is an effective replacement for last year's Ryzen Threadripper 2950X. The old Socket TR4 platform will not be upgraded to a third generation chip and the new TrreadX third generation Threadripper platform will launch at 24 cores and extend to 32.
Ryzen 9 3950X is also AMD's attempt to regain the platform advantage it had over Intel in the early days of Ryzen. While Intel didn't launch the 8700K, AMD had an eight-core processor to share the processor on the market with a platform Intel mainstream desktop that found four cores and eight threads. The brown lake set things a little closer to parity later that year, but AMD undoubtedly wanted to be able to line up 2x CPU cores compared to apples to apples. With Ryzen 9 3950X, you can do it again.
Finally, the Ryzen 9 3950X is unique in the sense that Intel is not preparing another processor exactly against it, in terms of basic count. At $ 500, you get chips like the Core i9-9900K. When launching the Cascade Lake-X, the 3950X will be backed by the Core i9-10920X (12-core, 3.5GHz / 4.6GHz, $ 700) and Core i9-10940X (14-core, 3.3GHz – 4.6GHz, $ 800). Intel is not building a 16-core Cascade Lake X – however, the count and price increases have increased from 14 to 18 and 800 to 1K, respectively.
Looking at the pressure of the bandwidth of memory bandwidth
The big question going into the debut of the 3950X is whether the two DDR4 channels can deliver enough memory space to power 16 cores. The dual channel DDR4-3600 delivers 57.6 GB / s of bandwidth memory, but it only works up to about 3.6 GB / s of bandwidth per CPU core. That's about 10 percent more bandwidth than the one DDR-400 channel provided per day – and that's can sounds like a recipe for disaster in the CPU like this.
But much has changed since the days when single channel DDR configurations were roaming the Earth. Caches are much larger, customization algorithms are improved, and widespread adoption of SMT offers opportunities to hide memory access latrines. It's not clear if the Ryzen 9 3950X is particularly limited to broadband memory, but we turned on the Threadripper 2950X to test the theory. While we can't do an exact apples-to-apples test without a third-generation Threadripper to evaluate it, any benchmark where the 2950X takes abnormal lead can be a sign that it delivers extra memory.
Setting the test
The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X was tested in the same OS image and Windows 10 SSD configuration we used for our initial 7/7 review. Chipset drivers were updated for the latest AMD download page (18.104.22.1683). Used Windows 10 1903 with the latest updates and patches. Our MSI X570 Godlike motherboard was updated to the latest beta UEFI (7C34v17, 11-07-2019). This UEFI is based on AMD AGESA 22.214.171.124. The driver of the Nvidia GeForce 430.86 was used to maintain identical configurations with the previous test round.
Each of our testers had 16 GB of RAM, except our Threadripper 2950X and Intel Core i9-9980XE platforms. These two systems used 32 GB of RAM to load each DIMM channel. Third-generation Ryzen manufacturers were equipped with the DDR4-3600, while Intel platforms used the DDR4-3200. Intel systems generally care less about RAM than AMD systems anyway.
The Threadripper 2950X was tested on the MSI X399 Creation motherboard and tested with Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) enabled. This is something of a "best case scenario" for Threadripper, but we wanted to give the CPU the best opportunity to shine in comparison to the Ryzen 9 3950X. Using Threadripper's PBO void the warranty.
The inclusion of the Core i9-9980XE here guarantees discussion. The Core i9-9980XE is well beyond the price range of the Ryzen 9 3950X – but this also applies to the Threadripper 2950X as opposed to the 9980XE comparison. At the top of the market, we need to compare the parts that exist. In addition, the Cascade Lake X family falls into the not-too-distant future, leading to significant price reductions. We don't know how fast the 10980XE compares to the 9980XE, but we can treat this chip as low, but roughly what the performance of the 10980XE should look like.
The point of incorporating the Threadripper 2950X and the Core i9-9980XE is to see how the newer part changes the shape of what happened before, and maybe to get a scouting over what Lake Cascade looks like against Razen. .
Finally, the graphs here will be a bit … people.
The large number of data points we compare makes this inevitable. Nine processors – four Intel, five AMD – are a lot of data juggling. The Ryzen 7 2700X and Core i7-8086K are retained to provide some performance data on the latest generator chips. The 9700K is powered on because it's kind of weird – slower than the 8086K for some things, but Intel's total fastest gaming chip, if what you're interested in is pure frame rate. The 9900K is Intel's top desktop chip. The Threadripper 2950X is included to check for any signs of memory bandwidth shortage, now that AMD puts 16 cores on only two memory buses, and for the most direct comparison between 16 and 16 cores. The very high TDP on the front (180W vs. 105W) also gives potentially more room to work with.
Before we get to the slideshow, here are our results from the Blender 1.0Beta2 benchmark.
Ryzen 9 3900X and Threadripper 2950X are about the same, and traded wins against each other on the test. Ryzen 9 3950X consistently delivers about 76-77 percent of the time on the 3900X. The Core i9-9980XE is outperformed in most tests, although it does take a whole minute to complete the Berberschop_Interior test.
Our other test results are included in the slideshow below. Because of last-minute data set confusion, some of our 7zip and Handbrake data needs to be re-checked. I didn't have time to finish my energy consumption analysis, but I'll add all of these later today.
I've got a bit more to say about app performance after I can include 7zip and Handbrake, but the 3950X 3 rendering performance is really the best in class. There is no evidence of bandwidth limitations as far as 3D rendering, assembly or Handbrake (while I should check some results, I'm convinced that what I saw showed no weaknesses in any area). The Core i9-9980XE is still recording some wins, and we see some close evidence of Threadripper's broadband superiority in DigiCortex, but the 3950X notes a few single victories for itself that AMD doesn't have for a lot long time. That's not all – but it's nothing.
The performance of the games is next. This is often where I notice that the GPU performance varies only slightly at the top end of the market and that the differences between these processors are narrow. However, that's not the case today – and while 1080p isn't necessarily a gaming resolution for these processors, it's still worth looking at these results to see where these CPUs go.
The gaming performance shows some surprising wins for the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, but the Ryzen 9 3950X achieves higher frame rates overall and offers more regular performance as well. Despite still failing to catch Intel in lower-resolution tests, the gap between the two CPU families is the smallest it has ever been thanks to the 3950X. Particularly impressive is the fact that AMD delivers performance benefits like this one in the high core. That doesn't make the high-core processor a good choice for people who play mostly – but that means you have to give up much less performance in 3950X gaming than previous solutions – including in some places, and 9980XE.-
For $ 750, the Ryzen 9 3950X is an unbeatable processor. While it's true that Intel's 18-core Core i9-9980XE retains a reasonable number of test wins, compare the 2950X to the 3950X to see how AMD improved performance in a year. Twelve months ago, the 2950X didn't take any tests outside the Core i9-9980XE – the combination of two additional CPU cores and Intel's higher IPC was a second-generation Threadripper barrier unable to scale very often. And until now, Sinbensch's single-threaded results were Intel's only grass. Cinebench isn't all that great for all performance metrics, but these are tests that Intel has certainly beaten for at least a decade.
The Ryzen 9 3950X is an extra boost over the 3900X and 3700X in both single-threaded and (obviously) multi-threaded performance. There's no evidence of any bandwidth limitations in regular desktop applications or games – the 3950X is often Ryzen's fastest gaming processor on the market. This should not be read to indicate that I recommend a 16-core gaming processor – it's a ridiculous overhaul, and I'm not much. But the 3950X does take a number of significant tests in this area, and in a way that is unusual for high-core chips.
The fact is that Intel doesn't have this particularly big competitive response to the Ryzen 9 3950X at this price, and launching Lake Cascade in a matter of weeks doesn't have to help every space. We can assume that Cascade Lake X will be touch faster than the current Core i9-9980XE and obviously improve Intel's position at $ 1000. What it will not do, however, is provide equivalent enhancement for the mainstream desktop platform, which still tops the eight processor cores.
Now, Intel deserves (and will get) credit for lowering the price of its Cascade Lake processors, but $ 1,000 is still more than $ 750 and the HEDT motherboard is still slightly more expensive than the X570. Paint the difference between the $ 50 motherboard and $ 250 CPU for the motherboard, and the Core i9-10980XE will still carry a $ 300 premium. Buyers who are ready to get closer to CEDT may still be ready to choose Intel via the Ryzen desktop, but the Ryzen 9 3950X offers horsepower, the 9900K can't even touch the power outlet of the outlet.
did you should a Ryzen 9 3950X? Probably not. If you're a gamer, a processor like the Core i7-9700K or Ryzen 7 3700X will be far more cost effective and practical. But the Ryzen 9 3950X is the pinnacle of AMD's single and multi-threaded performance. It offers both things in the same processor instead of asking users to choose between one or the other. Demonstrates sustained, perennial two-digit performance improvements, even given the limitations of inserting a 16-core part into dual-channel memory configuration – restrictions that do not seem to bind Ryzen's third generation as far as some, including myself, were concerned. that it can. Further research is needed and there will be workloads where memory bandwidth is needed, but the trends are positive. Most Ryzen upgrades will be better served with an eight-core chip, but AMD users who need 16-core firepower may be able to afford them.
As impressive as the Ryzen 9 3950X is, it's just the initial rescue in the coveted greeting after AMD's November 72, 2019. Threadripper 3 is coming.
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