AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Review: The New Performance King

Irata

TS Addict
Great review, thanks for that.

I find that AMD has released an impressive allrounder. While I'd say a large part of PC buyers will be better of with a lower end Ryzen 3000, it is good to know that the 3950X exists as an upgrade option at a more attractive price once it's EOL.
 

rrwards

TS Addict
One minor issue with the review:

You never talked about the i9-9920X in the intro/set up for benchmarks. I think it's important to know that it's Intel's $1050 12-core CPU before all the charts. With the weird naming schemes Intel has, the average reader (such as myself) might not understand why the 3950X beating the i9-9920X is more significant than the i9-9900K/S. It's not till the conclusions section that the reader finds out what kind of CPU it is. Idk maybe just me, but it was a weird experience. I thought I had missed it somewhere, but it wasn't talked about at all in the beginning, just thrown in random benchmark charts.
 

amstech

IT Overlord
Glad you guys threw the 9920X in there, good to see it winning some benchmarks but we still don't have an apples to apples comparison, which would be the 9960X. I would like to see AMD's 3950X 16/32 against Intels 9960X 16/32, instead of AMD's 16/32 against Intel's 12/24, even though the prices on Intel's chips are insane, this 3950X @ ain't exactly cheap for $750, but its overall performance for the price is just astounding.
Amazing to see the 9700K and 9900KS still beating AMD's top stuff by 10-20FPS in some games, 4-9 FPS in many, and virtually no difference in others.
Either way, some great silicone from AMD and excellent review.
If building a gaming machine Intel is still the way to go, I am seeing 9700K's sell for $320, but for just about everything else its hard to make a case against AMD's Ryzen.
 
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jgraham11

TS Member
Question for you guys: Did you implement the new microcode updates for Intel's CPUs?

The update is to deal with ZombieLoad version 2 and Jump Conditional Code bug (Kiss Intel bug, pronounced Kiss n' tell). That affects Intel CPUs from Haswell up to CoffeeLake. Some sources are showing it looses approx. another 5 to 7% based on the workload.
 
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hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
I've seen non gaming tests where the 9900K was very competitive (HWC, GN) meaning you have to be sure your next chip is the right fit for the software you're using. You got Intel, AMD, CUDA and Quicksync. No chip is a clear winner in all use cases.

Running it stock or overclocked can result in the 3950X being slower than the 3900X. That's interesting at the very least. More cores can only get you so far, and I think the 3950X has proved that.
 

Danny101

TS Guru
Ba hum bug. Come on AMD! 8-cores @ 5Ghz. Majority aren't looking for more cores. We are looking for more speed. Shoot, I'll be happy with 4-cores at 5Ghz. Still waiting...
 
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Ba hum bug. Come on AMD! 8-cores @ 5Ghz. Majority aren't looking for more cores. We are looking for more speed. Shoot, I'll be happy with 4-cores at 5Ghz. Still waiting...
For what purpose? If it's for low-rez high-refresh gaming, I don't think AMD will catch Intel even at 5GHz as inter-CCX latency is simply too high. Buy Intel for that use case. For all other uses, AMD at 4.5 to 4.6 GHz matches Intel core-for-core thanks to higher IPC and offers up to twice the cores on a consumer platform. It's a win if you can use more cores. If you need fewer, then save a bunch of money with a 3600 though that silicon only gets you 4.3 to 4.4GHz.

If you really only need a few high GHz cores, get an 8700K or 9600K. Though I wonder what use case other than HRR gaming actually shows a *noticeable, useful* difference with the performance delta between an 8700K, 9600K and 3600.
 
I've seen non gaming tests where the 9900K was very competitive (HWC, GN) meaning you have to be sure your next chip is the right fit for the software you're using. You got Intel, AMD, CUDA and Quicksync. No chip is a clear winner in all use cases.

Running it stock or overclocked can result in the 3950X being slower than the 3900X. That's interesting at the very least. More cores can only get you so far, and I think the 3950X has proved that.
Quicksync is a killer feature if you don't mind the lower quality efficiency. Even my lowly Broadwell NUC will blitz through h.264 jobs and output reasonable files when set to best quality and a controlled bitrate.
 
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Sochsun

TS Member
Glad you guys threw the 9920X in there, good to see it winning some benchmarks but we still don't have an apples to apples comparison, which would be the 9960X. I would like to see AMD's 3950X 16/32 against Intels 9960X 16/32, instead of AMD's 16/32 against Intel's 12/24, even though the prices on Intel's chips are insane, this 3950X @ ain't exactly cheap for $750, but its overall performance for the price is just astounding.
Amazing to see the 9700K and 9900KS still beating AMD's top stuff by 10-20FPS in some games, 4-9 FPS in many, and virtually no difference in others.
Either way, some great silicone from AMD and excellent review.
If building a gaming machine Intel is still the way to go, I am seeing 9700K's sell for $320, but for just about everything else its hard to make a case against AMD's Ryzen.
The only review I've seen so far with the 9960x is the Linus Tech Tips one, and they apparently had to get one sourced from Pugent Systems as Intel wouldn't send them one for the direct comparison.
 

antgr

TS Rookie
[
Thank you for your great article. waiting for B450 Test.
Can you do a favor and add some Pro apps like // Nuke X, Maya, boujou, Avid Media Composer, Logic Pro, Solid Works, etc... //. Would be appreciated because with such CPU price I think those type of apps are going to be used
Hi, don’t expect these benchmarks here. The software you are referring to is very specialized for a person to know how and what to benchmark. But as you can guess maya will render faster with all that threads , but I think avid is not so well threaded software.
I work with autodesk flame and it’s happier with high ghz intel cpus, than amds or Xeons high count cores.
 
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Danny101

TS Guru
For what purpose? If it's for low-rez high-refresh gaming, I don't think AMD will catch Intel even at 5GHz as inter-CCX latency is simply too high. Buy Intel for that use case. For all other uses, AMD at 4.5 to 4.6 GHz matches Intel core-for-core thanks to higher IPC and offers up to twice the cores on a consumer platform. It's a win if you can use more cores. If you need fewer, then save a bunch of money with a 3600 though that silicon only gets you 4.3 to 4.4GHz.

If you really only need a few high GHz cores, get an 8700K or 9600K. Though I wonder what use case other than HRR gaming actually shows a *noticeable, useful* difference with the performance delta between an 8700K, 9600K and 3600.
So you're saying after 4.3Ghz,, it's just a synthetic benchmark race and everything's equal? I've heard that at that point, it's all on the video card. My point is that with each additional set of cores, thermals won't allow faster clocks and not all cores will even hit the max rated speed (limited to one or a few pairs and that includes Intel). So by limiting the amount of cores, then thermals should allow for higher clocks. It's already been shown that gaming software prefers higher clocks to multiple cores.
 
So you're saying after 4.3Ghz,, it's just a synthetic benchmark race and everything's equal? I've heard that at that point, it's all on the video card. My point is that with each additional set of cores, thermals won't allow faster clocks and not all cores will even hit the max rated speed (limited to one or a few pairs and that includes Intel). So by limiting the amount of cores, then thermals should allow for higher clocks. It's already been shown that gaming software prefers higher clocks to multiple cores.
Actually my point about gaming (high refresh rate mostly) was that even at 5GHz I'll bet AMD will not match Intel. The ring bus beats Infinity Fabric for latency and games also want low latency. AMD may need 5.5 GHz (good luck with that) as 5.1 to 5.2 is pretty common for 9700K and 9900K.

That's an interesting point about thermals. In most Intel BIOSes you can turn off one or more cores to get at what you're trying to do. In spite of having 2 Ryzen setups in our house, my machine is the Intel one so I don't futz with the AMD BIOSes much. Maybe you can identify the faster cores and disable the slower cores in BIOS and see if those higher speeds are attainable?
 

Lionvibez

TS Evangelist
Question for you guys: Did you implement the new microcode updates for Intel's CPUs?

The update is to deal with ZombieLoad version 2 and Jump Conditional Code bug (Kiss Intel bug, pronounced Kiss n' tell). That affects Intel CPUs from Haswell up to CoffeeLake. Some sources are showing it looses approx. another 5 to 7% based on the workload.
Considering these were really posted about 2 days ago I'm going to say no.
 
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10thDmenxn

TS Member
Glad you guys threw the 9920X in there, good to see it winning some benchmarks but we still don't have an apples to apples comparison, which would be the 9960X. I would like to see AMD's 3950X 16/32 against Intels 9960X 16/32, instead of AMD's 16/32 against Intel's 12/24, even though the prices on Intel's chips are insane, this 3950X @ ain't exactly cheap for $750, but its overall performance for the price is just astounding.
Amazing to see the 9700K and 9900KS still beating AMD's top stuff by 10-20FPS in some games, 4-9 FPS in many, and virtually no difference in others.
Either way, some great silicone from AMD and excellent review.
If building a gaming machine Intel is still the way to go, I am seeing 9700K's sell for $320, but for just about everything else its hard to make a case against AMD's Ryzen.
Even for gaming, I'd still get the AMD chip since it's at the start of its lifespan, where the Intel chips are at the very end of theirs. MOST of the games showed small differences of only a few frames, although a couple of them were 10-20 more because Intel has been tweaking and tweaking and tweaking this SAME processor for what seems to be forever and a day. Where the AMD chip is brand new, and hasn't been optimized at all yet. Also, several of those games are written and optimized specifically for the Intel chips. But these AMD chips blow the Intel chips away in almost every other aspect of computing. So why would anyone think it's a good idea to buy an old, almost antiquated chip, when it's ONLY feat is a few frames better in a few games????? And once you get over 100-125fps, you can NOT actually see any difference in the actual game with a difference between 10-20fps. So people still buying the Intel chips are basically paying for a few benchmark numbers...
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
So why would anyone think it's a good idea to buy an old, almost antiquated chip, when it's ONLY feat is a few frames better in a few games?????
It is called devotion. And I could have asked the same of all AMD's followers for ten years. I've been waiting for Intel 10nm since Sandy Bridge. I'm even willing to wait through a couple bad years for Intel to get it. All the sh!t talk about Intel during AMD's not so great years has built even greater devotion for Intel. Now that AMD has bragging rights, that bridge has been burned from all the years AMD followers had no ground to stand on. I will not be supporting AMD.
 

Irata

TS Addict
It is called devotion. And I could have asked the same of all AMD's followers for ten years. I've been waiting for Intel 10nm since Sandy Bridge. I'm even willing to wait through a couple bad years for Intel to get it. All the sh!t talk about Intel during AMD's not so great years has built even greater devotion for Intel. Now that AMD has bragging rights, that bridge has been burned from all the years AMD followers had no ground to stand on. I will not be supporting AMD.
Good for you. To make your stand even more firm, the reason why I bought AMD (had an Atom based SFF in between but that was utter crap) was because the chips were cheap and good enough, I like to side with the small guy who innovates and I do not want to support scumbaggery.

Buying an Intel CPU for me was the same as saying "Hey, I want to thank you for illegally crushing the competition and stifling innovation". Now take my money.

Edit: I should add that I understand if you needed the speed, for many years there was no alternative to getting an Intel CPU, so I am not insinuating that everyone who did was supporting Intel's behavior. Me, personally, I did not need it, so I could support AMD since I did not want them to go under and it turns out that was a good thing - regardless which brand you prefer.
 
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Irata

TS Addict
@Steven: I am curious what kind of background tasks you have running while doing the benches ? I would assume the minimum number possible but seeing how many are running on many PCs, would it not be interesting to also test how well each CPU performs with a large number of background tasks and even some multi-tasking tests, I.e. how do games / apps run when you have discord, a browser,... run on a second screen or even how streaming while gaming affects fps.
 
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amstech

IT Overlord
Even for gaming, I'd still get the AMD chip since it's at the start of its lifespan, where the Intel chips are at the very end of theirs. . So people still buying the Intel chips are basically paying for a few benchmark numbers...
Your mostly correct, but however I would like to mention a few things:
A) There is a huge dropoff with AMD CPU's in multiplayer games with 64 players, and it was in multiple titles. This is a huge deal for gamers. Someone posted some bench's from Battlefield, I'll see if I can dig them up.
B) While I mostly agree with you about most of those benchmarks being for bragging rights, those of us like myself who play at 1440p/144Hz will benefit from having another 10-20FPS, and if you compared 35 games, you would get the same results as Techspot just did with only more examples of each, so a few more games would run 10-20 FPS faster, a few 5-10FPS faster and a few with no difference.

One could also argue that Ryzen has been out enough and has mostly matured, and some of those Intel Chips like the 9700K can overclock to 5.2GHz - 5.4GHz, picking up another 3-8FPS in some games, while your pretty much maxed with Ryzen. It all comes down to price range, if I was building a budget gaming PC, the Ryzen 3600 is a stud. But if I was spending around $300, I'd get Intel and overclock it.
It will be years before gaming results truly change, and use more then 8 cores, as the new consoles (PS5/Xbox Scarlett) are rumored to have 8/16 core processors, that's what most developers will be shooting for. Nothing wrong with being future proof either but at the same time, when will folks who only care to game actually need more then 8 cores? Not now, that's for sure, and this is with newer titles.
 
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Zorak

TS Rookie
I actually need two of these. No, seriously. This is semi-pro productivity gold, carm a couple of those into some rack units and bam, your own home based renderfarm. I'd never considered this for gaming and it kinda irks me that everybody's talking about games this, games that. Owning a PC doesn't need to mean your a gamer, it's just the tip of the iceberg.

Loving this.
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
I see no reasonable excuse to not have a 9960X or 9980XE in this review. They will be/are at under 1000$ price points so they are worth a shot in this comparison.
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
One minor issue with the review:

You never talked about the i9-9920X in the intro/set up for benchmarks. I think it's important to know that it's Intel's $1050 12-core CPU before all the charts. With the weird naming schemes Intel has, the average reader (such as myself) might not understand why the 3950X beating the i9-9920X is more significant than the i9-9900K/S. It's not till the conclusions section that the reader finds out what kind of CPU it is. Idk maybe just me, but it was a weird experience. I thought I had missed it somewhere, but it wasn't talked about at all in the beginning, just thrown in random benchmark charts.
That price will be more like 500-600$ from this month.
 

Danny101

TS Guru
[QUOTE=One could also argue that Ryzen has been out enough and has mostly matured, and some of those Intel Chips like the 9700K can overclock to 5.2GHz - 5.4GHz, picking up another 3-8FPS in some games, while your pretty much maxed with Ryzen.

With consoles going to AMD, it seems to me AMD is a good bet going forward, since developers will be programming for AMD chips and games will optimzed for them. And will likely lead to to more PC releases and possibly with less issues. That's my take on where it's going. Intel chips will do well since the majority of games will be x86 programmed.
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Buying an Intel CPU for me was the same as saying "Hey, I want to thank you for illegally crushing the competition and stifling innovation".
Here we go again. It was not illegal until after the judge ruled it to be illegal. Unless you can provide proof Intel disregarded the judges ruling. What Intel did was not illegal at the time of the offense.