Ryzen has proven to be a winning gambit for AMD. The range of CUP’s have not only proven to be powerful and capable for gaming and prosumer PC use, but they have also given Intel a run for its money.
Now with Zen 2, AMD once again has thrown down the gauntlet, and the 7nm Ryzen 9 3900X is ready to take on anything Intel can throw at it.
7nm has long sat as the holy grail for many chipmakers. Not only can it offer more performance with less overhead, but it is also a major step in ensuring there is legroom for further advancements on the CPU front. Zen 2 marks the big leap into the world of 7nm for AMD on the CPU front, and the flagship Ryzen 9 3900X stands as a testament to this power.
Tackling the new Ryzen 9 3900X on our test bench. The 12-core, 24-thread processor stands as one of the most powerful consumer-level chips currently on offer from Team Red. This $499USD CPU sits as a testament to value and performance, offering a monster of a chip, along with a rather nice RGB fan, to ensure the trend of LED’s never dies (despite its ridiculous nature).
The new 3rd Generation Ryzen does work with 300 and 400 series motherboard chipsets, to get the most out of the Ryzen 3000 series you will want to get an X570 board. While previous boards will work (with a firmware update), you will miss out on PCIe 4.0 bandwidth, along with you will need to ensure you have an older Zen CPU to apply any firmware update. If you have a previous board and CPU, you are good to carry it forward, but if you are purchasing for a new build, do yourself a favour and invest in an X570 board, will be a much more futureproof solution.
For all testing, CGMagazine used an X570 based Gigabyte Aorus board, with 16GB (8X2) GSkill Ram and a Western Digital Black SSD. We used an AMD RX 570 as the GPU, although we will be focusing on pure CPU based benchmarks for this review. We compared the Ryzen 9 3900X to the Intel Core i9-9900K and the Ryzen 7 2700X. To give a fair comparison, we used the same Ram, GPU, and HD in all tests, with only the Intel i9 using a different motherboard.
The Ryzen 9 3900X is currently the most powerful Ryzen 3rd gen chip you can buy. Boasting a clock speed of 3.8GHz with a boost up to 4.6GHz, it is a powerful CPU that should offer more than enough power for everyday tasks, gaming, along with video and streaming-based work with flows. It should be noted that it will be surpassed by the Ryzen 9 3950X this September, which will offer 16-cores and 32-threads, that should, in theory, offer even more multitasking power.
Zen 2 is a notable improvement over previous Ryzen chips, offering a 15% increase in the Instruction per clock (IPC). AMD has achieved this in many ways, from overall performance increases to the streamlining of instructions. But we tested all aspects of the chips to ensure a clear picture of how these Zen 2 chips compete with Intel, along with past iterations of the Zen lineup.
As with all our reviews, CGMagazine started with Cinebench to get a good all-around view of how the 3900X compares to the competition. It is no surprise to see the 3900X destroy both the 8-core i9-9900K and the Ryzen 7 2700X. The 3,150 blew past the i9’s 2180 and the Ryzen 7 2700X’s 1890. While this is only to be expected with the sheer number of cores, it is impressive for the price and something that must be outlined as very impressive.
Single-core is a little less impressive on the Ryzen 9 side. Having a boost clock of only 4.6GHz compared to the 5GHz on the i9-9900K, it was only to be expected to see a slight difference between the two processors. Although, overall, the benchmarks are very close, especially considering the difference in price. The Ryzen 7 2700X sadly is showing a few its limitations, falling quite a bit behind in this test.
Next up we have professional video encoding, another thing that does well with additional cores. In our X264 V5.0 1080P Video benchmark, the Ryzen 9 3900X trounced the competition, blowing past the next most powerful chip with ease. As outlined before, the more cores help in this test, and with the 24-threads on offer, this is of little surprise and well within our expected results.
On the gaming front, things are a bit more interesting, we tested Civilisation 6, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and Assassins Creed Odyssey. Due to the fact most of these games are GPU dependant over CPU, all these tests should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, these tests due give a better picture of how each chip will affect someone only looking to game.
Overall while the Ryzen 9 3900X is a beast for any production workflow, in real-world gaming, there is little difference between what can be expected for GPU depended games. And while the more expensive options do net you a few extra frames overall, the cost/benefit does not make as much sense unless you are also streaming, or using those extra cores for another purpose.
That being said, while both the Ryzen 9 3900X and the Ryzen 7 2700X fair a bit worse on average over the Intel i9-9900K, the price for that chip is far more on average. While the Ryzen 9 is a bit slower, the average gamer would not notice the difference, and a different GPU would be a better investment overall to gain the extra FPS, over-investing in the intel i9 at this time.
The argument over AMD and Intel with Zen 2 just got a lot more interesting. It is no longer as simple as it once was over a decade ago. AMD has stepped up’s its game with Zen 2, and the Ryzen lineup in general. The concept of an affordable 12-core CPU even five years ago would have been ridiculous, yet here we are in 2019 with one, that not only is accessible but is as powerful as they claim.
AMD has made major strides and is doing all the right things. It is hard to say if they will capture the mindshare of people looking to build new PC’s but with the Ryzen 9 3900X, they really should. This is a beast of a CPU and one that any new prosumer gamer or content creator should look into. It is great for production, and paired with a good GPU will trounce the competition in gaming. While Intel still has a hard chip to compete within the 9900K, the 3900X is about as good in most benchmarks, and better in others. Intel will have to pull something out of its hat to keep up with Team Red going into 2020.