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posted by martyb on Thursday November 14 2019, @11:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the smaller-faster-cheaper dept.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Review: 16 Cores on 7nm with PCIe 4.0

Earlier this year AMD pushed again, this time putting 12 cores in the market for the same price as 8, or what had been the 4-core price point only three years prior. In three years we had triple the cores for the same price, and these cores also have more raw performance. The frequency wasn't as high as the competition, but this was offset by that raw clock-for-clock throughput and ultimately where the competition now offered eight cores, AMD offered 12 at a much lower power consumption to boot.

Today is round 2 part 2: taking that same 12-core processor, and adding four more cores (for a 50% increase in price), and not only going after the best consumer processor Intel has to offer, but even the best high-end desktop processor. This is AMD squeezing Intel's product portfolio like never before. What exactly is mainstream, anyway?

AMD's new Ryzen 9 3950X has a suggested retail price of $749. For that AMD is advertising sixteen of its latest Zen 2 cores built on TSMC's 7nm process, running at a 3.5 GHz base frequency and a 4.7 GHz single-core turbo frequency. The TDP of the chip is rated at 105 watts and it has 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes as well as dual memory channels that support up to 128 GB of DDR4-3200.

From the conclusion:

Because it is competing against Intel's high-end Skylake Refresh desktop platform (comparing equal core count, rather than price), it can't compete when AVX-512 is in play, or memory bandwidth is the limiting factor. At some level having this many cores requires extra memory bandwidth, and dual channel isn't going to cut it. This is one of the downsides of moving 'mainstream' up to a HEDT price point, even if it does come with more cores.

There are some other minor points to note – if we compare single threaded performance, despite AMD's Zen 2 having a general IPC advantage, the Core i9-9900KS is still running at 5.0 GHz for sustained single threaded work, which is still 7-15% higher than the Ryzen 3950X, and as a result it does pull out ahead in a number of ST tests as well as in low resolution (CPU-bound) gaming. At higher resolution gaming, most of the CPUs in our test perform within a fraction of each other.

[...] In terms of absolute performance across our benchmark range, the Ryzen 9 3950X has the lead. This metric also puts the 3900X above the 9900KS, because despite the 5.0 GHz all-core on 8-cores, moving to 12-core and 16-core at almost the same performance per core gives more of an advantage in our test suite's MT-heavy workloads. As we move to the more expensive HEDT chips, the 16-core and 18-core from Intel, then even with strong AVX-512 performance, it's not enough to offset other areas.

See also: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16 Core CPU Review Roundup – The Intel HEDT Destroyer For $749 US, Achieves Several World Records
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Review: 16 Cores Muscles Into the Mainstream

Previously: 16-Core Ryzen 9 3950X and 24-core Threadripper 3 Will Launch in November
AMD Announces 3rd-Generation Threadripper CPUs, Ryzen 9 3950X available on November 25th, and More

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  • (Score: 2) by EEMac on Friday November 15 2019, @01:39PM (3 children)

    by EEMac (6423) on Friday November 15 2019, @01:39PM (#920683)

    That is one heck of a chip.

    I'm not in the market for a $750 CPU, but for those who are . . . especially those who already have an AM4 motherboard . . . woohoo!

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  • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Friday November 15 2019, @03:53PM (1 child)

    by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 15 2019, @03:53PM (#920705)
    The price point is pretty amazing. My current workstation has a $2,000 18/32 core/thread i9 7980xe. This nearly matches to beats (depending on the application) that processor for less than 1/2 the price. Intel is really behind the 8-ball here and I'm loving it.
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday November 15 2019, @03:56PM

    by takyon (881) <> on Friday November 15 2019, @03:56PM (#920706) Journal

    You can do a lot with that socket.

    You could pick up the 2-core Athlon 3000G for $50, put that on an AM4 motherboard, then get a 16-core and discrete GPU after the prices drop.

    There could be some motherboard issues but you can let the world beta test for you.

    It will be interesting to see when the next "mainstream" core count increase will be. Nothing with Zen 3. Maybe an increase to 24 cores with Zen 4 or 5. AM5 socket required, with DDR5 DRAM.

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