It's finally time to review AMD's new 3rd generation Ryzen processors. Today we have the Ryzen 9 3900X and the Ryzen 7 3700X on hand, with further content in the coming days. AMD has decided to lift and lift the review embargo for Zen 2 and Radeon Navi at the same time. However, as there are still many tests to be done, we will delay our navigation reporting to focus on these Ryzen processors. It is interesting that AMD has not dominated the news cycle for a few weeks. So for now we have a very thorough CPU review and tomorrow we'll have our full Radeon RX 5700 review (now live).
The Ryzen 9 3900X is a 12-core processor with 24 threads and a massive 64 MB L3 cache. It runs at a base frequency of 3.8 GHz and a boost frequency of 4.6 GHz. It costs $ 500 and is in direct competition with the Core i9-9900K. Then the Ryzen 7 3700X costs $ 330, and AMD suggests taking over the more expensive 9700K. It is an 8-core CPU with 16 threads, a 32 MB L3 cache and clocks from 3.6 GHz to 4.4 GHz.
Both 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs are included with the Wraith Prism RGB cooler, which we will use for most of our tests. This means that Intel has a slight performance advantage. However, please note that the cost of the cooler is taken into account in our value analysis for each processor. We'll also provide some 3900X and 3700X performance data with an all-in-one liquid cooler.
The MSI X570 Creation motherboard was used to test the 3900X and 3700X, while the Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero was used to test the 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen chips. All have been tested with DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, but there will also be some memory scaling benchmarks included in the review as AMD recommends DDR4-3600 CL16 memory for best results.
The 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors were compared on the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra with the same DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, but cooled with the Corsair Hydro H115i RGB Platinum 280 mm liquid cooler. Note that the Intel CPUs are not limited to TDP, as this is not immediately ready for use. Therefore, we show the absolutely best scenario for an out-of-the-box performance. Our preferred graphics card was the MSI Trio GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
There's no better starting point than Cinebench R20's multithreaded benchmark, and the Ryzen 9 3900X looks powerful. With an incredible 7086 points, it is 24% faster than the Threadripper 2920X. In addition, the Core i9-9900K was decimated by 45%.
The Ryzen 7 3700X was equally impressive. The new 8-core part matched the 9900K and was 22% faster than the 2700X and 30% faster than the more expensive 9700K. These new 3rd generation Ryzen parts already look like kings of productivity.
The R9 3900X matched the single-core performance of the 9900K and was 19% faster than the 2700X. The 3700X also scored a good 500 points, roughly on the level of the 9700K. This is a massive performance improvement for Ryzen.
Here we have some memory bandwidth numbers and this is sustained read / write performance. As mentioned earlier, all CPUs here use DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, but interestingly enough, 3rd generation Ryzen is slightly worse than 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen, but there's a good reason for that.
AMDs have compromised because client workloads write very little. Instead of using this space to improve something that is not needed, they have invested the silicon real estate in a more advantageous way to achieve noticeable increases in performance. While the connection between Core Complex Die and IO Die is 32 bytes wide for reading the memory, it is only 16 bytes wide for writing. This significantly reduces the write performance, which affects the SiSoftware copy test.
For example, the changes that AMD made to the Zen 2 architecture have a profound impact on WinRAR performance. The 3700X is astonishing 84% faster than the 2700X, so it can beat the 8700K comfortably and almost match the Core i9-7900X. The 3900X also showed a show, although it was only 15% faster than the 3700X and couldn't quite keep up with the 9900K. Overall, a remarkable increase in performance compared to the parts of the 2nd generation.
When we move to 7-zip, we have the compression test first, which Ryzen traditionally did not do so well. For example, you can see that the 2700X is 14% slower than the 9900K. Now, however, we're seeing the 3700X push the 9900K aside with a 15% lead, which is basically the 10-core 7900X. Then we see the 3900X outperform the 2920X by 11% and the 9900K by a whopping 45%. King of productivity right there.
When it comes to decompression work, 3rd generation Ryzen still has a practical performance advantage. Here the 3700X was 11% faster than the 9900K and a whopping 52% faster than the 9700K. In the meantime, the 3900X was just over 60% faster than the 9900K and even offered a 17% increase in performance over the Threadripper 2920X.
We use Adobe Premiere every day, currently with a TR 2950X. Here we see that the 3900X is 8% faster than the 2920X, so the 3950X will beat the 2950X when released in a few months. We can't even imagine what the 3rd generation Threadripper series will deliver.
The R9 3900X was 22% faster than the 9900K and even the 3700X displaced the 9900K, making it 25% faster than the 9700K.
To make these results even more impressive, Premiere is very pro-Intel software. AMDs have shown that the 3900X in DaVinci Resolve is a little over 50% faster than the 9900K, and yes, we know we need to sort a DaVinci project and add it to our benchmarks. We promise that we will do it soon.
Next we have V-ray 1.0.8 (older version), but we have also tested the latest version and will check these results right away. Using the older build, the 3900X took 48 seconds to complete the workload, while the 3700X took 68 seconds. This meant that the 3700X was slightly slower than the 9900K, but much faster than the 9700K. Meanwhile, the 3900X has beaten everything, including the 2920X.
We see similar margins in the newer version, although the Core i9-7900X manages to stay one step ahead of the 2920X. Still, the 3900X was easily conquered, while the 3700X was not much slower than the 9900K.
Similar margins can also be seen when testing with Corona: the 3900X was 30% faster than the 9900K, while the 3700X was only 10% slower. The 3700X was also 12% faster than the 2700X, a decent increase.
The last application we'll look at is Blender. We see similar margins again between the tested processors, although this time the 3700X is much closer to the 9900K than the 2700X. During the execution of the Blender Open Data benchmark, we also measured the total power consumption of the system. Check these results before you start gaming benchmarks.
Would you look at that? The R7 3700X consumed less power than the previous generation 2600 and even less than the Core i7-8700K. In fact, it was comparable to the Ryzen 5 2600 and 1600 along with the old Quad-Core 7700K.
Equally noteworthy is the 3900X, which is comparable to the 2700X and 7900X and is therefore more efficient worldwide than the 9900K and the 2920X.
In other words, the R9 3900X was 41% faster than the 9900K in Blender and still reduced overall system consumption by 8%. This is an outstanding result for AMD and makes us cautiously enter the gaming benchmarks to this high degree.
Testing with Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, 3rd generation Ryzen is ~ 10% faster than the 2700X, which is good but not good enough to beat the 9900K, at least when you look at the average frame rate. Despite similar frame time performance, the 9900K was on average 4% faster with an RTX 2080 Ti at 1080p. It's really close. Let's see what happens at 1440p.
Oddly enough, we don't see any results coinciding at 1440p, but the 9900K is now 6% faster than the 3900X and even more bizarre is that the 2920X is now the 3900X even though it wasn't far behind at 1080p. The 9700K was also 6% faster than the 3700X. Not a big margin, but we were hoping to see fewer gaps at 1440p.
In Battlefield V, 3rd generation Ryzen parts follow the Intel Core i9s again. Both Ryzen CPUs were 11% faster than the 2700X, which is a decent gain, but both were below the 9900K average and 1% lower in performance. The 9900K was 8% faster and 13% faster on average when you consider the 1% low result.
At 1440p, the 9900K was only 4% faster than the 3900X, which is a close call.
Here's our biggest shortcoming so far: this time the 9900K was 17% faster than the 3900X when you compare the average frame rate, and 20% faster for the 1% low result. The 3700X performed better than the 9700K, but gaming on Intel's side looks solid here, too.
If you increase the resolution to 1440p, the margins will be significantly reduced. Now the 9900K was only 8% faster at the average frame rate and this is certainly a more realistic resolution for the RTX 2080 Ti.
We hoped that these 3rd generation Ryzen processors in The Division 2 would be a bit more punchy. Of course, the gameplay was silky smooth, but in comparison, the 9900K was 11% faster than the 3900X, even though the performance was 1% low.
When switching to 1440p, we are completely GPU-bound to these high-end CPUs. This showed that 9900K, 9700K, 3700X and 3900X all deliver the same performance.
Far Cry New Dawn has always been problematic for Ryzen processors. Here we see that the 2700X only allows 98 fps on average and the 9900K is 26% faster. The new 3rd generation Ryzen parts don't completely solve this problem, but they do things in the right direction. The 9900K is now only 10% faster than the 3900X and 3700X.
The margin is further reduced at 1440p, and now it is only the 1% low results that noticeably favor the Intel 8-core processors.
The Far Cry New Dawn deficit was somewhat disappointing, as was the discussion of the results of World War II. In fact, this is by far the most disappointing result we've ever seen, and that's because 3rd generation Ryzen processors are no faster than the 2700X. This means that the 9900K was 18% faster than the 3900X and the 9700K was 21% faster than the 3700X.
Even with the GPU-limited 1440p, the 9900K outperformed the 3900X by 9%.
We have some Rage 2 results later, and here the 3900X and 3700X perform very well and offer slightly better performance of 1% than the 2700X, making them equal to the 8700K. The 9900K and 9700K offer slightly better 1% performance and 7% better performance. Not much of a difference, and as was to be expected, the gaming experience was identical.
At 1440p, we are then completely bound to the GPU, so that we were able to get the best out of the RTX 2080 Ti from the 3700X.
Hitman 2 is another title that has never been so friendly to AMD processors, and we see that this is still a problem for the 3rd generation parts. Here the 9900K outperformed the 3900X by 15%, although this is nothing more than the 27% value by which it outperforms the 2700X.
The margins at 1440p are reduced and now the 9900K is only 5% faster than the 3900X. The 3700X was still 9% faster than the 2700X, so we keep seeing that the 3rd generation Ryzen series is a good step forward when it comes to gaming.
Total War: Three Kingdoms delivers solid results for AMD. The 3700X improved the 1% low performance of the 2700X by 8%, which is only 1% slower than the 9900K and 5% slower than the 9700K.
At 1440p we are almost completely bound to the GPU again and leave a maximum of one or two frames in it.
DDR4-3200 vs. DDR4-3600
DDR4-3600 is the memory with the fastest specification. AMD recommends using 3rd generation Ryzen, as higher clocked memory will actually decrease performance, at least if it is clocked higher than 3733, as this will change the Infinity Fabric to 2: 1 mode instead of 1: 1. Basically, the Infinity Fabric is clocked at 2: 1 with a quarter of the storage speed, while 1: 1 is half.
Since AMD recommends DDR4-3600 for optimal performance and provides us with a CL16 kit, we tested it to ensure that performance was not affected by using the CL14 3200 kit.
The good news is that this is not the case. Here you can see practically identical performances in Corona, WinRAR, Far Cry New Dawn, Assassins Creed Odyssey and World War Z from both RAM kits.
Due to time constraints we didn't go any further in testing the memory. This is something we'll discuss later, but at the moment we can see that important performance metrics are not significantly affected by RAM selection or by not maximizing Ryzen's capabilities in this regard.
X570 vs. B450 chipset
We also took a quick look at the chipset's performance and compared B450 to X570 using MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC and MSI X570 Creation. Due to time constraints, we did not run any X470 tests. However, we believe that B450 and X470 cards offer the same performance that you can easily fill in the blanks.
Looking at the Cinebench results, there seems to be a slight difference between the two platforms, but we're talking about a 1% difference in margin or error.
If you enable PBO + the AutoOC function in Ryzen Master, you will see a similar performance again on the X570 and B450 cards. As claimed by AMD, the PBO feature of 3rd generation Ryzen processors can be enabled on all motherboards that support these new processors.
When we take a quick look at the game performance with World War Z, we see no significant difference in performance on either board. At a later time, we will check how it looks for B350 and X370 motherboards.
Time was critical to performing all of these tests on time, but it seems pretty clear that, like 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs, 3rd generation Ryzen has virtually no overclocking latitude. This is not surprising, since both AMD and Intel are involved in a fierce battle in which both get the most out of these high-end CPUs.
At best, we managed to increase the 3900X multi-core score by 4%, while the 3700X saw an increase of 6%. As with 2nd generation Ryzen, however, the simple multiplier OC method we used for the 4.3 GHz all-core is not the method you want to use.
Here, when we look at the single-core results, we see that this degrades performance and overall PBO overclocking is the most effective method. Still, we feel that most don't even bother to overclock just to get 4-6% more performance, and from what we've heard from other releases, 4.3 GHz seems one of the better overclocking to be.
Even more disappointing is that we somehow managed to end the life of our 3900X sample at this stage of the review. We do not remember exactly which settings were applied, but we know that we have not yet manually adjusted the voltages. We believe that after testing the 4.3 GHz auto-voltage overclocking, we increased the LLC to see how it affected the temperatures. During our first CB20 run, the system crashed and was reset and never restarted.
The CPU now gets stuck at code 07 after microcode. Among other things, we tried to run the chip on another X570 board before we unfortunately declared it dead. According to AMD, no other reviews have managed to kill their 3900X. So we're just special or bad luck, your choice. AMD sent us a replacement, but in the meantime we couldn't test the 3900X on B450 cards or include it in the IPC test with some cores disabled in each chiplet.
This also means that we don't currently have any temperature data on this CPU, just the 3700X. With the Wraith Prism RGB cooler, you can almost deprive the 3700X of maximum performance even though it is roasted a little. However, the cooler is very quiet, so 87 ° C overclocked in our book is respectable.
With a more elaborate and expensive setup like the Corsair Hydro Series H115i, the R7 3700X reached a maximum of only 73 degrees after a one-hour blender stress test. It's a shame that we don't have the 3900X results, but we suspect that the box cooler runs at around 80 ° C under heavy load. Of course, all 3900X results were recorded with the box cooler, as mentioned earlier.
Cost per frame
What does 3rd generation Ryzen offer in terms of value? If you look at the current prices, you pay a fair premium for these new CPUs compared to parts of the 2nd generation, but that's hardly surprising.
Compared to the Intel competition, which is only intended for games, the 3700X is in terms of value at the level of the 9700K and the 8700K. The 3900X is not quite as good and here the 9900K is actually a bit better in terms of value … right? While the 3900X comes with a box cooler, these are not Intel K parts. So let's increase the cost of a high quality, high-end air cooler.
When we interviewed a group of readers, most seemed to agree that they should be calm! Dark Rock 4 for $ 75 was a reasonable pairing for the 9900K / 9700K, so we added this to the budget for the Intel K-series processors. By considering the cooler, the 3900X is now cheaper than the 9900K and the 3700X is very similar to the Core i5-9600K.
The motherboard costs are about the same, so this comparison doesn't matter.
AMD's first and second generation Ryzen processors are really cheap these days. The new R7 3700X only costs 14% more per frame than the 2700X. Given the massive energy savings and improved single and threaded workload performance, we think it's worth the premium. It will be really interesting to see how the Ryzen 5 3600 beats the R5 2600 and 1600 – our full test will come in a few days.
For whom is that?
With over 50 graphics in this test, we feel we want to cover a lot more, but the essentials are certainly all here and now you have a good idea of how the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X compare to Intel Have CPUs of the current generation compared. We also have a number of good looking X570 motherboards and PCIe-gen 4 SSDs that we tested over the past week. However, we have to check this again later. If you're mainly concerned with getting the most out of these new Ryzen processors, neither is necessary, but they complement the high-end platform.
We largely believe that X570 boards – especially the premium models – should only be combined with the 3900X or the upcoming 3950X. For those who choose the 3700X or the cheaper Ryzen 5 3600, we recommend existing X470 or B450 boards. We've heard concerns about the pricing of the X570 board, but know that you can completely unleash Zen 2 processors on B450 and probably even B350 boards, which we'll be testing shortly.
PCIe-gen 4 SSDs are nice, but they're not worth the premium for gaming and general use. There is a good chance that you will not notice the difference to existing PCIe-gen 3 models. So keep that in mind. If you rightly need the extra bandwidth, you'd better wait for Threadripper as it offers a lot more PCIe lanes and is probably more useful in that regard.
We go back to our gaming benchmark results and suspect that these will spark the most debates. Annoyingly, AMD made us believe that the 3900X and 9900K are neck and neck, even trade hits, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The end result is good and 3rd generation Ryzen has generally taken a big step forward for AMD. In addition, under realistic gaming conditions there is little chance that you will be able to tell the difference between 9900K, 3900X or 3700X, as the difference was remarkably small at 1440p with an RTX 2080 Ti.
The 3900X was an average of 8% slower than the 9900K at 1080p, so AMD halved the deficit compared to Intel when gaming. As we found at Ryzen, the 3900X buries the 9900K for almost everything else, while the 3700X delivers comparable performance. The new Ryzen processors are extremely efficient in terms of power consumption.
If you're only concerned with gaming performance, we recommend the 3700X and probably the 6-core 3600 model, which we'll review shortly. However, if you're looking for the absolute fastest gaming CPU, this is still either 9700K or 9900K from Intel, even if the price-performance ratio is not particularly good and there is no upgrade path.
For those of you who also use your PC for work, content creation, or essentially any productivity task that requires a fast CPU, these new Ryzen CPUs are a league of their own in these scenarios, making the 9900K one makes. Trick pony. Overall, the new Ryzen 3000 series delivers and the improvements in energy efficiency are astounding. The prices are competitive and if this doesn't force Intel to adjust them, nothing will.
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Now live: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 review: Best all-round CPU