When reviewing 3rd generation Ryzen, we deliberately used the box coolers provided for most of the tests. We found that this would probably not satisfy everyone, but considering that it's included and we've had decent results with previous generations, this made the most sense when we started.
After these tests, today we will compare the performance of the Ryzen 9 3900X with the Wraith Prism RGB standard cooler with a large 360 mm all-in-one liquid cooler from DeepCool, the new Castle 360EX.
Our tests on the first day showed that the Ryzen 9 3900X and the Ryzen 7 3700X did better with improved cooling, but we only spoke of a slight increase in frequency. In addition, the slight increase in clock speed had little or no impact on performance.
You could argue that we made AMD solid by testing their CPUs with the box cooler, as this could affect things in their favor when analyzing value. But that was not the intention at all, we wanted to use what they had to offer (again it is included). At the same time, we didn't want to destroy Intel's price-performance ratio either, so we didn't consider the cost of a more sophisticated Corsair all-in-one liquid cooler for more than $ 160. Rather, we have planned a solid air cooler for $ 75 that we would recommend to anyone looking for hardware for enthusiasts. We also knew that the Core i9-9900K would deliver the same performance immediately if it was quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4.
After the baseline performance has been determined, we plan to conduct an in-depth benchmark session later this week that will compare the 3900X and 9900K games in over 30 games, both in stock and overclocked. For the standard tests, the 3900X keeps the box cooler, but for the overclocked results, it is upgraded to the same liquid cooler that the Intel processor uses.
But before we do that, we thought it was a good idea to show what difference improved cooling made in game and application performance. Today's tests were performed on the Ryzen 9 3900X on the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme using the DDR4-3200 CL14 memory and an MSI RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio.
First, let's look at the average all-core clock speed when you run the Blender Open Data benchmark. This is a heavy workload, so clock speeds are lower than when playing. Again, these are not the top clock rates observed when this benchmark is run, but the average values.
As you can see, the 3900X ran with the Wraith Prism box cooler at 4 GHz in this test. The Castle 360EX was allowed to increase the CPU to 4.1 GHz, which corresponds to an increase of 2.5%.
This margin does not change when PBO + AutoOC is activated. The liquid cooler nevertheless enables an increase in the clock rate by 2.5% and in this stress test is only 4.15 GHz on average. Even if we compare the stock result with the box cooler with the overclocked result with the liquid cooler, we only see a frequency increase of 4% in this test.
Now when we look at the total render time in Blender, we see that the liquid cooler has improved stock performance by a single percent, and we see the same thing when we look at the overclocked results.
We also see performance differences of 1% at Corona. The updated cooler basically improves one second after completion. So what about the gaming performance that isn't nearly as CPU demanding, at least for a 12-core processor right now?
Well, we see practically no change in performance in Apex Legends. The tiny delta is within the margin of error, although it seemed pretty clear that the slight increase in frequency typically gave better results.
The same applies to Rainbow Six Siege. Here we see no difference if PBO + AutoOC is activated. It's a bit of a shame that you can't get much more performance out of these 3rd generation Ryzen processors, but I think that will make AMD a little better for the next generation (… or not).
Vermintide 2 shows a performance improvement of up to 1.5% by upgrading the cooler with margins of only half a percent. So you certainly couldn't invest any money in a better cooler for these lean FPS improvements.
However, there is still a reason for an upgrade and we will discuss it shortly …
Not surprisingly, we see the same results when testing with World of Tanks.
But how much cooler are we running with the DeepCool Castle 360EX? A little cooler, it turns out.
The 3900X dropped from 86 ° C with an audible 2935 rpm, while the Castle 360EX reduced the load temperature to only 68 degrees, with the three radiator fans rotating at around 1934 rpm. That is a temperature drop of 18 degrees.
When overclocking, the liquid cooler was also 19 degrees cooler while running a bit quieter. Even at a little more than 1900 rpm, the three 120 mm fans were anything but quiet. So let's turn it down.
By turning the fans to a little more than 1000 rpm, the Castle 360EX basically became quiet. This is by no means heard in your system. The good news is that temperatures have risen only slightly. The real advantage of the AIO here is the operating volume.
To run, the Ryzen 9 3900X does not require a large cooler that is strapped in for maximum performance, and certainly no liquid cooling is required. Even if you activate PBO, upgrading the cooler won't give you much more power. We're not saying that you shouldn't upgrade the cooler for lower temperatures and quieter operation, just that you won't get much extra power from it.
For gamers, the included Wraith prism is even less of a problem as it is very unlikely that all 12 cores will be loaded. We found that the fan speed was generally 2000 RPM while playing and was much quieter than the Blender stress test.
For those who missed it (look for cost per frame), the value of these high quality 3rd generation Ryzen parts doesn't look so good for gamers if you only compare the CPU price. The 3900X costs a lot more than the 9900K, while the 3700X corresponds to the 9700K. However, the Intel processors don't come with a cooler and require a pretty good one.
Adding $ 75 to the price of Intel CPUs for something like Dark Rock 4 changes the picture. In this scenario, the 3900X is a whisker cheaper than the 9900K, while the 3700X is much cheaper than the 9700K and is equivalent to the value of the 9600K.
If you value something, the included box cooler really helps. However, if you're looking for a hideous PC that can smash a rendering job faster than any other CPU under $ 500 and don't have the budget, it certainly won't hurt to put a more effective cooler on the 3900X. We leave the cooler choice to you.