A struggle that requires no further introduction. We put the new Ryzen 9 3900X in 36 games against the Core i9-9900K. There are many more results, and this article focuses solely on the performance of PC games. You can find more information on the functions of the latest Ryzen series in our first test reports on the 3900X, 3700X and the mainstream Ryzen 5 3600. We also performed an IPC clock-for-clock test in comparison to Intel CPUs and one Cooling comparison with the standard Wraith Prism cooler compared to a liquid cooler of the Ryzen 9.
Before we jump to the benchmarks, a few mandatory test notes: The 3900X was tested on the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme with the latest BIOS version and there are two test configurations. The first one we call the "warehouse" is the 3900X with the Wraith Spire RGB box cooler and nothing more than the XMP profile loaded into the BIOS with the DDR4-3200 CL14 memory. Then we have an overclocked configuration with DDR4-3600 CL16 memory, the all-in-one liquid cooler Corsair Hydro H115i with activated PBO + AutoOC.
There are also standard and overclocked configurations for the Core i9-9900K, although both are technically overclocked because we don't limit the Intel CPU to performance. This is better explained as ready for immediate use and then manually overclocked. The standard or standard configuration uses DDR4-3200 CL14 memory with the Corsair H115i on the Gigabyte Z390 Ultra. The memory was then updated to DDR4-3600 CL16 with an all-core clock of 5 GHz for the overclocked configuration.
All tests were performed at 1080p with an MSI RTX 2080 Ti graphics card to eliminate GPU bottlenecks. We'll look at margins for all 36 games toward the end of the review, but first we'll briefly discuss the results for about a dozen titles tested.
We tested the latest version of World War Z, which brings a number of fixes and performance improvements. Both standard and overclocked, the 9900K was ~ 2% faster than the 3900X, which is a negligible difference. Needless to say, the gaming experience was indistinguishable between the two CPUs and both enabled the RTX 2080 Ti to render at over 160 fps at any time.
Next up is Forza Horizon 4. Here the 3900X has a 4% lead over out-of-the-box performance. This margin was halved because both CPUs were overclocked. At this point, it's fair to say that the 9900K maximizes the performance of the RTX 2080 Ti. This is a GPU-bound game for the most part, but it's still worth testing because it's qualitative and popular. It is undoubtedly a beautiful and fun game.
StarCraft II has been in high demand for this comparison, and we have to admit that this is the first time that we have compared a worst-case scenario in this title. Previous benchmarks were based on 2v2 gameplay, but it seems that Ryzen is really struggling with the larger 4v4 games when all teams are at their maximum. What we have here is a worst-case scenario, and unfortunately the Core i9 for AMD is up to 19% faster when comparing the average frame rate.
With both overclocked CPUs, the 9900K was 12% faster, which is still a reasonable performance advantage. 1% low power was closer, but the gap was still there between the two.
Another title that Ryzen seems to be fighting on is Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Note that we are not using the built-in benchmark that we believe would support Ryzen's case. This is the performance in the game and here the 9900K was 17% faster, which is a big margin.
Where the 3900X surprised was in Monster Hunter World. Both processors delivered similar average frame rates, but the low 1% for the Ryzen processor was 13% higher. After overclocking, the 3900X was the clear winner, not only offering 1% lower performance, but also a slight improvement in average frame rate performance.
The Core i9-9900K returned to its winners in Apex Legends, although the 3900X was only ~ 7% slower here and lost an average of 10 fps compared to stock performance. The margin increased slightly after both CPUs were overclocked. Now the 3900X is 10% slower.
The second Battle Royale title we tested is Fortnite, and although the 3900X was fast enough, it stayed behind. Although we found a slight deficit of 5% in the average frame rate, the Ryzen processor was up to 13% slower at 1% lower performance. If you don't need more than 160 fps, the 3900X is fine. However, if you want maximum performance, you want the 9900K.
The results of Resident Evil 2 are interesting: the 3900X was 6% slower on average, but delivered 1% more power and outperformed the 9900K by 4%. When overclocking, the average frame rates were largely the same, while the Ryzen processor still delivered better minimum frame rate performance. Overall, the experience with both CPUs was similar.
Next up is Assassin's Creed Odyssey and this is another title where Intel is a little faster on average, but you will never notice that average frame rates dropped ~ 4% using the 3900X. This is especially true given the Ryzen processor's strong 1% performance.
At launch, we saw AMD claiming using their own benchmarks that the 3900X was faster than the 9900K in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and we have to admit that we didn't believe them. But lo and behold, the 3900X was a bit faster, the performance was basically the same overall, but we didn't expect the 3900X to leave average frame rates above the 9900K.
Although the 3900X in Battlefield V offers silky smooth frame rates, it was still well below the 9900K, lagging 8% in the average frame rate and 11% in the 1% low. We saw similar margins for the stock and overclocked results.
In the F1 2019, the 3900X was immediately 7% slower, but after overclocking, this latitude was reduced to 3% because both processors enabled a similar level of performance. This is one of the cases where it doesn't matter which CPU you use unless you need to keep the frame rate well above 144 fps.
Far Cry New Dawn isn't a great title for AMD CPUs, although it's not that bad either. Here the 3900X was immediately 9% slower and 10% as soon as both CPUs were overclocked. Performance was perfectly acceptable, but for maximum performance, the 9900K gives the best results.
The third and final Battle Royale game we tested is the PlayerUnknown battlefields. We don't use the playback function to measure performance, we fall on the same card in the same place and measure performance that way. The 9900K was faster overall, but the 3900X was only 4% slower on average, which isn't a bad result for AMD.
In World of Tanks, we see that the 3900X performs 8% slower when looking at the average frame rate. Both CPUs have nevertheless increased the frame rates to over 200 fps.
Put everything together
Overall, the Core i9-9900K is the faster gaming CPU as we expected, although the margins on many titles are close. Ryzen has other advantages, but before we discuss this, let's look at the performance split across all 36 games tested.
On average, the 3900X was 6% slower to play than the 9900K. For results where the margin was less than 5%, considering the error rate, you can consider it a tie and find that 1% lows are the same distance away. In terms of frame rates, 30 to 32 fps, for example at very low FPS (certainly not the case at 1080p with 2080 Ti) means an increase of 7%. At extremely high frame rates, the value increases by 5% from 200 to 210 fps, which is not a margin to be overly excited about.
There have been some titles where the 3900X has advanced by insignificant ledges, and some where it has also lost by insignificant ledges. Then there were games where the 3900X was 10% or more slower, a total of seven titles where Ryzen was up to 16% slower.
Now that both CPUs are overclocked, we see very little changes. Here the 3900X was only 5% slower on average, so there is no advantage in bringing the 9900K to 5 GHz.
In our first test, we found that the Ryzen 9 3900X was 8% slower in the 9 games we tested. Not much has changed with the addition of another 27 games, and surprisingly, it has worked to some extent in favor of AMD.
When it comes to value, these new results don't change much either. If you ignore the included box cooler, the 3900X per frame is slightly more expensive than the 9900K. However, if you want to use the Wraith Prism immediately, the 3900X is slightly cheaper than the Intel processor. Ultimately, the CPUs are worth around $ 500. Depending on what you use your PC for, one may be better than the other.
If you plan to use your PC for a variety of tasks and not only play games, but also do videos, 3D models, or anything that can benefit from a 12-core processor, the Ryzen 9 3900X becomes a significant one Better investment plays a role. For productivity tasks in general, Ryzen is significantly faster than the Core i9, as shown in our full review.
The only reason we would invest in the 9900K right now would be if we were playing games like StarCraft II full-time. There are some titles that play much better with the Intel CPU, in the case of StarCraft in complex 4v4 battles in the late game. Likewise, you would choose Intel if you needed the last possible frame, but otherwise the 3900X is a better choice.
It should be remembered that we see little difference at 1080p with an RTX 2080 Ti. This means that using an RTX 2080 more than halves the margins shown here, and we know it because we looked at it. The performance is then identical for an RTX 2070 or RX 5700. Alternatively, if you play at higher GPU-bound resolutions, you'll notice the same thing, a slight difference in gaming performance.
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X on Amazon, Google Express
- Intel Core i9-9900K at Amazon, Google Express
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X on Amazon, Google Express
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X on Amazon, Google Express
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon, Google Express
- Intel Core i5-9600K at Amazon, Google Express
- Intel Core i5-9400F at Amazon, Google Express
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X on Amazon, Google Express
- GeForce RTX 2070 Super on Amazon, Google Express
- GeForce RTX 2060 Super on Amazon, Google Express
- GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on Amazon, Google Express