The Big Gun: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Workstation Performance Review

AMD Third-gen Ryzen Threadripper Packaging
by Rob Williams on February 7, 2020 in Processors

AMD’s newest Ryzen Threadripper processor is an absolute beast, and because of that, it’s not for everyone. If you’ve got an insatiable need for more cores than even the 24- or 32-core Threadrippers can offer, then the 64-core 3990X may be right up your alley. Let’s see how it fares across our usual range of workstation workloads.

Page 6 – Rendering: Cinebench, Corona, LuxMark, POV-Ray

We covered a handful of major renderers on the previous page, but we’re not done yet. On this page, we’re going to take a look at a few more, including some industry mainstays and newbies. That includes Corona Renderer, which we recently upgraded to version 5. We’re foregoing Adobe Dimension performance for this review, since we haven’t seen realistic scaling with the new version 3.0, and have not yet been able to investigate (typical Adobe new-release teething problems).

To give you an opportunity to test your own hardware against ours, we’re also including the ever-popular Cinebench standalone benchmark, which represents current R20 performance. This test, along with the latest version of POV-Ray, act as our only single-threaded angles in the article.

Cinebench R20

Cinebench R20
Maxon Cinebench R20 - Multi-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)
Maxon Cinebench R20 - Single-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)

Ever since the original Ryzen released, AMD has loved talking about Cinebench. At this past CES, company CEO Lisa Su comically spanned the 3990X’s Cinebench score across three screens, driving the point home that this is one monster of a CPU. At CES, the reported score was around 25,300, whereas we get 24,245. We’ve talked to other reviewers, and one received a score higher than AMD’s reported, so as covered in the intro, our performance seems to be degraded just a bit (despite a lot of troubleshooting to get it up to par with AMD’s reported scores).

We’d ordinarily include Cinema 4D here to compare against, but our license ran out in the middle of testing, so we’ll tackle that another time.

Corona Renderer

Corona 5 in 3ds Max
Chaos Czech Corona Renderer 5 Performance - Livingroom Scene (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)
Chaos Czech Corona Renderer 5 Performance - Sales Gallery Scene (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)

Whereas the advantages with the 3990X were a bit tepid with Chaos Group’s V-Ray, Corona fares a lot better, especially in our livingroom render. Not all projects are built alike, so scaling strengths will change from project to project, but overall, it’s safe to say the 3990X will be heavily utilized during a render. As these many-core CPUs surge the market, this should only get better over time. Unlike many of the renderers in our collection, Corona is one of the rare ones that remain CPU-only.


LuxMark v4
LuxMark Food (C++) Render Performance (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)
LuxMark Hall Bench (C++) Render Performance (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)

As is probably obvious from the get-go here, LuxMark is not taking full advantage of the 3990X. We monitored it and saw that it was using only half of the cores, which is a little interesting since LuxMark uses Intel Embree, which we found in our Linux testing can definitely go above 64 threads no problem. Yet again more proof of some software needing to catch up more than others.


POV-Ray 3.8 Multi-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)
POV-Ray 3.8 Single-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core Processor)

The version of POV-Ray you can go and download right now does not utilize more than 64 threads, something that is not even improved with the 3.8 beta. In order for us to see improved scaling, AMD had to recompile the software itself with the fix that allows more than 64 threads to be used. AMD said that its code was contributed to the project, so we hope to see the next release include the patch.

That all said, we can see why AMD decided to put the effort into this test, since it shows really well what a massive CPU like the 3990X can do – when utilized effectively.

Support our efforts! With ad revenue at an all-time low for written websites, we're relying more than ever on reader support to help us continue putting so much effort into this type of content. You can support us by becoming a Patron, or by using our Amazon shopping affiliate links listed through our articles. Thanks for your support!

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

twitter icon facebook icon instagram icon