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AMD Ryzen 7 3700X & Ryzen 9 3900X Workstation Performance

AMD Ryzen 9 Processor Packaging

Date: July 9, 2019
Author(s): Rob Williams

How do AMD’s latest CPUs fare in workstation workloads? This article is going to investigate that, pitting the 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X and 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X against a wide-range of tests. Those include audio and video encoding, lots of rendering, photogrammetry, science, and for good measure: gaming.



AMD Ryzen 7 3700X & Ryzen 9 3900X Workstation Performance

If you’re interested in Linux performance, you may want to take a look at our experiences with Zen 2 here.

Leading up to this point, the wait for Zen 2 seemed long, but in reality, we’ve been treated to quite a bit of CPU goodness over the past couple of years. Just over two years ago, AMD released its first Ryzen iteration, following it up with the second-gen in the spring. Alongside the desktop chips have been Threadripper and EPYC releases, as well – two more series that will see new models later this year.

Ryzen debuted with a 14nm design in 2017, and a year later, we saw the 12nm Ryzen second-gen. It’s pretty quick, then, that AMD has already made the move to 7nm, a spot that it’s going to occupy for some time. Going forward, the goal will be to optimize for the current node, and deliver future chips as 7nm+.

With its launch this week, AMD is bringing five SKUs to market, including the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X, a chip that directly competes with Intel’s Core i9-9900K at the $499 price-point. AMD is taking care of those who don’t want to shell out so much with four other models ranging between $199~$399. In a few months, a 16-core R9 3950X will be released at $749.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X In Motherboard 2

We’ve covered Zen 2 quite a bit this year so far, having learned lots about it during Computex and E3. The key takeaways are that these new chips enjoy a process shrink to 7nm, which comes in addition to a major architecture reworking. We’ve entered the chiplet generation for AMD, which sees a dedicated I/O chip sit in between the CCX core modules on the same package. It’s a design that could help rid out some annoying threading issues seen with AMD’s high-end Threadrippers.

Here’s the full current lineup to help put available options into better perspective:

AMD’s Current-gen Ryzen Processor Lineup
CoresClock (Turbo)L2+L3MemoryTDPPrice
Threadripper WX-series
2990WX32 (64T)3.0 GHz (4.2)16+64MBQuad250W$1799
2970WX24 (48T)3.0 GHz (4.2)12+64MBQuad250W$1299
Threadripper X-series
2950X16 (32T)3.5 GHz (4.4)8+32MBQuad180W$899
2920X12 (24T)3.5 GHz (4.3)6+32MBQuad180W$649
Ryzen 9
R9 3950X16 (32T)3.5 GHz (4.7)72MBDual105W$749
R9 3900X12 (24T)3.8 GHz (4.6)70MBDual105W$499
Ryzen 7
R7 3800X8 (16T)3.9 GHz (4.5)36MBDual95W$399
R7 3700X8 (16T)3.6 GHz (4.4)36MBDual65W$329
R7 2700X8 (16T)3.7 GHz (4.3)4+16MBDual105W$329
R7 27008 (16T)3.2 GHz (4.1)4+16MBDual65W$299
Ryzen 5
R5 3600X6 (12T)3.8 GHz (4.4)35MBDual95W$249
R5 36006 (12T)3.6 GHz (4.2)35MBDual65W$199
R5 2600X6 (12T)3.6 GHz (4.2)3+16MBDual95W$219
R5 26006 (12T)3.4 GHz (3.9)3+16MBDual65W$189
Ryzen w/ Radeon Vega Graphics
R5 3400G4 (8T)3.7 GHz (4.2)0.5+4MBDual65W$149
R3 3200G4 (4T)3.6 GHz (4.0)0.5+4MBDual65W$99

Since we’ve been drowning in testing and generating content recently, we’re going to speed through this intro a bit in order to tackle the fifty performance charts we have to talk about. But, there are some important things to note before we proceed into those.

First and foremost, AMD is delivering a new chipset with Zen 2, with both it and the CPUs delivering PCIe 4.0 bandwidth. For those who want to take advantage of the fastest storage on the planet, it’s coming, and it’s going to use PCIe 4.0. We have a 2TB Aorus NVMe in the lab that is spec’d at 5GB/s read, and plan to test it out in the near-future, once we settle on a good testing methodology.

AMD's Ryzen 3000 Series CPU Package

For one reason or another, the X570 chipset uses a lot of power, as evidenced by the fact that most motherboards using it are equipped with fans to keep temperatures under control. This design annoys us a bit, because an extra fan means that there is potential for something to go wrong down-the-road.

Because the chipset draws so much power, we’d recommend sticking to X470 if you’re not interested in PCIe 4.0 or certain CPU features. This is the first review in a while where we actually decided to not do power testing, since we’ve been skeptical of our ability to delivery truly accurate results (it’s hard when you just eye a Kill-A-Watt, and the GPU power APIs don’t always agree with real use.) Our friend Joel Hruska from ExtremeTech explored this X570 power use a lot more.

Because we recommended X470, Zen 2 of course supports backwards compatibility. AMD really had to jump through some hoops to continue that path, but it’s a choice that will be hugely appreciated by many – especially those who don’t need to take advantage of the beefier X570 option. The first CPU we installed into our X570 board was the last-gen 2700X, and after flashing the EFI with the FlashBack feature on the Aorus’ board, we were up and running very quickly.

And with all that, we’re overdue on delivering our results as is, so let’s quickly tackle methodologies and test systems, or get right into the results!

Test Methodology & Systems

Benchmarking a CPU may sound like a simple enough task, but in order to deliver accurate, repeatable results, and not to mention results that don’t favor one vendor over another, strict guidelines need to be adhered to. That in turn makes for rigorous, time-consuming testing, but we feel that the effort is worth it.

This page exists so that we can be open about how we test, and give those who care about testing procedures an opportunity to review our methodology before flaming us in the comments. Here, you can see a breakdown of all of our test machines, specifics about the tests themselves, and other general information that might be useful.

Let’s start with a look at the test platforms, for AMD’s TR4 (MSI’s MEG X399 Creation) and AM4 (Aorus X570 MASTER), along with Intel’s LGA2011-v3 (ASUS’ ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING), and LGA1151 (ASUS’ ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING).

On Intel’s platforms with ASUS motherboards, we disabled the “MultiCore Enhancement” feature, which effectively overclocks the processor. On AMD’s platforms, the same kind of feature doesn’t exist on our chosen motherboards. The Aorus X570 MASTER has a “Core Performance Boost” option in its EFI, but performance drops well below expected levels when it’s turned off, so we believe it to represent AMD’s own Precision Boost, and thus left it enabled.

On the mitigation front, nothing is explicitly done outside of having the most up-to-date EFI and chipset driver installed on every motherboard. Systems are effectively default, and whichever security mitigations are applied will be automatic ones applied by the motherboard firmware or driver vendor.

All platforms were run with DDR4-3200 speeds, and 14-14-14 timings. Since Zen 2 can support high-end memory, we will explore that testing down-the-road and see what changes.

Here’s the full breakdown of the test rigs:

Techgage’s CPU Testing Platforms

AMD TR4 Test Platform
ProcessorAMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (3.0GHz, 32C/64T)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (3.5 GHz, 16C/32T)
MotherboardMSI MEG X399 Creation
CPUs tested with BIOS 7B92v13 (April 11, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid (1300W)
ChassisCooler Master MasterCase H500P Mesh
CoolingEnermax LIQTECH TR4 240mm
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

AMD AM4 Test Platform
ProcessorsAMD Ryzen 9 3900X (3.8GHz, 12C/24T)
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (3.6GHz, 8C/16T)
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (3.7GHz, 8C/16T)
MotherboardAorus X570 MASTER
CPU tested with BIOS F5c (June 27, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyEVGA Bronze 600B1 (600W)
ChassisFractal Design Define C
CoolingNoctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 (1x120mm)
Et cetera Windows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Intel LGA2011-3 Test Platform
ProcessorsIntel Core i9-9980XE (3.0GHz, 18C/36T)
Intel Core i9-7900X (3.3GHz, 10C/20T)
MotherboardASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING
CPU tested with BIOS 1704 (February 21, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCorsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 (1200W)
ChassisCorsair Carbide 600C
CoolingNZXT Kraken X62 AIO (280mm)
Et cetera Windows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Intel LGA1151 Test Platform
ProcessorsIntel Core i9-9900K (3.60GHz, 8C/16T)
MotherboardASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING
CPU tested with BIOS 1005 (April 28, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCorsair RM650X (1200W)
ChassisNZXT S340 Elite Mid-tower
CoolingCorsair Hydro H100i V2 AIO Liquid Cooler (240mm)
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Testing Considerations

For our testing, we use Windows 10 build 18362 (1903) with full updates as the base. Basic guidelines:


Encoding Tests

Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Encoding: Adobe Premiere Pro
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Photogrammetry: Agisoft Metashape
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Music Encoding: LameXP
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Encoding: MAGIX Vegas Pro
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Adobe Premiere Pro
Agisoft Metashape
HandBrake
LameXP
MAGIX Vegas

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


Rendering Tests

Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Adobe Dimension
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Autodesk Arnold in Maya
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Blender
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Chaos Czech Corona Renderer in 3ds Max
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3 dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3
Rendering: Chaos Group V-Ray Next in 3ds Max
dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: MAXON Cinebench
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: MAXON Cinema 4D
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: POV-Ray
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Rendering: V-Ray Next Benchmark
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Adobe Dimension
Arnold (Maya 2019) (Also relevant to: 3ds Max, C4D, Houdini, Katana, Softimage)
Blender
Cinebench
Cinema 4D
Corona (3ds Max 2019) (Also relevant to: C4D)
KeyShot
POV-Ray
V-Ray Next (3ds Max 2019) (Also relevant to: C4D, Houdini, Maya, Rhino, SketchUp)
V-Ray Benchmark
SiSoftware Sandra 2019

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


Gaming Tests

Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Far Cry 5
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
UL 3DMark

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


If you think there’s some information lacking on this page, or you simply want clarification on anything in particular, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Encoding: Premiere Pro, Vegas, HandBrake, Agisoft Metashape & LameXP

We’re going to kick off this performance look with a handful of encode tests. Encoding is one of those scenarios that can be extremely hit-or-miss when it comes to taking good advantage of big CPUs. Sometimes, applications will give the impression that they’re making proper use of the CPU, but we’ve found more than once that some applications actually just use the entire CPU very poorly.

Fortunately, the situation is getting a lot better over time. As an example, for most of its life, Adobe’s Lightroom didn’t use more than a few cores and threads. Today, the application can use most of whatever CPU you can hand it, although we’re not sure it uses it entirely effectively. We’re actually planning on looking into that very soon.

The performance look on this page is going to tackle Adobe’s ever-popular Premiere Pro, MAGIX’s Vegas Pro, and HandBrake. That trio takes care of video encoding, while Agisoft’s Metashape will help with a photogrammetry scenario. Finally, we’ll wrap up with audio encoding, and before we catch FLAC for dilly-dallying, let’s get into the first results:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Adobe Premiere Pro 2019
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 Performance (8K RED AVC CPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 Performance (8K RED AVC CUDA GPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

It’s safe to assume that Intel is going to be a stronger contender in scenarios like video encoding, based simply on the fact that our nearly fifteen years of benchmarking experience has hinted to it. With Zen 2, though, it seems like AMD is putting up one hell of a fight in this transcode test. Despite Intel’s typical strengths here, AMD’s 12-core 3990X sits only behind Intel’s 18-core 9980XE.

There are some other interesting results to pluck out of this collection. At the $500 price-point, AMD clearly wins. Seriously, that performance delta is huge. That 12-core almost keeps up with last-gen’s 16-core. And how about the 3700X? It also manages to beat out the 9900K. The core counts are the same between these models, but that can’t be said for the price-points.

We’ve seen countless times in the past that real projects behave differently than straight encodes from one format to another, so let’s see what a real-world project does:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 Performance (YouTube Project AVC CPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 Performance (YouTube Project AVC CUDA GPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

AMD’s 3900X continues to perform extremely well here, again almost matching the 2950X in the CPU-only test. When the GPU is brought into the fight, things change-up a bit. Somehow, the 2950X actually outperforms the rest of the lot here, which could be an anomaly in testing. Premiere Pro isn’t exactly the most stable performance-testing platform, so we never know what to expect. We do remember that last-gen, AMD struggled with Premiere, but now, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.

MAGIX Vegas

MAGIX Vegas Pro 16
MAGIX Vegas Pro Performance (Median FX AVC CPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
MAGIX Vegas Pro Performance (Median FX AVC NVIDIA NVENC Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

It might have a lot more cores, but the mighty 2990WX can’t trounce Intel’s 18-core 9980XE in Vegas, whether or not the GPU is involved. In the match-up of 9900K vs. 3900X though, AMD continues to impress, again winning the contest in both tests, and by a huge margin.

The 3900X is an impressive chip to the point where it’s easy to ignore the 2700X successor, but the 3700X continues to perform great here, leaping well ahead of its predecessor. That’s even with similar clocks, so it’s not been hard so far to find some notable Zen 2 improvements.

HandBrake

HandBrake Performance (x264 CPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
HandBrake Performance (x265 CPU Encode, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

The 3900X yet again struts its stuff very well in HandBrake, even managing to beat out some much larger Threadrippers. With the 2990X, that’s due to some obvious threading issues, but beyond that, the 16-core 2950X once again fell short of this new 12-core’s performance.

When you compare the 3700X to the 2700X, it’s clear that AMD flicked one hell of a switch. These 8-core chips are similar overall, except for the fact that the newer gen has cranked up its cache (ridiculously marketed as Gamecache), and that sure can’t hurt. The differences are downright amazing generation-to-generation.

Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape

Metashape, the artist formally known as PhotoScan, is a popular photogrammetry tool that makes life for its users a lot easier when there’s some powerful hardware waiting to be exploited. This is one of the more complex tests we run, because not all of its actions apply to one process or another.

The entire test consists of four steps, with the first being Align Photos. The GPU is used in this step for the Match Photos portion, while the CPU handles Align Cameras. This process shows no real scaling, so it’s ignored in the results. The next step is Build Dense Cloud, which uses the CPU and GPU heterogeneously for its Depth Maps Generation Time step, and only the CPU for Dense Cloud Generation Time. The final steps are Build Mesh and Build Texture, both of which use the CPU exclusively.

Agisoft Metashape Performance (Build Dense Cloud, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Agisoft Metashape Performance (Build Mesh, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Agisoft Metashape Performance (Build Texture, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

With both the CPU and GPU used in the Build Dense Cloud step, it seems like there’s some bottleneck that prevents great scaling being seen up and down the stack. Interestingly, AMD’s R9 3900X did manage top billing in that particular test, though the real pain begins with mesh building. In that chart, both of AMD’s new chips included here pop up at the top, just behind Intel’s 9900K. We have a sneaking suspicion that clock speed matters more than cores at a certain point with this test.

Finally, the Build Texture result puts Intel’s 18-core on the top, with the R9 3900X trailing behind. It’s interesting that the newer Ryzens are proving so much better than the previous generation, but mostly Threadripper, which has more cores. Even the 2950X has issues in the mesh test, but manages to perform just fine in the texture building test. Truly unpredictable behavior, but it’s nice to see none of that with the new chips.

LameXP

LameXP
LameXP Music Conversion Performance (FLAC to MP3, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

Music encoding is about as neutral as a test can get. What matters more is cores, and to some extent, clock speeds. Intel has a great combination of both with the i9-9980XE and takes the top spot here, with the 32-core AMD not falling too far behind.

As for the new chips, the 3700X again shows some great strengths over the last-gen 2700X, but it didn’t have what it took to overtake the 9900K in this particular test. From a price standpoint, things change a lot, with the $500 3900X cutting nearly 100 seconds off of a 300 second process. Not bad!

Rendering: Arnold, Blender, KeyShot, V-Ray Next

There are few things we find quite as satisfying as rendering: seeing a bunch of assets thrown into a viewport that turn into a beautiful scene. Rendering also happens to be one of the best possible examples of what can take advantage of as much PC hardware as you can throw at it. This is true both for CPUs and GPUs.

On this page and next, we’re tackling many different renderers, because not all renderers behave the same way. That will be proven in a few cases. If you don’t see a renderer that applies to you, it could to some degree in the future, should you decide to make a move to a different design suite or renderer. An example: V-Ray supports more than just 3ds Max; it also supports Cinema 4D, Maya, Rhino, SketchUp, and Houdini.

Autodesk Arnold

Autodesk Arnold in Maya 2019
Autodesk Arnold Renderer Performance (Jaguar E-Type Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Autodesk Arnold Renderer Performance (Sophie Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

In the classic 3700X vs. 2700X battle, AMD’s newest chip shows some strong advantages once again. Usually, we simply don’t see such a major gain from one generation to the next. The 3900X does well to show its own strengths, soaring ahead of the 10-core last-gen i9-7900X, and coming quite close to the 16-core Threadripper 2950X in the car render test.

Blender

Blender 2.8
Blender Cycles Performance (BMW Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Blender Cycles Performance (BMW CPU and GPU Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

When using only the CPU for rendering, we see pretty expected scaling, with the 2990WX leading the pack, and the 9980XE not placing too far behind that. The 3700X again makes a nice jump over the 2700X, and in this case, AMD’s newest 12 cores are actually matching the last-gen 16 cores. The higher clock speeds on the 3900X are sure to be helping here.

With the GPU brought into the mix, in our case a TITAN Xp, the chart becomes far less interesting, because the GPU clearly makes more of a difference in performance than the CPU. That said, this is a very high-end GPU, and with Blender 2.8’s launch just ahead of us, we plan to expand our testing at a later date to include multiple GPUs on a single CPU, and vice versa.

Blender Cycles Performance (Classroom Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Blender Cycles Performance (Classroom CPU and GPU Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

We’re seeing more of the same with the Classroom scene. The 12-core CPU again beats out the 2950X, which does little more than make us really want to see what the third-gen Threadrippers will be able to do. That’s especially the case when you look at what 32 cores can do at the top, and rumor has it that AMD might drop a 64-core option this year. Craziness. The good kind.

With Blender 2.8’s release coming soon, we’ll be retesting in the weeks ahead to provide a follow-up to our Blender performance look posted a few months ago.

KeyShot

Luxion KeyShot
Luxion KeyShot Performance (Porsche 918 Spyder Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Luxion KeyShot Performance (Kitchen Interior Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

When AMD released its 32-core 2990WX and 2970WX last summer, it had randomly awful performance issues in KeyShot 7. When version 8 of the software came along, those seemed to be effectively killed off, as we’ve been unable to witness poor performance out of that chip any longer, regardless of what scene we’re throwing at it. It’s nice that Luxion took it upon itself to fix the issue, since we’ve only just received a chipset driver update that starts to improve regression issues on those chips from AMD itself. And we might still have to wait for the next version of Windows before that situation really corrects itself.

But let’s get back on track here. The new AMD chips are really kicking ass and taking names, with the 3700X again matching the 2950X, and the 3700X gaining a notable advantage over the 2700X. It also manages to edge out the 9900K again, despite it being a faster-clocked 8-core chip.

Chaos Group V-Ray Next

Chaos Group V-Ray in Autodesk 3ds Max 2019
Chaos Group V-Ray CPU Performance (Flowers Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Chaos Group V-Ray Performance (Flowers CPU and GPU Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Chaos Group V-Ray CPU Performance (Teaset Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Chaos Group V-Ray Performance (Teaset CPU and GPU Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

As with our Blender tests, we ran heterogeneous renders with V-Ray, and it delivered similar results. With CPU-only rendering, the scaling is great, and where we’d expect it to be. This is another result where the 3900X simply flies past the 9900K, unless we bring the GPU into the mix. If we do that, then most of the processors fare just the same. Interestingly, it’s only Intel’s top two chips that showed any gain here.

What’s this all mean? In this particular case, it probably means we’re using too high-end of a GPU for our hetereogeneous tests. There’s such thing as a “perfect” blend, where the CPU and GPU will contribute a fair share of the workload and speeds things up nice. The GPU is clearly doing a lot of the heavy lifting here.

We really wish those results were more interesting, but are leaving them here because we want to show that there is a point when you might need a GPU more than a CPU, and at least with Blender and V-Ray, that seems to be the case. But you never want to skimp on your CPU. Even the lowest-end CPU in this particular lineup is 8 cores.

Since the last time we checked out V-Ray performance, Chaos Group released the “Next” version of the software, reflecting performance from its most up-to-date plugin version:

Chaos Group V-Ray Benchmark CPU Performance (AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Chaos Group V-Ray Benchmark CPU and GPU Performance (AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

With CPU-only rendering, we make a return to our expected scaling. At the top, Intel manages to shine even though it has less cores to work with (vs. 2990WX). The 9900K manages to beat out the 3700X, albeit slightly, while the equally priced 3900X sits much higher on the chart.

The GPU test is heterogeneous, including both the CPU and GPU, otherwise it would be rather pointless for this article. Interestingly, we see similar bottlenecks as we did in our real-world testing, though nowhere near to the same degree. The scaling becomes non-impressive at a certain point, but there’s still clearly an advantage to many-core CPUs. This is one test where the 2990WX managed to keep a good lead at the top.

Yet again, the GPU test sees the 3900X perform the same as the 2950X, and significantly above the 9900K. AMD is not messing around with these latest chips, to say the least. This is a bloody battlefield.

Rendering: Adobe Dimension, Cinebench, Cinema 4D, Corona, 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. Adobe’s Dimension is the newest renderer to our testing fleet, which yet again joins Corona Renderer, which joined the fun about a year ago.

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. For good measure, the performance on this page will be capped off the real Cinema 4D, to see how it agrees with CB.

Adobe Dimension

Adobe Dimension
Adobe Dimension Performance (Gelato Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Adobe Dimension Performance (Ryzen Cups Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

As some point in the near-future, Dimension is going to gain GPU support, explicitly targeting NVIDIA’s RTX technologies. We look forward to testing that out, but for now, we only have CPU-only performance to pore over, and thankfully, we’re seeing largely expected scaling. The 3900X does manage to keep super-close to the 9980XE, though, more than we would have guessed before diving into this performance look.

And yet again, we see the 8-core 3700X leaping ahead of the 2700X. It’s not enough to make anyone owning a 2700X to feel truly compelled for an upgrade, but it’s a nice treat for those who’ve waited this long to pull the trigger on a ~$329 CPU. Admittedly, it might be owners of the 2950X who are suddenly going to be scratching their heads, because the 3900X beats it once again here.

Cinema 4D & Cinebench

MAXON Cinema 4D R20
Maxon Cinema 4D R20 Performance (Candies Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Maxon Cinema 4D R20 Performance (Interior Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

The Candies project is simpler than Interior, and it kind of shows when we’re seeing the scaling get changing up a bit from each one. The Candies project saw both of AMD’s and Intel’s current top dogs match each other, whereas the 3900X sat in the third slot, again ahead of the last-gen 16-core 2950X. And, in continuing a new tradition, the 3700X is proving itself to be a lot more than a clock boost.

Scaling matches our expectations a bit better with the interior project, and that even includes with the 16-core 2950X, which manages to win its continued bout with the 3900X. So, what about the Cinebench benchmark?

Maxon Cinebench R20 Performance (Multi-threaded Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Maxon Cinebench R20 Performance (Single-threaded Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

We’ve seen the 3900X match the 2950X a number of times in the review so far, and now Cinebench agrees with us. We’re looking at a 12-core that’s as fast as last-gen’s 16-core in some cases. That’s downright impressive when we’re usually only seeing 5-10% gains gen-over-gen.

On the single-thread side of things, AMD’s 3900X soars to the top, beating out even the 5GHz Intel Core i9-9900K. That seems a bit unrealistic given all we’ve known of Intel, but it could be that recent security mitigations are not helping here.

Corona Renderer

Chaos Czech Corona Renderer in Autodesk 3ds Max 2019
Chaos Czech Corona Renderer Performance (Livingroom Render, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

The performance of the 3900X yet again keeps up to the 2950X, which we’re still trying to wrap our heads around. We could understand it if the 12-core came close, but not expect it to actually exceed it. This really bodes good things for next-gen Threadripper, which is expected to reduce hiccups caused by Zen 1’s design, but most notably on its many-core Threadrippers.

POV-Ray

POV-Ray Performance (Multi-threaded Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
POV-Ray Performance (Single-threaded Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

AMD’s 8-core 3700X saw a 17% multi-thread improvement over the 2700X in Cinebench, but that’s a gain reduced to about 10% in POV-Ray. Another interesting change is with the single-threaded performance here. While AMD won the battle in Cinebench, the scaling returns back to where we’d expect it in POV-Ray. Let’s be real: it’s hard to compete with a 5GHz Turbo clock.

System: SiSoftware Sandra 2019

While this article has no lack of synthetic benchmarks, SiSoftware’s Sandra makes it very easy to get reliable performance information on key metrics, such as arithmetic, multimedia, cryptography, and memory. Sandra is designed in such a way that it takes the best advantage of any architecture it’s given, so each CPU always has its best chance to shine.

That means a couple of things. This is definitely the “best” possible performance outlook for any chip, and doesn’t necessary correlate with real-world performance in other tests. It’s best used as a gauge of what’s possible, and to see where one architecture obviously differs from another.

SiSoftware Sandra 2019

Multimedia

SiSoftware Sandra Performance (Multimedia, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

Do you happen to think that Intel has an advantage in multimedia? The 9980XE completely dominates this chart, leaping far ahead of the 2990WX. We’re seeing another case where the 12-core 2950X has danced ahead of the 2950X, with even the 3700X not falling too far behind.

That leads to another interesting comparison. While Intel easily leads the performance here at the top, its 8-core 9900K still somehow falls short of beating the 8-core 3700X.

Arithmetic

SiSoftware Sandra Performance (Arithmetic, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

Math is hard, but bigger CPUs can sure help get complex work done quicker. AMD’s 2990WX performs exceptionally well here, giving us one of the most notable gains over Intel’s 9980XE. Meanwhile, this is one test where the 3900X didn’t completely skirt the performance of the bigger 2950X. As for 3700X, we again see nice gains over the previous generation – honestly better than expected. It again beat out the 9900K, which isn’t what we’d expect.

Cryptography

SiSoftware Sandra Performance (High Security Cryptography, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
SiSoftware Sandra Performance (Higher Security Cryptography, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

Sometimes, it’d be easy to take a scenario, run a single test, and call it a day. But when you change variables a little bit, it’s surprising exactly what can shake up. Take the 2990WX on top of the standard cryptography test, for example, a gain that plummets when SHA512 is introduced. Intel has its AVX-512 extensions to thank for its lead here. It’s not too hard to surmise that the 9900K doesn’t have that based on its positioning here.

AMD shows its own strengths with its new chips, giving us a result that sees the 3900X ahead of the 2950X. Architecture optimization can sure be a great thing!

Memory Bandwidth

SiSoftware Sandra Performance (Memory Bandwidth, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

As touched on in our look at Linux performance, memory-hungry users are going to want to eye a 4-channel system, because achieving huge bandwidth is quite easy with it. Naturally, the 2950X doesn’t look quite as attractive now that the 3900X exists, so yet again, we really can’t wait to see what a third-gen Threadripper could be like.

Gaming: CS: GO, Far Cry 5 & R6 Siege At 1080p/4K, 3DMark

In recent years, we haven’t had a huge gaming focus in our CPU reviews, simply because we’ve had so much other testing to take care of, some of which isn’t tackled many other places (if anywhere else on a regular basis). But, with such a massive focus on gaming with this launch, we had to renew our focus, and thus, we have three games and a couple of synthetic benchmarks on-hand to help.

For our testing with real games, we’re sticking to testing with 1080p and 4K resolutions. If we’re going to benchmark games, it makes sense to us to run them at realistic resolutions, because a gain seen at 720p or lower quite literally doesn’t matter if there’s no differences seen at higher resolutions people actually play at.

Nonetheless, we’re up for suggestions on how to expand our gaming testing for CPU reviews. We already have a robust collection for our actual gaming GPU reviews, but when testing for CPUs, it can be hard to find good scaling. For this reason, we chose to start with two eSports titles here, as well as a high-end game, Far Cry 5. Synthetics will be shown after the real game results.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Counter-Strike Global Offensive (1080p Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
Counter-Strike Global Offensive (4K Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

The results for both resolutions are interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, Intel clearly has an advantage in this game, delivering 18 FPS more at 1080p, and 7 FPS at 4K, over the 3900X. But… the fact that the 3900X is only behind the 9900K speaks good things about its gaming capabilities so far. Oh – and the 3700X is only behind that. Not bad so far for Zen 2 gaming.

What’s notable for all the wrong reasons is that out-of-the-box, the Threadripper CPUs have an obvious performance detriment in gaming, but as they’ve been targeted at creators more than gamers, that’s fair enough. Now, there is a Game Mode for those chips, which we did not test with for the sake of time, but it will definitely be testing we’ll revisit down-the-road.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 (1080p Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X))
Far Cry 5 (4K Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X))

We’ve moved from a super-high FPS title to one that’s designed to batter current-gen GPUs with the help of some cutting-edge graphics. Even here, the 9900K shines bright, giving us a huge lead at 1080p. At 4K, all of the CPUs largely perform similarly, aside from the 2990WX. Yet, the 9900K still managed to eke that additional 1 FPS over everything else.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (1080p Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X))
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (4K Average FPS, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X))

Intel can rest a bit easier knowing that the 9900K still rules the roost for gaming. It doesn’t matter the game we’ve thrown at it, it’s come ahead overall. What we haven’t tested thoroughly up to this point is minimums, which is because we want to refine our testing procedures to increase confidence in our numbers. When time allows, we’ll revisit some of this testing, especially in time for the 3950X to drop (this fall).

Synthetic Benchmarks

UL 3DMark Fire Strike DirectX 11 Performance (CPU Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
UL 3DMark Fire Strike DirectX 11 Performance (Overall Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

With this DirectX 11 test, the 3900X somehow manages to place at the top. We say “somehow“, because based on our knowledge of previous performance with these chips, this is not quite the scaling we’d expect. With the overall score, the 3900X falls a couple of spots, but not very far at all. And yes, the second and third GPUs in the overall chart did in fact score the same digits.

UL 3DMark Time Spy DirectX 12 Performance (CPU Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)
UL 3DMark Time Spy DirectX 12 Performance (Overall Score, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 7 3700X)

With DirectX 12, scaling becomes even more interesting, as the 2990WX now places at the top. And, we of course all know that the 2990WX is one hell of an amazing gaming CPU, right? (Hint: It’s not; just look at the performance from the real games above).

The ultimate takeaway is that the new Zen chips are not exactly holding back much in gaming. But, without question, Intel has the overall lead, which is going to be important for the most serious competitive gamers (or eSports players). At 4K, though, the rule of thumb is to just not go the Threadripper route, because real degradation can be seen there.

Final Thoughts

AMD seemed to promise the moon in the lead-up to the launch of Zen 2, and the company has really delivered. Where we are right now, after a mere two years of Ryzen being on the market, is truly incredible. Not only is more cores than the competition on offer, but the IPC boost is noticeable.

We have to admit that when Ryzen was first introduced, its launch was so rough that it really tainted our belief in what AMD might be able to deliver. Fortunately, things were very different (read: better) a month after launch, and by the time the second-gen Ryzens rolled around, the platform was no longer cursed with some notable caveats, namely that of poor memory compatibility.

We’ve known for a while that Zen 2 was going to be an important architecture for AMD. It comes at a great time, as Intel is battling security issues that have continued to eat away at its chips performance a bit. Intel is undoubtedly thankful it had such strong performance building up over the years to help compensate.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X In Motherboard 1

Our gaming tests were by no means exhaustive, but Intel’s Core i9-9900K emerged as the winner in quite a few tests. It somehow even jumped a good distance ahead of the next-step down in Far Cry 5, which we weren’t quite expecting. At 4K, the advantages on Intel become less pronounced, but as mentioned, our testing is lacking at this point, and we’re not sure if minimums would change any stories at all. Either way, it feels like Intel is definitely safe as the gaming champion, even if the biggest differences are locked to 1080p, and regular gamers are not going to be exactly benefit from 200 FPS gameplay.

Zen 2’s performance quite honestly impressed the hell out of us in many cases. We had certain expectations that were simply wrecked. In the simple battle of 8-core 2700X vs. 8-core 3700X, we didn’t really foresee big gains, but sure enough, there were plenty. In select cases, it really seemed like all of the extra cache helped out, notably in HandBrake.

When compared to a like-for-like CPU from Intel, the 9900K, the 3700X pushes ahead in many of the creative tests. Same cores on both, with Intel having a higher turbo, AMD still manages to push ahead, showing those big IPC improvements that were promised. In creator workloads, AMD has proven unbelievably aggressive. The results really do speak for themselves. In quite a few cases, AMD’s 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X at $329 beats out the $499 Intel Core i9-9900K. Where it happens regularly is with the equally priced Ryzen 9 3900X. Intel has some great strengths in some cases, leveraging its extra clock frequency and turbo options, but AMD is becoming a much better all-rounder.

As we see it, Intel is really going to have to respond to AMD. Its 5GHz all-core CPU announced at Computex likely isn’t enough. The company has the capability to match AMD on core counts, and so if it proceeds to emulate AMD’s bumps, we’d be seeing some very interesting battles.

It’s not wise to count Intel out in the near-term for ultimate performance, because the company does have certain things working for it. With the company still glued to 14nm right now, AMD is enjoying a sweet advantage by being on 7nm. When Intel’s 10nm chips arrive, that might eat away into AMD’s strengths a little bit. We’re not even going to think about 7nm on the Intel side, as 10nm desktop chips haven’t even arrived yet.

Overall, for gamers, Intel still has strong leads at super-high frame rates, but the company demands a premium for it – and those who care that much are an exclusive club. For creators, some multimedia scenarios belong to Intel, but AMD’s architecture enhancements and extra cores help it deliver a ton of value to the consumer at the lineup’s price-points.

AMD Ryzen 9 Processor Packaging

With that all said, we award both the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X an Editor’s Choice award.

But… at the moment, there are some launch niggles that AMD is working through, although none seemed to bite us except for an issue with current Linux distros, which AMD expects to be ironed out soon. During the review process, a few reviewer friends noted some issues with their testing, but it largely seemed to revolve around improper EFI versions. Normally, we’re susceptible to falling into such traps, but luckily chose wisely this time.

In all of our testing, Zen 2 in Windows gave us literally no issue at all. Even the 2700X installed in the X570 motherboard without a hassle. It was nice to not run into any real issues here, since we had enough of those to contend with in our recent graphics card testing.

If you are in the market for a new CPU, you undoubtedly want to check out AMD’s latest chips. Just be warned it might be a couple of weeks before the launch issues are eradicated (though we say this not having experienced any issues ourselves).

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X Processors - Techgage Editor's Choice
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X Processors

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