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AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AM4 CPU Review

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Introduction

About two years ago, AMD launched its new ‘Zen’ architecture as the AMD Ryzen series desktop processors. In a single day, AMD jumped from being ‘the other guys’ to being back on the radar in a polarized cacophony of love and hate, depending on the brand preference. For nearly a decade, if you wanted top performance on the mainstream desktop, you went blue. If you wanted to avoid a second mortgage you went red. While there were a few teething issues, as is the case with any new architecture, by and large, Ryzen delivered a CPU any AMD fan could be proud of and that gave more than one Intel purchaser a bit of buyer’s remorse.  Fast forward through a refined second generation ‘Zen+’ to this month with the launch of AMD’s 3rd generation Ryzen and true 2nd generation Zen architecture and AMD has redefined the very definition of a “mainstream” desktop.

ProClockers would like to thank AMD for sending the Ryzen 9 3900X over for us to check out!

AMD’s Take on the Ryzen 9 3900X:

Features & Specifications

AMD Ryzen™ 9 3900X Specification

# of CPU Cores – 12

# of Threads – 24

Base Clock – 3.8GHz

Max Boost Clock – 4.6GHz

Total L1 Cache – 768KB

Total L2 Cache – 6MB

Total L3 Cache – 64MB

Unlocked – Yes

CMOS – TSMC 7nm FinFET

Package – AM4

PCI Express Version – PCIe 4.0 x16

Thermal Solution – Wraith Prism with RGB LED

Default TDP / TDP – 105W

Max Temps – 85°C

 

System Memory

Max System Memory Speed – 3200MHz

System Memory Type – DDR4

Memory Channels – 2

Key Features

AMD StoreMI Technology

AMD SenseMI Technology

AMD Ryzen™ Master Utility

 

Foundation
Product Family – AMD Ryzen™ Processors

Product Line – AMD Ryzen™ 9 Desktop Processors

Platform – Desktop

OPN PIB – 100-100000023

Launch Date – 07/7/2019

Codename – Matisse

Unboxing & A Closer Look

AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X comes in a box that looks very similar to previous generations, but with a thin gap between the top and bottom for accent.

The back of the box has a security seal and shows what is included in several languages.

The right side has the ‘Built to Perform. Designed to Win.” Slogan.

The left side shows the Wraith Prism Cooler.

Previous generations had a window on one side of the box to view the CPU, but this model comes with a window in the top.

With the top cover removed, we see lots of slogans around the inner sides.

The CPU is cradled in its normal clamshell case in a block of foam.

Under the oddly shaped foam is a box with the Wraith Prism cooler.

The CPU itself looks pretty normal. The model is clearly labeled on the heat spreader and that’s something we always appreciate over the competition that has to be held at the right angle in the right light to see.

The Pin Grid Array of AMD’s AM4 socket looks the same as previous generations.

Wraith Prism Cooler

The new AMD Wraith Prism Cooler

The AMD Wraith Prism represents AMD’s ultimate cooling solution for air-cooled processors. The Wraith Prism goes where no stock cooler has gone before with per-RGB LED control around the illuminated light ring and transparent fan blades for movement and rainbow color effect control. But the Wraith Prism isn’t just a pretty face; we’ve increased motherboard and RAM compatibility by minimizing the profile and added direct-contact heat pipes and fan overclocking control to increase thermal effectiveness, too. User-controlled RGB illumination relies on socket AM4 motherboards that support this feature, like the ASRock RGB LED, ASUS Aura sync, Biostar VIVID LED DJ, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light.

While the new PRISM cooler looks a lot like it’s Wraith MAX sibling, it has a few new tricks up its sleeve.

On one side you’ll find a small switch that controls the performance, low or high maximum fan speed.

On the same side, there are two plugs. The 4-pin is for attaching the included RGB cable to any compatible RGB port on your board. The 3-pin is for the included USB cord for stand-alone programming and control of the lighting.

The cables are folded up under the protective tray when you pull the cooler out of the box.

The cover protects the factory applied thermal compound. You can also see that all four heat-pipes make direct contact with the CPU for maximum performance.

System Configuration & Testing

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Ram: 16GB G.skill TridentZ RGB 3200Mhz C16

GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 FE

Mobo: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero AC

SSD: Corsair MP600 2000GB PCIe 4.0

Cooling: Wraith PRISM Stock cooler, Custom 360mm loop, EK Velocity CPU block, EKWB PE 360mm radiator, Monsoon MMRS res, and EKWB D5 Pump. Cooled by three Corsair ML120 Pro fans.

 

Performance Testing

General Performance Testing

All performance testing was done at default ‘out-of-the-box’ clock speed. Games were ran at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and higher settings enabled as noted.

PCMark 10

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PCMark 10 is the complete benchmark for the modern office. It is the ideal test for organizations that are evaluating PCs for a workforce with a range of performance needs. The tests in this benchmark cover a wide range of activities from everyday productivity tasks to demanding work with digital media content.

PCMark 10 uses a modular approach to build relevant benchmark tests around common end-user scenarios. A Test Group is a collection of workloads that share a common theme or purpose. There are four test groups in PCMark 10, we use three of them.

Essentials: covers the common, everyday ways that people use a PC. The workloads include Web Browsing, Video Conferencing, and App Start-up time.

Productivity: measures system performance with everyday office applications. This test group includes the Spreadsheets and Writing workloads.

Digital Content Creation: This test group’s workload reflects the demands of working with digital content and media. The tests include Photo Editing, Video Editing, and Rendering and Visualization.

AMD’s first Ryzen 9 CPU does extremely well in productivity tasks thanks to its 12 cores and increased clock speeds.

WebXPRT 2015

WebXPRT 2013 uses scenarios created to mirror the tasks you do every day to compare the performance of almost any Web-enabled device. It contains four HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads: Photo Effects, Face Detect, Stocks Dashboard, and Offline Notes.  WebXPRT is run with the latest stable release version of Google Chrome browser, in this case, Version 75.

The 3900X even fares well in the browser-based WebXPRT 2015 test with a score of 823 +/- 12.

CPU Performance Testing

Super PI Modded 1.5

“In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environments such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.”

Intel still holds the lead in out of the box single core speeds and that shows here, but the 3900X does well.

Y-Cruncher

Written by Alexander J. Lee “From a high-school project that went a little too far…” y-cruncher, (y for gamma) is a number-crunching program that can compute various mathematical constants.

It was originally a small program specialized for computing the Euler-Mascheroni Constant. (Which uses gamma as its symbol, hence the name). It has since gained the ability to compute other constants.

It is the first of its kind that is multi-threaded and scalable to multi-core systems. Ever since its launch in 2009, it has become a common benchmarking and stress-testing application for overclockers and hardware enthusiasts.

We tested using the built-in benchmarks to compute Pi to 1 Billion Digits in both single and multi-threaded mode and recorded the Total Computation time at the end of the run. Y-Cruncher is also able to take advantage of AVX512 instructions in compatible CPU’s. Due to the thermal load of running Intense AVX workloads, Intel has implemented and AVX offset clock that may scale the CPU’s clock speed back, even below stock speeds when running intense AVX loads. For this reason, we note the CPU’s clock speed in both single and multi-threaded test modes.

In AVX workloads, the new Ryzen 3000 series CPU’s are the fastest chips we’ve tested to date without AVX-512 support with the 3900X actually brute-forcing its way into the AVX-512 segment of the list.

SiSoft Sandra – Cryptographic Bandwidth

“SiSoftware Sandra provides a robust package of diagnostic tools for testing your system and teasing out its problems–or potential headaches.”

The extra 4 cores here give the 3900X a wide lead over all of the other AMD CPU’s and even starts gaining on Intel’s HEDT segment.

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and much more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

You can see from the 3700X results that the per-core performance has increased notably, but adding 50% more cores into the 3900X  puts it in a different category entirely with it nipping at the 3000 point mark.

CINEBENCH R20

Cinebench is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s hardware capabilities. Improvements to Cinebench Release 20 reflect the overall advancements to CPU and rendering technology in recent years, providing a more accurate measurement of Cinema 4D’s ability to take advantage of multiple CPU cores and modern processor features available to the average user. Best of all: It’s free.

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Single-core testing still favors team blue with its upper-end chips hitting the 5Ghz mark, but in multi-core testing, the 3900X only looses to its 16-core HEDT counterpart.

7-Zip

The benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So if you have modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reach 100, the score is taken

7zip really takes advantage of the new Zen2 architecture and a dozen cores at its disposal and give us a throughput that eclipses even HEDT parts by a wide margin.

Black Hole 4.2

Let the beast run and benchmark your system in three different tests (Multithreaded, Single-threaded & 4-Threaded) that will test your CPU to the very limit, and score you among hundreds of other systems that have tested.

Multithreaded will test your CPU’s efficiency of running more than one thread without major system lag. The higher you score on this one, the more threads your CPU can handle with a comfortable speed. High multithreaded scores generally mean you can render things faster.

4-Threaded tests your CPU’s performance in games since most games currently run on 4 threads.

Single-threaded evaluates how fast the CPU can handle a single, dedicated thread for processing.

The 8-core 3700X leads the pack here among 8-core chips, but the 12-core 3900X isn’t even in the same galaxy.

 

Memory Performance Testing

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

“FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises. The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand-new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and NVIDIA graphics processors.”

While the 3700X has some limits to Memory write speeds, the 3900X does not and shows some bandwidth pushing into what was previously HEDT territory.

Memory system latency is not pretty decent with about a 30% drop from the first-generation Ryzen chips.

L1 cache read/copy bandwidth comes in at about 2.8GB/s with writes about half of that as usual.

The new GameCache architecture seems to really boost write speeds on L2 cache up to near read speeds, plus the overall bandwidth is pretty darn impressive.

We see pretty similar results with the massive L3 cache as well.

 

Passmark Performance Test – Memory Mark – Threaded

“Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark Performance Test ™ allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers.”

The 3900X scores almost 39,000 points.

SiSoft Sandra – Memory Bandwidth.

“SiSoftware Sandra provides a robust package of diagnostic tools for testing your system and teasing out its problems–or potential headaches.”

The 3900X gives a bit over 35GB/s in all three tests.

Game Testing

3DMark – Fire Strike

“Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

 The 3900X easily takes first in the CPU-based Physics test, but also even manages the best overall score we’ve seen yet.

3DMark – Time Spy

“3Dmark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spay is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built “the right way” from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers. With DirectX 12 engine, which supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal test for benchmarking the latest graphics cards.”

The 3900X gives very commanding scores in Timespy with great overall scores and class-leading CPU scores.

Far Cry 5

Anything can happen. Everything will.

Welcome to Hope County, Montana, land of the free and the brave, but also home to a fanatical doomsday cult—known as The Project at Eden’s Gate—that is threatening the community’s freedom. Stand up to the cult’s leaders, Joseph Seed, and the Heralds, as you spark the fires of resistance that will liberate the besieged community.

The 3900X can’t quite catch the Intel flagships in gaming performance, but to get this high with a dozen cores is pretty impressive.

Ashes of the Singularity

Planet by planet, a war is raging across the galaxy. The technological singularity has given humanity the power to expand further than they ever have before. Now, they compete with each other and their sentient artificial intelligence adversaries for control of newfound worlds.

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We similar results out of Ashes of the Singularity with a jump over the former generation but still not quite able to catch the blue juggernaut.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will ultimately be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider also shows a wide gap over the previous generation.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the Stone Age to the Information Age. Wage war, conduct diplomacy, advance your culture, and go head-to-head with history’s greatest leaders as you attempt to build the greatest civilization the world has ever known.

Civilization VI offers new ways to engage with your world: cities now physically expand across the map, active research in technology and culture unlocks new potential, and competing leaders will pursue their own agendas based on their historical traits as you race for one of five ways to achieve victory in the game.

The 3900X finally stomps out the 8700K and is nipping at the heels of the 9900K.

Memory, Overclocking & Power

One of the biggest complaints with the previous generations of Ryzen processors was a lack of support for high-speed memory when every little bit higher than you could push the memory, the more overall performance you would see. AMD has used a new memory controller this generation to combat this and advertises fast memory is supported with ease. This comes with a small caveat though, anything over 3733 Mhz would shift gears and would drop the Infinity Fabric to Memory ration back to 2:1 instead of 1:1.

We did all of our testings with 3200MHz memory, something that itself was a struggle to achieve on the first generation.

During testing, we see the Ryzen 9 3900X routinely hit upwards of 4.6GHz thanks to XFR.

We start out overclocking at 4.22 GHz all core speeds and get a decent jump over the stock score of 2968

We can get 4.3GHz stable on all cores, but anything over about 4.35GHz we just can’t quite get stable. We still see a decent score increase.

We tried ramping the memory speed up, but even at 4266MHz, the fabric clock to memory clock ratio drops back to the point that we don’t see a gain.

We tried ramping the fabric clock up to 1800MHz from 1600MHz and get a small bump in performance.

To avoid the fabric to memory ratio change, we’ll drop back to 3733MHz and start cranking down timings. We get the above.

Pulling the timings down to 3733MHz C14 we don’t really see much of a change.

Even tightening up the sub timings doesn’t really gain us much.

Power consumption is actually really great here. We see pretty close to the same power usage as last years flagship 2700X, but significantly less than many 6 and 8 core CPU’s as well.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

AMD’s Zen2 architecture has been hotly anticipated for quite some time and by and large, has delivered a very powerful architecture capable of doing everything and anything an enthusiast could want. Gaming performance is something important to many and something that doesn’t usually come along with a higher core count CPU, but the Ryzen 9 3900X breaks that mold in spectacular fashion. In synthetic game testing, the 3900X put previous generations to shame and gives team blue a little something to think about. In real-world game testing, the 3900X is well above the 2nd generation Ryzen chips, and hot on the heels of team blue.

In productivity, well, the 3900X puts most of last year’s High-End Desktop CPU’s to shame. I don’t really need to rehash it here, you can look at all of our testings and admire the raw performance AMD puts in the hands of content creators, and anyone else that needs to get work done. We were quite happy to see how easily the 3rd generation handled very fast memory. Getting north of the 4GHz mark was something that just didn’t happen the last generation. Now, turning on the XMP settings for a 4266MHz memory kit was as easy as clicking the button. Interestingly though, extremely fast memory really doesn’t seem to provide much of a benefit above about 3600MHz. Tightening down the timings also doesn’t provide as much benefit out of the box as it used to.

It seems AMD already has everything quite well optimized right out of the gate. With a $499 price tag, the Ryzen 9 3900X provides a performance value never yet seen.

Incredible job AMD!

ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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