AMD 3990X Against $20k Enterprise CPUs

For those looking at a server replacement CPU, AMD’s big discussion point here is that in order to get 64 cores on Intel hardware is relatively hard. The best way to get there is with a dual socket system, featuring two of its 28-core dies at a hefty $10k a piece. AMD’s argument is that users can consolidate down to a single socket, but also have better memory support, PCIe 4.0, and no cross-memory domain issues.

AMD 3990X Enterprise Competition
AnandTech AMD
3990X
AMD
7702P
Intel
2x8280
SEP $3990 $4450 $20018
Cores/Threads 64 / 128 64 / 128 56 / 112
Base Frequency 2900 2000 2700
Turbo Frequency 4300 3350 4000
PCIe 4.0 x64 4.0 x128 3.0 x96
DDR4 Frequency 4x 3200 8x 3200 12x 2933
Max DDR4 Capacity 512 GB 2 TB 3 TB
TDP 280 W 200 W 410 W

Unfortunately I was unable to get ahold of our Rome CPUs from Johan in time for this review, however I do have data from several dual Intel Xeon setups that I did a few months ago, including the $20k system.

Corona 1.3 Benchmark

This time with Corona the competition is hot on the heels of AMD's 64-core CPUs, but even $20k of hardware can't match it.

3D Particle Movement v2.1

The non-AVX verson of 3DPM puts the Zen 2 hardware out front, with everything else waiting in the wings.

3D Particle Movement v2.1 (with AVX)

When we add in the AVX-512 hand tuned code, the situation flips: Intel's 56 cores get almost 2.5x the score of AMD, despite having fewer cores.

Blender 2.79b bmw27_cpu Benchmark

Blender doesn't seem to like the additional access latency from the 2P systems.

AES Encoding

For AES encoding, as the benchmark takes places from memory, it appears that none of Intel's CPUs can match AMD here.

7-Zip 1805 Combined

For the 7-zip combined test, there's little difference between AMD's 32-core and 64-core, but there are sizable jumps above Intel hardware.

POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark

LuxMark v3.1 C++

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.4

Verdict

In our tests here (more in our benchmark database), AMD's 3990X would get the crown over Intel's dual socket offerings. The only thing really keeping me back from giving it is the same reason there was hesitation on the previous page: it doesn't do enough to differentiate itself from AMD's own 32-core CPU. Where AMD does win is in that 'money is less of an issue scenario', where using a single socket 64 core CPU can help consolidate systems, save power, and save money. Intel's CPUs have a TDP of 205W each (more if you decide to use the turbo, which we did here), which totals 410W, while AMD maxed out at 280W in our tests. Technically Intel's 2P has access to more PCIe lanes, but AMD's PCIe lanes are PCIe 4.0, not PCIe 3.0, and with the right switch can power many more than Intel (if you're saving 16k, then a switch is peanuts).

We acknowledge that our tests here aren't in any way a comprehensive test of server level workloads, but for the user base that AMD is aiming for, we'd take the 64 core (or even the 32 core) in most circumstances over two Intel 28 core CPUs, and spend the extra money on memory, storage, or a couple of big fat GPUs.

AMD 3990X Against Prosumer CPUs Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized
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  • boozed - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    I think the more appropriate description for that is "provocative", and not in the intellectual way.

    Goading, perhaps.
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    Not the one who made the original comment but.... RAM?

    512 GB max..?

    Just checked Dell for lower tier workstations then what this is purported to be competing against and they offer 6TB of RAM. 2GB per thread is meh when looking at netbooks.

    There must be some usage scenario for this processor with its extremely limited memory capacity and very high thread count, I just can't think of what it would be that isn't already done on GPUs/tensor hardware/vector co processors.
    Reply
  • Cooe - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    No single socket workstation can handle 6TB of memory.... Xeon-W is limited to like 1.5TB. Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - link

    3TB single socket- https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813183686

    If you could show me a 3TB counterpart for this chip, despite being considerably less RAM per core, it would at least make sense. 512MB for a 128 thread CPU...
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - link

    512GB even.... Reply
  • twtech - Saturday, February 15, 2020 - link

    Rendering (some are still CPU-only), code compiling are two that come to mind. Reply
  • alufan - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    bet you have trouble sitting right now and for the next year or so at least Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Another useless post from timecop1818

    See, it's do easy anyone can do it!
    Reply
  • Cellar Door - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Can Anandtech finally implement a rank based comment system with admins please?

    So we don't get obvious Intel propaganda like this, literally any idiot can write whatever they want as the top comment here.
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    I get the feeling that AnandTech is operating on a shoestring budget. For a very modest fee I know I personally could provide them with a much better platform. Reply

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