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
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


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


View All Comments

  • ehfield7 - Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - link

    I propose that Anand contribute his next set of RSUs that will vest Reply
  • alpha754293 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    A useless statement from the sensai on uselessness. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    I think it's a useful processor...
    It's just very, very, very, very expensive... One "very" for each $1000.
  • FreckledTrout - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Expensive? This CPU is dirt cheap for a 64 core. You go Intel and have to pay 20K for anything close and that only gets you 56 cores and this CPU beats that dual CPU config. So for those that need the cores this is freaking cheap. Reply
  • unclevagz - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Except that the number of workstation-oriented programs that can meaningfully use more than 64 threads, as evidenced by the testing above, is vanishingly small. For most professionals it'd still make more sense to just buy a 3970x Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    Does also depends on the os - Windows isn’t really suitable for this level of performance. Reply
  • kgardas - Monday, February 10, 2020 - link

    This is using WX2990 with it's 4 NUMA nodes (IIRC) and just 2 having access to RAM. This is completely different beast than current TR3 gen which is just single NUMA node and where all cores do have similar access to RAM. Windows should work well on this, but you will just need to use those supporting that number of cores/threads. Reply
  • FreckledTrout - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    I think we can agree anyone buying this CPU knows exactly what they will be doing with it. Reply
  • beaker7 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    just ordered Reply
  • prisonerX - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Another useless holder of useless Intel stock. Keep shilling. Reply

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