AMD 3990X Against Prosumer CPUs

The first set of consumers that will be interested in this processor will be those looking to upgrade into the best consumer/prosumer HEDT package available on the market. The $3990 price is a high barrier to entry, but these users and individuals can likely amortize the cost of the processor over its lifetime. To that end, we’ve selected a number of standard HEDT processors that are near in terms of price/core count, as well as putting in the 8-core 5.0 GHz Core i9-9900KS and the 28-core unlocked Xeon W-3175X.

AMD 3990X Consumer Competition
AnandTech AMD
3990X
AMD
3970X
Intel
3175X
Intel i9-
10980XE
AMD
3950X
Intel
9900KS
SEP $3990 $1999 $2999 $979 $749 $513
Cores/T 64/128 32/64 28/56 18/36 16/32 8/16
Base Freq 2900 3700 3100 3000 3500 5000
Turbo Freq 4300 4500 4300 4800 4700 5000
PCIe 4.0 x64 4.0 x64 3.0 x48 3.0 x48 4.0 x24 3.0 x16
DDR 4x 3200 4x 3200 6x 2666 4x 2933 2x 3200 2x 2666
Max DDR 512 GB 512 GB 512 GB 256 GB 128 GB 128 GB
TDP 280 W 280 W 255 W 165 W 105 W 127 W

The 3990X is beyond anything in price at this level, and even at the highest consumer cost systems, $1000 could be the difference between getting two or three GPUs in a system. There has to be big upsides here moving from the 32 core to the 64 core.

Corona 1.3 Benchmark

Corona is a classic 'more threads means more performance' benchmark, and while the 3990X doesn't quite get perfect scaling over the 32 core, it is almost there.

Blender 2.79b bmw27_cpu Benchmark

The 3990X scores new records in our Blender test, with sizeable speed-ups against the other TR3 hardware.

Agisoft Photoscan 1.3.3, Complex Test

Photoscan is a variable threaded test, and the AMD CPUs still win here, although 24 core up to 64 core all perform within about a minute of each other in this 20 minute test. Intel's best consumer hardware is a few minutes behind.

y-Cruncher 0.7.6 Multi-Thread, 250m Digits

y-cruncher is an AVX-512 accelerated test, and so Intel's 28-core with AVX-512 wins here. Interestingly the 128 cores of the 3990X get in the way here, likely the spawn time of so many threads is adding to the overall time.

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.4

GIMP is a single threaded test designed around opening the program, and Intel's 5.0 GHz chip is the best here. the 64 core hardware isn't that bad here, although the W10 Enterprise data has the better result.

3D Particle Movement v2.1

Without any hand tuned code, between 32 core and 64 core workloads on 3DPM, there's actually a slight deficit on 64 core.

3D Particle Movement v2.1 (with AVX)

But when we crank in the hand tuned code, the AVX-512 CPUs storm ahead by a considerable margin.

DigiCortex 1.20 (32k Neuron, 1.8B Synapse)

We covered Digicortex on the last page, but it seems that the different thread groups on W10 Pro is holidng the 3990X back a lot. With SMT disabled, we score nearer 3x here.

LuxMark v3.1 C++

Luxmark is an AVX2 accelerated program, and having more cores here helps. But we see little gain from 32C to 64C.

POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark

As we saw on the last page, POV-Ray preferred having SMT off for the 3990X, otherwise there's no benefit over the 32-core CPU.

AES Encoding

AES gets a slight bump over the 32 core, however not as much as the 2x price difference would have you believe.

Handbrake 1.1.0 - 1080p60 HEVC 3500 kbps Fast

As we saw on the previous page, W10 Enterprise causes our Handbrake test to go way up, but on W10 Pro then the 3990X loses ground to the 3950X.

GTX 1080: World of Tanks enCore, Average FPS

And how about a simple game test - we know 64 cores is overkill for games, so here's a CPU bount test. There's not a lot in it between the 3990X and the 3970X, but Intel's high frequency CPUs are the best here.

Verdict

There are a lot of situations where the jump from AMD's 32-core $1999 CPU, the 3970X, up to the 64-core $3990 CPU only gives the smallest tangible gain. That doesn't bode well. The benchmarks that do get the biggest gains however can get near perfect scaling, making the 3990X a fantastic upgrade. However those tests are few and far between. If these were the options, the smart money is on the 3970X, unless you can be absolutely clear that the software you run can benefit from the extra cores.

The Windows and Multithreading Problem (A Must Read) AMD 3990X Against $20k Enterprise CPUs
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  • timecop1818 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Another useless processor from AMD Reply
  • jordanclock - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Care to elaborate on the hyperbolic statement? Or are you reading a review from another dimension where the 3990X doesn't dominate on most benchmarks and is competitive on the rest? Reply
  • Irata - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    And now remember that (s)he was probably sitting in front of the PC in front of a browser hitting F5 repeatedly just to be able to post this comment as first before even having read the article. Reply
  • Lhapiye_Kie - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    eh, are you a regular here too?
    do you mean that is someone with non K something?
    XD
    Reply
  • leexgx - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    he really messed up this review (and his time) by not updating his OS (CPU was showing as 2 sockets) up to date OS shows as 1 socket

    the 64 thread limit is still there on Pro, Pro for Workstation and enterprise as long as you have 1903/1909 up to date (windows still splits the cpu into 2 kinda like Numa groups, but is only visible via set affinity in details in task manager)
    Reply
  • yeeeeman - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    It is useless for the consumer market, but for the enthusiasts it is a gem. Reply
  • Irata - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    That applies to anything high end Reply
  • bill.rookard - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Not sure about being for 'enthusiasts' as it's price is a bit high for that, and that it really is aimed squarely at the workstation market. That being said, the fact that it only (only heh!) supports effectively at this point 256GB of RAM until larger UDIMMS come out do does limit it's appeal to the highest end configurations for VM's and VFX studios. ECC Registered DIMM support is almost mandatory for those. Reply
  • nevcairiel - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    I agree with this, with this high number of cores the memory support is, frankly, not enough. It severly limits the usefulness. But I suppose thats the point, afterall they want to still sell the much more expensive EPYC CPUs. Reply
  • AlexDaum - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    The single socket epyc CPUs aren't even that much more expensive. On Newegg you can get it for 4700$. Reply

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