Section by Andrei Frumusanu

CPU MT Performance: SPEC 2017

Whilst single-threaded performance of Zen3 seems to be an absolute win for the new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, multi-threaded performance is also the other important aspect of a design. Generally, what comes into play much more for multi-threaded performance is the power efficiency of the design. As none of the current x86 consumer or enterprise parts are able to actually run all their cores at maximum frequency for peak performance due to platform power limitations, any resulting performance boost we might see between generations with a similar power cap will be due to power and energy efficiency gains between the designs.

For AMD, we’re limiting the detailed comparisons here to the 3950X and the 5950X which both have a PPT of 142W, which means that’s the maximum peak power for the platform, and observed 120-125W sustained figures in actual workloads. We’re also throwing in a 10900K for context, but given the very different core count numbers it doesn’t serve an exact apples-to-apples comparison.

SPECint2017 Rate-N Estimated Scores

Starting off with SPECint2006, the performance uplifts for the new Ryzen 5000 series here doesn’t seem to be all that significant in most tests, with uplifts well below those of the single-thread benchmarks.

Most of the tests are showing a 10% performance uplift, with the more memory heavy test showing no improvement. Some of the minor uplifts such as a 5% boost in 502.gcc seem quite disappointing and showcase that the new platform isn’t all that big of a boost for productivity workloads.

SPECfp2017 Rate-N Estimated Scores

In SPECfp2017, 510.parest and 527.cam4 stand out as the two workloads with the biggest improvements, with the rest of the workloads all either having sub-5% improvements, or even just flat or slower performance than the 3950X.

SPEC2017 Rate-N Estimated Total

** Preliminary figures to be re-tested due to 2x16GB SR vs 4x8GB SR memory DIMM configuration, scores will improve.

Overall, the new Ryzen 5000 series are showcasing a quite conservative 8-9% performance improvement over their predecessor generation SKUs. The 12-core variant here is showing a little bigger boost of 10-13%.

In this regard, the new chips seem to have missed the mark in terms of AMD’s claims for 12% better performance per watt for the new 5950X, and 26% better performance per watt for the 5900X – their marketing should have done better in explaining those figures, or just be more conservative with their numbers. This also doesn’t bode too well for the eventual EPYC-based Zen3 Milan chips.

SPEC2006 and SPEC2017 Single-Threaded Results Test Setup and #CPUOverload Benchmarks
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  • 5j3rul3 - Thursday, November 5, 2020 - link

    Rip Intel🤩🤩🤩
  • Smell This - Thursday, November 5, 2020 - link

    Chipzillah has got good stuff ... everyone is "just dandy" for the most part...
    but, AMD has kicked Intel "night in the ruts" in ultimate price/performance with Zen3
  • Kangal - Saturday, November 7, 2020 - link

    True, but the price hikes really hurt.

    For the Zen3 chips, it's only worth getting the:
    - r9-5950X for the maximum best performance
    - r5-3600X for the gaming performance (and decent value).

    The 12 core r9-5900X is a complete no-buy. Whilst the r7-5800X is pretty dismal too, so both chips really need to be skipped. Neither of them have an Overclocking advantage. And there's just no gaming advantage to them over the 5600X. For more performance, get a 3950X or 5950X. And when it comes to productivity, you're better served with the Zen2 options. You can get the 3700 for much cheaper than the 5800X. Or for the same price you can get the 3900X instead.

    Otherwise, if you're looking for the ultimate value, as in something better than the 5600X value... you can look at the 3600, 1600f, 3300X, 3100 chips. They're not great for gaming/single-core tasks, but they're competent and decent at productivity. Maybe even go into the Used market for some 2700X, 2700, 1800X, 1700X, 1700, 1600X, and 1600 chips as these should be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. Such aggressive pricing puts these options at better value for gaming (surprising), and better value for productivity (unsurprising).
  • DazzXP - Saturday, November 7, 2020 - link

    Price hike doesn't really hurt that much, AMD was making very little money on their past Ryzen's because they had to contend with Intel Mindshare and throw more cores in as they did not quite have IPC and clock speeds, now they have all. It was as expected to be honest.
  • Silma - Sunday, November 8, 2020 - link

    Do you have any recommendations for motherboards for either a Zen3 or a Zen 2 (depending on availability of processors)? I want to spend as litte as possible on it, but it miust be compatible with 128 GB of RAM.
  • AdrianBc - Sunday, November 8, 2020 - link

    If you really intend to use 128 GB of RAM at some point in the future, you should use ECC RAM, because the risk of errors is proportional with the quantity of RAM.
    A good motherboard was ASUS Pro WS X570-ACE (which I use) previously at $300 but right now it is available at much higher prices ($370), for some weird reason.

    If you want something cheap with 128 GB and ECC support, the best you can do is an ASRock micro-ATX board with the B550 chipset. There are several models and you should compare them. For example an ASRock B550M PRO4 is USD 90 at Amazon.
  • Silma - Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - link

    Thanks for the input! Is ECC really necessary? The primary objective of the PC memory would be loading huge sound libraries in RAM for orchestral compositions. The PC would serve at the same time as gaming PC + Office PC.
  • Spunjji - Sunday, November 8, 2020 - link

    In the context of a whole system? Not really, no.

    In the context of an upgrade? Not at all, if you have a 4xx board you'll be good to go in January without having to buy a new board. That's something that hasn't been possible for Intel for a while, and won't be again until around March, when you'll be able to upgrade from a mediocre power hog of a chip to a more capable power hog of a chip.

    Comparing new to used in terms of value of a *brand new architecture* doesn't really make much sense, but go for it by all means 👍 The fact remains that these have the performance to back up the cost, which you can see in the benchmarks.
  • leexgx - Sunday, November 8, 2020 - link

    I would aim for the 5600x minimum unless your really trying to Save $100 as the 5600x is a good jump over the 3700x/3600x
  • biostud - Monday, November 9, 2020 - link

    Uhm, no? For me the 5900X would make perfect sense. I game and work with/photo video editing, and would like to have my computer for a long time. The 5950X costs too much for my needs, the 5900X offers 50% more cores than the 5800X for $100 and the 5600X hasn't got enough cores when video editing. (Although I'm waiting for next socket before upgrading my 5820k)

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