Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
AMD's Ryzen 3000 series processors might just be the most anticipated CPU and biggest potential market disruptor we have seen since AMD's original Ryzen launch.
Without a doubt, AMD made a pretty decent sized dent in their competitors' market share when they launched Ryzen, and now with many needed improvements to the Zen microarchitecture (now Zen2) and a node shrink from 12nm to 7nm, AMD is positioned quite well. However, marketing slides and talk is one thing, actually seeing the results is another, and today you get to see the fruition of AMD's promises.
The 3900X is a 12 core 24 thread CPU with a huge L3 cache of 64MB and a 105W TDP. The 3700X is an 8-core 16 thread CPU with a pretty large L3 cache of 32MB with a TDP of 65W. Both CPUs come with the very nice Wraith Prism RGB cooler, and both CPUs offer the same IO, the focus of which is the new PCI-E 4.0 lanes.
Major architectural changes are seen all over the place. For starters, we now have an I/O die (IOD) and up to two Core Chipset Dies (CCD) per each Ryzen 3000 series CPU, although only one might be in use. Each CPU also has double the cache of their predecessors, which not only improves performance all around, but also is targeted for improving gaming performance.
The front end and backend of the CPU have been greatly improved, and AMD is claiming around a 15% IPC improvement, which we find to be a fair estimate. AMD also focused on improving on something they do well; simultaneous multithreading.
The platform has also been greatly improved, with all PCI-E lanes from the CPU and the chipset being PCI-E 4.0 lanes. There are also up to eight USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) ports.
The Ryzen 3900X and 3700X are priced at $499 and $329.
The CPUs and Cooler
The CPU and Cooler
The box for the Ryzen 9 is nicer than the box for the Ryzen 7, but both contain pretty much the same things.
Both boxes contain the Wraith Prism Cooler, the CPU, a case badge, and a warranty guide.
The CPUs are pretty basic, they look very similar to their predecessors and they are soldered, although AMD did make some optimizations to the solder between the core chiplets and the heat spreader by adding in some copper.
Bottoms of both CPUs are identical.
We have seen this CPU heat sink before, and we were impressed by not only its cooling capacity but also it's very fancy RGB LEDs. The heat sink comes with the same USB and RGB cables, but the default RGB LED lighting is nice enough for us.
Steven's CPU Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: We used four motherboards; the ASRock X570 Taichi, GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master, MSI X570 GODLIKE, and ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero
- CPU: Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X
- Cooler: Wraith Prism - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: G.Skill Trident Royal 3600MHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC1000 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: EVGA PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
We revamped out test bed a bit with a GPU upgrade as well, and we used new RAM from G.Skill. We opted not to use the PCI-E 4.0 SSD AMD provided for the CPU performance tests, since we can't control that on the Intel test beds or with previous AMD CPUs, and we like everything standardized.
Out of the Box Performance: CINEBENCH, wPrime, and AIDA64
In CINEBENCH, we see that AMD's initial claims are mostly true, they have closed the gap on single core performance while significantly increasing multi-core performance. In wPrime, we see that Intel and AMD go head to head at eight cores, but we also see how powerful the 3900X is in multithreaded workloads. FPU tests show that floating point, and integer performance at the same core count still is with Intel.
In memory bandwidth, we see something odd, the write speed of AMD's 3700X, and that's because of the CDD to IOD connection, where the writes are 16B/cycle on the 3700X, but it's double that on the 3900X. AMD said this let them conserve power, which accounts for part of the lower TDP AMD aimed for. AMD says applications rarely do pure writes, but it did hurt the 3700X's performance in one of our benchmarks on the next page. Memory latency is a bit high at stock, but you can overclock the memory quite easily.
Performance: Blender, Handbrake, ScienceMark, and SuperPI
Out of the Box Performance: Blender, Handbrake, SuperPI, and ScienceMark
In the Blender Benchmark, we see that Intel still has the lead at the same core count, but they definitely don't at the same price point. We see in our handbrake tests that Intel is still doing quite good, but AMD is definitely closing that gap.
We see some shockingly good memory bandwidth scores in ScienceMark, but the program also failed to recognize the new memory structure, so it went to its default test. However, AMD has made great improvements in this legacy test and is beating Intel at the same core count. SuperPI is where we see that low memory write bandwidth hurt AMD with the 3700X, and it shows how Intel's high frequency and architecture is still doing well.
Synthetic Gaming Performance: UNIGINE and 3DMark
Out of the Box Synthetic Gaming Performance: UNIGINE and 3DMark
AMD has a strong lead in FireStrike and Cloud Gate, and they are doing well in UNIGINE. These synthetic results are telling of the actual gaming benchmarks, as they are designed to be. AMD and Intel are going head to head.
Gaming Performance: Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, GTA:V & More
Out of the Box Gaming Performance: Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, GTA:V, Ashes of Singularity
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Ashes of the Singularity
In Resident Evil 6, we see that AMD is doing really well, and they made huge improvements upon their previous generation. In GTA: V we see Intel still has the lead, and they do in Rise of the Tomb Raider as well. In Ashes of the Singularity, we see that all the vendors are doing okay. Intel still has a lead in many games, but AMD is catching up.
Overclocking and Power Consumption
Power consumption is really good on the 3700X, whatever AMD said they would do has been done, and even the 12 core 3900X is looking great.
Both CPUs were able to do 4.3GHz all cores with 1.43v, and that is where they hit the thermal limit. We used the stock cooler as well. We set memory to XMP, but we are told by many vendors that over 4GHz on memory is possible on air. These are HUGE improvements upon the previous generation.
AMD's Ryzen Master has been slightly revamped and you can overclock the chiplets independently, and this is where most people will find a better solution.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Here is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Ryzen 3900X and 3700X.
Greatly improved performance: AMD did really well when it comes to beating their own products and helping close the gap when it comes to Intel's products. The gaming improvements are major, and the SMT improvements are impressive, to say the least.
Platform: Not only did AMD implement PCI-E 4.0 into their new chipset and CPU, they also got it working at speeds much faster than PCI-E 3.0, something we didn't think we would see for a while. We also like the inclusion of up to 8 10Gbps USB ports.
Power Efficiency : Compared to their 12nm process, the new 7nm process has greatly improved power efficiency compared to performance.
Price and Cooler : We feel that the prices AMD is charging for the new CPUs are more than fair, especially compared to AMD's previous offerings and Intel's current offerings. We also like the inclusion of a solid stock cooler, it even allows for some overclocking headroom.
All-Core OC: We found that all core overclock levels kind of maxed out with decent stability to 4.3GHz, which is much lower than their single core boost of 4.6GHz on the 3900X. Depending on your use case it might be better to just enable PBOC. Memory overclocking is great now though.
AMD really did a lot of good things to their Ryzen series of processors, and a lot of the hype that was generated is warranted. While they don't necessarily sweep away Intel's lead when it comes to single threaded performance, they did a good job of tossing things up when it comes to gaming.
They delivered on the promise of increasing their multithreaded performance; it's an interesting day when at the same core and thread count AMD's 3900X is trading blows with Intel's 9900K that operates at much higher frequencies, albeit in more real-world applications the 9900K typically wins.
We like the high-frequency single-core boosts, although we are a bit disappointed in all core overclocking potential, the new options in Ryzen Master can let you tune your CPU though. Memory overclocking has been significantly improved, and we really like the new options for the fabric clock.
We were a bit sad to see the 3700X's write performance, but AMD did mention they did it to help reduce power consumption and that most real-world workloads don't utilize memory write that much. Overall, yes AMD did excellently, they deserve applauds not only for bringing very high performance and high-value product to the market but because they have really reinvigorated competition.
The Bottom Line
AMD really hit the bar when it comes to their new Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X, they hit it out of the park with power efficiency, performance improvements, and a total platform solution.