AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X
AM4 KEEPS ON KEEPING ON
X570 is a new premium tier chipset. Straight up, some X570 boards are going to cost well north of $1000 AUD. Asrockís X570 Aqua is $999 USD! Do the conversion! Itís crazy. Weíre told MSIís X570 Godlike is also over $1000 AUD. While these prices are a bit scary, ití important to note that X470 will not be phased out, with production set to continue for the foreseeable future.
X570 boards are definitely feature packed. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is widespread, 2.5, 5 and 10G LAN is also welcome (a personal woohoo for that! Gigabit belongs in 1999). Add in things like tons of USB ports, very strong VRM solutions and of course PCIe 4.0 connectivity, and you can see where some of the extra cost comes from. We arenít looking at motherboards specifically today, but early indicators are that the pricing is.. Extreme! and not in a good way. At least X470 and B450 boards arenít going anywhere. Itís good to have HEDT level boards for a Ďmainstreamí CPU socket.
You may have noticed that almost all X570 motherboards have a chipset cooling fan. The chipset draws around 11 W of power compared to around 6 W for X470. The main reason for this is the PCIe 4.0 support. The good news is that most manufactures will configure their boards in such a way that the fans wonít spin up until they hit a certain temperature threshold. Over the course of our testing, we didnít notice any noise from our boardsí fan at all, if in fact it ever spun up. Many of the expansive heat sink designs integrate M.2 cooling as well, so running multiple PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives will add heat that needs to be dissipated.
Our test motherboard is the Asus Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi. It features a strong 14+2 phase VRM based on IR3555 ICs. Itís good to see a proper high surface area heat sink thatís functional as well as aesthetic. Itís got two PCIe 4.0 supporting M.2 slots, support for RGB (of course) and plenty of fan headers and support for WC pumps. Networking consists of Wi-Fi 6, 2.5G and 1G LAN. Overall itís a well-balanced board, but itís ROG so we wouldnít expect it to be cheap.
MOVING ONTO THE NUMBERS
Enough of the teasing and information. Itís time to see how these things actually perform! Our test setup is as follows:
All AMD processors were tested on the same platform. For Intel testing, the only difference was the use of an Asrock Z370 Taichi.
Lets start off with Cinebench R20. Itís a much more demanding test than the outdated R15.
This is the benchmark we saw AMD use during its Computex and E3 briefings and it's obvious why. Consider that the 3700X is a 65W part, yet it gets to within 170 odd points of a 9900k whilst essentially matching it with a single thread. This bodes well for the higher tier 8-core 3800X which should beat the 9900K. Itís only one benchmark but clearly this shows that AMD has seriously improved its single threaded performance on top of higher frequencies. The 2nd Gen Ryzen parts look positively sluggish.
Blender is tailor made for multithreaded processors. The 9900K does better against the 3700X here but then it probably should given its aggressive 4.7 GHz all-core turbo.
Consumer level video encoders generally need to catch up when it comes to support for very high core counts. Cinegyís Cinescore UHD benchmark doesnít scale beyond 16 cores, but thatís ok for the processors tested here. It shows a similar story to the Cinebench result. The 12 core 3900X is well in front as expected, while the 3700X all but matches the 9900K.
7Zip is a file compression application that scales well with memory bandwidth as well as high core counts. The latency gains AMD made with Ryzen 3 are really apparent here with huge gains over the 2700X.
CPUZ includes a handy little benchmark that actually performs quite well with its decent single and multi-threaded workloads. Once again the AMD processors excel at the multi-threaded test while trailing only the 9900K in the single core test.
Hereís one where Intel performs strongly, though this test starts to show its age with diminishing returns with higher core counts. Take nothing away from Intel though. The 9900K belts the 3700X here. Will the 3800X close the gap?
Intel traditionally held a good lead in this benchmark, but here we see that AMD have closed the gap right up to the point where itís all but a tie. Bear in mind that under demanding GPU loads, these processors will all be almost identical to each other.
Intel maintains its gaming advantage here, though again, the gap over the second gen Ryzen processors has narrowed considerably.
Hereís one that surprised us. Intel was untouchable in this game, until now. The 9900K wins by a handful of frames but just look at how AMD have improved over second generation Ryzen. Actually AMD claims that its internal testing puts it ahead of the 9900K and 9700K in CS:GO.
Lastly, letís take a look at the effect PCIe 4.0 has on SSD performance. We used a shiny new 2TB Gigabyte Aorus NVMe SSD and ran it on the Asus Crosshair VIII Hero in both PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 3.0 modes.
As you can see, PCIe 4.0 provides not just sequential transfer gains, but is faster in every category. Weíll have to see the results from a sample size larger than one to know for sure, but it does indeed look like PCIe 4.0 drives will end up a lot faster once the controllers and firmware matures. We look forward to seeing what the big guns like Samsung do with their PCIe 4.0 SSDís.
Itís clear that AMD have taken a significant step forward. When comparing the similarly priced 3900X and 9900K, AMD clearly has the advantage under heavily threaded loads with its 8 vs 12 cores. It also eats almost all of Intelís earlier single thread lead as well as gaming advantage. At this point itís important to note that when the load shifts back to the GPU, with higher graphics settings, then the difference between all the top performing processors essentially evaporates.
Itís also important to note that where Intel wins, itís doing so with a sometimes significant clock speed advantage. AMD cannot hope to match a 5GHz single core turbo right now, not to mention a 4.7GHz all core turbo. If AMD could somehow reach clock speed parity with Intel, then things could get ugly. Will the 7nm process mature? Just an extra couple of hundred MHz could see AMD take the lead. Intel really needs to get its 10nm process out the door and performing well if itís to prevent further damage.
Having said that, AMD hasnít quite reached performance parity with Intel overall. Lightly threaded performance still matters and Intel still has its nose in front there, even if the gap has closed right up. If youíre a content creator or someone who can make use of the multi-threaded power, then AMD is the best choice right now. Weíll have to wait and see how the higher performing 3800X 8 core does, along with the flagship 3950X. These processors will outperform the 3700X and 3900X respectively. Despite the already positive results for AMD, the best is very likely yet to come.
Page 1: Introduction, Architecture Details
Page 2: AM4, Test Setup, Benchmarks & Performance
Page 3: Temperatures, Power Consumption, Conclusions
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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