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AMD Ryzen 9 3900X & Ryzen 7 3700X ‘Zen 2’ CPU Review

7-Zip


In 7-Zip, the Core i9-7920X takes a comfortable victory, which is also aided by quad-channel DDR4. The performance uplift for the HEDT i9 versus Ryzen 9 3900X is 13%. Overclocking AMD’s chip does little to improve this loss as the boost clocks are more inflexible with a manual overclock. Compared to the price-competitive Core i9-9900K, however, AMD’s 12-core part is 44% quicker.

The Ryzen 7 3700X outperforms the Core i7-9700K and shows us how the improved Zen 2 architecture has boosted compression performance in 7-Zip versus the Zen and Zen+ predecessors.

Switching focus to decompression – an area where AMD’s Zen architecture has historically performed well – and we see Ryzen 9 3900X rise back to the top of the performance chart. Ryzen 9 3900X is 65% faster than the Core i9-9900K and Ryzen 7 3700X beats the i7-9700K by 49%.

If your workloads involve heavy amounts of decompression using 7-Zip, AMD’s Ryzen 3000 chips look like even better value options than their 2700X and 1800X predecessors did. With that said, there are still scenarios where the improved memory bandwidth of Intel’s HEDT part can pay dividends. That’s more of an area where Threadripper competes, though.

Versus 3200MHz CL14 RAM, 3600MHz C16 DDR4 with the Ryzen 9 3900X delivers a 3.8% performance improvement for compression and a 1.2% improvement for the decompression.

Handbrake

The trend is becoming rather predictable at this point. Handbrake x264 conversion flies on the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X, with strong utilisation of all 24 threads being observed when converting our 1440p60 game recording. Thanks to its ability to maintain high boost clocks throughout the conversion process, rather than reduce down to AVX-type clock speeds in the region of 3GHz like the i9-7920X, the AMD Zen 2 flagship absolutely destroys the HEDT Intel CPU in this test. The performance improvement versus Intel’s similarly-priced Core i9-9900K is also significant at 38.5%.

Switching focus to the Ryzen 7 3700X, AMD’s eight-core, sixteen-thread 65W Zen 2 part comfortably outperforms the Core i7-9700K by 22%, though the Coffee Lake chip’s strong overclocking capacity does claw back some performance. Ryzen 7 3700X is actually very competitive against the more expensive Core i9-9900K, despite Intel’s part consuming close to twice the amount of power. And compared to the Zen and Zen+ eight-core predecessors, the Zen 2 octa-core is in a completely different performance league.

One of AMD’s biggest Zen 2 architectural improvements is the single-op AVX256 support. This looks to be paying dividend in our Handbrake x265 conversion test. That’s even despite the software package’s inability to fully utilise even 16 threads with our 100Mbps 4K30 to 40Mbps 1080p30 conversion.

AMD takes a win with the Ryzen 9 3900X, but the highly-clocked Core i9-9900K is very close behind thanks to its sixteen threads operating at higher frequencies than the not-fully-utilised 3900X. Versus the 12-core Intel HEDT i9-7920X, the Ryzen 9 3900X is 8% faster thanks to its higher operating frequency than the Intel chip that reverts down to AVX clock speeds.

Intel’s Core i7-9700K enjoys a 3% victory against the Ryzen 7 3700X. That victory is heavily frequency driven, as proven by the even wider victory for the 9700K when both chips are overclocked. Compared to the limited AVX performance of the Zen and Zen+ CPUs, both Zen 2 chips position themselves in different performance tiers to the AM4 parts of yesteryear. The 3700X, for example, is 29% faster than the Zen+ 2700X and that victory is driven almost entirely by architectural improvements to Zen 2’s AVX performance.

If you have a loft full of Blu-rays ready for Handbrake to convert onto your home server, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X looks to be an excellent choice, though the Intel Coffee Lake chips prove worthy competitors for x265 media.

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