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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X & 3970X CPU Review

We will be outlining the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and 3970X CPUs’ performance while using the ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme II motherboard. A 32GB (4x8GB) kit of 3200MHz CL14 DDR4 memory serves our test system.

Given the likely usage scenarios for such high core count HEDT processors, where a few percent additional frequency is not worth the risk of instability that could cost real projects real money, we feel that Precision Boost Overdrive is the best way to push these CPUs. Precision Boost Overdrive also maintains preferential maximum boost clocks whilst eliminating instability and overheating concerns.

As such, our performance testing will focus on both Threadripper 3000 CPUs running at their stock Precision Boost 2 settings with the Cooler Master Wraith Ripper CPU cooler and while overclocked using Precision Boost Overdrive and the +200MHz setting.

Today’s comparison processors come in the form of:

  • Coffee Lake Core i9-9900K (8C16T) and Core i9-9900KS (8C16T).
  • Cascade Lake-X Core i9-10980XE (18C36T).
  • Skylake-X Core i9-9960X (16C32T) and Core i9-9980XE (18C36T).
  • Matisse ‘Zen 2’ Ryzen 9 3900X (12C24T) and Ryzen 9 3950X (16C32T).
  • Zen+ Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (16C32T), Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX (24C48T), and Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (32C64T).

Each processor is tested at its default out-of-the-box settings. We also include reasonable overclocking performance data where relevant.

For the Intel CPUs, forced turbo is enabled by default when XMP is enabled and, in most scenarios, cannot be disabled. As such, we test using the forced turbo frequencies with the Intel processors.

All-core load frequencies for the tested chips are as follows:

  • Core i9-9900KS = 5.0GHz.
  • Core i9-9900K = 4.7GHz.
  • Core i9-9980XE = 3.8GHz (without AVX2/AVX-512 reductions).
  • Core i9-9960X = 4.0GHz (without AVX2/AVX-512 reductions).
  • Core i9-10980XE = 3.8GHz (without AVX2/AVX-512 reductions).
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X = Around 3550-3600MHz.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX = Around 3350-3400MHz.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX = Around 2975-3100MHz.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 3960X = Around 4025MHz.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 3970X = Around 3850-3900MHz.
  • Ryzen 9 3900X = Around 4050MHz (AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA).
  • Ryzen 9 3950X = Around 3800-3950MHz (AGESA 1.0.0.4).

CPU Test System Common Components:

  • Graphics Card: Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2080 Ti XTREME (custom fan curve to minimise thermal throttling).
  • Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill 3200MHz 14-14-14-34 DDR4 @ 1.35V (4x8GB for quad-channel systems).
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H100X with 2435 RPM SP120L fans (Cooler Master Wraith Ripper for Threadripper platforms).
  • Games SSD: Aorus 2TB PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD & Crucial MX300 750GB SATA SSD.
  • Power Supply: Seasonic Prime Titanium 1000W.
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1903 Update.

sTRX4 System (Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, Ryzen Threadripper 3970X):

  • Ryzen Threadripper 3970X CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X ‘Castle Peak’ 32 cores, 64 threads (PBO+200MHz overclocked).
  • Ryzen Threadripper 3960X CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X ‘Castle Peak’ 24 cores, 48 threads (PBO+200MHz overclocked).
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme II (sTRX4, TRX40, 0601 BIOS, AMD AGESA CastlePeakPI-SP3r3-1.0.0.2).
  • System Drive: ADATA SX8200 480GB PCIe NVMe SSD.
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Wraith Ripper.

LGA 1151 Rev. 2 System (i9-9900K, i9-9900KS):

  • Core i9-9900K CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K ‘Coffee Lake’ 8 cores, 16 threads (4.9GHz @ 1.3V overclocked).
  • Core i9-9900KS CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KS ‘Coffee Lake’ 8 cores, 16 threads (5.2GHz @ 1.375V overclocked).
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus XTREME (LGA 1151 rev. 2, Z390, F7 BIOS).
  • System Drive: Plextor M9Pe 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

AM4 System (Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 9 3950X):

  • Ryzen 9 3900X CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ‘Matisse’ 12 cores, 24 threads (4.25GHz @ 1.35-1.4V overclocked).
  • Ryzen 9 3950X CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ‘Matisse’ 16 cores, 32 threads (PBO+200MHz overclocked).
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master (AM4, X570, F10a BIOS, AMD AGESA Combo-AM4 1.0.0.4).
  • System Drive: WD Black SN750 500GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

TR4 System (Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX,):

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX ‘Colfax’ 32 cores, 64 threads.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX ‘Colfax’ 24 cores, 48 threads.
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X ‘Colfax’ 16 cores, 32 threads (PBO overclocked).
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte X399 Gaming 7 (TR4, X399, F12h BIOS, AMD AGESA SummitPI-SP3r2-1.1.0.2).
  • System Drive: ADATA XPG SX950 240GB SATA SSD.
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Wraith Ripper.

LGA 2066 System (i9-9960X, i9-9980XE, i9-10980XE):

  • Core i9-10980XE CPU: Intel Core i9-10980XE ‘Cascade Lake-X’ 18 cores, 36 threads (4.6GHz @ 1.165V overclocked).
  • Core i9-9960X CPU: Intel Core i9-9960X ‘Skylake-X’ 16 cores, 32 threads (4.5GHz @ 1.2V overclocked).
  • Core i9-9980XE CPU: Intel Core i9-9980XE ‘Skylake-X’ 18 cores, 36 threads (4.5GHz @ 1.175V overclocked).
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G (LGA 2066, X299, F3a BIOS).
  • System Drive: Corsair Neutron XT 480GB SATA SSD.

Software:

  • GeForce 440.97 VGA drivers.

Tests:

Productivity-related:

  • Cinebench R15 – All-core & single-core CPU benchmark (CPU)
  • Cinebench R20 – All-core & single-core CPU benchmark (CPU)
  • Blender 2.79b – All-core rendering of the BMW benchmark (CPU)
  • Adobe Media Encoder 2020 – Export a 25 minute and 7 second Premiere Pro 2020 project to the YouTube 4K H.264 40Mbps preset. The Premiere Pro project features a mix of colour correction and motion adjustment, PNG or JPEG static images, and 100Mbps 4K30 H.264 A-roll and B-roll. The video is our ‘ASRock X570 Taichi Motherboard Review’ on YouTube (CPU & Memory).
  • HandBrake x264 – Convert 1440p60 H264 video to 1080p60 H264 using the YouTube HQ 1080p60 preset (CPU & Memory)
  • HandBrake x265 – Convert 4K30 100Mbps H264 video to 1080p30 40Mbps H265 using the H.265 MKV 1080p30 preset (CPU & Memory)
  • 7-Zip v19.00 – Built-in 7-Zip benchmark test (CPU & Memory)
  • SiSoft Sandra – Memory bandwidth and Cache & Memory Latency Test (Memory)
  • AIDA64 – Memory bandwidth, memory latency, memory & cache latency (Memory)

Gaming-related:

  • 3DMark Time Spy – Time Spy (DX12) test (Gaming)
  • Ashes Escalation – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Crazy quality preset, CPU-Focused Test, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Ultra quality preset, no AA, DX12 version (Gaming)
  • Far Cry 5 – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Ultra quality preset, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Ultra quality preset, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Maximum quality settings, Maximum Advanced Graphics, DX11 (Gaming)
  • Hitman 2 – Built-in benchmark tool – Mumbai scene, 1920 x 1080, Ultra quality preset, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Highest quality preset, no AA, DX12 version (Gaming)
  • The Division 2 – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Ultra quality preset, no AA, DX12 version (Gaming)

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