AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X Review: Disruptive Force
Zen 2 is finally here. Does it live up to the hype?
The Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X
Ever since receiving the details about AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs at Computex on May 27 we have been eagerly awaiting the launch of these new Zen 2 CPUs, and at last the wait for 7nm is over – on 7/7 of course.
So will these new processors give Intel’s 9th-gen desktop parts some serious competition at the top of the desktop CPU market? There is only one way to find out, and it involves benchmarking.
Our own Josh Walrath is working on a dive into Zen 2 architecture as you read this, but we have performance from our Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X CPUs to share with you right now.
Let’s dive in!
Availability Update (as of 7/12 @ 4:15 PM ET)
In stock on Amazon:
Listings active, no current stock at MSRP:
While we must wait until September for the massive 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X announced at E3, the rest of the Zen 2 lineup is available now.
|AMD Ryzen 3000 Series Desktop Processors|
|Model||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost||Unlocked||GameCache||Memory||TDP||Price||Launch Date|
|Ryzen 9 3950X||16 / 32||3.5 Ghz / 4.7 GHz||Yes||72MB||DDR4 3200||105W||$749||September|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||12 / 24||3.8 Ghz / 4.6 GHz||Yes||70MB||DDR4 3200||105W||$499||7/7/2019|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||8 / 16||3.9 GHz / 4.5 GHz||Yes||36MB||DDR4 3200||105W||$399||7/7/2019|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||8 / 16||3.6 GHz / 4.4 GHz||Yes||36MB||DDR4 3200||65W||$329||7/7/2019|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||6 / 12||3.8 GHz / 4.4 GHz||Yes||36MB||DDR4 3200||95W||$249||7/7/2019|
|Ryzen 5 3600||6 / 12||3.6 GHz / 4.2 GHz||Yes||36MB||DDR4 3200||65W||$199||7/7/2019|
While by no means a comprehensive list, we did put our two Ryzen samples through a few benchmarks to see how performance – single-threaded in particular – has improved with Zen 2. As you will see there have been some significant gains from Zen+ and the Ryzen 2000 series. But is it enough to best Intel?
|PC Perspective Test Platforms|
|Motherboard||AMD: GIGABYTE X470 AORUS GAMING 7 WiFi
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO WiFi
|Memory||AMD: G.Skill Flare X 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3200 @ 3200 MT/s XMP
Intel: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3200 @ 3200 MT/s XMP
|Storage||Corsair Neutron Series XTi 480GB|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1903)|
|GPU Drivers||NVIDIA: 430.86|
The results in this particular rendering benchmark are very good for AMD. It’s still pretty remarkable to think of 12 fast cores in a desktop CPU for $499, and this is an example of how optimized software can take advantage of the Ryzen 9 3900X, though the Ryzen 7 3700X result might be more impressive considering its $329 price and proximity to the Intel Core i9-9900K here.
Moving on to the overall results from the latest version of Geekbench for Windows (4.3.4) we see a different picture from this group, with Intel taking the single-core advantage. AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X outclasses the group in multi-threaded performance, and it will take Intel’s HEDT lineup to compete in this benchmark.
Using the built-in CLI benchmark to measure both compression and decompression performance we now take a look at 7-Zip.
As you can see the Ryzen 3000 CPUs claim the top two spots here, with the Ryzen 7 3700X edging out the Core i9-9900K. Impressive! But is any of this affected by the use of CL14 memory with the AMD CPUs and CL16 with Intel? Yes, to some degree, as this benchmark is certainly affected by memory performance.
To get a feel for transcoding performance we ran the x264 benchmark at its default settings, with the averaged results of its four iterations (two passes each) below.
Quite an old test by modern standards, this freely available ray tracing benchmark can be run in single or all-core modes for another breakdown of these CPUs. As you can see Intel occupies the first four positions in the single-core test, but the new Ryzen CPUs are on top in the multi-core tests.
It turns out that benchmarking games to test CPU performance can be a tricky thing. The strategy of using 1080p to force a CPU-bound state with a powerful GPU is not new, and here we used an NVIDIA RTX 2080 FE to stress the processors on test.
Of the following game benchmarks not everything is what you might expect, and a few games were omitted after some anomalies were found when creating the charts for this review.
In the days to follow the selection of games presented here may be updated, but for now we can at least take a look at four recent titles, beginning with Far Cry 5.
Far Cry 5
After the rather poor showing from AMD CPUs in the first test, would Metro Exodus be a different story? Slightly, it turns out, but Intel still has an edge with these first two games.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
This next title was run in DX12 mode and cranked up to the “highest” preset. As you will see things tighten up considerably with this game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider appears to be more of a GPU bound game even at 1920x1080, possibly thanks to those ultra-high detail settings. For the last test (for now, anyway) we will turn to something a little less strenuous, even at the ultra detail/ultra memory preset settings.
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
The new Ryzen CPUs fare pretty well in the Civilization VI Gathering Storm benchmark, but even a 0.5 ms frame time disparity translates into 3.4 FPS lead for the Core i9-9900K over the Ryzen 9 3900X here. Intel’s Core i7-9700K is on top here, and it has proven to be a competitive option for gaming – though it may need to drop a bit in price with the Ryzen 7 3700X offering solid performance (and 16 threads) for less money.
Power, Pricing, and Conclusion
While idle numbers in the chart to follow can be safely ignored as a true baseline for these CPUs as the “High Performance” power plan was enabled for all testing (and AMD’s “Ryzen High Performance” plan for these new Ryzen CPUs), we can at least get a feel for max power draw under load.
These numbers were captured using a watts up! meter at the wall, with the RTX 2080 FE card installed. Loads were generated using the all-core Cinebench R20 benchmark.
Under load the Ryzen 7 3700X system pulled a total of 132W from the wall (remember this is not actual power consumption as the efficiency of the PSU is a factor), while the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X managed to consume less power than the 8-core Intel Core i9-9900K.
The Ryzen 7 3700X provides a tremendous value at $329 for a part that builds very nicely on the success of the Ryzen 7 2700X. Performance is up considerably over its Zen+ predecessor, and at just 65W it is quite efficient as well. This might just be the sweet spot of the new lineup – though we have yet to test the entire offering.
With an incredible value proposition for core/thread counts previously reserved for the more expensive Threadripper or Intel’s HEDT offerings, the $499 Ryzen 9 3900X is an exciting product for anyone looking to get the most from their multi-threaded dollar. Later this year AMD will release the $749 Ryzen 9 3950X, but the 3900X will remain a compelling value even at its launch price.
Zen 2 is finally here, and these new Ryzen processors fulfill much of the promise of the next generation of AMD CPUs on 7nm. So far we have tested the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X, and both make a compelling case if you’re looking to upgrade or build up a powerful – and versatile – new system.
Editor’s note: A look at AMD’s new X570 platform is underway as we encountered some early issues which were eventually resolved, but not in time to complete our testing for this review. Have no fear we will give you our X570 (and PCIe Gen4) impressions soon!
Those expecting AMD to thunder past Intel in gaming performance might come away disappointed with the few benchmarks shown here, but Zen 2 Ryzen – while still not up to Intel’s level in our game testing thus far – is still an improvement over the previous generation of Ryzen CPUs in this regard (and if you game at higher resolutions than 1080p you are going to be more GPU bound anyway).
In short, these new Ryzen processors continue along the disruptive path AMD has followed since early 2017, and if you crave more cores for your money, and aren’t after the last word in gaming performance (Intel appears to retain its advantage after our early testing), it’s an easy choice to make right now.