High-End Desktop? What’s That?

The Ryzen 9 3950X Comes Into View

As teased at E3 and seemingly every show that AMD has been to since, we’re now ready to get our hands on AMD’s top-tier consumer-grade processor. The Ryzen 9 3950X is the bigger cousin to the Ryzen 9 3900X, this time using two 8-core chiplets built on TSMC’s 7nm process with the Zen 2 microarchitecture. This is paired with the same I/O die, and overall this Ryzen 9 3950X will offer four more cores and +100 MHz on the turbo frequency over the 3900X, all at a $749 recommended retail price point.

AMD 'Matisse' Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs
AnandTech Cores
TDP Price
Ryzen 9 3950X 16C 32T 3.5 4.7 8 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 105W $749
Ryzen 9 3900X 12C 24T 3.8 4.6 6 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 105W $499
Ryzen 9 3900 12C 24T 3.1 4.3 6 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 65W OEM
Ryzen 7 3800X 8C 16T 3.9 4.5 4 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 105W $399
Ryzen 7 3700X 8C 16T 3.6 4.4 4 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $329
Ryzen 5 3600X 6C 12T 3.8 4.4 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 95W $249
Ryzen 5 3600 6C 12T 3.6 4.2 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $199
Ryzen 5 3500X 6C 6T 3.6 4.1 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W OEM

The Ryzen 9 3950X will be compatible in the majority of AM4 motherboards, although in order to take advantage of the 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes on the CPU, an X570 motherboard is recommended. The 16 cores offer a 3.5 GHz base frequency and a 4.7 GHz single core boost frequency; the overall all-core turbo frequency will be dependent on the motherboard used, the quality of the silicon, and the turbo in play.

The 105W TDP matches that of the 12-core part, and it should be noted that the 3950X will not come with an in-the-box cooler. Instead, AMD argues that customers looking at this price range of CPU typically go out and purchase their own, something better than the 125 W Wraith Prism that AMD might have put in the box. To that end AMD is going to publish a list of recommended cooling solutions that are pre-validated by AMD on the website, which should be live on today (the 7th).

Regarding BIOS and AGESA versions on motherboards: AMD has stated that AGESA (also known as Patch B) is going to be required in order to enable full performance on the Ryzen 9 3950X. AMD stated that this AGESA version actually unites several different groups of Ryzen CPUs under the same numbering scheme, to make it easier to manage. It is worth noting that when quizzed, AMD acknowledged that some motherboard manufacturers were putting out ‘beta’ versions of, rather than the full release, and they recommend that users should wait for a full version for their motherboard (even though some motherboard manufacturers aren’t exactly being clear).

In terms of performance, AMD claims a +22% single thread performance jump for the 3950X over the 2700X, in 1080p gaming the company claims it goes toe-to-toe against the Core i9-9900K and trounces the Core i9-9920X (a $1200 CPU), and in content creation it surpasses both the 9900K and 9920X by 18-79% in selected tests. The company also states that a 16-core 3950X uses less wall power than an 8-core 9900K system.

Unlocked CPU Pricing
and Select Others
(MSRP Pricing)
Cores AnandTech Cores Intel*
(OEM Pricing)
    $900-$999 18/36 Core i9-10980XE ($979)
Ryzen 9 3950X ($749) 16/32 $700-$799 14/28 Core i9-10940X ($784)
    $600-$699 12/24 Core i9-10920X ($689)
    $500-$599 10/20
Core i9-10900X ($590)
Core i9-9900KS ($513)
Ryzen 9 3900X ($499) 12/24 $400-$499 8/16 Core i9-9900K/F ($488)
Ryzen 7 3800X ($399) 8/16 $350-$399 8/8 Core i7-9700K/F ($374)
Ryzen 7 3700X ($329) 8/16 $300-$349    
    $250-$299 6/6 Core i5-9600K ($262)
Ryzen 5 3600X ($249) 6/12 $200-$249    
Ryzen 5 3600 ($199) 6/12 Below $200 4/4 Core i3-9350K ($173)
*Intel quotes OEM/tray pricing. Retail pricing will sometimes be $20-$50 higher.

With Intel cutting its upcoming Cascade Lake-X HEDT processor line in half (and conveniently not releasing a 16-core part), the field does get a little more competitive for anyone looking at building a holiday system. What is important to note here is that AMD is shifting the line between consumer and high-end desktop higher: users spending $749 on a CPU get a ton of cores, but if they need more PCIe lanes, they have to go even higher to get the latest and greatest (see 3rd Gen Threadripper below). On a different note, AMD did state that Intel’s recent price adjustments had no effect on its product plans.

One side announcement from AMD, regarding all of the Ryzen 3000 hardware, is that every CPU now supports a cTDP down mode through the Ryzen Master software. With the tool, users can select the next power range down from the TDP of the processor. This means that 95W/105W CPUs can be set to run at 65W, then the 65W CPUs can be set to run at 45W, and the 45W CPUs can run at 35W.

AMD is doing this because they have seen a number of customers request high-core count processors at lower TDP values. Rather than releasing a wide array of X and non-X parts to satisfy all different areas of the market, AMD is offering this ‘cTDP down-like’ option for system builders that do want to focus on something like a 65W 16-core processor for their system. This isn’t to say that AMD will not release non-X CPUs in the future (they’re typically cheaper than the X CPUs), but rather than have customers wait for those parts to enter the market, AMD is giving this option to speed up adoption.

AMD 2019 Fall Update 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper, Up to 32 Cores
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  • Quantumz0d - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    First that TDP bullshit needs to go out of window from marketing when you are pushing for AIO OOTB.

    ~175W vs 9900K 210W both can be handled by a same PSU plus a same chassis and a goddamn DH15. What is this whining and shiny bs of TDP in a Desktop, cTDP yuck. Having reduced performance is bullshit esp on such high core CPU machine this is not a BGA macbook pro soldered garbage we are talking about nor a BIOS chastitized Machine.

    Now price, $600 over 3700X ? For a superbinned processor at $800ish ? Why such high price. Also their 3800X doesn't make any sense no one recommends it, GN also ingores it. Yeah AMD just wants to squeeze out all margins, one can understand that due to 7nm costs plus AMD state of CapEx vs Intel. Still their mediocrr perf Improvements over their multi SKU confusion is bad, not to forget the insane expensive X570 chipset on 12nm.

    I was in market for this year and I wanted to wait for TR plus Z390 future. Its a shame Z390/9900Kx platform is dead for LGA 12xx now a big kick in nuts that even CPU is outdated. With AMD I was ready for $700 Xtreme purchase too, going to OCN and seeing GB boards having BIOS issues and all of AM4 playing hit and miss with their beta testing bullshit BIOS patches rolling is a hell, to make it worse the DRAM is hit with Speed stability plus overall vCore, Even Trident Z at fclk, mclk, uclk plus DRAM is a huge pain of trial and error just because to get proper perf forget OC and that PBO, XFR2 marketing BS. And Ryzen Master requirement.

    Intel Z390 Dark was my choice for other now with dead platform on one side and unstable on one with useless Gen 4..For now, yeah maybe future its good but chipset fan again, all OCN shows high RPM for that.

    TR4 again same chipset fan bs with insane price at $1500+ base on top AIO, Mega expensive mobos at over +600.. With zero backwards compatibility, AND once 2021 DDR5 hits it's dead. The $2000 CPU is gone outdated.

    HEDT Intel won this time 7xxx to 10xxx and stable platform. Gen 3 x16 2080Ti wont max it out..and Mainstream AMD is better but still expensive and huge fragmentation lineup and unstable.

    Will wait for Comet Lake and Zen 4000.
  • Quantumz0d - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    Higher Vcore & Higher DRAM voltage*
  • Korguz - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    Quantumz0d, wait.. you are calling AMD expensive ?? have you not seen, or remember the prices intel was charging for its cpus before Zen ?? how the fact that going from 9xxx series to 10xxx saw what some might call massive price drops ?? the top chip for 10xxx is 1k less then the 9xxx chips.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    Anandtech really need an ignore feature in the comments.
  • Spunjji - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    I'd not be seeing fully 50% of them by now. It would be nice.
  • Slash3 - Saturday, November 9, 2019 - link

    Very much so.
  • Total Meltdowner - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    Its still 2019.
    DDR5 is easily almost 1.5-2 years away for average consumer.
    TR3 looks like a very solid platform for many HEDT users at a very respectable price.
    I think you're overreacting.
    I have a 1800x. I was going to buy the 3950x but if the perf isnt that much better I may just get the 3700x and keep everything else the same in the computer.
    Waiting for ryzen 4k may be a good idea for you but man that's a long wait.
  • Spunjji - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    This reads suspiciously like someone trying - at length - to post-hoc rationalize their pre-existing decision not to buy any AMD products. You don't need to justify that irrational desire to anyone else; just go with it! The attempt to do so ends up making you look more biased because you had to pick feeble, irrelevant and/or hypocritical reasons.
  • Sychonut - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    Eagerly looking forward to Intel's 14+++++++.
  • PixyMisa - Thursday, November 7, 2019 - link

    So the TRX40 is basically a fully-enabled X570? (That is, a Ryzen 3000 I/O die.)

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