AMD 3990X Against Prosumer CPUs

The first set of consumers that will be interested in this processor will be those looking to upgrade into the best consumer/prosumer HEDT package available on the market. The $3990 price is a high barrier to entry, but these users and individuals can likely amortize the cost of the processor over its lifetime. To that end, we’ve selected a number of standard HEDT processors that are near in terms of price/core count, as well as putting in the 8-core 5.0 GHz Core i9-9900KS and the 28-core unlocked Xeon W-3175X.

AMD 3990X Consumer Competition
AnandTech AMD
Intel i9-
SEP $3990 $1999 $2999 $979 $749 $513
Cores/T 64/128 32/64 28/56 18/36 16/32 8/16
Base Freq 2900 3700 3100 3000 3500 5000
Turbo Freq 4300 4500 4300 4800 4700 5000
PCIe 4.0 x64 4.0 x64 3.0 x48 3.0 x48 4.0 x24 3.0 x16
DDR 4x 3200 4x 3200 6x 2666 4x 2933 2x 3200 2x 2666
Max DDR 512 GB 512 GB 512 GB 256 GB 128 GB 128 GB
TDP 280 W 280 W 255 W 165 W 105 W 127 W

The 3990X is beyond anything in price at this level, and even at the highest consumer cost systems, $1000 could be the difference between getting two or three GPUs in a system. There has to be big upsides here moving from the 32 core to the 64 core.

Corona 1.3 Benchmark

Corona is a classic 'more threads means more performance' benchmark, and while the 3990X doesn't quite get perfect scaling over the 32 core, it is almost there.

Blender 2.79b bmw27_cpu Benchmark

The 3990X scores new records in our Blender test, with sizeable speed-ups against the other TR3 hardware.

Agisoft Photoscan 1.3.3, Complex Test

Photoscan is a variable threaded test, and the AMD CPUs still win here, although 24 core up to 64 core all perform within about a minute of each other in this 20 minute test. Intel's best consumer hardware is a few minutes behind.

y-Cruncher 0.7.6 Multi-Thread, 250m Digits

y-cruncher is an AVX-512 accelerated test, and so Intel's 28-core with AVX-512 wins here. Interestingly the 128 cores of the 3990X get in the way here, likely the spawn time of so many threads is adding to the overall time.

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.4

GIMP is a single threaded test designed around opening the program, and Intel's 5.0 GHz chip is the best here. the 64 core hardware isn't that bad here, although the W10 Enterprise data has the better result.

3D Particle Movement v2.1

Without any hand tuned code, between 32 core and 64 core workloads on 3DPM, there's actually a slight deficit on 64 core.

3D Particle Movement v2.1 (with AVX)

But when we crank in the hand tuned code, the AVX-512 CPUs storm ahead by a considerable margin.

DigiCortex 1.20 (32k Neuron, 1.8B Synapse)

We covered Digicortex on the last page, but it seems that the different thread groups on W10 Pro is holidng the 3990X back a lot. With SMT disabled, we score nearer 3x here.

LuxMark v3.1 C++

Luxmark is an AVX2 accelerated program, and having more cores here helps. But we see little gain from 32C to 64C.

POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark

As we saw on the last page, POV-Ray preferred having SMT off for the 3990X, otherwise there's no benefit over the 32-core CPU.

AES Encoding

AES gets a slight bump over the 32 core, however not as much as the 2x price difference would have you believe.

Handbrake 1.1.0 - 1080p60 HEVC 3500 kbps Fast

As we saw on the previous page, W10 Enterprise causes our Handbrake test to go way up, but on W10 Pro then the 3990X loses ground to the 3950X.

GTX 1080: World of Tanks enCore, Average FPS

And how about a simple game test - we know 64 cores is overkill for games, so here's a CPU bount test. There's not a lot in it between the 3990X and the 3970X, but Intel's high frequency CPUs are the best here.


There are a lot of situations where the jump from AMD's 32-core $1999 CPU, the 3970X, up to the 64-core $3990 CPU only gives the smallest tangible gain. That doesn't bode well. The benchmarks that do get the biggest gains however can get near perfect scaling, making the 3990X a fantastic upgrade. However those tests are few and far between. If these were the options, the smart money is on the 3970X, unless you can be absolutely clear that the software you run can benefit from the extra cores.

The Windows and Multithreading Problem (A Must Read) AMD 3990X Against $20k Enterprise CPUs
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • HikariWS - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    Still, I'm worried with AMD.

    Increase clock has been much harder than increase core count. AMD is very aggressive on core count, yes, but has been struggling on clock.

    9900KS is Intel's top notch on this regard. I can assure from personal tests how awesome it is. It idles @ 45º in a Noctua D15S. With Prime95, goes to 80º and holds 5GHz All Core for a few minutes before dropping to 4GHz and holds that undefinitely.

    In real world use, specially gaming and 4K playback, it's able to hold 5GHz undefinitely, I haven't seen its Turbo juice depleat not even once! For anybody who doesn't need more than 8C/16T and benefits more from serial processing, it's the best of the best, and I doubt Comet Lake will bring a competitor to it.

    Intel has been increasing cores in response to Intel, and with exceptions they have been winning in overall performance against AMD CPUs with more core count.

    In the future years we'll face algorithms struggle to scale in parallelism. Most softwares don't benefit from more than 4 or 8 threads, and be allocated to a virtual HT core just reduces opportunity to perform better. When we reach software optimization limits, increasing core count won't benefit users anymore, and we'll face increased demand for serial power.

    Then we go for microarchitecture. AMD are on their brand new one, while litography issues is holding Intel from widely distribute their Sunny Cove, and they are close to finishing their Willow Cove. When Intel finish their 7nm, they will have 2 more powerful microarchitectures to bring to desktop and server market, while AMD is working on their future one.

    Summing that up, I believe in a few years Intel will have consistent performance growth over their generations, while AMD will start struggling.
  • kuraegomon - Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - link

    Oh dear. Intel shill confirmed. What makes me so confident? "Most softwares don't benefit from more than 4 or 8 threads" - anyone who makes that statement in 2020 with the implication that it's a forward-looking statement is clearly being disingenuous.
  • Logic28 - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    This statement...

    Increase clock has been much harder than increase core count. AMD is very aggressive on core count, yes, but has been struggling on clock.

    Frankly is flat out wrong. Yea, a year and half ago you would be fine to say this. But along the entire consumer and pro-sumer line up, AMD destroys Intel, and the Ryzen 3950x has destroyed the single thread count speeds across the entire internet, except I guess in some fan boy universe where they still want to bow down and befriend the Goliath even when it is clearly getting beaten badly by David.

    Look at the actually stats, at each price point AMD cpus are beating intel's at single core, multicore, benchmarks on games, video editing, rendering, bloody compiling, they just are.

    So your statement is flat out a fabrication...
  • clsmithj - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    Should added Linux to the benchmark graph comparison
  • alysdexia - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Stop sayan performance when you mean speed.
    won't -> shan't
  • alysdexia - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    128 cores -> 128 threads
  • alysdexia - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    data has -> datum has
  • alysdexia - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    balance -> proportion; fast:free -> swift:slow; will -> shall; issues -> problems; shouldn't -> ouhtn't; more cores -> feler cores
  • AMDsucksFor3Drendering - Thursday, December 31, 2020 - link

    OMG amd and microsoft are hurting 3d users who bought this useless procesor. I have two 3990x procesor trying to work with 3ds max and vray and I cannot use the whole proccesor. Where is the solution to this problem?

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now