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The AMD Ryzen family completely redefined our expectations when it comes to consumer processors, and Intel struggles to respond. In July, AMD launched a massive 7nm offensive and its Ryzen 9 3900X (Check on Amazon) is one of the best CPUs ever created, and listed as one of our best gaming CPUs. But the story doesn’t end there; AMD left us with the promise of something even more powerful in the future… the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X!
The Ryzen 9 3950X has completely shocked the CPU landscape with its 16 cores and 32 threads, managing to compete with both the Intel Skylake-X Refresh HEDT and AMD Threadripper line. To say that this chip obfuscates the line between consumer and HEDT processors is a euphemism: in fact, it offers HEDT class performance combined with the low price of mainstream motherboards, creating a class of its own. It’s basically a HEDT CPU created for a mainstream socket.
With 33% more cores than the Ryzen 3900X and similar clock speeds, the Ryzen 3950X ends up being about 30 percent faster in applications that can benefit from heavy multitasking, like video editing, 3D rendering etc. For all other tasks, including games, you will be better off with a cheaper processor.
The bitter truth is that despite AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors are very powerful, they are not always the best choice for a PC built for games. Gamers shouldn’t really consider the Ryzen 9 3950X. It costs (Check on Amazon), just for the CPU, i.e. more than an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super (Check on Amazon) graphics card that would be much more advantageous for gaming purposes. The 3950X is a great processor for content creators, but outside professional work is really not necessary.
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X – Features
The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is a processor that packs 16 cores and 32 threads in a chip that can still be housed in a AM4 socket.
It also supports the new PCIe 4.0 standard on the X570 chipsets. This translates in increased bandwidth for both PCIe SSDs and Navi graphics cards. However, if you don’t need all these extras, the Ryzen 9 3950X can also be inserted into an X470 and even into a B450 motherboard (although we do not recommend it).
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X – Performance
From single-core to multi-threaded workloads, the Ryzen 9 3950X is a powerful performer. Its 16 cores work at a basic clock speed of 3.5GHz, but can be pushed up to 4.7GHz. In Geekbench 4, the Ryzen 3950X achieved significantly higher single-core and multi-core scores than the 2018 Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (Check on Amazon) (32 cores). The same goes when compared to the Intel Core i9-10980XE, an 18-core/36-thread powerhouse that was also unable to beat the 3950X.
In Cinebench R15, the 3950X beat the Threadripper 2990WX in single-core performance, but was crushed in multi-core – note that the Threadripper has twice as many cores and threads.
In games, the bottom line is that all Ryzen 3000 processors are great. Starting from the Ryzen 9 3950X and going down to the Ryzen 5 3600 (Check on Amazon), the Ryzen 3000 family offers surprisingly similar gaming performance. In our tests, the Ryzen 9 3950X delivered 2% more fps compared to a Ryzen 5 3600. The Core i9-9900KS, our current champion, was 5% faster.
So the Ryzen 9 3950X is clearly capable of high-end performance, but gamers can get similar performance for a fraction of the price.
The Ryzen 9 3950X is not a “gaming” CPU. Most gamers find it difficult to justify a €300 processor, let alone one that costs three times as much. For a gaming PC it’s much better to pair a mid-range CPU to a high-end graphics card than the opposite.
Where the Ryzen 9 3950X really shines is in the prosumer space (professional-consumer). If you’re doing serious work but you can’t afford a workstation of say $5,000-$10,000, then you can get about the same level of performance with the 3950X, spending thousands of dollars less. What’s more, it’s also a processor more efficient than any workstation or HEDT CPU, since the AM4 platform keeps the TDP on reasonable levels (105 watts).
AMD also deserves a big applause because it has made the CPU space much more interesting in the last three years. Its processors offer great performance, great value, efficiency and much more cores than anything Intel is willing to offer.
Let’s not forget that most users can still do 95 percent of their work (browsing the internet, handling documents and spreadsheets, even some basic photo editing) on a laptop. For more serious tasks like 4K video editing, the 3950X is the best processor you can buy right now.