AMD Ryzen 9 3950X vs Intel Core i9-9900K: The Battle for Mainstream Supremacy

dorsai

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Nov 23, 2013
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To me the Ryzen 9 3950x is a case of the hardware being way out in front of the software...it still feels like over kill for the majority of people. For the average gamer running the average mid-tier GPU the Ryzen 3600 makes more sense than these CPUs...but if money is no problem then neither the 3950x or i9-9900k is likely to disappoint.
 

AlistairAB

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May 21, 2014
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If you build a high end computer, the difference to buy the Ryzen 3950x is less than 10 percent of the total cost of the computer, which is a better way to look at it (the problem with INTEL HEDT and even Threadripper is the total cost is increased by much more than the increase in the CPU cost). It's a no brainer. So no, if you are a gamer, the Ryzen 3950x is still the better option. It's only $250 and you have double the headroom for games lasting the next 5+ years. This is not the 8700k vs 1700x situation where you got a few more cores but lower IPC. The Ryzen 3950x is to the i9-9900k what the 3700x is to the i7-7700k. Double! for almost the same amount of money.
 
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Dec 24, 2019
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Intel - 60 billion unpatchable systemic security flaws. AMD - 16. Winner: AMD

There are no other categories. No one in their right mind should buy Intel CPUs for at least 24 months. Intel has made zero effort to "fix" their chips. Moving hacks from bios into the chip is not a fix. Blocking how one researcher decided to exploit a systemic design flaw is also worthless.

Tired of reading Intel chip reviews that don't note all of the security flaws and whether they've been fixed for each "new" (cough) processor Intel releases.

Reviews that do not contain coverage of these extremely dangerous security flaws are flat out dishonest.
 

xyster

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Dec 6, 2005
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I thought it was a good quick analysis of the two CPU options.

Other commenters here make valid points, so I want to add some of my own.

A few points worth mentioning though:

1. The 3950x is still not available at common retail stores. Here in Canada, it is still on back-order and even then it is priced at ~$840 USD ($1100 CAD ) + taxes. Conversely, I bought a used 9900K in September for $500 CAD ($380 USD), no taxes added, and picked up a used SLI motherboard for $80 CAD. There are plenty of them for sale online, used and cheap.

2. RAM for Ryzen is more expensive than RAM for Intel. Having purchased 64-GB of DDR4 RAM, the added cost of 3600mhz Cl14 RAM that the reviewers were using on AMD builds just was not affordable, let alone available. Intel systems were being tested with 3200Mhz RAM, which was far easier to find at a quad 64GB kit, and much more affordable, so that was the route I took. I went with 64GB @ 3200 CL15 and paid $200 USD, used.

3. Intel includes an iGPU, which is important if you are running two Nvidia GPUs in compute mode. Compute mode is used for machine learning, where the GPUs are not used for video to increase available VRAM. By using the integrated GPU, it's fairly easy to have your twin Titan RTXs doing their thing training an AI model while binge watching Netflix in the background. The Intel chips are also very fast at single-threaded, which is where I personally need speed as my GPUs can handle multi-threaded just fine already.

4. When it comes to video editing and rendering, my video editing suite is 100% GPU-accelerated, from preview rendering, effects generation, and encoding/decoding. If your software does not support GPU acceleration, OK, but CPU-based rendering is highly inefficient....

5. I LOVE That AMD has more PCIe lanes available and THREADRIPPER is a beast. --- again, I just wish I could even find one on sale that wasn't price gouging me.
 
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NightHawkRMX

Illustrious
2. RAM for Ryzen is more expensive than RAM for Intel. Having purchased 64-GB of DDR4 RAM, the added cost of 3600mhz Cl14 RAM that the reviewers were using on AMD builds just was not affordable, let alone available. Intel systems were being tested with 3200Mhz RAM, which was far easier to find at a quad 64GB kit, and much more affordable, so that was the route I took. I went with 64GB @ 3200 CL15 and paid $200 USD, used.
Most people buy 16gb kits right now.

G.skill Ripjaws V 2x8gb 3200mhz CL16 for $60
G.skill Ripjaws V 2x8gb 3600mhz CL18 for $65
G.skill Ripjaws V 2x8gb 3600mhz CL16 for $70

The difference between CL16 and CL14 is very marginal at most, so I wouldn't consider $10 more for faster ram significant.

If you want 32gb, not much changes.

G.skill Ripjaws V 2x16gb 3200mhz CL16 for $115
G.skill Ripjaws V 2x16gb 3600mhz C16 for $135

Still, not a significant premium for 3600mhz.

Even look at 64gb kits.

G.skill Ripjaws V 4x16gb 3200mhz CL16 for $235
G.skill Ripjaws V 4x16gb 3600mhz CL18 for $255

If you want 4x16gb 3600mhz C16 you will have to pay nearly $100 more.
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/hFdrxr/gskill-trident-z-neo-64-gb-4-x-16-gb-ddr4-3600-memory-f4-3600c16q-64gtznc
 

bit_user

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Herald
They might as well have compared it with a i9-9900KS. Forget what the list price says - the going rate for both chips is about the same.

Anyway, given how well the 3700X with PBO manages, in some benchmarks, it's a pity they didn't include the 3800X.

I was quite surprised at how well the Ryzen 3k family did in single-threaded rendering performance. Do we know why? Is it down to larger cache sizes? It's a pity that dominance didn't seem to carry over to virtually any other single-threaded tasks.

Finally, I wouldn't declare an overall winner. The article is clear that it really depends on what you need it for. And, for most people, the i7-9700K and 8-core Ryzen 3000's are a far better deal.
 
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bit_user

Splendid
Herald
@kcarbotte the first table is messed up. It seems a column heading is missing for MSRP, because all the other headings are shifted by one. And whatever went under iGPU seems to have been cut off.

BTW, it's nice to see more of your articles. Happy Holidays!
🎅
 

Loadedaxe

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The problem here is the 3950x is not available. And when it is, they sell between $900-1100 bucks. So unless AMD can get a grip on availability, Intel wins here.

For now, the 3950x is a ghost chip.
 

RodroX

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Aug 4, 2019
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Nice review, thing is at this price point anyone buying this chips is probably using a high refresh panel and/or high resolution, so the cpu doesn't really matter for gaming (1440p or 4k) at those setting the diference gets negligible.

As for the rest If you need the extra threads the 3900X is still a beast with 50% more cores than the 9900K.
 
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bit_user

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How many people who buy HEDT need the extra power?
If you do software development and need to build large projects, it's awesome to have a ton of cores. However, most of the time, I'm just doing incremental builds that involve recompiling a fairly small number of files. So, I'd traditionally trade off core count in favor of higher clocks.

What's interesting is that current gen high-core-count CPUs finally support some impressive turbo numbers, for lightly-threaded workloads. Still, cost/benefit-wise, I'd probably go with 8 cores. I wish I could justify a Threadripper 3970X.
 
Dec 25, 2019
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Hi guys! I think one should compare this Intel to 3900x ryzen. IT has much higher all core clock than 3950x, so you can get higher performance for situations, where you cant use all 16 cores.

And the price for AMD is high in this case. I understand it, but I see 3950x as cpu for hedt users on standard desktop platform whereas 3900x is still interesring for future games - because consoles will have 8core ryzen next year, moře developers will use of 8core cpus.
 

Ninjawithagun

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This review makes absolutely zero sense. Two completely different CPUs were tested against each other. Not in the same class; enthusiast (3950X) vs mainstream (9900K), not even close to the same price point, and even the core counts don't match. HUH?? How about comparing the 9900K to the 3900X? At least they have the same price point and are both in stock today.
 
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dorsai

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Nov 23, 2013
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...It's a no brainer. So no, if you are a gamer, the Ryzen 3950x is still the better option. It's only $250 and you have double the headroom for games lasting the next 5+ years...
The problem I have with this thinking is that you can run a 3600 on $125 board all day long with plenty of choices at that price point. I would hesitate to put a 3950x into the same boards...the ones with suitable VRMs at the low end are few and far between so the reality is that 250$ cpu price difference is more like a $350-400 difference when looking at building a long term reliable system.
 
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bit_user

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This review makes absolutely zero sense. Two completely different CPUs were tested against each other. Not in the same class; enthusiast (3950X) vs mainstream (9900K), not even close to the same price point,
No, there're not completely different market segments. A lot of people considering a $500 CPU could stretch to a $750 option, if it made sense. It's not like one is a ThreadRipper or Intel Extreme CPU, where you can't even use a mainstream motherboard.

and even the core counts don't match. HUH??
Um, did you maybe fall through a wormhole from... 2007? AMD has been competing against Intel with more cores for more than a decade. You need to get over that.

How about comparing the 9900K to the 3900X? At least they have the same price point
Now you're making some sense.

Or, he could've compared the 9900KS vs. the 3950X, which also share similar price points and availability challenges.
 
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lifeboat

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For now, the 3950x is a ghost chip.
It should be available at normal prices within a month. I just checked eBay, and you can currently get it for $919 with no shipping cost so that is a 22.5% premium. More impressively, the 3970x is currently available for $2,172.52 with no shipping cost so that is only an 8.7% premium. And, the 3900x which used to be hard to get, is now available below the suggested retail price on Amazon (with a free cooler!).
 

KublaiKhan

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May 24, 2015
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Intel - 60 billion unpatchable systemic security flaws. AMD - 16. Winner: AMD

There are no other categories. No one in their right mind should buy Intel CPUs for at least 24 months. Intel has made zero effort to "fix" their chips. Moving hacks from bios into the chip is not a fix. Blocking how one researcher decided to exploit a systemic design flaw is also worthless.

Tired of reading Intel chip reviews that don't note all of the security flaws and whether they've been fixed for each "new" (cough) processor Intel releases.

Reviews that do not contain coverage of these extremely dangerous security flaws are flat out dishonest.
I'd like to know why the review doesn't touch on chip security.
 

lifeboat

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Jun 3, 2009
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5. I LOVE That AMD has more PCIe lanes available and THREADRIPPER is a beast. --- again, I just wish I could even find one on sale that wasn't price gouging me.
On eBay, the 3970x is currently available for $2,172.52 with no shipping cost so that is only an 8.7% premium.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
On eBay, the 3970x is currently available for $2,172.52 with no shipping cost so that is only an 8.7% premium.
That's still a lot of money. I'm not saying the CPU isn't worth it, but if previous experience can be any guide, AMD will eventually do some fairly aggressive price-cutting.

Worst case, you might be stuck waiting until they need to clear out inventories for the next gen. Either that, or until Intel manages to release something more competitive.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
1st
I wish that this article compared to the Intel 10th Gen CPUs.
Intel Core i9-10900X, 10920X Desktop Processor 10 Cores up
If you mean instead of the i9-9900K? One thing about the X-series CPUs is that they use a non-mainstream socket, which pushes you into a more expensive motherboard segment.

However, in the charts, the i9-9980XE was included, which also happens to be an X-series CPU. So, if you only wanted it included in the charts, then sure.

I think the author chose the i9-9980XE, because it was the closest Intel has to a 16-core CPU, which makes for an interesting comparison. Of course, it would've been better if he'd gone with the i9-10980XE, but he probably used what he had available and there's not a world of difference between them.

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/compare.html?productIds=198017,189126
 

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