Review AMD Threadripper 3970X and 3960X Review: Taking Over The High End

Aug 1, 2019
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By default, Numpy and Scipy in Python are compiled with Intel's MKL. This math library provides excellent results with Intel CPUs but quite poor results with AMD. Changing the compile flag to use OpenBlas math library provides significant speedups ( sometimes on the order of 100% ) with AMD processors in Numpy and Scipy. This has been reported fairly often in Puget Systems & Phonorix processor reviews and I've personally seen it in my 3900x use. Just a note I thought would be useful to point out ( as I'm not sure this is addressed in the review )
 
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g-unit1111

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Kind of unfair that the 3175X gets lumped in that category since it's nearly 3 times as expensive as the other CPUs included in the benchmark and has almost double the cores and threads. It's like comparing a Bentley Flying Spur to a Nissan Maxima.
 

delaro

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That is a massive amount of cores and threads that are twiddling their combined thumbs when your gaming. I'm surprised this review focused so much on that aspect. This isn't the kind of chip you buy for that use, this is the kind of chip you buy to make the games.:unsure:
 
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Nov 25, 2019
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3950x currently on sale for 850 euros in Germany compared to 1550 for the 3960x. Really struggling to justify paying almost twice as much when theres nowhere near twice as much performance.
 

larkspur

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Kind of unfair that the 3175X gets lumped in that category since it's nearly 3 times as expensive as the other CPUs included in the benchmark and has almost double the cores and threads. It's like comparing a Bentley Flying Spur to a Nissan Maxima.
Huh? We're comparing high-end CPUs here. Most of the folks buying a threadripper are using it for professional purposes. Why wouldn't we include other high-end CPUs used for professional purposes? The 3175X isn't even the most expensive chip listed. The inclusion of a Ryzen 3950x is a nice comparison for those deciding whether the extra ~$1250 for the 3970x or ~$650 for the 3960x makes sense (not including platform costs). Just as the inclusion of the Intel 3175X helps to decide whether another ~$1000 makes sense to go with a somewhat comparable Intel. In the professional world these price differences aren't nearly as large as they seem. Time=money.

Still upset about abandoning TR4 but I know, I know. That's how it goes... <sigh> oh well :(
 
Why not use a pci-e 4.0 nvme SSD for the tests?

And why having to buy a new Mobo is a Con? Is the only way to support for PCI-E 4.0. This is not a consumer chip, so not having backward motherboard compatibility is not really an issue.
 
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larkspur

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And why having to buy a new Mobo is a Con? Is the only way to support for PCI-E 4.0. This is not a consumer chip, so not having backward motherboard compatibility is not really an issue.
Well, ultimately you're right, it's not a dealbreaker. It's just a PiTA - swapping a CPU is relatively quick. Swapping out an entire mobo + fresh OS and software install takes a lot more time. Like I said, you're right it's not a dealbreaker, but it would have been nice to get a Zen 2 chip in a TR4 mobo.
 
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For the same reason that it's nice that Ryzen 3000 chips work on pre-X570 motherboards: it's nice to have that option. The new chips are still attractive options even without PCIe 4.0.

I know that, heck I have an R5 3600 runing on inexpensive B450 mobo. But if you swap pins around, and you don't have extra ones like it seems AMD had to accomodate the pci-4 support on AM4 socket for its consumer chips, then theres no much you can do right?

Its nice to have, but I still wont think is a Con.
 
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g-unit1111

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Huh? We're comparing high-end CPUs here. Most of the folks buying a threadripper are using it for professional purposes. Why wouldn't we include other high-end CPUs used for professional purposes? The 3175X isn't even the most expensive chip listed. The inclusion of a Ryzen 3950x is a nice comparison for those deciding whether the extra ~$1250 for the 3970x or ~$650 for the 3960x makes sense (not including platform costs). Just as the inclusion of the Intel 3175X helps to decide whether another ~$1000 makes sense to go with a somewhat comparable Intel. In the professional world these price differences aren't nearly as large as they seem. Time=money.

Still upset about abandoning TR4 but I know, I know. That's how it goes... <sigh> oh well :(
Yeah the abandoning of the TR4 socket is a huge disappointment. They could own the pro market if the 3rd and 4th gen TR4s were backwards compatible.

But I do wonder why people would choose to go with the much more expensive Intel these days.
 

yeti_yeti

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Looks like AMD has abandoned their WX branding on higher-end models(2990/2970WX). Other than that these seem very powerful and quite expensive but of course, if you really benefit from powerful multi-core performance, I think you actually get what you pay for here.
 

walter.eckalbar

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Huh? We're comparing high-end CPUs here. Most of the folks buying a threadripper are using it for professional purposes. Why wouldn't we include other high-end CPUs used for professional purposes? The 3175X isn't even the most expensive chip listed. The inclusion of a Ryzen 3950x is a nice comparison for those deciding whether the extra ~$1250 for the 3970x or ~$650 for the 3960x makes sense (not including platform costs). Just as the inclusion of the Intel 3175X helps to decide whether another ~$1000 makes sense to go with a somewhat comparable Intel. In the professional world these price differences aren't nearly as large as they seem. Time=money.

Still upset about abandoning TR4 but I know, I know. That's how it goes... <sigh> oh well :(
Yeah, nothing is really unfair about including the 3175, but I was surprised that power consumption got such little play in the article. I mean, its great that the Threadrippers aren't that much more expensive and bring 24 or 32 cores to the table, while the 10980XE only brings 18, but come on, the 280W TDP vs 165W TDP, and 285W draw vs 182W draw in the power consumption tests is hardly given a nod. Those AMD processors are using 57% more power? How often are they getting 57% better performance? Now, I get it, sometimes you want as much performance as you can get in a single box and power costs are kind of 'meh', but then, at what point do you jump to DP set ups? Its great seeing AMD back in the game and causing price cuts on Intel's chips, but we gotta look at the complete picture. For "enterprise" use, usually power consumption matters.

I also have to echo the criticism that it was a little weird to see so many gaming bench markers at this level. If you're spending ~1000-1500 just for the CPU, I gotta think you have the funds to build gaming-specific computer and let your "enterprise" machine keep chugging away at billable work.... Anyway, that's my thoughts.
 
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larkspur

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...I was surprised that power consumption got such little play in the article.

I also have to echo the criticism that it was a little weird to see so many gaming bench markers at this level. If you're spending ~1000-1500 just for the CPU, I gotta think you have the funds to build gaming-specific computer and let your "enterprise" machine keep chugging away at billable work.... Anyway, that's my thoughts.
Well, they did state that they are still compiling the the power metrics and will update with an efficiency analysis. As far as the gaming goes - sure I agree not nearly as important as the efficiency metrics. They should have prioritized those over the gaming analysis. But including the gaming benchmarks... eh, why not? Doesn't hurt to see, although I skipped through them.
 

TJ Hooker

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Those AMD processors are using 57% more power? How often are they getting 57% better performance?
Looks like a bunch of the applications that scale well with core count have the 3960X performing ~50% better than the 10980XE. E.g. in cinebench it's 56% better. And for the applications that don't scale well to all cores power consumption will presumably be lower.
 

walter.eckalbar

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Looks like a bunch of the applications that scale well with core count have the 3960X performing ~50% better than the 10980XE. E.g. in cinebench it's 56% better. And for the applications that don't scale well to all cores power consumption will presumably be lower.
Yeah, many do, or at least close to it. I see a handful that look to be in the 40% range. But on the things that don't scale as well with increased cores, power consumption might not be proportionately lower. Depends on the implementation and the over head of the code and the package.

Either way, I think its pretty clear that AMD has closed the per thread performance gap enough to let their substantially larger core count and cheaper price tags win the day. Pressure is on intel to respond in the coming generation or two.
 

Zizo007

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My last Intel was the 4770K which was a great CPU. Nowdays AMD is dominating CPU performance and I am very happy with my 4Ghz 1800X. I saw no reason to upgrade the 4770K until Ryzen has launched. Intel will catch up but this might take a year or two. Intel won't be out of business for sure and that would be bad for us since AMD will raise their prices if there is no competition. In the other hand Intel is entering the GPU market which will help them. AMD is currently suffering in the GPU market as they only have the 5700XT which cannot keep up with the RTX series and Big Navi needs a miracle to even match the old Turing architecture; Big Navi won't even be released this year.
 

mac_angel

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still reading the article, on page 4. Just read the part about professionals not taking the time to overclock. I call BS. First off, it contradicts your very specific point at the beginning of the article about the need for HEDT and multicore systems - maximum performance to finish tasks faster. To spend half a day on a decent overclock that will increase productivity for a couple of years is nothing. We're not talking about power freaks trying to squeeze out every last MHz, just as I'm sure you didn't spend that much time in getting to 4.8GHz. My guess is that it took maybe an hour, then some testing.
Second. I know a lot of professionals that get these systems. They overclock, and are very happy that for the past several years Intel CPUs can overclock so easily.
 

g-unit1111

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Looks like a bunch of the applications that scale well with core count have the 3960X performing ~50% better than the 10980XE. E.g. in cinebench it's 56% better. And for the applications that don't scale well to all cores power consumption will presumably be lower.
The 10980XE is looking like a joke compared to the new TRX40 CPUs. I'm surprised that Intel is still sticking with LGA 2066.
 

TJ Hooker

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Doesn't the 3950X only have 24 PCI-E 4.0 lanes? Tom's review of the 3950X states 24 PCI-E 4.0 lanes, but this article states "64 PCI-E lanes":

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-9-3950x-review

So which is it? And that is PCI-E 4.0, right? If not, then maybe 64 PCI-E lanes accounts for both 3.0 (through backwards compatibility) and 4.0 lanes combined?
There's a typo in this article, the 3950X only has 24 (PCIe 4.0) lanes. 16 after taking into account 4 for the chipset connection and another 4 that are typically reserved for an M.2 slot.
 
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g-unit1111

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My last Intel was the 4770K which was a great CPU. Nowdays AMD is dominating CPU performance and I am very happy with my 4Ghz 1800X. I saw no reason to upgrade the 4770K until Ryzen has launched. Intel will catch up but this might take a year or two. Intel won't be out of business for sure and that would be bad for us since AMD will raise their prices if there is no competition. In the other hand Intel is entering the GPU market which will help them. AMD is currently suffering in the GPU market as they only have the 5700XT which cannot keep up with the RTX series and Big Navi needs a miracle to even match the old Turing architecture; Big Navi won't even be released this year.
Yeah I have no reason to buy any Intel CPUs at the moment. I just upgraded one of my rigs from an i7-3820 to a Ryzen 2600 and have been very pleased with the result. At home I have two rigs - one is an i7-6700K and the other is a Ryzen 1700, and I almost prefer the Ryzen rig. At some point I'll probably upgrade that rig to a 3900X but that probably won't be until next year.
 

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