Best Eight-Core CPU Battle: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X vs Intel Core i7-9700K

Evil_Overlord

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I find it very interesting that despite the 3800X having more L3 Cache, faster memory speeds, and hyperthreading, the 9700K beats it in all gaming benchmarks. Thanks for the article.
 
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joeblowsmynose

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I find it very interesting that despite the 3800X having more L3 Cache, faster memory speeds, and hyperthreading, the 9700K beats it in all gaming benchmarks. Thanks for the article.
Right? Because "hyperthreading" makes games run waaay faster and clock speeds don't have any impact ... :p

SMT won't really improve game performance and games love high clocks - its straight forward.
 

GoatGuy

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I find it very interesting that despite the 3800X having more L3 Cache, faster memory speeds, and hyperthreading, the 9700K beats it in all gaming benchmarks. Thanks for the article.
Gaming drivers ARE optimized for the Intel line, because all competent programming teams figure "our largest market historically has been for Intel processors". It takes Ryzen specialization to optimize drivers (and installtion-self-modification-options) for them.
 

cwolf78

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The reason why Intel still holds a slight advantage in gaming is inter-core latency. Intel, which are still using monolothic dies with a ring bus architecture, have lower inter-core latency compared to AMD's CCX and chiplet architecture. AMD keeps making strides in reducing this latency each generation with upgrades to their Infinity Fabric and by using large amounts of L3 cache. Intel is going to be using a similar approach to their chip design when they reach 7 nm and they will go through the same teething issues as AMD. (Rumors currently are that Intel are having a lot of difficulty getting their fabric's power consumption under control.) This combined with the projected performance increase with Zen 3 leads me to believe there will no longer be any difference in gaming performance between the two with perhaps a slight edge for AMD. And the best part is, if you're a current AMD customer, you can upgrade to Ryzen 4000 (Zen 3) on your current platform.
 

Redneck5439

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Right? Because "hyperthreading" makes games run waaay faster and clock speeds don't have any impact ... :p

SMT won't really improve game performance and games love high clocks - its straight forward.
Agree totally with you. Hyperthreading in games is basically pointless, frequency is much more important (at least in the current generation with their current IPC). Even today's "modern" games that take advantage of more cores / threads don't typically leverage more than 6 cores in a meaningful manner and will rarely take advantage of all 8 cores. I have found that I get better gaming performance with my 3800X if I disable SMT and increase the overclock for this very reason. With SMT on my max overclock is 4.5Ghz all core @ 1.41V, with SMT off my max overclock is 4.575Ghz all core @ 1.41V. The gaming performance is better with 8 cores 8 threads @ 4.575Ghz than running with stock boost or with running 8 cores 16 threads @ 1.5Ghz.
 
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Redneck5439

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The reason why Intel still holds a slight advantage in gaming is inter-core latency. Intel, which are still using monolothic dies with a ring bus architecture, have lower inter-core latency compared to AMD's CCX and chiplet architecture. AMD keeps making strides in reducing this latency each generation with upgrades to their Infinity Fabric and by using large amounts of L3 cache. Intel is going to be using a similar approach to their chip design when they reach 7 nm and they will go through the same teething issues as AMD. (Rumors currently are that Intel are having a lot of difficulty getting their fabric's power consumption under control.) This combined with the projected performance increase with Zen 3 leads me to believe there will no longer be any difference in gaming performance between the two with perhaps a slight edge for AMD. And the best part is, if you're a current AMD customer, you can upgrade to Ryzen 4000 (Zen 3) on your current platform.
This and the fact that Intel's upcoming 10nm can't support the clock speeds of its current 14nm+++(+?) is why Intel has held off so long with bring 10nm to market. I believe that Intel is already looking at chiplet design after the success that AMD has had and when they bring high performance desktop 10nm it will feature the chiplet design. Intel is already struggling to keep up with AMD in core count and needs to adapt a chiplet design to be able to do so. However the increased latency (of a chiplet design) paired with lower frequency (of 10nm) is exactly why Intel doesn't have high end desktop 10nm processors already on the market or coming to market this year. Their 10nm high core count desktop processors while being much more efficient (and much more competitive with productivity work loads) would loose the one edge that Intel can still boast about - gaming performance. With higher latency and lower clock speeds they wouldn't be able to compete against their current i9 9900K(S) in performance and marketing its better efficiency would be a very hard sell. That is why we see Intel releasing a 10 core 14nm+++(I really don't know how many pluses we are up to now) rather than finally releasing 10nm (desktop).
 

Gurg

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The unbiased Bottom Line take away should be that if you want top performance in gaming (13.5% higher FPS) and Office ( 4.6% better) buy Intel. If you primarily are into quicker performance in video editing, rendering etc buy AMD.

If you are swayed by the inclusion of a $30 CPU air cooler in the purchase price, then you have way more issues that a $300-400 CPU won't help.

Note: article uses charts from seven month old 3600x review.
 

Redneck5439

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Really at this point if you are considering building a new rig you should really hold off for a few more months. Intel is getting the next gen ready for launch right now headed up by the 10900K with 10 cores and 20 threads. By June or July at the latest we will have AMD releasing their Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 series processors. I don't know if Intel can leverage anymore IPC out of their 14nm process or if the 10900K will just be a 9900K with 2 more cores, but AMD is claiming a 15% - 17% IPC increase with Zen 3. Several years ago I would have said its all hype, but AMD has delivered on its IPC claims since they released fist gen Ryzen.

If AMD really does have 15 - 17% IPC increases coming with Zen 3 then they will have the most dominant processors available in any segment (gaming, editing, rendering, anything) by the end of the year. A 10900K with 10 cores, 20 threads and boost clock of 5.2Ghz is impressive but won't be able to save Intel if you compare it to a 3900X with 15 - 17% better performance across the board, which is what the 4900X should be all things being equal.

Now, will this happen? Will AMD finally have a totally dominant processor lineup with Zen 3? I don't know, and neither does anyone else. I don't have a crystal ball and Intel may indeed have something more up their sleeve than just a highly binned 9900K with 2 extra cores. The point is the 10900K should be releasing in a couple months and Zen 3 will be releasing very soon thereafter. If you are planning a new build you may just want to see what they have to offer before building now. At the very least the release of the new processors should drive the costs of existing processors down in just a few months time.
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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The unbiased Bottom Line take away should be that if you want top performance in gaming (13.5% higher FPS) and Office ( 4.6% better) buy Intel. If you primarily are into quicker performance in video editing, rendering etc buy AMD.

If you are swayed by the inclusion of a $30 CPU air cooler in the purchase price, then you have way more issues that a $300-400 CPU won't help.
According to the Amazon links, it's $399 for the 9700K and $339 for the 3800X. That price differential, plus the $30 for the fan, makes it almost a $100 difference. That's a sizable difference; $100 more can almost buy you the motherboard to run that new CPU. You shouldn't so easily diminish the value of that $30 cooler.
 
The Ryzen 7 3700X is a very capable processor that brings the lion's share of the 3800X's performance, but at a lower price point. Keep that in mind at checkout.
Now that’s an understatement. Just had a quick look and the 3700X is about 14% cheaper in the UK while giving nearly identical performance to the 3800X. They perform so closely you have to ask why they both exist and the only answer I can come up with is marketing and squeezing a bit more out of customers who don’t properly research their next purchase.
 

King_V

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Why are the Ryzen 5 3600X scores highlighted, and not the Ryzen 5 3800X?

The unbiased Bottom Line take away should be that if you want top performance in gaming (13.5% higher FPS) and Office ( 4.6% better) buy Intel.
Where did you get those numbers from? Looking at the gaming chart provided for the entire average test suite in this article, for example, even if you assumed that the wrongly-highlighted 3600X was the performance of the 3800X, then 119.0 vs 129.5 fps is an 8.8% advantage for Intel.

If you go with the 3800X's actual stock score of 124.2, then Intel's advantage is 4.3%.

Now, yes, tout Intel's superior game performance of . . about 5.3 fps, if you want to use high-end CPUs combined with high end GPUs to game at only 1080p. Increase the resolution, and that 4.3% starts diminishing quickly.

"unbiased Bottom Line" my hairy butt!
 

Redneck5439

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Now that’s an understatement. Just had a quick look and the 3700X is about 14% cheaper in the UK while giving nearly identical performance to the 3800X. They perform so closely you have to ask why they both exist and the only answer I can come up with is marketing and squeezing a bit more out of customers who don’t properly research their next purchase.
The difference comes really only with the single core turbo at stock and overclockability. I have built several of these systems and overclocked them for customers. I know that most reviews you will find on the internet put both at a 4.3Ghz overclocking limit, but by in large these reviews were done on early bios and as 7nm has matured the silicon is better on processors today than was available at launch. Bottom line is the 3700X on average will overclock to 4.3Ghz all core at 1.3 - 1.34V on average. The 3800X will overclock to 4.4Ghz with the same 1.3 - 1.34V on average. Now there are of course golden samples of each processor but on average these are good stable overclocks with "safe" 24 /7 voltages (every processor I overclock I also utilize an offset whenever possible so that the voltage isn't static). My personal 3800X has a max overclock of 4.5Ghz all core @ 1.41V but as I don't think this a safe 24/7 voltage I have it overclocked to 4.4Ghz @ 1.3V and only use the 4.5Ghz for benchmarking, some gaming (SMT off @ 4.575Ghz) or an odd project.

While one might assume that 100mhz (or 175Mhz with SMT off) isn't all that big of a deal it actually does give very nice boosts in productivity and even gaming performance. If you aren't going to overclock then there really isn't a reason to get the 3800X over the 3700X, however if you are going to overclock it then there are nice gains that can be made.
 
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mitch074

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Now that’s an understatement. Just had a quick look and the 3700X is about 14% cheaper in the UK while giving nearly identical performance to the 3800X. They perform so closely you have to ask why they both exist and the only answer I can come up with is marketing and squeezing a bit more out of customers who don’t properly research their next purchase.
Some people don't want to overclock at all, and some people want to try anyway. In both cases the 3800X is an interesting option. Bang for buck though, the 3700X is better, no question.

Now, top fps is an interesting metric, but what about average and lowest fps? If one added these, AMD would score one more, also in gaming.
 

King_V

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The difference comes really only with the single core turbo at stock and overclockability. I have built several of these systems and overclocked them for customers. I know that most reviews you will find on the internet put both at a 4.3Ghz overclocking limit, but by in large these reviews were done on early bios and as 7nm has matured the silicon is better on processors today than was available at launch. Bottom line is the 3700X on average will overclock to 4.3Ghz all core at 1.3 - 1.34V on average. The 3800X will overclock to 4.4Ghz with the same 1.3 - 1.34V on average. Now there are of course golden samples of each processor but on average these are good stable overclocks with "safe" 24 /7 voltages (every processor I overclock I also utilize an offset whenever possible so that the voltage isn't static). My personal 3800X has a max overclock of 4.5Ghz all core @ 1.41V but as I don't think this a safe 24/7 voltage I have it overclocked to 4.4Ghz @ 1.3V and only use the 4.5Ghz for benchmarking, some gaming (SMT off @ 4.575Ghz) or an odd project.

While one might assume that 100mhz (or 175Mhz with SMT off) isn't all that big of a deal it actually does give very nice boosts in productivity and even gaming performance.
That seems implausible. Starting with, say, 4.4GHz, and gong to 4.575GHz (the 175Mhz increase) . . . that's a clock speed increase of only 4%. And the real-world performance increase in gaming will be less than 4% because other factors (memory subsystem, GPU, etc) contribute to the performance, not just CPU alone.

How is that a very nice boost in gaming performance? If you use a high end GPU and high end CPU, are you really going to do all these overclocking tricks to get maybe, at most, 2-5 fps? That falls into the "unnoticeable" category.
 

AlistairAB

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Yeah, the 3800x is cheaper (in Canada), includes a cooler, is only 5 fps lower on average if you play around 120fps, while being up to 40 percent faster in productivity. And better yet, go buy the 3700x and have an actual valid comparison. Nobody should be buying the 3800x. So I'll save over $100 in Canada and get a faster CPU while losing 5 fps, and get a free cooler.

Btw, one game setting change is all it takes to get that 5 fps back, and you won't even notice the difference in image quality. As the other poster said, the only reason there is a slight deficit is clock speeds and inter core latency, and you can see that if you compare against Intel's HEDT lineup which also doesn't have the advantage of the ring bus and which can fall behind AMD even in gaming.

I don't want Intel to be poor value, but they are not even trying. As we all know, the 9900k should be the price of the 9700k, I won't buy Intel until then.
 
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Makaveli

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Loving the comments so far everyone is pretty much spot on.

The prices outside of the US are not in intels favor.

In Canada right now the i7-9700k is$549 and the X3800 is $449

i7-9900K is $699 vs 3900X is $649

I choose the 3800X vs the 3700X when I did my new build around Christmas because the price different was only $20 at that time.
 
Intel's current line-up needs a price cut....; although I doubt there's room for a Xeon-Scalable cut of 58%, etc. a nice 20% would go a long way...but, if they sell everything they make, there is little incentive currently, even if AMD does offer attractive alternatives...

I personally like both the 9700K/9900K, but, they are indeed darned expensive.

Hopefully those leaked forthcoming socket 1200 prices are inaccurate, as the prices are in some cases 5-10% more... (but I'll draw no conclusions at a price listing of a single Euro-Polish retailer with potential pre-order prices..)
 

Gurg

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Where did you get those numbers from? Looking at the gaming chart provided for the entire average test suite in this article, for example, even if you assumed that the wrongly-highlighted 3600X was the performance of the 3800X, then 119.0 vs 129.5 fps is an 8.8% advantage for Intel.


"unbiased Bottom Line" my hairy butt!
Gaming Performance Avg FPS (Geomean) Entire Test Suite 9700k OC 144.2 divided by 3800x PBO 127.0 =13.5%
99th Percentile FPS
Entire Suite 9700k OC 102.9/3800x PBO 87.2=18%

If you aren't willing to take advantage of the easily available overclocks that can be achieved at safe temps, then you obviously don't really care about performance, but rather about appearances. Temps are not an issue with standard overclocks on Intel with a decent CL cooler.

If you are a gamer and can't come up with the cash for a 9700k and a closed loop water cooler then get the cooler and drop down to a 9600k, OC and you will still get 6.4% more average FPS gaming performance than any current AMD processor.
 

jimmysmitty

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Some people don't want to overclock at all, and some people want to try anyway. In both cases the 3800X is an interesting option. Bang for buck though, the 3700X is better, no question.

Now, top fps is an interesting metric, but what about average and lowest fps? If one added these, AMD would score one more, also in gaming.
No one who is looking at a 9700K is buying to not overclock. In that case people can buy the 9700, which comes with a cooler and is cheaper, and a lower cost Q370 or B360/365 chipset board. Buying a 9700K to remain at stock is pointless.

Honestly its a weird comparison to come out when Intel plans on their 10th gen launch which will move the i9 9900K down making the i7 10700K more like the 9700K and may even drop pricing a bit to make it more competitive. Basically the 3800X will fight the 10700K with equal cores and threads but the 10700K will have clock speed and overclocking advantages.
 

AlistairAB

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Gaming Performance Avg FPS (Geomean) Entire Test Suite 9700k OC 144.2 divided by 3800x PBO 127.0 =13.5%
99th Percentile FPS
Entire Suite 9700k OC 102.9/3800x PBO 87.2=18%

If you aren't willing to take advantage of the easily available overclocks that can be achieved at safe temps, then you obviously don't really care about performance, but rather about appearances. Temps are not an issue with standard overclocks on Intel with a decent CL cooler.

If you are a gamer and can't come up with the cash for a 9700k and a closed loop water cooler then get the cooler and drop down to a 9600k, OC and you will still get 6.4% more average FPS gaming performance than any current AMD processor.
First of all, you don't actually get 6 percent more performance all the time. That is a 2080 ti with a 9600k etc. targeting 1080p high frame rate gaming in certain games. Remember Ryzen 3000's awesome Counter Strike results? Faster than the 9900k.

  1. If your video card is running a lower frame rate in the latest games, no benefit.
  2. If you are running 1440p or 4k, no benefit.
  3. If you don't own a 2080 ti class card, no benefit.
In most cases there is zero difference. But what you will notice is the 3700x is almost 90 percent faster overall vs the 9600k and almost the same price, and that will HURT as the processor ages. Most people have more common sense honestly. I use a 2070 Super, and I can tell you there is zero reason to buy Intel. Ryzen 3000 has equal IPC and won't age poorly like the older Ryzen. The memory system they invented is genius. Same as with Threadripper, there were major problems with the 2000 series and high core counts, but it has all been fixed, you get the best of both worlds now.
 

joeblowsmynose

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Agree totally with you. Hyperthreading in games is basically pointless, ...
One area where it does help is if you have a lower core count CPU, say four or six, and the game engine wants to spin off a thread to load in new geometry, maps, whatever, but its already running four or six, then HT or SMT might prevent a slight stutter.

But that's about it, and as you say, it even sometimes makes games run a bit slower.
 
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