AMD’s Ryzen 3900X and 3950X are two supremely powerful processors that would be considered unimaginable just a few years ago. With huge core counts, high clock speeds, and great overall performance, they put Intel’s mainstream and HEDT chips to shame.
But which one should you buy? There’s a big price gap between them, so pitting the Ryzen 3950X against the 3900X might help us find out which is the best of the two. If you don’t quite fancy spending over $500 on a CPU, check out AMD’s other great processors.
Pricing and availability
The AMD Ryzen 3950X was initially scheduled for a September 2019 release, but that was pushed back to November over alleged issues with hitting its rated clock speed. It was eventually unveiled and released in November 2019 for $750. Similar to the 3900X, you can commonly find the 3950X for $750, with many retailers marking them down to around $710.
Availability isn’t an issue for either processor. As AMD’s top Ryzen chips, you can find the 3900X and 3950X from most retailers.
The Ryzen 3900X was the flagship chip of this Ryzen generation (before the 3900XT, that is). The 3950X beats both. These are both extremely powerful, high-end CPUs. They’re arguably HEDT chips, despite their targeting of the more mainstream sector, and their specifications reflect that. They’ve each been found faster than Intel’s most capable HEDT CPUs, too.
|CPU||Cores||Threads||L3 cache||Base clock||Boost clock (single core)||TDP|
|AMD Ryzen 3900X||12||24||64MB||3.8GHz||4.6GHz||105w|
|AMD Ryzen 3950X||16||32||64MB||3.5GHz||4.7GHz||105w|
The biggest differences between these two CPUs are their core and thread counts. With an additional four cores and eight threads, the Ryzen 3950X is the more capable multithreaded CPU. Finding tasks that can take advantage of that many cores and threads, though, is another matter. Unless you are doing heavy video editing or video transcoding, then you are unlikely to really make use of those additional threads. They would certainly be spinning their wheels in gaming.
Indeed, the 3900X is arguably an overkill CPU just for gaming, but if you game and stream at the same time, both of these CPUs excel. Amazingly, considering its additional cores, the 3950X is slightly faster than the 3900X at gaming too, but only slightly.
When it comes to the raw power of these high-end chips, the question really is whether you can make use of the extra cores and whether saving those few seconds (or maybe minutes in the case of heavy workloads) will be worth spending twice as much. The 3950X isn’t twice as powerful, showing the effects of diminishing returns.
TDP is the same for both chips, but note the lower base clock of the 3950X. You’ll want to make sure you have strong cooling for either of these processors, but especially so with the 3950X to make sure it maintains a high boost clock speed.
3900X offers far more bang for your buck, but…
If we look at these two chips purely in the microcosm of this head to head, there are two definitive statements that we can make. The 3950X is the better of the two chips, but the 3900X represents far greater value for money. On a dollar-to-performance basis, there isn’t much of a comparison. The 3950X gives you a couple of extra frames per second when gaming and reduces run times of certain productivity tasks between 10% and 30%, depending on how heavily multithreaded the application is.
If you’re solely a gamer, then there’s a strong possibility you haven’t heard of either of these chips. The 3700X and 3800X are incredibly similar to both new options, but they don’t compare to the 3900X and 3950X price tag. However, if you compare the core usage side-by-side, then the most cost-effective option is the 3900x. We noticed one major downside, though: if your software uses up to 24 threads, chances are pretty likely it’ll do the same with 32 threads.
While that isn’t a guarantee, the odds are high. If that does happen to you, and you’re looking for the quickest multithreaded chip to cut down precious seconds spent transcoding and rendering, then you really should look at the 3950x.
If you have a bit more flexibility in your budget, it’s worth it to check out the Theadripper 3000 CPU. This chip takes multithreaded power to a completely different playing field with its 128 threads and 64 cores.
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