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AMD Ryzen 9 3950X vs Threadripper 2950X vs Intel i9 9960X

After months of Zen 2 leaks and some disappointment at the lack of a release at Computex, AMD has finally revealed the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, which beckons a new era for mainstream computing.

Back in 2011, AMD was the first to launch an 8-core CPU with the FX-8150, but it was the first generation of Ryzen that started to make 8-cores a popular option and forced Intel to up their core count. At the time most people said you didn’t need 8-cores, but with a growth of streaming and content, creation 8-cores has quickly become the norm.

With Zen 2, AMD could be doing the same again, introducing both a 12-core R9 3900X which launches in just under a month, and now the Ryzen 9 3950X which launches in September for $749.

An extra $250 is a big step up from the Ryzen 9 3900X and a combination of low yields and a premium tax for wanting the best chip AMD has to offer will account for this.

Even with that premium, the 3950X is an appealing proposition against its 16-core counterparts and it could force Intel and AMD to change-up their HEDT platforms over the next year. For a start, there was a 1950X and 2950X both on the TR4 socket, so their replacement (in naming terms at least) has seen a complete socket change, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see AMD ditch 16-core and below for Threadripper 3. Thought here was the 8-core 1900X at the same time as the 1700x so maybe not.

So how does the R9 3950X stack up against the TR 2950X and Intel i9 9960X?

Model Cores / Threads TDP L2 Cache L3 Cache Base Clock Turbo Clock Process PCIe DDR4 Support Socket Launch Price Current Price
Ryzen 9 3950X 16/32 105w 8MB 64MB 3.5GHz 4.7GHz 7nm PCIe 4 – 24 Dual 3200 AM4 $749 $749
Threadripper 2950X 16/33 180W 8MB 32MB 3.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 12nm PCIe 3 – 64 Quad 2933 TR4 $899 $829.99
Intel i9 9960X 16/34 165w 16MB 22MB 3.1 GHz 4.4 GHz 14nm PCIe 3 – 44 Quad 2666 LGA 2066 $1684 $1,699.99

I appreciate these are not like for like comparisons, clock speed doesn’t equal total performance, and with the increased IPC of Zen 2, the 3950X should perform better than the 2950X.

As there is no UK pricing I have used Newegg for a comparitive US price

At more than double the price of either AMD chip, the Intel i9 9960X is not looking like a good buy. It looked like a bad buy in comparison to the Threadripper 2950X so it has only gotten worse. I am not an AMD fanboy, and Intel’s defence the i9 9960X outperforms the 2950X in CPU Benchmark.

The main issue the R9 3950X faces is the lack of quad channel memory, which a few people think could be a bottleneck. Then the lack of PCIe lanes could be a big limiting factor for some, however, if you need much more than 24-lanes, then you are probably spending more money on all your components so the 2950X perhaps wouldn’t be on your radar anyway.

With the rumoured increase in motherboard pricing, it will also be interesting to see how the total price of a 3950X based system compares to the TR 2950X. Either way, the Ryzen 9 3950X is probably going to be the 16-core CPU most people choose when it is launched in September.

For me, the price is a little too steep, and I will likely get the Ryzen 7 3700X or 3800x

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