The New Flagship: Ryzen 9 3900X
The Ryzen 3000 series will debut a new product tier for AMD: Ryzen 9. In this case, the Ryzen 9 3900X will be AMD’s first mainstream desktop 12-core processor. The processor is the only one of the group that uses two chiplets, in a 6+6 configuration. The 3900X will have a base frequency of 3.8 GHz, a turbo frequency of 4.6 GHz, and line up with 6 MB of L2 cache and 64 MB of L3 cache. This confirms that each chiplet has 32 MB of L3 cache, doubling what we saw on the first generation of the Zen microarchitecture. This CPU has a TDP of 105W, which for AMD processors is usually a good measure of all-core power consumption, and will be enabled with 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes (16 for GPU, 4 for storage, 4 for the chipset).
Mainstream Madness: Ryzen 7 at 65W
For the Ryzen 7 lineup, AMD is keeping this for the 8-core versions. These CPUs only have a single chiplet inside, and no dummy chiplet. Of the two CPUs in this segment, the one that gets a big shock from us is actually the cheaper model.
The Ryzen 7 3700X is an eight core, sixteen thread CPU with a 3.6 GHz base frequency and a 4.4 GHz turbo frequency. It has 4 MB of L2 and 36 MB of L3 (half the L3 compared to Ryzen 9, because it only has one chiplet), but the amazing thing is that this chip has a TDP of just 65W. Just on paper, it looks like this processor is one of the most efficient x86 performance desktop processors ever made. This is likely the CPU configuration that AMD used in its Cinebench R20 demo back at CES, where it showed R20 equivalent multithreaded performance for 40% less system power. And the price for all this performance? Only $329. If I put my reviewer hat on and look at these specifications at a high level, the Ryzen 7 3700X promises to be the mainstream chip of choice for a substantial number of high-performance PCs this year.
The other CPU in this bracket is the Ryzen 7 3800X. This is going to be the direct upgrade from the current Ryzen 7 2700X, comes with eight cores and sixteen threads, with a base frequency of 3.9 GHz and a boost frequency of 4.5 GHz. It doesn’t seem overly impressive compared to the 3700X with its larger 105W TDP for only a few hundred MHz more on the base frequency, however as we’ve seen with the 2nd Gen Ryzen, that extra TDP headroom usually helps with technologies like XFR that manage the boost frequencies. AMD hasn’t said anything new about how XFR or Precision Boost works in the new generation yet, we have to wait until nearer launch for that information. However the extra frequency and extra TDP will cost an extra $70: the Ryzen 7 3800X will retail for $399.
AMD provided some performance numbers to compare AMD to Intel CPUs. All of these tests are using Cinebench R20, which should be noted is a floating point rendering test that AMD already does well on, but there aren’t any specific optimizations here for each CPU.
Direct chip to chip comparisons put AMD’s single thread performance against Intel at +1%. Though it should be noted here that something like the Ryzen 7 3800X, which boosts to 4.5 GHz, is being compared to an Intel CPU that boosts to 5.0 GHz. That would put IPC on this test firmly in the hands of AMD. Multi-threading results are a similar scenario, although the margin of difference tends to drop the more cores that AMD has access to, perhaps because more cores are fighting to get to the memory with a slightly extended memory latency compared from Intel.