AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Review

Enthusiast desktop processor released in 2019 with 12 cores and 24 threads. With base clock at 3.8GHz, max speed at 4.6GHz, and a 105W power rating. Ryzen 9 3900X is based on the Matisse 7nm family and part of the Ryzen 9 series.
Price 93.3%
Speed 88%
Productivity 96%
Gaming 95%
Category Desktop
Target enthusiast
Socket Compatibility AM4
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included Yes
Overclock Potential 1 %
Year 2019 Model
Price 420 USD
Number of Cores 12 Cores
Number of Threads 24 Threads
Core Frequency 3.8 GHz
Boost Frequency 4.6 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 4.6 GHz
Power Consumption 105 W
Manufacturing Process 7 nm
L3 Cache 64 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 128 GB
Price-Value Score 93.3 %
Speed Score 88 %
Productivity Score 96 %
Gaming Score 95 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 12.3 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 6.2 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 3.1 %
Overall Score 60/100

The Ryzen 9 3900X is one of AMD's enthusiast Desktop processors. It was released in 2019 with 12 cores and 24 threads. With base clock at 3.8GHz, max speed at 4.6GHz, and a 105W power rating. The Ryzen 9 3900X is based on the Matisse 7nm family and is part of the Ryzen 9 series.

Ryzen 9 3900X is also the successor of AMD's last gen Ryzen 7 2700X processor that was based on the Zen+ and 12nm process and was released in 2018.

This processor packs 12-cores and 24-threads in a mainstream package for the first time, and does it at a similar price point as the Core i9-9900, a processor with just 8-cores and 16-threads.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X marks yet another blast from Team AMD, ramping up the intensity of the AMD vs Intel processor war. Still, though, there’s more than just core counts when it comes to a mainstream processor, as single-core performance needs to be on point, especially if you’re hoping to play the best PC games.

Now, we're asking ourselves whether or not the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X finally dethrones the Core i9-9900 as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Ryzen 9 3900X doesn't reach the same single-core performance as Intel, but we're starting to see more games adopt multi-threaded CPUs, so that doesn't matter as much.

AMD Ryzen 9 3rd Generation, and the Zen 2 architecture itself, is notable because it leads 7nm processors to the mainstream for the first time. But, there’s a lot more going on under the hood than just a smaller manufacturing node.

Increased IPC improvements, along with the massive turbo boost of 4.6GHz mean that even in single core performance – long a weak link of AMD’s processors – comes within reaching distance of rival chips.

One thing that the switch to 7nm silicon has allowed for however, is an increase in cache size. AMD is now describing its L3 and L2 cache in a combined spec of 12 x 512 kB and 64. But, because the 7nm CPU cores are contained within their own chiplets, AMD was able to pack much more in – with a whopping 12 x 512 kB and 64. This is a really big deal, as it allows for much faster performance, especially when you’re shooting for high framerates in 1080p games, and will be especially effective in old esports titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

It shouldn’t be too terribly surprising that a 12-core, 24-thread processor with a 4.6GHz boost clock performs like an absolute monster. The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is straight up the fastest piece of silicon you can buy without wading into the HEDT scene – at least until moving to the Ryzen 9 3950X.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 12 cores, 24 threads and high price tag. If you’re looking for the absolute best processor money can buy on a mainstream processor, then look no further. Whether you’re playing PC games or even doing hardcore video and 3D work, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Core i9-9900 will still perform a little better. Old games that are completely single threaded, like World of Warcraft, will still run better on an Intel processor – but that gap is definitely starting to narrow.

Over the last couple years, AMD has been reaching for dominance in the desktop CPU world, and with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, it's finally there.

AMD's Zen 2 series has landed, upping the ante with Intel in its high-stakes game for desktop PC market dominance with a well-rounded lineup of new chips that push mainstream platforms to higher core counts and more raw compute than we've ever seen. As a result, Intel's commanding presence in the enthusiast space is threatened in a way we haven't seen in over a decade.

The Ryzen 9 3900X slots in beneath the Ryzen 9 3950X, which comes with 7nm compute die to yield a 16-core 32-thread part. AMD has worked wonders to reduce the impact of this sort of multi-chip arrangement, but it's fair to assume that the Ryzen 9 3900Xs single-compute-die design, paired with a higher TDP rating that facilitates more aggressive boost clocks, could actually rival the Ryzen 9 3950X in some applications – games included.

The Ryzen 9 3900X takes the basic ingredients of the Zen 2 microarchitecture, which brings an average of 15% more instructions per cycle (IPC) throughput, and 7nm process and melds them into a high-performance chip that is impressive across our test suite, especially when we factor in the competitive pricing, backward compatibility with most AM4 socket motherboards, unlocked overclocking features, and bundled cooler.

As we've seen, gaming remains an advantage for Intel, so if squeezing out every last frame is all you care about, Intel's processors are a good choice. Much of that performance advantage will be less noticeable when gaming at higher resolutions, or if you pair the processors with a lesser graphics card.

Out of the box, the Ryzen 9 3900X is a better all-arounder than the Core i9-9900 and offers incrementally higher performance than its downstream counterpart. The bundled cooler reduces platform costs, and a wide array of motherboards offers plenty of choices for builders.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, like the rest of AMD's Matisse processors, is built on a 7nm manufacturing node – the smallest in a commercially available CPU. What this means for most people is lower power consumption and much improved performance at the same time.

This decision to 7nm has brought a beefy 15% boost to IPC (instructions per clock) performance. Effectively, compared to a Ryzen 9 2-Generation processor at the same clock speed, you will get a straight 15% increase in performance. That’s not big enough to be evident in day-to-day workloads, but it does still mean something.

What this all means is that the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is an absolute beast when it comes to multi-threaded workloads, especially at this price point. If you're counting on doing some video editing or compiling one hell of an Excel spreadsheet, you're going to see firsthand a performance boost with the Ryzen 9 3900X.

Bear in mind, however, that if you already have something like the Ryzen 7 2700X, this generation doesn't offer the biggest boost in performance. You might want to wait another year or so before dropping a few hundred bucks, or even opt to splurge on a higher-end but pricier chip.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the Intel chip if you don't tune up the Core i9 processor. The base performance we showed for the Ryzen 9 3900X can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Core i9-9900 will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core desktop processor that was released in Jul 2019. AMD offers the Ryzen 9 3900X without integrated graphics. It runs $420 shipped and is ideal for those that plan on using it a system with a dedicated graphics card.

One of the nice things about the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X processors is that the retail boxed models come with a CPU cooler. So, you can pick something like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X up for $420 and don’t need to spend any extra money on CPU cooling.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X retail boxed processor comes with the traditional ‘pancake’ CPU cooler. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done on this processor which is rated at 105W TDP. You do not need to have an aftermarket cooling solution unless you want to.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X seems to be a decent performing chip that is readily available for $420 at your favorite retailer. The main competition for this processor is the Core i9-9900 8-Core unlocked desktop processor with Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics ($505 shipped).

With Ryzen 9, AMD continues to innovate on its new architecture and 7nm process. Like Ryzen 9, AMD has engineered Ryzen 9 to operate on a AM4 chipset with all the modern amenities of computing. This includes support for DDR4 RAM, the fastest NVMe SSDs and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Now the biggest question is can AMD’s Ryzen 9 processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 95% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Ryzen 9 3900X proves it has the chops to be your main gaming system and a just as effective media creation platform – two things that are becoming intrinsically connected in this age of live-streaming, eSports and uploading gameplay videos.

The Ryzen 9 3900X clocks up to 4.6Ghz just as it promises on the box, and with AMD’s software you can take one of the cores all the way up to 4.7GHz. However, don’t expect to get much beyond that without seriously upgrading your cooling solution and manually tweaking voltages behind the operating system level.

That said, to squeeze out all the potential of this surprisingly potent enthusiast chip, you’ll want (and need) to splurge on an enthusiast-grade X370, X470, X570 motherboard.

Fresh from a successful roll-out of mainstream Ryzen 9 CPUs, AMD's attack on Intel now extends down into the enthusiast with its Ryzen 9 3900X processors, which the company is making available as of Jul 2019.

Right out of the gate, Ryzen 9 should sell for $420, going up against Intel's almost-$505 Core i9-9900. In threaded workloads, the 12-core Ryzen 9 should enjoy an advantage against Intel's 8-core models. Of course, AMD doesn't give you integrated graphics like Intel does, but for enthusiasts building cheap gaming PCs, it isn't much of a draw anyway.

Although the 105W-rated cooler doesn't feature a copper base or the LEDs found on AMD's higher-end thermal solutions, it does handle Ryzen 9's heat output deftly enough to facilitate XFR-triggered frequencies. This gives you an extra 200 MHz. We were even able to overclock the Ryzen 9 3900X to 4.8 GHz within a reasonable temperature range. The fan also blows down onto the motherboard, which provide additional cooling around the socket. If you need more bling, AMD recently announced that it now offers the LED-equipped cooler separately.

Like all other Matisse chips, the Ryzen 9-series CPUs drop into any Socket AM4 motherboard. But most will find a home on boards equipped with the A320 chipset, which has provisions for overclocking and offers plenty of connectivity options. Unlike Intel, AMD plans to utilize its current socket until 2020, so upgrading to future models shouldn't require a new motherboard.