AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X Review

High-end server processor released in 2019 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 3.7GHz, max speed at 4.5GHz, and a 280W power rating. Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is based on the Castle Peak 7nm family and part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.
Price 58.4%
Speed 87%
Productivity 132%
Gaming 91%
Category Server
Target high-end
Socket Compatibility sTRX4
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included No
Overclock Potential 1 %
Year 2019 Model
Price 1990 USD
Number of Cores 32 Cores
Number of Threads 64 Threads
Core Frequency 3.7 GHz
Boost Frequency 4.5 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 4.5 GHz
Power Consumption 280 W
Manufacturing Process 7 nm
L3 Cache 128 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 2048 GB
Price-Value Score 58.4 %
Speed Score 87 %
Productivity Score 132 %
Gaming Score 91 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 22.7 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 11.3 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 5.7 %
Overall Score 53/100

The Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is one of AMD's high-end Server processors. It was released in 2019 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 3.7GHz, max speed at 4.5GHz, and a 280W power rating. The Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is based on the Castle Peak 7nm family and is part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.

Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is also the successor of AMD's last gen Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX processor that was based on the Zen+ and 12nm process and was released in 2018.

This processor packs 32-cores and 64-threads in a mainstream package for the first time, and does it at a similar price point as the Xeon Gold 6230R, a processor with just 26-cores and 52-threads.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 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 Threadripper 3970X finally dethrones the Xeon Gold 6230R as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 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 Threadripper 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 4.5GHz 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 32 x 512 kB and 128. But, because the 7nm CPU cores are contained within their own chiplets, AMD was able to pack much more in – with a whopping 32 x 512 kB and 128. 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.

Finally, the shrink down to 7nm allows for much better energy efficiency. Because of the Zen 2 architecture, AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3 Generation processors like the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and Ryzen Threadripper 3960X should be up to 58% more efficient than comparable Intel processors. This isn’t the most noteworthy feature here, but, hey, it should translate to lower electricity bills, and in today’s economy every little bit helps, right?

It shouldn’t be too terribly surprising that a 32-core, 64-thread processor with a 4.5GHz boost clock performs like an absolute monster. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is straight up the fastest piece of silicon you can buy without wading into the HEDT scene – at least until moving to the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 32 cores, 64 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 Threadripper 3970X can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Xeon Gold 6230R 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 Threadripper 3970X, 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 Threadripper 3970X slots in beneath the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, which comes with 7nm compute die to yield a 64-core 128-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 Threadripper 3970Xs single-compute-die design, paired with a higher TDP rating that facilitates more aggressive boost clocks, could actually rival the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X in some applications – games included.

We covered the deep dive details of the Zen 2 chip design in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X and Ryzen Threadripper 3960X review, so head there for more information on the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X's architecture, which is identical to the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X.

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.

Value seekers who aren't afraid to press the Precision Boost Overdrive button and have sufficient cooling should look to the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X for roughly equivalent performance to the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, particularly if gaming factors heavily into the buying decision. That could save you money, reinforcing our decision to give the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X an Editor's Choice award.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, like the rest of AMD's Castle Peak 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 Threadripper 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 Threadripper 3970X 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 Threadripper 3970X.

Bear in mind, however, that if you already have something like the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, 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 Xeon Gold processor. The base performance we showed for the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Xeon Gold 6230R 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.

The gaming tests with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti installed in the test system showed the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X was more capable than many might have expected. The basic high-end processor from AMD that can be picked up for $1990 was able to out perform the Xeon Gold 6234 that runs $2216 shipped in the three games we tested on. We know that you can’t test on just three games and declare something the overall victor, but it just goes to show that 32-core processors can still manage to get by today. Being able to play current game titles and stream to Twitch on the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X was something we give playable results, but we were pleasantly surprised. As games become more threaded the ‘value’ in a 32-core processor continues to go down, but you can still get by with something like the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X in a pinch.

Like its bigger Ryzen Threadripper brother, these high-end processors are all about packing more cores and hyperthreading. The Ryzen Threadripper 3970X sits at the top of the Ryzen Threadripper family, featuring 32-cores and 64-threads with a base clock speed of 3.7GHz that punches up to a maximum of 4.5GHz. It’s an impressive processor that not only beats Intel’s Xeon Gold and Xeon Gold processors, but also manages to turn its nose up at the 32-cores series.

With Ryzen Threadripper, AMD continues to innovate on its new architecture and 7nm process. Like Ryzen Threadripper, AMD has engineered Ryzen Threadripper to operate on a sTRX4 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 Threadripper processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 91% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 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 Threadripper 3970X clocks up to 4.5Ghz just as it promises on the box, and with AMD’s software you can take one of the cores all the way up to 4.6GHz. 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 high-end chip, you’ll want (and need) to splurge on an enthusiast-grade TRX40 motherboard.

Like all other Castle Peak chips, the Ryzen Threadripper-series CPUs drop into any Socket sTRX4 motherboard. But most will find a home on boards equipped with the TRX40 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.

Which GPU to Pick for AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

Below is a comparison of all graphics cards average FPS performance (using an average of 80+ games at ultra quality settings), combined with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X.

GPU Price Cost/Frame Avg 1080p Avg 1440p Avg 4K
NVIDIA TITAN RTX 24GB $2,499 $17.1 145.8 FPS
127.5 FPS
81.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB $1,299 $9.1 142 FPS
124.2 FPS
79.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB $699 $5.4 128.8 FPS
111.6 FPS
70.8 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN V 12GB $2,999 $24.3 123.5 FPS
108 FPS
70.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB $699 $5.7 121.8 FPS
104.4 FPS
65.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB $759 $6.7 114.1 FPS
99.5 FPS
63.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB $499 $4.4 113.5 FPS
96.1 FPS
60.9 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB $1,199 $10.7 111.9 FPS
96.1 FPS
62.3 FPS
AMD Radeon VII 16GB $699 $6.2 111.9 FPS
95.4 FPS
59.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB $399 $3.7 109 FPS
92.8 FPS
57.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB $499 $4.6 107.5 FPS
89.8 FPS
57.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB $400 $3.9 101.8 FPS
83.6 FPS
52.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB $349 $3.5 99.9 FPS
85.2 FPS
53 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB $499 $5.1 97 FPS
81.4 FPS
50.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB $350 $3.7 95.8 FPS
76.9 FPS
47.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB $279 $3 94.2 FPS
79.6 FPS
49.5 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 295X2 4GB $1,499 $16.5 90.9 FPS
75.2 FPS
50 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB $499 $5.5 90.6 FPS
77.3 FPS
48 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB $409 $4.6 89.8 FPS
75.4 FPS
46.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB $999 $11.4 87.3 FPS
72.4 FPS
45.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB $279 $3.3 85.5 FPS
71.7 FPS
44.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB $399 $4.7 84.9 FPS
72.2 FPS
44.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB $399 $4.8 82.7 FPS
68.8 FPS
42.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB $229 $2.8 80.6 FPS
67.7 FPS
42.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB $649 $8.5 76 FPS
63.5 FPS
39.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB $220 $2.9 75.8 FPS
63.7 FPS
39.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB $279 $3.9 72 FPS
58.6 FPS
35.7 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY X 4GB $649 $9.4 69.1 FPS
60.3 FPS
38.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB $160 $2.4 66 FPS
55.3 FPS
34.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 8GB $199 $3 65.4 FPS
53.3 FPS
32.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB $549 $8.4 65.2 FPS
53.8 FPS
33.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB $229 $3.6 63.8 FPS
51.9 FPS
31.4 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB $649 $10.3 62.8 FPS
53.9 FPS
34.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK 6GB $999 $16.4 60.9 FPS
49.9 FPS
32.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY 4GB $549 $9.3 59.3 FPS
50.8 FPS
31.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB $254 $4.3 59.2 FPS
48.6 FPS
30.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 4GB $169 $2.9 58.7 FPS
47.9 FPS
29 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB $429 $7.5 57.1 FPS
48.7 FPS
30.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 3GB $170 $3 56.2 FPS
46.2 FPS
28.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB $329 $6 55.2 FPS
44.9 FPS
29.1 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB $400 $7.4 53.7 FPS
45.3 FPS
28.9 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB $329 $6.2 53.3 FPS
44.4 FPS
26.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB $169 $3.2 52.6 FPS
43.9 FPS
26.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB $149 $3 50.3 FPS
41.9 FPS
26 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB $179 $3.8 47 FPS
39.3 FPS
24.4 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB $229 $5.8 39.5 FPS
32.7 FPS
20.7 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB $249 $7 35.5 FPS
29.5 FPS
17.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB $199 $5.7 35.2 FPS
29.2 FPS
17.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB $169 $4.9 34.7 FPS
28.9 FPS
17.9 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB $279 $8.1 34.4 FPS
28.8 FPS
16.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB $199 $5.9 33.9 FPS
28 FPS
17.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB $169 $5.7 29.5 FPS
24.3 FPS
14.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB $99 $3.6 27.3 FPS
22.3 FPS
13.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB $159 $5.9 26.8 FPS
21.8 FPS
13.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB $149 $5.7 26.3 FPS
20.5 FPS
13.1 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB $149 $5.7 26.1 FPS
19.8 FPS
12.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB $140 $5.8 24.1 FPS
19.7 FPS
12.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB $149 $6.4 23.3 FPS
17 FPS
10.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB $79 $4.1 19.1 FPS
15.7 FPS
9.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 2GB $79 $4.3 18.2 FPS
14.9 FPS
8.8 FPS
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