AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.
It’s time to say hello to Ryzen 3000. Now more than ever, AMD is looking to reaﬃrm its commitment to gamers, and the company is stressing all sorts of improvements for third-gen Ryzen and Zen 2, including IPC (instructions per cycle) boosts, clock speed improvements, and more cache and cores. There are over 2.3 billion gamers across the globe, generating over 2 million hours of content on Twitch, which is why AMD wants to make a big play for their wallets.
However, Ryzen has never been solely about gaming performance. In fact, first-generation Ryzen even struggled somewhat in games, especially at 1080p. Instead, Ryzen’s appeal was always about the great balance it oﬀered between games and content creation, and at an attractive price to boot. With Ryzen 3000, AMD is shoring up both these aspects, but with a stronger emphasis on single-threaded performance. That should get many gamers excited, since gaming performance mostly revolves around precisely that. More importantly, improved single-threaded performance will also translate into better performance metrics across the board, since each core can now do more work.
Ultimately, Ryzen 3000 also pivots around the more advanced 7nm process. This enabled up to 29 percent smaller CCX sizes, better performance per watt, twice the cores in the same package, and higher frequencies at the same voltage as the previous generation.
The biggest paradigm shift at the heart of Zen 2 is probably the use of small 8-core chiplets built on TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process. Each chiplet has two CPU core complexes, or CCXes, that house four cores and their dedicated L3 cache.
Next, each Ryzen 3000 chip also features a central I/O die built on Global Foundries’ 12nm process.
The CPU ships with the Wraith Prism cooler in the box.
These are linked to the chiplets via the second-generation Infinity Fabric interconnect, where the I/O die functions as the central hub for all communications going oﬀ-chip. It houses all the processor’s PCIe lanes as well, in addition to the memory channels and Infinity Fabric links to other chiplets. The new Infinity Fabric comes with a couple of major updates, including support for PCIe 4.0, an increased bus width from 256-bit to 512-bit, and power eﬃciency improvements of up to 27 percent.
With the first generation of Infinity Fabric, the frequency was also coupled to the DRAM frequency, which meant that sometimes they were both limited by the nature of the interconnect clock.
Now, AMD has decoupled the Infinity Fabric clock from the main DRAM clock, introducing both a regular 1:1 ratio or a 2:1 ratio that cuts the Infinity Fabric clock in half. If you’re out shopping for RAM, what this means is that you want to aim for what AMD says is the performance sweet spot at DDR4-3733, which is the point at which the Infinity Fabric is tied to memory clock at a 1:1 ratio. Beyond that point, even if DRAM frequency is super high, the slow Infinity Fabric frequency may still limit any performance gains from the faster memory.
The best processor for someone who is both a gamer and creator.
Obviously, this helps with memory overclocking as well, since the 2:1 ratio eﬀectively lets you ramp speeds up without being constrained as much by the Infinity Fabric clock.
The 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X has a base clock of 3.8GHz and boost clock of 4.6GHz. But with the new Auto OC feature, you can enable a maximum boost clock oﬀset of up to an additional 200MHz. This can be configured in 25MHz intervals through AMD Ryzen Master or the motherboard’s BIOS. That said, Auto OC is not intended to be a guarantee of a higher boost clock on any number of cores, and things like frequency and boost duration are still dependent on firmware-managed limits.
The Ryzen 9 3900X absolutely blew past the Intel Core i9-9900K in heavily-threaded benchmarks like Cinebench R20 and Blender. It was also a beast at video encoding, which sets it up to be a darling of Twitch streamers. When it came to games, it didn’t quite manage to beat the Core i9-9900K. But while the performance gap was as wide as 25 percent in certain games like Far Cry 5 at 1080p, that gap narrows as you move up to higher resolutions and settings.
And even in some games like Metro Exodus and The Division 2, the diﬀerence at 1080p was a mere 10- to 20fps.
AT A GLANCE
3.8GHz / 4.6GHz