AMD Ryzen 3970X Threadripper Review with 4000MHz DRAM
Published: 7th February 2020 | Source: AMD | Price: |
If you read our Threadripper 3960X review, then you'll know how much we love the performance that the big AMD offering has, and how well they have refined their process when it comes to power and thermal efficiency.
Until now if you've wanted a lot of cores for your video encoding or 3D rendering you had to go with the Intel Xeon processors, which have many things to recommend them but an awful lot to make the average user approach them with caution. Partly price, but largely that the architecture isn't really designed for the desktop user. Whilst the Threadripper CPUs have performance levles which easily matches, and often bests, a Xeon setup the thing that makes them most attractive to us is the understanding AMD have of the type of person who might use them. If the World has seen any massive changes in recent times - beyond rampant politicking by the extreme right-wing - it is that the average person has plenty of creation tools at their disposal. Yes, Autodesk Maya or Cinema4D are still spectacularly expensive, but Blender and similar programs bring that power to the everyman. Equally with the advent of games that allow easy modding and storefronts that provide a simple publishing model more and more bedroom creators are producing models and games and might require the performance of the 3970X without compromising how easy it is to play games. Similar benefits exist in the video world with game streaming on Twitch and other platforms coupled to the rise of the Youtuber and their 4K content, exactly the type of person the Threadripper is aimed at. The regular person can do all the content creation they wish, but without requiring special ECC memory or totally losing the ability to just game when they want.
That is the ace in the AMD Ryzen Threadripper hole. Nearly unimaginable performance, but in a system as happy to play Dead Cells as it is crunching massive videos into uploadable sizes.
We often speak, albeit in hushed tones, that memory is very much near the bottom of your shopping list due to the diminishing returns you get. Sure a faster kit is better than a slower one, all things being equal, but the price differential between a bog-standard 3200MHz kit and a blazing one is substantial. However, when you're at this end of the market with a clawhammer of a CPU and the RTX 2080 Ti it's fair to say that there isn't anywhere else in the system that you can squeeze more performance than by going all-in on the memory kit, and the Patriot Steel is a gorgeous kit with some true speed to it. It shows how well AMD has tackled the slow memory problems of the first-gen Ryzen CPUs. There are the odd tests where we lost a tiny bit, but as a general rule, the 4000 MHz kit is a worthy addition to the TR 3970X.
So if the Threadripper 3960X was a beast, with 48 threads, then the Threadripper 3970X is that but more so. We could tell you all about the performance, but even a cursory glance at our graphs will tell you all you need to know. It is no great surprise that the processor with the most cores and threads also has the biggest performance. If you've been lazy and skipped straight to the conclusion, then a couple of figures demonstrate the Threadripper 3970X in the clearest light. It can render a 4K Blender scene faster than a Core i9-9900K can render a 1080P one. It's twice as fast as the 2970WX was. Similarly, at stock, it has twice the Cinebench R20 performance of a Core i9-10980XE. Despite this, when overclocked, the Threadripper 3970X is still 80W lighter on your energy bill than an overclocked i9-10980XE. Lastly, it doesn't stress any of the VRMs on our TRX40 motherboards beyond 70°C. It's an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Yes, there is a beefy price to pay for all this performance, but less than you'd have had to pay in the past for a Xeon, and with none of the drawbacks. If you absolutely must have the highest calculation performance around, then AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is not only a performance behemoth, but a very usable one too, and wins our OC3D Performance Award.