AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64 Core Monster Review
Published: 16th April 2020 | Source: AMD | Price: |
Now that was a lot of fun, and quite eye-opening.
Let's start by repeating something we've said a lot throughout this review, namely that the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X is not for everyone. If you use your computer for a whole range of tasks, then you'll be much better off going for a lower core count processor that runs at higher clock speeds. So many things we threw at the 3990X just didn't know what to do with all these cores. By not using all 64 cores they were more reliant upon the ones they were using running at higher clock speeds, and naturally, when you're cramming 64 cores onto a single chip, there will always be compromises made in the clock speed department. Anyone who read our old Xeon reviews knows that high core counts can greatly limit the speed a processor can run at, in fact, AMD deserves a lot of credit for getting such huge - relatively - clock speeds out of the densely packed die of the TR 3990X. If you want to game and tool around on the net, then 64 cores are too many really.
However, if you have got the application that can maximise the abilities of the TR 3990X, then the results are ridiculously good. The Blender and Cinebench results in particular never stopped being so incredible that we had to laugh out of the sheer number-crunching capabilities of the 3990X. Anyone who has watched a few boxes slowly fills up on a Cinebench run will be left dumbfounded at how fast the 3990X works. The image almost appears as one, instead of appearing piece-meal. The Ryzen Threadripper 3990X has consistently impressed us. The benefits it has to the speed you can get things done is almost incalculable. As we said on the benchmark page it would render 90 minutes of 4K footage in the same time as the Intel 10980XE can render 30 minutes, and that is by no means a slight on the Intel CPU, something we would all gratefully have in our systems should our numbers come up on the lottery. It's just that the TR 3990X is another step forwards in core count and thus rendering speed.
Overclocking showed us how carefully AMD has built the foundation of the user-experience with the 3990X and Threadripper as a whole. If you approach it in the same way, you approach overclocking any CPU with a reasonable amount of cores you'll be left disappointed. But resist the temptation to fiddle with the voltages, just tweak the Offset, let the motherboard limits control the Precision Boost power settings, and you'll be happy as it's possible to be. A glance through our results show how much the tweaked setup - the yellow result - smashes the overclocked - green - result out of the park. Take your time, and it will reward you.
Lastly, the ASUS Zenith II Extreme Alpha was a joy to run. Without this processor in the world, it was difficult to fully understand the changes ASUS had made to it when compared to the original Zenith II Extreme. In actuality, ASUS' original Zenith II Extreme is perfectly capable of handling the 3990X, but when you compare the two back to back, and indeed the ASUS against its rival flagship models, and it's clear that the work on air was a roaring success. We just couldn't stress the power phases on the Alpha, no matter how much we demanded of it. However if for some reason you're a bit limited on funds after spending £4000 on a CPU and are going to be putting a full cover water block on your Zenith II anyways, then the original board isn't to be sniffed at.
Sure, you need a very specific set of circumstances to need 64 cores. Sure, a healthy bank balance is also a necessity, but if you want what the Threadripper 3990X has to offer there is nothing, nothing, around that can touch it for hilariously fast rendering speeds. Someone hand Intel a candle, they are so far in the dark with anything Threadripper has to offer it's actually starting to get a bit embarrassing.
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