This is shaping up to be an exciting month. Sure, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we can look forward to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, as is always the case this time of year. But outside of all that, AMD and Intel are about to duke it out in the enthusiast space with new processors that push core counts way above what the typical user needs. As a preview of what is to come, a leaked benchmark pits the AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X against Intel's Core i9-10980XE.
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition Specifications
It's important to note that these are different classes of CPUs. As odd as it may seem, the Ryzen 9 3950X is technically a mainstream desktop CPU, though it wields 16 cores and 32 threads of computing muscle. It has a 3.5GHz base clock and can boost up to a max of 4.7GHz, and wields 64MB of L3 cache (plus 8MB of L2 cache and 1MB of L1 cache). The chip is based on AMD's third-generation Zen 2 CPU architecture, and is built on a 7-nanometer manufacturing process.
While initially set to launch in September, supply constraints prompted AMD to push back the release until this month—it launches to retail on November 25, priced at $799.
The Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition, on the other hand, is classed as a high-end desktop (HEDT) processor. It based on Intel's Cascade Lake-X architecture and is built on a 14nm++ manufacturing process. On paper, it has the advantage with 18 cores and 36 threads, with a 3GHz base clock and 4.6GHz Turbo clock. It also features 24.75MB of L3 cache.
Specifications are one thing, but in practice, which is the mightier slice of silicon? We'll have to wait until we have a chance to properly put both chips through their respective paces to answer that question. In the meantime, a couple of Geekbench runs may offer a glimpse.
Ryzen 9 3950X Versus Core i9-10980XE Go To Battle In Geekbench
Credit goes to Twitter user @momomo_us for spotting this enticing match up of two silicon heavyweights. The Geekbench comparison pits a Ryzen 9 3950X against a Core i9-10980XE, according to the Geekbench page.
The configurations are not identical. The AMD system is primed for gaming, whereas the other is configured more as a professional workstation. We also can't speak to certain details, such as whether either of these setups are running production silicon and motherboards, or engineering samples and pre-release boards. Things like mature drivers and UEFIs can have a major impact on performance.
All that aside, here are the leaked results...
Interestingly, the Ryzen 9 3950X comes out ahead of the Core i9-10980XE in both single-core and multi-core performance, in the this particular comparison. AMD's processor scored 5,570 in the single-core test, edging out Intel's chip, which scored 5,453. And in the multi-core test, AMD won with a score of 52,098 versus 51,180.
They're very close—basically a wash, in terms of real-world usage. But remember, AMD is at a core and thread disadvantage, with two fewer cores (16 versus 18) and four fewer threads (32 versus 36). So, this is impressive.
It's also worth noting that the these leaked benchmark runs were done on different versions of Geekbench. The Ryzen setup was run on Geekbench 4.4.2 and the Intel config was run on Geekbench 4.3.4. We're not sure how much that may have played in a role in each one's scores, but they should technically be comparable. However, both setups were running Windows 10, which is important—running the same configuration in Windows and Linux can produce dramatically different scores.
Since neither of these processors are actually available yet, we suggest taking all this with a grain of salt. Not to worry though, plenty of benchmarks and reviews on validated production hardware are right around the corner, so it won't be long until we know for sure how these two chips compare.