AMD Threadripper 3990X Review: A 64-Core Multithreaded Beast Unleashed

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X - SANDRA, PCMark, And Geekbench

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmwares were up to date, then we entered each system's respective BIOS / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance" defaults. We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported speed for the given platform (without overclocking). The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed and fully updated.

amd threadripper 3990x on mobo
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

When the Windows installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers necessary for our components, disabled Auto-Updating and Windows Defender, and installed all of our benchmarking software. When that process was done, we performed a disk clean-up, cleared any temp and prefetch data, and optimized all of the SSDs using Windows' built-in utility. Finally, we enabled Windows Focus Assist to minimize any potential interruptions and let the systems reach an idle state before invoking any tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head
3990x test systems
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2020
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2020, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that partially comprise the suite with the Core i9-9900KS (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper processors running at default settings, with 32GB of DDR4 RAM running at 3,200MHz, in quad-channel mode, on the MSI Creator TRX40 motherboard.

3990x san cpu  3990x san mm
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
Processor Arithmetic
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

3990x san mem  3990x san cache
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
Memory Bandwidth
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
Cache And Memory

SANDRA revealed some interesting things with the Threadripper 3990X. First and foremost are the huge Processor Arithmetic and Multi-Media scores. These two tests are multi-threaded, and can leverage the immense resources available in the CPU. As a result, the Threadripper 3990X blows past even the 32-core Threadripper 3970X by a wide margin. In terms of cache and memory bandwidth, however, the Threadripper 3990X trails its lower core-count counterparts by a few percentage points. Whereas the Threadripper 3970X offered up over 63GB/s of peak memory bandwidth, the 3990X barely broke 55GB/s, with the exact same memory configuration. The additional contention for bandwidth over the Infinity Fabric links connecting all of the chiplets to the IO die is a potential reason for the 3990X's reduced memory bandwidth.

Synthetic CPU Testing

In the GeekBench test, we're stressing only the CPU cores in a system (not graphics or GPU architecture), with both single and multi-threaded workloads. The tests are comprised of encryption processing, image compression, HTML5 parsing, physics calculations and other general purpose compute processing workloads.

geekbench 3990x

The version of Geekbench we used for testing doesn't seem to scale past 64-threads. As such, the Threadripper 3990X's additional resources are left idle, and its lower boost clocks and memory bandwidth push it down a couple of rungs, to where it slots in just behind the Threadripper 3960X.
PCMark 10
System Level Benchmark
Next, up we have some full-system testing with PCMark. We're reporting all test results from the PCMark 10 benchmark suite, including the Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation and and total PCMark score. The Essentials test covers workloads like web browsing, video conferencing and app start-up times, while Productivity tests everyday office apps from spreadsheets to word processing. Finally, the Digital Content Creation test evaluates performance of a machine with respect to photo and video editing, as well as rendering and visualization.

pcmark 10 3990x

PCMark 10 doesn't use all of the resources available in the Threadripper 3990X either. Here, AMD's new flagship HEDT processor still manages to outpace the previous-gen Threadrippers and all of Intel's HEDT processors, though.  Regardless, it's the higher-clocked, mainstream platforms that take all of the top spots in this benchmark.

With more taxing, heavily-threaded workloads, however, the pecking order changes dramatically...we're getting there...

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