Nothing compares to AMD’s new $1,999 (on release) AMD Ryzen TR 3970X, one of three premium chips in the third generation of AMD’s mega-CPU series, in the realm of desktop processors below the server level. This chip, which boasts 32 cores and 64 threads, is now the pinnacle of the high-end desktop market.
For anyone who relies on applications that need as many cores and as much power as possible, it is the silicon to long for. The AMD Ryzen TR 3970X and its surrounding platform (anchored by the new TRX40 chipset) break multicore records for its intended use—crushing core-aware tasks—while its single-core results are average.
It is a worthy replacement for the Threadripper 2970WX, which we evaluated, and the Threadripper 2990WX, which we did not test. It also puts pressure on Intel’s rival hardware, particularly the brand-new Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. As one of the top CPUs for content creators, big multitaskers, and scenarios requiring enormous amounts of device bandwidth and memory access, it receives PCMag’s Editors’ Choice award.
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X Unboxing
The new box has a nice design, but it’s difficult to open and once the CPU lock is released, it’s really challenging to put it back in. The CPU has the same appearance as earlier Threadripper CPUs, however it needs a motherboard with the new TRX40 chipset.
The CPU has a sizable heatspreader and is very standard. An Aestek bracket, a manual, a Torx wrench, two stickers—one large and one small—and a warranty brochure are included with the CPU.
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X Specifications
Launched in November 2019, the AMD Ryzen TR 3970X is a desktop CPU with 32 cores. It belongs to the Ryzen Threadripper family and utilizes Socket TRX4 and the Zen 2 (Matisse) architecture. Simultaneous multithreading (SMT) from AMD effectively doubles the number of cores to 64 threads. The Ryzen Threadripper 3970X features 128MB of L3 cache and runs at 3.7 GHz by default, but depending on the workload, it can accelerate to 4.5 GHz. AMD is using a 7 nm manufacturing technology and 15,200 million transistors to create the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X. The chip’s silicon die is manufactured by TSMC, not AMD. The unlocked multiplier on the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X may be freely adjusted, substantially simplifying overclocking by allowing you to select any overclocked frequency.
The AMD Ryzen TR 3970X requires excellent cooling because it consumes a lot of power (TDP: 280 W). The processor from AMD has a quad-channel interface and supports DDR4 memory. The maximum memory speed officially supported is 3200 MHz, but with the right memory modules, you can overclock your computer to go even faster. AMD Ryzen TR 3970X connects via PCI-Express Gen 4 to communicate with other system parts. Because this processor lacks integrated graphics, you will need to purchase a separate graphics card.
The AMD Ryzen TR 3970X supports hardware virtualization, which significantly boosts virtual machine performance. This processor can run programs that make use of Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), which improves performance for applications that require lots of calculations.
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X Specs
|# of CPU Cores||32|
|Unlocked for Overclocking||Yes|
|Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax)||95°C|
|Product Family||AMD Ryzen™ Processors|
|# of Threads||64|
|Product Line||AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors|
|Max. Boost Clock||Up to 4.5GHz|
|Processor Technology for CPU Cores||TSMC 7nm FinFET|
|Thermal Solution (PIB)||Not included, liquid cooling recommended|
|*OS Support||Windows 10 – 64-Bit EditionRHEL x86 64-BitUbuntu x86 64-Bit*Operating System (OS) support will vary by manufacturer.|
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X Tests & Performance
I used an MSI TRX40 Creator motherboard, AMD Ryzen TR 3970X processor, 64GB of Corsair Dominator DDR4-3600 memory(Opens in a new window) installed in four of the DIMM slots, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card to handle video output during the CPU testing. (Like all previous Threadrippers and the majority of Ryzen CPUs, these new Zen 2-based Ryzens lack on-chip graphics, necessitating the use of a video card.) Throughout all testing, we used the Creator motherboard’s top supported XMP profile while operating the memory at its highest speed of 3,600MHz.
I utilized a 1TB Corsair MP600 PCI Express NVMe M.2 SSD as the Windows 10 boot disk. Remember that the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X does not come with a default CPU cooler in the package, so you will need to either have one on hand or purchase one. This is true of many of AMD’s enthusiast-focused processors. The triple-fan Thermaltake Floe Riing RB 360 liquid cooler we utilized for our first- and second-generation Threadripper tests was still in use.
As well as synthetic benchmarks with proprietary results, we evaluate CPUs in real-world scenarios using 3D games like Far Cry 5 and popular consumer programs like Apple’s iTunes. Let’s get going.
The POV-Ray benchmark provides a second view on the Cinebench findings because it is a synthetic, heavily threaded, and CPU-intensive rendering test. It provides a fair balance of outcomes that can demonstrate a processor’s single- and multicore capabilities in the same benchmark.
The Threadripper 3970X quickly made up any ground lost in the single-core iTunes test by dominating the multicore POV-Ray benchmark. With its decisive victory, the Threadripper 3970X broke the previous record for a CPU in this category.
We encode a set of audio songs using an old Windows version of Apple’s iTunes to get a realistic look at single-core performance. Because of its age, the application doesn’t employ the majority of the processing threads that are available; this is a characteristic of the sporadic legacy software that many of us occasionally need to rely on in unique situations.
Now, single-core tests continue to be difficult, despite the Threadripper 3970X’s brawn and physical force in multicore tests like Cinebench R15. The clocks of a single core may slow down when more cores are added to a package because something needs to give. Similar to the rest of the brand’s newest CPUs, the Threadripper 3970X consistently falls short in single-core tests (like this one) to much less expensive models like the Intel Core i9-9900K. Of all, purchasing a Porsche 911 to pull hay bales is analogous to utilizing a CPU like the 3970X primarily for single-core operations.
You can benchmark a computer utilizing a range of performance tests with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X PassMark 9 PassMark Performance Test. This test evaluates the complete computer and all of its parts. This is possibly one of the odder results that we found. Here, the Threadripper 3970X and the Xeon W-3275 are both outperformed by the Core i9-10980XE. We would not anticipate seeing that, yet that is what we did.
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X Final Thoughts
On the surface, the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X appears to be nothing revolutionary. It’s simply an upgrade over last year’s 2990WX, with the same number of cores and threads.
However, it is everything surrounding the cores that distinguishes this Threadripper 2019 iteration. The transition to the Zen 2 7nm chiplet-based architecture has resulted in significant improvements for this generation of Threadrippers, so much so that they almost require their own category to be defined. You won’t find a faster consumer-accessible processor for $1,999 anywhere in the world right now, and if you’re a professional content creator who relies on fast render times to do your job more effectively. This processor should pay for itself if you do your job more efficiently (including the equally hefty upfront cost of entry).
AMD Ryzen TR 3970X