AMD Ryzen TR 3990X Review

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The most costly desktop CPU to date is what we’re looking at today, and shockingly, it’s not made by Intel. The unique occasion reminded us of an Intel processor we once really liked, the Broadwell-E Core i7-6950X, which was introduced in 2016 and served as the first 10-core desktop CPU.

In full disclosure, we didn’t actually pay for the 6950X despite the fact that we really liked it. It was much more fun to purchase the product without paying the outrageous $1,700 price tag. Intel essentially increased the price by 75% and added two additional cores to the previous model, the 5960X, for that astounding price.

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All bets were off by the time they delivered their second 10-core component since AMD had finally pulled themselves together and started scoring goals with the Zen architecture. The 10-core Core i7-7900X was released at a price of $1,000, then refreshed as the 9900X at a price of $1,000, and refreshed one more as a $600 part in the 10900X due to fierce competition from the first-generation Threadripper series. We generally concur that the 10-core part’s $600 price tag is excessive.

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We want to emphasize the point that, just four years ago, the highest high-end desktop platform could do was a $1,700 10-core processor that could run all of its cores at 3.4 GHz right out of the box. AMD is now offering a CPU with almost 2.5 times the price but over 6 times the number of cores.

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While Intel is allegedly rushing to release a 22-core HEDT component, we highly doubt they will do so at this time. Even their 18-core model is currently unavailable. In principle, Intel is currently offering 18 cores for $1,000, but in practice, this isn’t possible because the 10980XE isn’t available in stores. Accordingly, a 7980XE or 9980XE, whichever model you can locate, costs roughly $2,000 if you want an 18-core Intel CPU, so good luck with a 22-core component.

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AMD can charge a significant premium as Intel is not a competitor in this market. To be honest, a 64-core, 128-thread processor that can deliver the performance we’re about to demonstrate for $4,000 isn’t as ridiculous as it first appears to be.

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AMD Ryzen TR 3990X Specifications

This is a Zen 2-based processor with 64 cores and 128 threads. It consists of eight “core complex dies” or 8-core chiplets made with TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process. The combined transistor count of all those dies, which also includes an input/output die made with GlobalFoundries’ 12nm technology, totals to an astounding and, to be honest, unfathomable 39.5 billion transistors.

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As we dig deeper into the specifications, the staggering numbers keep coming: it has 32 MB of L2 cache and 256 MB of L3 cache. The CPU can operate under a 280-watt TDP because the cores can run at speeds ranging from 2.9 to 4.3 GHz depending on the workload.

The AMD Ryzen TR 3990X is backward compatible with existing TRX40 motherboards, just like the other Threadripper 3000 CPUs, however you’ll need to upgrade the BIOS to get the optimum performance.

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All current motherboards can supply enough power to fulfill the 280W TDP CPU because AMD built the foundation for the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X during the design phase of the TRX40. Given the TDP, cooling will have a significant impact on the chip’s performance. AMD claims that existing watercoolers will work with the 3990X, but as we’ll see on the following page, if you want the best performance, you should get a powerful model.

The 32-core 3970X and 64-core 3990X have a price difference of almost $2,000 in addition to the obvious difference of 32 cores. That leaves a middle ground where a 48-core machine would be justified, but AMD claims it has no current intentions for such a device.

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The AMD Ryzen TR 3990X, like its HEDT predecessors, supports up to 256GB of quad-channel DDR4-3200 memory, which is less memory support than EPYC’s eight memory channels. The motherboard vendor must qualify ECC memory even when the processor supports it. By DIMM population and rank, the memory frequency support matrix changes.

AMD Ryzen TR 3990X Specs

PlatformBoxed Processor
# of CPU Cores64
Base Clock2.9GHz
L3 Cache256MB
Unlocked for OverclockingYes
Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax)95°C
Product FamilyAMD Ryzen Processors
# of Threads128
L1 Cache4MB
Default TDP280W
CPU SocketsTRX4
Launch Date2/7/2020
Product LineAMD Ryzen Threadripper Processors
Max. Boost ClockUp to 4.3GHz
L2 Cache32MB
Processor Technology for CPU CoresTSMC 7nm FinFET
Thermal Solution (PIB)Not included, liquid cooling recommended
*OS SupportWindows 10 – 64-Bit EditionRHEL x86 64-BitUbuntu x86 64-Bit Operating System (OS) support will vary by manufacturer.

AMD Ryzen TR 3990X Benchmarks & Tests

DCC software performance

The first group of benchmarks measures frame rates when editing a model in the editor within popular DCC software. Since panning and zooming the viewport are mostly GPU-driven operations, I haven’t measured performance during these operations as I have in previous reviews.

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As you can see, model editing prefers greater boost clock rates rather than a large number of CPU cores. Even though the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X wins out, the significantly less expensive i9-9900K finishes in second. These programs seem to prefer the Zen 2 architecture of the 3990X, giving it the advantage over the 9900K’s higher base and boost clock speeds. Following closely behind the 9900K is the 2990WX, while the 1950X gets the final position. Although the order is constant, the performance of each CPU varies little.

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As CPU renderers are built to utilize many cores, rendering is where the Threadripper CPUs really shine. When clock speed and CPU architecture are fixed, performance often scales virtually linearly with core count. While the others were operated in CPU-only mode, some of these applications are pure CPU renderers.

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The Threadripper 3990X dominates all rendering benchmarks, far outpacing every other CPU. The 3990X significantly outperforms the previous generation 2990WX thanks to its 64 cores and switch to the Zen 2 architecture, and it dominates the 16-core 1950X and the 8-core 9900K.

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Next, we have some VFX simulation benchmarks, which include two liquid simulations and one fire simulation. For the liquid simulations, we used the Hybrido solver from RealFlow and the FLIP solver from Houdini, and for the fire simulation, we used the Pyro solver from Houdini. Simulator programs frequently use a lot of threads, just like renderers do.

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The AMD Ryzen TR 3990X dominates all of the simulation tests, just like it did in the rendering benchmarks. (It’s also important to point out that if the 64GB of RAM in the Xidax machine hadn’t been used to its full capacity, both Houdini simulations would have run even more quickly. Performance dropped substantially once the application had to page data out to disk.) It’s interesting to note the significant performance difference between the 3990X and 2990WX using RealFlow. Given that the 1950X isn’t far behind in this test, I have a suspicion that the 2990WX is underperforming.

AMD Ryzen TR 3990X Conclusion

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For my own situation, I would consider getting either the 3960X or 3970X for my content development tasks. I’m using the 3960X right now, and I have to tell you, it’s incredible. Prior to this, I was using the Threadripper 2950X, and before switching to the 3rd generation of Threadripper, I briefly tested the Core i9-9900K in Premiere. The transition from the 9900K to the 3960X was substantial, and although Threadripper is substantially more expensive, it also gives me access to far more functionality.

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For instance, I could apply the warp stabilizer effect to roughly 6–8 b-roll clips at once using the Core i9. If there were any more, the system would bog down and frequently crash. With the 3960X, I can warp stabilize all the b-roll in a 10- to 15-minute video, around 20 to 30 clips at once, and still use Photoshop to generate a thumbnail without experiencing any lag. It’s amazing and has significantly sped up my process.

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For those who can leverage a 64-core processor, like visual effects artists, programmers developing projects, and others, we envisage the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X performing similarly.

Overall, this is a fantastic AMD product that not only excites professionals today but also sets the path for future core-heavy desktop parts that will be more reasonably priced.

Is AMD Ryzen TR 3990X worth it?

This AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor is extremely specialized. It provides outstanding performance in a limited range of workloads. Here are some important things to think about:

With 64 cores and 128 threads, it can offer notable speed advantages for specific kinds of tasks.

It provides good rendering performance and competitive per-core cost.

ECC and PCIe 4.0 are supported.

You can overclock it.

It’s crucial to remember that this processor’s advantages are limited to a specific range of tasks. Therefore, your particular use case will determine whether or not it is worth it. This processor can be an excellent option if the jobs you do at work require a high core and thread count, including 3D rendering or intricate scientific computations.

However, there might be more affordable solutions available if your usage is more mainstream (such as gaming or routine productivity chores), in which case you might not see much of a gain from the more cores and threads.

It’s also important to note that this CPU has a retail price of approximately $3990, making it rather costly. Therefore, it’s crucial to evaluate whether the performance advantages outweigh the costs in your particular circumstance.

To sum up, while the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X is aimed at a certain market niche, it may deliver remarkable performance. It might be worth the cost if you fall into that category. If not, you might be just as well off with a less specialized (and less expensive) processor.

Examine Your Options: Depending on your requirements, there may be processors that provide a decent mix of price and performance. AMD’s Ryzen 9 and Ryzen Threadripper series, along with rival Intel processors, might be worth taking into account.

Is AMD Ryzen TR 3990X good for gaming?

Because of its enormous 64 cores and 128 threads, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X is primarily intended for professional and content creation workloads. Despite being a computing powerhouse, it might not be the best option for playing games. These are some of the causes:

Low Clock Speeds, High Core Count: Strong single-threaded performance and higher clock speeds usually outperform extremely high core counts in games. Given its emphasis on multithreaded performance, the Threadripper 3990X might not achieve the same high clock speeds as certain standard gaming processors.

Cost: The AMD Ryzen TR 3990X is a high-end processor, and its price reflects both its elite performance and huge number of cores. There are more affordable options, such as high-end processors from the Ryzen 9 series, if gaming is your main priority.

Gaming-Optimized Alternatives: Processors with fewer cores but higher clock rates, such as the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X or Intel Core i9-11900K, may provide superior gaming performance at a lower price point.

GPU Matters More: When it comes to gaming, the graphics card (GPU) frequently affects performance more so than the CPU. If gaming is your main priority, the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X might be overkill; you might get better gaming performance by spending more money on a high-end GPU instead.

Even while the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X is capable of handling gaming, it’s not the most affordable option. If your main use case is gaming, look for a processor that strikes a compromise between inexpensive cost and potent single-threaded performance. Professional workflows that primarily depend on parallel processing would benefit more from the Threadripper 3990X’s enormous core and thread count.

Can you overclock AMD Ryzen TR 3990X?

It is possible to overclock the AMD Ryzen TR 3990X. The act of raising a computer component’s clock rate over its factory-set frequency is known as overclocking. The goal is to raise the component’s performance. It is crucial to remember, nevertheless, that improper overclocking might lead to component damage.

AMD Ryzen TR 3990X can be overclocked in a variety of ways. Using the BIOS’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) function is one method. When there is thermal headroom, the processor can operate at higher clock speeds thanks to PBO, an automatic overclocking capability. A different method is to manually overclock the processor by modifying the BIOS’s clock speed and voltage.

An article on AMD Ryzen TR 3990X overclocking and setting 10 records can be found on Tom’s Hardware. To determine which version of Windows 10 would best manage the 3990X’s power, they tested several builds of Build 19035, 1909, 1809, and 911. To accomplish the overclocking, they also employed several cooling techniques like chilled water and liquid nitrogen (LN2).

An easy-to-follow method on overclocking AMD Ryzen TR 3990X to 4525 MHz can be found at 5 Minute Overclock, another source. To accomplish the overclocking, they set the Precision Boost Overdrive Scalar to 10X and utilized the EK-Quantum Magnitude sTRX40 water block.

Please be aware that improper overclocking can result in processor damage. When overclocking, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the instructions and keep an eye on the processor’s temperature.

What temperature should an AMD Ryzen TR 3990X run at?

AMD Ryzen TR 3990X may reach a maximum temperature of 95°C. Nonetheless, in order to prevent thermal throttling, it is advised to maintain the temperature below 68°C.

‘’AnandTech’’ employed a Thermaltake Riing 360 closed-loop liquid cooler in a test and found that the processor’s idle temperature was 35°C, increased to 64°C after about 90 seconds, and reached a stable state of 68°C after five minutes.

Please be aware that the workload, ambient temperature, and cooling solution employed can all affect the processor’s temperature. When overclocking, it’s critical to keep an eye on the processor’s temperature to prevent component damage.

How much power does AMD Ryzen TR 3990X draw?

An very powerful desktop processor with 64 cores and 128 threads is the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X. Thermal Design Power (TDP), a measurement of the maximum heat the cooling system is anticipated to dissipate under typical operating conditions, is used to determine the power consumption of the CPU.

280 watts is the standard TDP for the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X. This suggests that, even with typical workloads, the processor’s cooling solution should be able to dissipate up to 280 watts of heat in order to maintain ideal operating temperatures.

It’s crucial to remember that TDP is a thermal standard rather than a measurement of power usage. Various factors, including workload, system configuration, and overclocking settings, can affect the actual power consumption. Use hardware monitoring programs such as HWMonitor, Ryzen Master, or other comparable applications if you would want to keep an eye on your system’s power usage in real-time. These instruments can offer information on a number of variables, such as voltage, temperature, and power consumption.

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