Intro & Backstory
This is a very important review for The Chip Collective. This is the Ryzen 9 3950X!
A lot of work has gone into this review. I’ll start with a story.
I was up all night for the launch of this processor. I wanted to make sure I’d snag one immediately. I had NowInStock alerts set along with a really janky automation thing to refresh the browser and automatically add to cart. None of this helped at all. It was sold out in the first minute any store had it in stock. Luckily a friend from Twitter, Skoopsro, was able to order his from Newegg. I stayed up the rest of the day and part of the next trying to just get lucky enough to get one and well, I kind of forgot something in my PayPal account and that kept making every order I made get declined. PayPal and PayPal credit have two separate address settings and one I made sure to update and the other I had no idea existed. After a ton of hassle and ranting on Twitter with no luck picking one up Skoopsro offered to send his to me so I could do this review.
I was able to do all this review thanks to how generous Skoopsro has been. But all was not lost for me in my quest to own my own 3950X. Silicon Lottery put their binned 3950X CPUs for sale and their cheapest one just happened to be cheaper than what Newegg has been listing their 3950X for. I ordered one and annoyingly I messed up on the payment method again. Silicon Lottery wants you to use PayPal and not the normal credit card checkout, so the order was declined, and I wasn’t given a chance to correct my mistake. I reached out to them on Twitter and was able to get one reserved the next day and I completed my order for a 4ghz “all core” bin of a 3950X.
So right now, as I write this review copy, I have two 3950X to do anything with that I need. With Skoopsro’s CPU I’ve already done testing using the same suite of benchmarks that I used in the 9900K and 8700K review. I’ve ran a couple spot tests here and there with the Silicon Lottery binned CPU and didn’t see any meaningful difference. They both boost the same within margin of error. Boosting is an interesting beast to attempt to tame which I will get into in detail in this review. Memory and FCLK range are also identical between the chips.
Let’s get into memory for a little bit here. I was doing some 3DMark TimeSpy testing because I wanted to see how hard I’d demolish my previous best scores on the 9900K. I was seeing crazy strange low scores in TimeSpy. I was still using the same Windows 10 install from my 9900K at the time and I wasn’t fully convinced this was the whole issue. But after Robert Hallock from AMD convinced me to reinstall, that’s pretty much what I did just to be sure instead of being stubborn. I did that and my TimeSpy scores become consistent and ‘normal’ again. But there was still something off about my scores. To make a long story short; another friend of mine, iJeb! 🥑, was running TimeSpy on his 3950X and was scoring higher in the CPU portion of the test. I was currently running only 2 sticks of RAM and he was running 4 sticks. The reason I was running two was that I was testing this new kit of DDR4-4000 in 3733 with decent timings. Zen 2 is strange in that it just wants all 4 slots populated due to memory interleaving. 4 sticks will always outperform 2 sticks no matter how crazy tight your timings are. I will go into more detail about this later in the review, but I just wanted to mention all of this here at the get go.
During this memory troubleshooting Skoopsro offered to send me his Asus X570 Crosshair VIII Impact which I gladly accepted. As of me writing this I have not received the motherboard and it is still in transit. Note about this motherboard, it only has two DIMM slots. If this motherboard somehow performs better, then this review will take even longer to finally come out. I also have another offer from Wendell from Level1Techs to send me a motherboard if needed but I’m starting to think I won’t need it but on the other hand having another motherboard to test is always a good thing.
Testing Hardware Specs
- 2x AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
- MSI X570 Meg Unify
- Asus X570 Crosshair VIII Impact
- Corsair H115i PRO
- 2x Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-4000 BLE2K8G4D40BEEAK (Soon to be 4) (Micron E-Die) (Single Rank)
- 2x G.Skill TridentZ RGB DDR4-3466 F4-3466C16D-16GTZR (Samsung B-Die) (Single Rank) (Provided by Intel for the 9900K review)
- 2x G.Skill TridentZ RGB DDR4-3466 F4-3466C16D-16GTZR (Hynix C-Die) (Single Rank)
- 4x Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2800 CMK32GX4M4A2666C15 (Micron B-Die) (Dual Rank)
- EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC BLACK EDITION GAMING 11G-P4-2282-KR
- SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SSD
- PNY CS1311 960GB SSD
- Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250GB NVMe (Provided by Intel for the 9900K review)
- Cooler Master MasterBox NR600
- SeaSonic FOCUS Plus Gold 850W 80+ Gold (Provided by Intel for the 9900K review)
- Cinebench R20
- Cinebench R15
- GeekBench 4.3
- Asus Realbench
- PassMark PerformanceTest
- 3DMark TimeSpy
- 3DMark FireStrike
- Probably more by the time the review is done
This is going to take time to finish and get right. I don’t want any mistakes and I don’t want to do the same thing that I did with the 9900K review and constantly update the page over and over. I wanted to publish something now because I feel bad that this is taking so long. I’m impatient with myself and a little bit too critical of myself sometimes. I just want everybody to know that I have literally everything covered at this point in time. You won’t be getting a biased review from me that uses screwed up test results. Get excited! This is a VERY important processor.