Conclusion: The 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X is simply the fastest consumer CPU in town. Period. Full stop. Review over.

While that may seem like the most unorthodox way to start a review of AMD’s new 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, anybody expecting a different outcome at this point was just fooling themselves.

Most rational people can admit that the game was essentially over once AMD’s Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 chips hit the shelves in the 6- to 12-core range. Sure, Intel had a claim to gaming performance, but for many people it probably wasn’t enough of a justification.

With the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, AMD is essentially running down the field, spiking the ball, and doing what the NFL would probably fine for excessive end-zone celebrations these days. Yes, fans wearing blue jerseys may consider heading for the parking lot or simply waiting around so you can end up on the Jumbotron tearfully watching the clock run out.

This is the moment for red jersey fans, though, and you’ll still be cheering hoarsely as the Commissioner clears the field for the awards ceremony. So stick around as we break down just how insanely, stupidly fast the new Ryzen 9 3950X is.

sports one fan cheers the opposing team by fstop123 gettyimages 471924821 fstop123 / Getty Images

True fans stay until the last second runs out, so you can cry as your team leaves the field in the agony of defeat.

What is Ryzen 9 3950X?

If you read the news of the Zen 2 from last year or our review of the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X, you already know what you need to know about AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs. With the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, AMD essentially takes the cream of the crop of Zen 2 cores (what’s called binning) and drops the very best chips into the Ryzen 9 3950X. Obviously the CPU has four more cores than the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X. Clocks also vary, with the Ryzen 9 3950X boosting to 4.7GHz vs. the 4.6GHz of the Ryzen 9 3900X. Base clocks—essentially worst-case-scenario clock speeds—are also lower, at 3.5GHz in the 3950X vs 3.8GHz in the 3900X. That’s to be expected, as more cores means more heat to dissipate.

nines at a glance IDG

Ryzen 9 and Core i9 At A Glance

Little else changes except, well, the price, which some diehards consider too high (we disagree). and the performance, which is everything you’ve come to expect of AMD’s Zen 2 cores.

How we tested

For our review, we used the same MSI X570 Godlike motherboard we’d used with the Ryzen 9 3900X, with 16GB of DDR4/3600 CL16 in dual-channel mode, Windows 10 1903 and a Founders Edition GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card. As the AMD platform supports PCIe 4.0, we used a 2TB Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0.



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