AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT Specifications
base clock: 3.8 GHz
hour max boost: 4.7 GHz
L3 cache: 64 MB
Memory support: DDR4 3200MHz
TDP: 105 watts
launch price: $499 (£499)
You might be wondering how AMD was able to squeeze the extra 100MHz out of this chip, even if it’s on overdrive, and it seems like it comes down to a better understanding of the 7nm production process. However, there are no other changes. Core and thread counts are the same, cache levels are unchanged, and there are no modifications to the underlying architecture.
What’s different, compared to the current 3900X, is that you don’t get a Wraith Prism cooler with the 3900XT. So basically you gain 100MHz to the boost clock and lose coolness to the problem.
I am a huge fan of AMD coolers, and have used them on a lot of builds without a problem. While there is certainly an argument that the 3900XT is the limit of what Wraith Prism can handle, and that plenty of high-end builders will want to go the AIO route for such a high-end chip, having the option to do so is very different from being forced to. Of course that was true of the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X, but this chip really pushes what Wraith can handle. I don’t have the same feeling about the 3900XT.
The Ryzen 9 3900XT, like the 3900X before it, is a beast of a mainstream processor. 12 hubs and 24 themes give you plenty of raw power if you’re a content creator who needs to produce videos and/or participate in a 3D rendering. The 3900XT chews up those workloads in a way that few desktop processors can, and it truly outperforms Intel’s best at such tasks.
The only problem here is the 3900X, and it really isn’t that far off. You’re looking at a 4% difference in the video codec test, and 3% in the multi-core score of the Cinebench R20. It’s good to have the latest chip Do It represented some performance gain, but we’d like more to make up for the coolant loss.
For testing, we used a Corsair iCue H115 RGB Pro XT all-in-one cooler to keep the chip cool, and the 3900XT managed to reach its rated boost speed, beating 4.725GHz with an overall CPU temperature topping 79°C. It tends to hit its maximum frequency very briefly, and for more thread-sensitive loads, the chip runs at around 4.2GHz, depending on the workload.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT
coolant: Corsair H115 RGB Pro XT
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
memory: 16 GB ThermalTech DDR4 @ 3600MHz
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti
storage: 2TB Sabrent PCIe Rocket
Prince sultan university: Iconic Vulcan 1200W
The good news with Zen 2 architecture is that it’s a competitive chip in the gaming arena as well. It’s true that Intel still leads the way overall, but the delta is slight, especially at higher resolutions. You haven’t had to choose between productivity and gaming for a year now, and that’s still the case here.
One thing worth noting here is that there is very little between the 3900XT and the 3800XT when it comes to gaming, as both have a large number of cores and threads for the vast majority of modern games. There are two ways to take in this information: Either the $100 difference gives you nothing in terms of gaming, or, more positively, there is no gaming trade-off from having those extra cores when you have some downtime.
Speaking of cash ready, there is little problem with the 3900XT, and it is value for money. Whereas the 3600XT is essentially a direct upgrade to the 3600X (and comes with the same coolant), and the 3800XT runs a reasonable upgrade on the chip it replaces, the 3900XT is certainly the least compelling of the “new” chips. It’ll probably be a little faster in some cases, but not nearly enough to be significant.
The other factor working against the 3900XT, and indeed against all of these new chips, is that while there’s no official price drop from AMD for the 3900X, 3800X, and 3600X, they can generally be had for less if you’re around a bit.
In the case of the 3900XT, this makes more sense. The chip intended to replace it can be had for $419 (from Amazon at the moment, though plenty of retailers have it for a similar price), and this chip comes with a Wraith Prism cooler. Although you can reach higher clocks with AIO, it will still work correctly the vast majority of the time.
All of this makes the 3900XT the least exciting of AMD’s new XT chips. It’s not a bad wizard, far from it, but this last spin isn’t very interesting either. Arguably it’s a drop in value compared to the chip it replaces (due to the lack of cooler), and from a gaming perspective it brings very little extra performance to the table. If you’ve already set your mind to serious cooling, and need many cores, that’s a consideration, but given the 3900X’s low price, we don’t see this as $80 well spent for what is ostensibly the same performance.
Then there’s the specter of Zen 3 due to be released before the end of the year. There’s often something better on the horizon, but AMD has proven unhappy with small improvements in Zen architecture, and so expects a lot from Zen 3.
With five or six months left to go down, is this really a good time to pick up the high-end Zen 2 chip? Personally, I prefer to wait. If you need to build now, there are better value options for this method either way, like the Ryzen 9 3900X for starters.