AMD was expected to launch new CPUs in response to the 10th generation Intel ‘Comet Lake‘ lineup in order to keep the performance crown and that’s exactly what they did. Introducing the Matisse Zen 2 refresh processors, the Ryzen 5 3600XT, Ryzen 7 3800XT and Ryzen 9 3900XT are 6, 8 and 12 core alternatives to the outgoing Zen 2 Ryzen 5 3600X, Ryzen 7 3800X and Ryzen 9 3900X CPUs respectively. For this article, we will be focusing on the mighty 12 core / 24 threads Ryzen 9 3900XT but you can see spec reviews on the other two as well; go ahead and check our guides for those, too!
The CPUs are unreleased yet and are expected to launch in retail on the 7th of July. This is why we have formulated a spec comparison sheet in order to be easier to understand what you’ll be getting with this Ryzen refresh. Even if the hardware is similar, in fact, its almost identical, AMD has made a few tweaks to these processors in order to extract even more performance out of them. The improvements are much due to TSMC’s optimizations of the manufacturing process; as it matures, the 7nm dies that all Ryzen processors are using become better and better performance-wise and yield wise. A refresh is what this really is; AMD claims a 4% increase in single-core performance on average over the existing Zen 2 CPUs coming from the increased boost clock and other architectural tweaks. IPC (instructions per clock) remains the same with this refresh generation but AMD claims 40% better efficiency when compared to the 10th Generation Intel parts which is rather significant and will matter for a lot of people.
Ryzen 9 3900X vs 3900XT: Specification Comparison
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 3900X||AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT|
|Cores / Threads||12 / 24||12 / 24|
|Base Clock||3.8 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Max Boost Clock||4.6 GHz||4.7 GHz|
|L3 Cache||32 MB||32 MB|
|TDP||105 W||105 W|
|Architecture||Zen 2||Zen 2|
|Process||7 nm||7 nm|
|FP32 Performance||2,649.6 GFLOPS||2,707.2 GFLOPS|
|Die Size||74 mm²||74 mm²|
|Launch Date||July 7th 2019||July 7th 2020|
As the Ryzen 4000 processors are getting closer and closer, being expected to launch before the end of the year, AMD also felt the need to launch this XT generation of the optimized Zen 2 architecture in order to combat Intel until Zen 3. Good yields and manufacturing costs are allowing AMD to easily select high performance dies in order to provide CPUs that clock higher at the same power consumption with the Ryzen XT refresh.
The hardware on the new Ryzen 9 3900XT is identical to last year’s Ryzen 9 3900X but the base clock is up to 3.9 GHz from 3.8 GHz and boost clock up to 4.7 GHz from 4.6 GHz. Overall, nothing exciting but AMD promises these new XT CPUs will be able to maintain their boost clocks more consistently than the outgoing Zen 2 generation. This mid-life refresh is also bringing improvements to the Infinity Fabric mesh which AMD is using for communication between cores. This is both an advantage and a nuisance for the Ryzen CPUs; it allows AMD to have a very scalable architecture and build processors with as many cores as they want without having the cost ramp up exponentially due to bad yields but it also introduces some core to core latency that mildly affects performance. The XT refresh will feature the Infinity Fabric speed at an out of the box value of 2,000 MHz which is a 10% increase over the previous max 1,800 MHz. This will definitely help in latency bound applications and we can hardly wait to test how this improvement will translate to gaming performance.
The rest is the same as the Ryzen 9 3900XT still sports 12 cores and 24 threads, the same amount of 64 MB L3 cache, same die size and same TDP / power consumption. TSMC’s 7nm process is maturing better and better and this is why AMD pushed this refresh, because they can release these new CPUs as a decent step up in performance at the same price point as the previous Matisse Zen 2 CPUs. The 3900X was already the highest clocked Ryzen 3000 CPU and the 3900XT brings a 100 MHz leap in clock speed over it, pegging it at 4.7 GHz. Intel needs to find performance improvements elsewhere because with this refresh generation, a 4.7 GHz Ryzen beats the single core performance of a 5.2 GHz Intel Core CPU and Intel is starting to remain without any notable advantages.
We don’t believe Intel will lose the gaming performance crown at the high end because that is likely going to happen with the Ryzen 4000 series but this Ryzen 9 3900XT processor together with the Ryzen 7 3800XT with the updated max boost speeds and Infinity Fabric improvements might take the ball so close in Intel’s court that the difference will be too subtle to notice. AMD is innovating with bleeding edge technology and manufacturing process and this is why they can do high core counts at a reasonable price; they have a highly scalable architecture that responds very well to our current market.
The closest Intel competitor price-wise would be the mighty Intel Core i9 10900K and we see the Ryzen 9 3900XT having better single-core and multi-core performance at the same price point; not a good place to be in for Intel. These CPUs are really here to improve on the previous year’s performance per dollar mark. This refresh really is a scary sight for AMD’s competitor, Intel; it shows how Intel’s 10th gen generation can be closely matched with a minimal effort from AMD’s part and at lower prices.
The upcoming Zen 3 architecture hasn’t been leaked yet but it seems that its enough of a performance jump in order to look good even when compared to this intermediate generation, the Zen 2 refresh. Don’t get us wrong though, the Ryzen 9 3900XT together with the other two are great options today both value and performance wise and if you can’t find a good offer on the outgoing models, getting one of these will still provide you with amazing performance for years to come.
We followed a simple format in order to inform you of this new Ryzen XT CPU generation. We’re excited to test them out after launch and NDA lift in order to provide you with extensive benchmarks, comparisons and building lists! If you are aiming to upgrade to one of these Ryzen XT processors, AMD guarantees compatibility with the older AM4 boards so this is not an area you need to worry about. You’ll have to get a good cooler in order to sustain the increased clock speeds though because AMD has omitted to include one in the box for thermal performance reasons. We prepared a list of great aftermarket coolers to pair with not only the Ryzen 9 3900XT but each of these three new CPUs in order to allow them to stretch their legs to their maximum boost clock speed.
Stay tuned for upcoming complete performance benchmarks against the Ryzen 9 3900XT’s closest competitors in a wide area of productivity and gaming workloads!