Premiere of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X is a 24-core CPU, which has completely crushed Intel’s much more expensive products in tests. View its performance on OBS and more!

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X test surprised me a lot. The most surprising fact was that the 24-core device performs remarkably in games, which was certainly not true about its predecessors. NUMA, UMA, long system boot times – all this is now history.

When I first opened the BIOS of MSI TRX40 Creator, I had an impression of dealing with a slightly advanced X570. This is not criticism – on the contrary! My opinion is that every producer should apply such a nice, user-friendly BIOS.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X – specification

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X features 24 cores and 48 threads, bound together with Infinity Fabric (IE). This is the groundwork of ZEN architecture, offering higher performance ratings year by year. All this is the effect of higher IE frequencies, which need to be further customized. We should also remember about the IE multiplier, which comes forward when exceeded by frequency. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X has 142.25 cache, of which 128 MB represent L3, 12 MB – L2, whereas L1 is just at 2.25. This level is very helpful in games.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X has 142.25 cache, of which 128 MB represent L3, 12 MB – L2, whereas L1 is just at 2.25. This level is very helpful in games.

You need not be an OC expert to reach for a higher performance in AMD!

I started preparing for the test by looking through the Reviewer’s Guide, which comes from the manufacturer and presents internal test results and instructions on how to deal with the platform.

The Cinebench R20.060 result was a rather practical indication, as it gave me an objective to pursue in order to get accurate results with the other games and utilities I was planning for. I started with the worst possible configuration scenario, meaning that I randomly started A-XMP profile on four G.SKILL Trident Z chips, pretending to be a user who bought some speedy RAM modules and thinks this is just enough.

Apparently it was – in the initial 5 runs of Cinebench R20, I was within the margin of error of the Reviewer’s Guide baseline. Nevertheless, at CL 19 RAM latency timings would be horrendous for game performance, even at 140 MB L2+L3 cache.

Hence, I started the good old manual memory settings, with the timings, voltage, UCLK and FCLK. The latter two are essential for low latency AMD needs to fully display its power. In this case, UCLK and FCLK synchronization at the minimum CL level possible will work best. The decent four G.SKILL Trident Z pieces delivered stable performance at 3600 MHz and CL15, operating with FCLK 1800 MHz.

When I raised the RAM voltage to 1.4 V, I reached a system stability point at which I slightly exceeded the results given in the script from AMD. Satisfied with this achievement, I switched to the CPU tab to launch Precision Boost Overdrive. I also increased the CPU power threshold to 600 W, as I wanted to save it from halting due to power shortage.

Following these basic moves, I was ready to proceed to testing. Even though I did not manage to explore every single bit of MSI TRX40 Creator’s capability, because I had less than two days for the procedure, I finally met the guidelines and I could shyly continue.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X test – platform

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X under full load can take over 300 W. Hence, it needs watercooling to eliminate this volume of heat. For air cooling, you would have to buy something really powerful and even then you cannot be sure something like Dark Rock 4 Pro, Cryorig R1 or Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 will stand up to the job.

So I ended with NZXT Kraken X62 280 mm, which did not allow the Threadripper to exceed 96°C, rather keeping it within the 94 range on hottest silicon.

Added to this effort was the case with power supply – these are certain fundamental items you should not cut down on. The 1300W Platinum certified unit from Antec was ready for much more than just a single video card. Unfortunately I did not get a pair on NVLINK. I would gladly do some more thorough testing of higher resolutions.

Be quiet! Dark Base 700 with reverse tray installation, in white, was another stroke of luck for me, as this is a spacious, well built design. It did not take me too long to build a platform inside, even though some of my work was improvised. Unfortunately I did not have time for cable management, so I laid out the cables without any special structure.

I wanted to try one of the latest functionalities of the TR4 platform, so to the tested AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X I added a Corsair MP600 disc, working in PCI-E 4.0 standard. It was one of the many factors decisive for setting up a new socket for the Threadripper.

MSI TRX40 Creator is among the well manufactured boards for HEDT from AMD. With the exquisite ribbed radiator on a powerful 16-phase power section, prolonged 300W power intake will not affect the design.

I was never able to exceed 71°C on the section, even though I repeated the system load test in AIDA64 Engineering lots of times, as well as Blender. The result was quite good, considering the limited air flow.

A nice solution in MSI TR40X Creator is its double BIOS and the option to turn on the board using a button on its bottom edge. There is even a Reset there, so the manufacturer must be hopeful about selling for test benches.

I’m not saying this is a bad idea, it’s just that these tricks are typical of the premium segment, so if you have not had an opportunity to experience that, you will not necessarily appreciate it. Myself, I was very happy to see these tiny red buttons, as they saved me the effort of connecting the case cables.

The motherboard for enthusiasts from MSI also features 8 RAM slots, an extra PCI-E card working as a ventilated hub for four more disks M.2 NVMe, Wi-Fi 6, 10G Super Lan, Lightning 20G port, semi-passive chipset fan and the radiators for M.2 disks, already presented before.

With 88 PCI-E 4.0 lines, AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X can manage a lot of components such as disks, video cards or sound cards. Actually, at the moment I cannot imagine a scenario where someone is missing any of these, even considering large RAID arrays.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X – test results in software

The results AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X gets in benchmarking software tests are simply overwhelming, particularly if you view them from the perspective of the US$1399 you have to pay for it. The 7-nm FinFET production process from TSMC, combined with a chiplet architecture in which even memory controllers can be split between core complexes, is a strong blow to the old market leader. Anyway, see for yourself.

ModeSingle coreAll cores
Geekbench 4.0586168564
Cinebench R20.06052313780
Cinebench R15.02085973
Corona 1.337 sec. (12953300 Rays)
Blender 2.81 BMW01:02.34
Blender 2.81 Classroom2:57 AM.69
Blender 2.79b BMW1:27 AM.99
Blender 2.79b Classroom4:22 AM.99

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X – performance in games

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X really impressed me with games. The high clocks with Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) are helpful practically in each case, whereas getting rid of NUMA and UMA is just a nice finishing touch.

Moreover, the 3rd generation Threadripper is a monster for OBS recording. I didn’t expect to be able to smoothly record Metro Exodus at 2160p, and the test played a completely different tune. In this section, recording worked on the Medium setting at 1440p with 50,000 bitrate.

Game1440p Medium FPS1440p Min. FPS1440p Medium FPS with OBS1440p Min. FPS with OBS
Hitman 2 (High)96658055
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (High)108909173
Rainbow Six Siege (High)242183208137
The Division 2 (High)104009025
Battlefield V 64v64 Rotterdam (High)1288110762
PUBG (High)1419410661
Metro Exodus (High)94677654
Apex Legends (Ultra)1389411379

With 1440p recording, the CPU still had quite a significant power reserve. I thought it would be a good ending of the test to check out the beast on 2160p. This time, I picked Fast over Medium recording mode; otherwise, I used to encounter frequent cuts on recordings.

Game2160p Medium FPS2160p Min. FPS2160p Medium FPS z OBS2160p Min. FPS with OBS
Hitman 2 (Medium)62234621
Rainbow Six Siege (Medium)1636513350
Metro Exodus (Medium)66535026
The Division 2 (Medium)68755250
Battlefield V 64v64 Rotterdam (Medium)83696140

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X – temperature, power use, voltage

The best way to verify system performance stability is to expose it to prolonged full load. Here I summarized all the relevant HWInfo data collected after 4 hours and 41 minutes:

  • Max Core – 4550 MHz
  • Max Tdie – 93°C
  • Max CPU Package Power – 312 W
  • Max MOBO – 56°C
  • Max VCORE – 1.432 V
  • Max VR MOS – 70°C
  • Max Chipset – 86.8°C

These values are very good for a PC case with a single rear fan. There were two CPU cooling rotors operating in front as well, but the air they delivered was always heated. After all, +300W is a lot of heat to process.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X is a very nice CPU

There is no alternative on the market that could match AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X today. The launch of Intel Core i9-10980XE 6 hours before the embargo lift for that material clearly indicates that the Blue team are not ready for a direct comparison in applications with multiple threads.

The advantage of the Ryzens gets even higher because of the price: the weaker performing Intel is sold for US$1999, while you only need to pay US$1399 for a more powerful AMD. The world is sort of standing on its head, and in front of a huge audience, too. Now I’m getting even more curious about the direction Lisa Su is taking in her leadership, and about the ultimate goal she is pursuing. That’s it from me now, see you on the site.

Paweł Rudy