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AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Ryzen 7 3700X vs. Intel Core i9-9900K: Which is the best gaming CPU?

By Koh Wanzi - 25 Dec 2019

CPU rendering & encoding benchmarks

Test setup

The configurations of the test setups we used are listed below. All results were obtained with the Ryzen Balanced power plan and Precision Boost Overdrive disabled. For the Core i9-9900K, multi-core enhancement was turned off on the ASUS motherboard. 

Ryzen 9 3900X/Ryzen 7 3700X

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 360 Riing RGB Edition with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
  • ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)
  • 2 x 8GB G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 (Auto timings: CAS 16-16-16-36)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
  • Samsung 860 EVO 500GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Intel Core i9-9900K

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 360 Riing RGB Edition with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
  • ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme
  • 2 x 8GB G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 (Auto timings: CAS 16-16-16-36)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
  • Samsung 860 EVO 500GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Test CPUs compared
  AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Intel Core i9-9900K
  AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Intel Core i9-9900K
Latest Price
  • From S$735
  • From S$478
  • From S$780
Processor Name
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Intel Core i9-9900K
Processor Model
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Intel Core i9-9900K
Rated Processor Frequency
  • 3.8GHz
  • 3.6GHz
  • 3.6GHz
Max Processor Frequency
  • 4.6GHz
  • 4.4GHz
  • 5.0GHZ
No. of Cores
  • 12
  • 8
  • 8
Base Clock
  • 3.8GHz
  • 3.6GHz
  • 3.6GHz
L1 Cache (data + instruction)
  • 96K (per core)
  • 512 KB
  • 8 x 32KB (data)
  • 8 x 32KB (instruction)
L2 Cache
  • 6MB
  • 4 MB
  • 8 x 256 KB
L3 Cache
  • 64MB
  • 32 MB
  • 16MB
Memory Controller
  • Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR4-3200)
  • Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR4-3200)
  • Dual-Channel DDR4-2666
PCIe Controller
  • PCIe 4.0
  • PCIe 4.0
  • 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0
TDP (W)
  • 105
  • 65
  • 95W
Instruction Set Support
  • SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
  • SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
  • SSE4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
64-bit Processing Technology
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Packaging
  • Socket AM4
  • Socket AM4
  • LGA 1151
Process Technology
  • 7nm
  • 7nm
  • 14nm++
Processor Codename
  • Matisse
  • Matisse
  • Coffee Lake
No. of Transistors
  • 19.2 billion
  • 19.2 billion
Bus Type
  • DMI 3.0
Bus Speed
  • 8 GT/s DMI3
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) / AMD Cool 'n' Quiet
  • Yes
Virtualization Technology
  • Yes (VT-x)

Here's a list of the benchmarks used:

  • PCMark 10
  • SPECviewperf 13.0
  • Cinebench R15
  • Cinebench R20
  • Handbrake 1.2.2
  • Blender Benchmark
  • POV-Ray 3.7
  • 3DMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Far Cry 5
  • Metro Exodus
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Tom Clancy's The Division 2

 

PCMark 10 Extended

PCMark 10 Extended assesses the performance of systems in a variety of workloads, including basic computing tasks, productivity applications, digital content creation, and gaming. Compared to PCMark 8, it also adds in new test metrics, such as app startup times, which quantifies how long it takes to launch a variety of real-world apps, and a rendering and visualization workload to simulate professional graphics and engineering applications. In addition, existing workloads have been updated to reflect modern usage.

It looks like the extra cores on the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X helped it out slightly here, it was still a mere 2 percent ahead of the 8-core CPUs. The higher 5.0GHz turbo boost clock of the Core i9-9900K also didn't seem to help it against the Ryzen 7 3700X, and both turned out really similar overall scores.

That said, the Ryzen 9 chip's lead seemed to come mostly from the Digital Content Creation workload, where it beat out both octa-core chips. 

 

SPECviewperf 13.0

SPECviewperf is used to assess the 3D graphics performance of systems in professional applications. Each individual workload, called a viewset, represents graphics and content from an actual real-world application. SPECviewperf actually runs a total of eight different viewsets, but we’ve picked the four which have the greatest performance variation across CPUs display here.

The new SPECviewperf 13.0 incorporates new models and raycasting for volume visualization. Select viewsets have also been updated with new models and fresh application traces. 

The Intel Core i9-9900K still had a slight lead in these workloads, so it seems like the tasks here still prefer higher boost clocks. 

 

Cinebench R15/R20

Cinebench R15 is a better indicator of multi-threaded performance because of its ability to utilize up to 256 threads to evaluate a processor’s performance in a photorealistic 3D rendering. We ran both single-core and multi-core benchmarks to evaluate single-threaded performance and multi-threaded scalability here.

The newer Cinebench R20 is even more demanding, featuring increased workload complexity, higher memory use, and the latest rendering engine from Cinema 4D R20. Under the hood, the R20 engine also supports AVX, AVX2, and AVX512 instruction sets and the benchmark now supports up to 256 render threads.

Unsurprisingly, the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X raced ahead to a large lead. It was a good 39 percent faster than the Core i9-9900K in Cinebench R15's multi-threaded benchmark, and a solid 44 percent quicker in R20. The Intel chip still managed to hold its own in the single-threaded benchmarks in both Cinebench R15 and R20 though, even though R20 still favored the Ryzen 9 3900X overall. It looks like AMD has really narrowed the gap in terms of IPC performance, and in Cinebench R15, the Ryzen 9 3900X was just under 3 percent behind the Core i9-9900K.

 

Handbrake 1.2.2

Handbrake is a video transcoder that converts videos into a format for use on PCs and portable electronic devices, and is a good indicator of a processor’s video encoding capabilities. YouTube content creators, Twitch streamers, and other video creators will be most interested in this performance metric. For this benchmark, we used a 1.7GB .mkv file. 

The results were predictable here, although it's pretty impressive that the Ryzen 7 3700X was ahead of the Core i9-9900K, especially since it also has 8 cores and a lower boost clock. 

 

Blender Benchmark

Blender likes having many cores as well, and the open-source software has been used for modeling and to create effects in movies. The new Blender Benchmark offers the option between Quick and Complete runs, and the numbers seen here are from the Quick benchmark, which puts the CPUs through scenarios like the BMW and Classroom demos. 

The 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X is way ahead here as expected, but the Ryzen 7 3700X really stands out as it also beats the Core i9-9900K. 

 

POV-Ray 3.7

The POV-Ray built-in benchmark also favors having more cores, and both Ryzen processors skipped ahead of the Core i9-9900K.