Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.
Shootouts
AMD Ryzen Threadripper vs. Intel Core i9-7900X: The fastest chips money can buy
By Koh Wanzi - 18 Feb 2018,8:36am

Test setup & performance

Test Setup

The configurations of the test setups we used for the different processors are listed below. However, the CPU cooler used differed between systems due to compatibility issues across the different sockets.

 

AMD Ryzen Threadripper

  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X (3.5GHz, 32MB L3 cache) / 1950X (3.4GHz, 32MB L3 cache)
  • Thermaltake Floe Riing 360 TT Premium Edition
  • ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme
  • 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Auto timings: CAS 15-17-17-35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (GeForce Driver Version 384.94)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 

Intel Core X

  • Intel Core i9-7900X (3.3GHz, 13.75MB L3 cache) / Intel Core i7-7740X (4.3GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
  • Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240
  • Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 9
  • 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Auto timings: CAS 15-17-17-35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (GeForce Driver Version 384.94)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 

Intel Broadwell-E

  • Intel Core i7-6950X (3.0GHz, 25MB cache)
  • Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240
  • ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming
  • 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Auto timings: CAS 15-17-17-35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (GeForce Driver Version 384.94)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 

Intel Kaby Lake

  • Intel Core i7-7700K (4.20GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
  • Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240
  • ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula
  • 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Auto timings: CAS 15-17-17-35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (GeForce Driver Version 384.94)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 

AMD Ryzen

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (3.60GHz, 20MB L2+L3 cache)
  • Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4
  • Gigabyte Aorus AX370 Gaming 5
  • 2 x 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 at 2,666MHz (Auto timings: CAS 16-16-16-36)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (GeForce Driver Version 384.94)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

 

Test CPUs compared
  AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Intel Core i9-7900X Intel Core i7-7740X Intel Core i7-6950X Intel Core i7-7700K Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
  AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Intel Core i9-7900X Intel Core i7-7740X Intel Core i7-6950X Intel Core i7-7700K Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Launch SRP
  • From S$1589
  • From S$1279
  • From S$543
  • From S$818
Latest Price
  • From S$1045
  • From S$1347
  • From S$532
  • From S$2326
  • From S$455
  • From S$497
Processor Name
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
  • Intel Core i9-7900X
  • Intel Core i7-7740X
  • Intel Core i7-6950X
  • Intel Core i7-7700K
  • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Processor Model
  • 1950X
  • 1920X
  • Core i9-7900X
  • Core i7-7740X
  • Core i7-6950X
  • Core i7-7700K
  • Ryzen 7 1800X
Rated Processor Frequency
  • 3.4GHz
  • 3.5GHz
  • 3.3GHz
  • 4.3GHz
  • 3.0GHz
  • 4.2GHz
  • 3.6GHz
Max Processor Frequency
  • 4.0GHz
  • 4.0GHz (4.2GHz with XFR)
  • 4.5GHZ
  • 4.5GHZ
  • 3.5GHZ
  • 4.5GHZ
  • 4.1GHz (with XFR technology)
No. of Cores
  • 16
  • 12
  • 10
  • 4
  • 10
  • 4
  • 8
Base Clock
  • 3.4GHz
  • 3.5GHz
  • 3.3GHz
  • 4.3GHz
  • 100MHz
  • 100
  • 100MHz
L1 Cache (data + instruction)
  • 1.5MB
  • 1.125MB
  • 64MB
  • 4 x 32KB (data)
  • 4 x 32KB (instruction)
  • 640KB
L2 Cache
  • 8MB
  • 6MB
  • 10MB
  • 4 x 256KB
  • 2.5MB
  • 4 x 256KB
  • 4 x 256KB
L3 Cache
  • 32MB
  • 32MB
  • 13.75MB
  • 8MB
  • 25MB
  • 8MB
  • 16MB
Memory Controller
  • Quad-Channel DDR4-2666
  • Quad-Channel DDR4-2666
  • Quad-Channel DDR4-2666
  • Dual-Channel DDR4-2666
  • Integrated Quad Channel (up to DDR4-2133 or DDR4-2400)
  • Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR4-2133 or DDR4-2400)
  • Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR4-2667)
PCIe Controller
  • PCIe 3.0
  • PCIe 3.0
  • 44 lanes of PCIe 3.0
  • 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0
  • PCIe 3.0
  • 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0
  • PCIe 3.0
TDP (W)
  • 180W
  • 180W
  • 140
  • 112W
  • 140
  • 91
  • 95
64-bit Processing Technology
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) / AMD Cool 'n' Quiet
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Packaging
  • SocketTR4
  • SocketTR4
  • LGA 2066
  • LGA 2066
  • LGA2011-3
  • LGA1151
  • Socket AM4
Process Technology
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
  • 14nm
Bus Type
  • DMI 3.0
  • DMI 3.0
  • DMI 2.0
  • DMI 3.0
Bus Speed
  • 8 GT/s DMI3
  • 8 GT/s DMI3
  • 100MHz
  • 100MHz
Instruction Set Support
  • SSE4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0, AVX-512
  • SSE4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
  • SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
  • SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
  • SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
Virtualization Technology
  • Yes (VT-x)
  • Yes (VT-x)
  • Yes (VT-x)
  • Yes (VT-x)
Processor Codename
  • Skylake-X
  • Kaby Lake-X
  • Broadwell-E
  • Kaby Lake

Next, here’s a list of the benchmarks used:

  • SYSmark 2014 SE
  • PCMark 10
  • SPECviewperf 12.1
  • Cinebench R15
  • Handbrake 1.0.7
  • 3DMark (2013)
  • VRMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

 

We tested the Threadripper CPUs with their default out-of-the-box settings and Distributed, or Uniform Memory Access (UMA) configuration. These are the same settings you'll find in Creator Mode, and we opted to leave out Game Mode because only older games really benefit from it. Furthermore, the newer games we tested seemed to suffer performance penalties when run in Game Mode.

 

Performance results

 

SYSmark 2014 SE

SYSmark is a general productivity benchmark suite that measures the response times of tasks on a PC using real-world applications like Microsoft Office 2013 and Adobe Photoshop and simulated user input. Task response times are used to generate a performance rating that reflects actual user experience, so the faster a PC responds to application workloads, the higher its score will be. The method of measuring response times can take many forms, such as the time it takes for an application to show a pop-up completion message, or how long it takes a progress dialog to disappear and for a user to regain application control.

The 2014 SE version of SYSmark adds a new Responsiveness usage model, where the system's ability to react quickly to user input affects the overall user experience. This means situations where the system needs to respond smoothly and quickly, such as with application launches, multi-tab web browsing, file copying, and background app installation.

The Intel Core i9-7900X took the lead overall here, likely helped along by a combination of strong multi-threaded performance and high Turbo Boost Max 3.0 speeds of 4.5GHz. In comparison, the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X and 1950X have a maximum XFR clock of 4.2GHz.

The results here also give you an idea of exactly what the AMD and Intel HEDT chips are good for. They lagged behind in the Office Productivity benchmark, where the higher clocked quad-core processors had an advantage.

However, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X did particularly well in the Data/Financial Analysis segment, which is more sensitive to higher CPU core counts. That said, Intel looked to have the advantage in the Media Creation benchmark, so it’s possible that the applications used in SYSmark – Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended, Premiere Pro CS6, and Trimble SketchUp – don’t properly take advantage of Threadripper.

 

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

We’ve also added in a graph to reflect the low-level breakdown of scores to give an idea of performance in individual workloads.

The Intel Core i9-7900X took the pole position overall, where it was around 9 per cent quicker than the Threadripper 1950X. However, they once again showed weakness in basic computing tasks compared to the mainstream quad-core CPUs, such as when working with productivity applications.

Their strengths lie in things like photo editing and rendering and visualization, although the Core i9-7900X took quite a large lead in the latter scenario.

 

SPECviewperf 12.1

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 3ds-max viewset comes from traces of the graphics workload generated by 3ds Max 2016, while maya-04 is derived from Autodesk’s Maya 2013 application. The catia-04 viewset involves the numerous rendering modes from the CATIA V6 R2012 application, and includes things like anti-aliasing, depth of field, and ambient occlusion. Finally, the sw-03 viewset comes from SolidWorks 2013 SP1, and involves various rendering modes including environment maps.

The Ryzen Threadripper barely came ahead in the 3ds-max viewset, but it seems like the maya-04 and sw-03 viewsets favor higher clock speeds offered by the Intel Core X chips as Threadripper fell behind together with the other lower clocked processors.

 

Cinebench R15

Cinebench R15 is a better indicator of Threadripper and the Core i9’s 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 multi-threaded benchmark is where Threadripper really excels. The 1950X handily beats the Core i9-7900X by a good 38 per cent. But to give that more perspective, the latter is in turn more than twice as fast as the quad-core Core i7-7740X Kaby Lake-X chip.

On the single-threaded benchmark relies on things like clock speeds and IPC, which is why it’s Intel’s turn to shine. The high Turbo Boost Max 3.0 speed of the Core i9-7900X enables it to go toe-to-toe with the more aggressively clocked quad-core parts.

 

Handbrake 1.0.7

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.

The 16 cores and 32 threads on the Threadripper 1950X helped it edge ahead here while transcoding a 1.5GB .mkv file. That said, there’s just a hair of a difference between the 1950X and the Core i9-7900X, probably due to the fact that Handbrake evinces diminishing returns beyond six cores.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that Threadripper’s encoding speed doesn’t necessarily mean higher overall frame rates. Instead, you should simply expect less of a performance penalty while streaming, rendering, or compiling code in the background.

 

Temperature and power consumption

To test temperature and power consumption, we ran the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Stress test and the energy-01 viewset in SPECviewperf 12.1 respectively, taking note of the peak values the chips achieved. For power consumption, this refers to the total system power draw from the power outlet.

It’s difficult to compare temperatures across all the chips given that we used different coolers, so these figures are better taken as a rough indicator to the temperatures you can expect in a typical gaming scenario (which probably doesn’t stress all the cores anyway).

There are few surprises when it comes to power consumption, and the 12- and 16-core Threadripper processors naturally consume more power. That said, the increase in power draw is less than the proportional increase in core count for the 1950X, so that seems like a win for AMD.

Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.