Intel i9-10900K Vs AMD Ryzen 9 3950X: Which to Buy?

Intel i9-10900K Vs AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Intel has launched their new 10 core i9-10900K CPU, but how does it compare against AMD’s 16 core Ryzen 9 3950X?

Intel i9-10900KAMD Ryzen 9 3950X
BUY NOWBUY NOW
PROSPROS
Very fast gaming results.
Excellent single-threaded speed.
Requires new motherboard socket, but compatible with existing mainstream Intel coolers.
Class-leading 16 cores & 32 threads.
Overclockable.
Higher boost frequencies.
Reasonable price-per-core.
Power efficiency.
Compatible with most AM4 boards.
PCIe Gen 4.0.
CONSCONS
AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 3900X is a formidable foil, especially at current prices.
Z490 platform doesn’t bring much new to the table, and high TDP mandates liquid cooling.
A few platform teething issues in early going.
Requires beefy cooling.
Limited overclocking headroom.

SPECIFICATIONS

INTEL I9-10900KRYZEN 9 3950X
CORES/THREADS10/2016/32
BASE CLOCK3.7GHZ3.5GHZ
BOOST CLOCK5.3GHZ4.7GHZ
L3 CACHE20MB64MB
TDP125W105W
COOLER INCLUDEDNONO
ARCHITECTURECOMET LAKE 14NMZEN2 7NM
RELEASE DATE20202019
PRICE$500$720

The new Intel 10th gen i9-10900K is a 10 core 20 thread part. It’s got a 5.3GHz single core turbo boost, but that’s dependent on thermal velocity boost. Likewise the all core boost is 4.9GHz, but that drops back to 4.8GHz if thermals rise above 70 degrees Celsius. The 3950X has more cache, more cores, lower clock speeds, but also costs a fair bit more money.

PERFORMANCE

TEST SYSTEM SPECS:

This is the system we used to test desktop CPU performance:

INTEL I9-10900K:

RYZEN 9 3950X:

Testing was completed with the latest version of Windows and Nvidia drivers along with all BIOS updates available installed.

GAMING BENCHMARKS:

ASSASSIN’S CREED: ODYSSEY

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, and at 1080p the results were similar with the 10900K reaching 2% higher average FPS at 1080p.

BATTLEFIELD V

Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode. In this game the 10900K was able to hit 11% higher average FPS at 1080p.

FORZA 4 HORIZON

Forza 4 Horizon was tested with games benchmark tool, and the differences were far more minimal here with the i9 just 8% ahead of the 3950X at 1080p resolution, so no real noteworthy difference between them.

HITMAN 2

Hitman 2 was tested using the games built in benchmark, and there was a bigger difference this time. At 1080p the i9 was 11% higher than the 3950X.

SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool. The average FPS difference was extremely minor. At 1080p where presumably the CPU matters more the 10900K was reaching 8% higher FPS.

PRODUCTIVITY BENCHMARKS:

ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS

 

Adobe After Effects is tested with Puget systems benchmark tool. The 3950X was completing this task faster than the 10900K, though it was only 2% faster.

ADOBE PREMIERE PRO

Adobe Premiere Pro was tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool. The 3950X was faster in this test but there wasn’t that big of a difference, it was 15% faster.

BLENDER CLASSROOM RENDER

The 10900K substantially slower than the RYZEN 9 3950X here. There was 35% difference, in terms of performance. So the RYZEN is a clear winner here.

CINEBENCH R20 SINGLE

I’ve also tested the Cinebench R20 in the single core performance, though the I9-10900K was 0.5% ahead over the 3950X.

CINEBENCH R20 MULTI

In this test the 3950X had a large 32% lead over the 10900K in the multicore performance.

HANDBRAKE ENCODING

 

Handbrake is another long-term multi thread workload. INTEL I9-10900K falls behind the RYZEN 9 3950X. RYZEN was performing 26% good. And RYZEN is a good choice for encoding.

TEMPERATURES & POWER CONSUMPTION:

CONCLUSION

If your focus is gaming, clearly the 10900K is the better option out of the two, especially once we take price into consideration. The 3950X is at least a couple hundred dollars extra but performs worse in games. Given the 3900X performs very closely to the 3950X in games but for around $440 USD, it would make more sense to look there instead if gaming is the priority, however if you do also need the high core counts for other tasks, as we saw earlier the 3950X was able to outperform the 10900K there, granted at a higher cost.

All things considered, based on these results and the current prices, the 10900K is the way to go for gaming as it’s cheaper and performs better. That’s not to say the 3950X is at all bad for gaming, the results it offers are still realistically quite excellent, but to get the value out of it you’re also going to want to have some heavy multicore applications to take advantage of it, as the 10 core 10900K can still do quite well in plenty of multicore tasks, so it would depend how much your time is worth.

At the end of the day it only seems worth paying for the extra cores with the Ryzen option if you need them, as was the case last generation, Intel is ahead when it comes to gaming. You could definitely make a case for the 3900X in terms of gaming as it performs similarly to the 3950X for a fair bit less money, the 10900K will still outperform it, but the value would change significantly if you can get by with a measly 12 cores.

Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, Intel’s new i9-10900K or AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X?

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