A New Flagship Ryzen CPU

With the recent release of the Ryzen 3950X AMD has a new top-end CPU on their Ryzen lineup. For a lot of people this makes the decision to go for Intel or AMD as the platform for their new PC an even tougher choice. For over a year now the Intel i9 9900K has been the king of gaming CPUs. AMD has released several great Ryzen CPUs that are also great gaming CPUs, and sometimes even better values, but in terms of raw performance in gaming nothing has really topped the 9900K. The AMD Ryzen 3950X makes that situation a little less clear.

In most benchmarks the 3950X and 9900K are actually very evenly matched in gaming. In some games with otherwise identical systems and settings, the 9900K outpaces the 3950x ever so slightly, but it’s close enough that most gamers wouldn’t notice much of a difference.

Is It Worth It?

So, what justifies the higher cost of the Ryzen 3950X if it only almost matches the 9900K in gaming performance? Mostly, an absolutely bonkers number of cores in a consumer CPU. The 3950X sports 16 cores with 32 threads, which easily doubles up the 8 cores and 16 threads of the 9900K. These extra cores and threads really come into play when you’re using your system for something beyond just gaming. If you’re a streamer, or a YouTuber, or even if your gaming rig pulls double duty as a 4K video editing rig during the day, the high core count of the Ryzen 3950X will pay off for you in no time when it’s in use for those more CPU-intensive tasks. Now, if you’re pairing your CPU with an NVIDIA GPU, you’ll be able to take advantage of NVENC to level the playing field for streaming encoding, but for video editing, nothing beats having a few extra cores on a power CPU.

The Bottom Line

If all you’ve got planned for your system is gaming and some light duty streaming, you’re totally fine sticking with the 9900K, but if you’re going to be pushing beyond the boundaries of gaming and using your system as a full creative workstation for video production, music production, 3D modeling, you can expect performance increases from 40% to 80% over what you’re used to seeing with the 9900K. If all that sounds up your alley, the Ryzen 3950X may be the do-everything CPU you’ve been waiting for.

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