How good is the new Threadripper 3990X?

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, released today, performed excellent in the reviews. With 64 cores and 128 threads, it was completely reasonable to assume this monster of a processor would only be suited for some specialized applications. And that’s a little bit true: It’s not the strongest gaming processor, or the strongest in single threaded workloads. But with some exceptions it is still strong in those - which is surprising.

In games, which tend to focus on single threaded performance, it sits a bit below the Threadripper 3970X, but still above the AMD Ryzen 5 3600:

Gaming Performance of the Threadripper 3990X: 9.27/10
See the individual benchmark results here, they also show some of the games in which the processor performs badly.

In application performance it is the strongest processor in the benchmark, with a vast distance:

Application Performance of the Threadripper 3990X: 10/10
The details are here.

Of course, no one will or should buy the Threadripper 3990X for gaming, it costs $4000. That part of its performance just shows that its cores are not that weak - this is again no FX processor, which makes it more viable for software that is not that completely parallelizable. Still, in the end the 3990X is really strong only when it can use those 128 threads. They give it excellent results in modern software benchmarks. It would be a great choice for cpu heavy applications, like professional render workstations.

The Radeon RX 5600 XT: Launch issues and benchmark performance

This AMD launch did not work that well. So here is what happened: AMD released the RX 5600 XT with a different VBIOS than originally planned. The new VBIOS raises core and memory clock, resulting in better performance. But: A last minute change is highly problematic for partner card vendors and thus consumers. The raised memory clock is hard to test and might cause issues, prompting some vendors to stick to the lower memory clock (6000 MHz instead of 7000 MHz). And that hard to notice difference is highly confusing for customers, who now can’t be sure the RX 5600 XT they buy reaches the performance shown in reviews, because those were mostly done with cards that reach the 7000 MHz.

But first, how did the card perform? In the benchmarks collected so far we saw it perform very well for its price, almost reaching the RX 5700 and beating the RTX 2060.

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See this comparison for details.

That makes the RX 5600 XT an attractive option, especially if the price between it and the RX 5700 gets bigger over time.

How bad would it be to get a model with the slower ram? We can look at this Computerbase review of multiple partner cards, some with the slower, some with the faster memory clock. The difference was ~4%. Getting the slower card would not be optimal, but also not a big issue.

But the best 5600 XT model to get is one with the faster memory clock: The Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT. It comes with the new VBIOS, reaches the faster memory clock and stays cool and quiet. Best of all: It is one of the cheaper models. So at least for a while there is no reason to get something worse.

Despite the launch issues, the 5600 XT cards are now in our system and they will be used for PC build recommendations.

GTX 1660 Super - Benchmark Review

Nvidia released a new card in the budget segment. It’s another alternative to the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Ti, with attractive models like:

  1. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super SC Ultra
  2. MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super Gaming X

How did it fare in our meta benchmark? Not so good, have a look:

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Or go directly to the always current comparison page.

It’s just nothing spectacular. The 1660 Super is a little bit slower than the 1660 Ti. It’s also supposed to be cheaper, depending on the model you pick. If sufficiently cheaper it’s a nice alternative to the Ti model. Apart from that it changes nothing on the gpu market.

The recommender will use the new 1660 Super cards from now on when appropriate, price tracking is activated.

Faster than Navi: RTX Super reaches good Result in Meta Benchmark

The two Nvida GeForce RTX Super gpus reviewed recently got listed in shops today. In Germany at least they are not properly in stock yet, but they can now be ordered in advance. Prices vary, the RTX 2070 Super ranges from 529€ to 649€, the RTX 2060 Super from 419€ to 519€. Prices in the US are similar, $499 to $629 and $369 to $469 (before taxes) respectively.

That’s more expensive than the AMD alternatives released this weekend, Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 XT. Good for Nvidia that the Super cards are faster:

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Please check this comparison page to see which games and reviews went into that rating.

The GeForce RTX 2070 Super is a bit slower than a GeForce RTX 2080, but faster than a Radeon RX 5700 XT, the RTX 2060 Super is a tiny bit faster than a Radeon RX 5700.

Current prices and availability are a convincing argument for the Radeon cards here, despite the slightly lower performance. But the comparably bad cooler on the reference model (with partner cards now announced for mid August) are less convincing, the Nvidia cards are more attractive partner cards with proper cooling.

Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT - Benchmark Review

Yesterday AMD not only released the Ryzen 3000 series, the company also released two new graphics cards. I guess they didn’t want to make the life of reviewers too easy.

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Those two cards are:

  1. The Radeon RX 5700 XT, with a launch price of $399/420€, a boost clock of 1905 MHz and 225W TDP.
  2. The Radeon RX 5700, with a launch price of $350/370€, a boost clock of 1725 MHz and 180W TDP.

And to everyone’s big surprise those cards are actually good and priced competitively.

Why is that surprising? It’s because of AMD’s recent track record with gpu launches. Over the last years the company had a dual strategy: Releasing iterations of the Radeon HD 7800/7900 cards (that were high end in 2012) and at the same time placing new experiments on the market. The first part of that strategy worked somewhat: The current iteration of the Radeon HD line is the Radeon RX 500 series, and the RX 570 and RX 580 are great cards – at the lower end of the market up to 200 bucks. While the second iteration, R9 290X, was still a high end card, its current version – the RX 590 – sits at position 17 of the meta benchmark. Nvidia’s stronger cards play in a different league.

At the same time the experiments and efforts to place a card at that level failed. Fury still tackled the high end (at that time defined by the GTX 980 Ti), but was a bit behind. It took a while till a successor was released. Vega was hyped a lot, but suffered from high energy usage, being loud at load and being unavailable during the crypto bubble. And finally the recent Radeon VII was slower than cheaper alternatives by Nvidia.

Despite that history the Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT look great:

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Please check this comparison page to see which games and reviews went into that rating.

In the meta benchmark, the Radeon RX 5700 XT reaches the 5th position, right below the way more expensive Radeon VII. And the smaller Radeon RX 5700 follows two positions below, above Vega 64, GTX 1080 an RTX 2060. That’s especially nice because of their energy usage: Yes, those are with 225W and 180W still energy hungry cards, but their competition does not need less to reach their performance. The RTX 2080 is also at a TDP of 225W, the Vega 64 is at 300W(!), the (slower) RTX 2060 still at 160W.

Missing in that benchmark are the RTX Super cards. They are not in there because they are not released yet. But benchmarks are out, and it’s clear the RTX 2060 Super is at the performance level of a RTX 2070 and the RTX 2070 Super a bit below a RTX 2080. Which in effect means the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT are still competitive, in absolute performance and price/performance.

One drawback is the cooler. Till now only a reference version is available, and the blower style cooler gets loud under load. It seems to be better than at the Vega release, but it is still not ideal. Partner cards should fix that in August.