AMD 1950X Benchmarks and Review. AMD’s Threadripper CPUs offer increased core counts at lower prices compared to the competition. I’ve been using the 1950X daily in my main PC for over 5 months since buying it in September last year, so it’s about time we check it out and find out just how well it performs through a series of benchmarks, both at stock and overclocked.
Before diving into specs and benchmarks, let’s first discuss why I bought this crazy CPU. Whatever way you look at it, the X399 platform is not for most people, it’s aimed towards enthusiasts and users who perform multithreaded workloads, such as video rendering and running virtual machines, such as myself. Although it’s definitely not going to give you the best gaming performance, as it’s in my primary PC I do play games on it.
I’m using the Noctua U14S CPU cooler to keep the temperatures in check, and for an air cooler I’m very impressed with the temperatures that I’ve been getting. I did originally buy this cooler as a placeholder, as when I was building the system there were no water cooled AIO options that covered the full TR4 socket available at the time, however that has changed so I may look at upgrading in the future, but for now I’m pretty impressed with all 16 cores running well on air. I’ve compared this cooler with two others from Noctua too if you’re interested.
I’m testing with 64GB of GSkill memory running at 2,666MHz, and while I could have got better results by overclocking this, I’ve chosen to leave it at this speed for a couple of reasons. First is by keeping it the same while only changing the CPU speeds we can hopefully get a better idea of the performance change by only overclocking the CPU, and secondly, my memory just isn’t playing that well with my board and starts having issues if I go any higher anyway. All tests were also run in creator mode, which is the preferred option for these workloads, and is how I’ll be running it all the time anyway.
Basically with Threadripper you can run in either creator or game mode, as the chip has two separate dies. The creator mode allows both dies to use all memory, while game mode keeps all data being processed on the same core and set of memory to reduce latency between dies, which improves gaming performance. Alright with that out of the way let’s check out some benchmarks, I’ll start with some CPU specific tests before moving into the games.
I was able to overclock to 4GHz on all cores so that’s what the overclock speed is. Kicking things off with Adobe Premiere I’ve rendered my ASUS Zephyrus laptop review video with the CPU only, so no CUDA or OpenCL was used, and we’re able to save a little bit of time with the overclock. Next I’ve used 7 Zip to test compression and decompression speeds, and we can see that while the compression speeds don’t change much, there’s a larger difference in decompression speeds with the overclock applied.
Veracrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds, and these averages show that the overclock is again just a little faster. I’ve used Handbrake to encode a 4K video file to 1080p, and a separate 1080p file to 720p, and the overclock seems to be speeding the rendered frames per second up by around 10%. In Cinebench we’re not seeing any difference in the single core test, as at stock speeds the 1950X can turbo a single core up to 4GHz, so we get the same results.
Multicore is a bit different, with the overclock again giving around a 10% performance boost. The corona benchmark uses the CPU to render a scene, and there wasn’t very much difference between the two at all here. In PCMark 10 there’s again only a little difference between the scores at stock speed and while overclocked. Again Passmark 9 shows the single core scores being almost identical, while there is a more noticeable difference between the two with the multicore test. It’s very similar in Geekbench 4, where single core results are just slightly different, while multicore are a bit further apart, although nothing too impressive.
As shown by the results it really comes down to the workload as to whether or not the overclock is beneficial, in general there is a somewhat noticeable boost under multicore workloads with the overclock, but it’s basically pointless for single core, as the 1950X already boosts up to 4GHz out of the box at single core anyway. As for the power consumption at idle it was the same regardless of whether or not it was overclocked, however when under full load with Aida64 maxing out all cores there is quite a fairly large 250 watt difference between stock and overclock speeds. Now just for fun I’ve included some PUBG gaming benchmarks, before the comments explode with hate, just let me explain for a second.
While this machine will primarily be used for productivity workloads such as video editing, rendering, and running multiple virtual machines, I will be playing games on it from time to time, shocking right? Yeah, I understand that it’s not the best performance, and gaming on Threadripper is not optimal, but this is my main PC going forward, so unless I spend even more money on a completely new system just to play games this is what I’ve got to use, and I’m sure there will be others in the same position.
Should you buy Threadripper if you’re mostly going to be using it for gaming? No way, that’s a huge waste of money, you’d be much better suited looking at a CPU with higher single core performance, such as Intel’s 8700K which looks like a bargain next to this.
Now with that long explanation out of the way, this is how PUBG runs with an EVGA 1080 FTW2. I’ve only tested PUBG, mainly as it’s the game I play the most, I’m not doing a bunch of games because as mentioned this isn’t typically a gaming CPU anyway and I just want to give you a brief idea of how it does. As mentioned the Threadripper CPUs can be set in either creator or game mode, in general game mode will provide increased frame rates in games but give slower multicore results.
To be honest I only play in creator mode as I’m too lazy to swap, as that requires a full system reboot, and most of my tasks work better in creator mode. Still it’s nice to see that the game mode is actually making an improvement in PUBG, both at stock and while overclocked. Interestingly in game mode at stock speeds the 1% lows are lower than running at stock in creator mode, despite the averages being higher, but once overclocked to 4GHz in game mode the results increase a fair bit.
So while I’m not getting the best gaming results, this is definitely more than enough for me. Finally let’s discuss why I ended up going with AMD’s Threadripper over Intel’s Skylake-X offerings. Don’t get me wrong, I was very tempted to go with Intel, their single core performance is definitely better, and Skylake-X CPUs are available with more CPU cores than I’d ever need, they even have better overclocking potential from what I’ve heard. The main reason, was of course price.
Now before you think that just because I’ve bought a $999 USD CPU that this isn’t a factor, let me explain. For the tasks that I do, that is highly multithreaded workloads, having more cores even if they are slower is generally beneficial to me. For the same price, I could have bought Intel’s 10 core 7900X and probably would have been just as happy without noticing much difference day to day.
To be honest, this scared me a little, both are decent options for me and when you’re spending this amount of money on something you’ll have for many years you don’t really want to screw it up. Before coming to a decision I watched the reviews from Steve at hardware unboxed, Kevin from tech showdown, and Bryan from tech yes city, as they had all compared the 7900X against the 1950X, so I had a fair bit of information to go on. I’ll leave links to their videos in the description if you’re interested in the differences between the two CPUs.
The summary was essentially that Intel outperformed AMD for single threaded tasks and gaming, while Threadripper was an improvement if you’re actually able to utilise all those cores, which hopefully I am, and if not I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to grow into it in the future, as software improves we should start to see more and more programs and games taking advantage of more cores. There are some days where I wish I’d just gotten an 8 core Intel chip, but at the same time it’s been running well and I haven’t had any problems once getting it up and running.
So what did you guys think about AMD’s 1950X CPU? I think it’s impressive how far we’ve come since I was last CPU shopping, there are so many options available now that AMD are competitive again, and even though the higher core options like Threadripper are costly, at least there are options now from both AMD and Intel.
Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments!