AMD has confirmed that November 25th is when consumers will finally be able to buy the Ryzen 9 3950X as well as the first two members of the new 3rd Gen Threadripper family, the Ryzen TR 3960X and Ryzen TR 3970X, while also confirming previous rumours about the Athlon 3000G, which will launch on November 19th.

The Ryzen 9 3950X will be the final and flagship entry in the 3rd Gen Ryzen family, bringing 16 cores and 32 threads to the AM4 platform for the first time since it launched over three years ago. As you can see in the table below (which excludes the OEM-only Ryzen 9 3900 and China-only Ryzen 5 3500X), it also features the highest boost clock of the family (single-threaded boost clock, that is), which leads AMD to describe it as a ‘no compromise’ part. AMD reckons the single-threaded performance is up to 22 percent higher than the previous-generation flagship, the Ryzen 7 2700X, as measured by – of course – Cinebench.

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AMD Ryzen 7 3800X AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Ryzen 5 3600X Ryzen 5 3600
Cores/Threads 16/32 12/24 8/16 8/16 6/12 6/12
Base Clock 3.5GHz 3.8GHz 3.9GHz 3.6GHz 3.8GHz 3.6GHz
Boost Clock 4.7GHz 4.6GHz 4.5GHz 4.4GHz 4.4GHz 4.2GHz
Total Cache 72MB 70MB 36MB 36MB 35MB 35MB
TDP 105W 105W 105W 65W 95W 65W
MSRP $749 $499 $399 $329 $249 $199

Launching for $749 (UK pricing TBC), the Ryzen 9 3950X is said to be just as good in gaming workloads as Intel’s Core i9-9900K, which is the closest point of comparison (excluding the limited-edition Core i9-9900KS) when looking only at mainstream platforms. A price of $749, however, places the CPU in what has until now been the realm solely of high-end desktop (HEDT) parts. On that note, AMD reckons the Ryzen 9 3950X is consistently and significantly faster than the 12c/24t Core i9-9920X, which launched for $1,199. Of course, the more relevant comparisons will be to the newer 12c/14t Core i9-10920X and 14c/28t Core i9-10940X, as these are set to launch at some point this month for $689 and $784 respectively.

The Ryzen 9 3950X carries a 105W TDP, and AMD reckons it is more efficient than both the Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9920X, which perhaps isn’t surprising given that it’s built on a 7nm process versus Intel’s optimised 14nm one. The new 10th Gen Intel parts won’t change that fact, and AMD is not anticipating efficiency to swing in Intel’s favour, but either way November and December are looking extremely interested for those with an eye on high-end CPUs.

Practically speaking, the Ryzen 9 3950X will be on shelves on November 25th and will ship without a cooler. AMD recommends 280mm-based all-in-one liquid-coolers as a minimum and will be posting a list of approved coolers to that end. The new part will also require motherboards that have the AGESA 1004 microcode in place; BIOS updates that feature this should be rolling out very soon too.

AMD will also be introducing a new Eco-Mode feature to 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs (Ryzen 5 3600 and up), allowing users to run them with lower TDP targets in order to reduce power and temperature. For example, 105W/95W CPUs can be set to 65W mode, while 65W CPUs can run in a 45W mode. Expect this feature to be included in AGESA 1004 BIOS updates.

With the AM4 platform now featuring CPUs with up to 16 cores, Threadripper has to go even bigger to justify its HEDT status. To that end, the entry-level part of the new 3rd Gen Threadripper family, the Ryzen TR 3960X, will sport 24 7nm Zen 2 cores and 48 threads, and the chip above, the Ryzen TR 3970X, will move to a 32c/64t design. Pricing has been announced as $1,399 and $1,999 respectively (UK pricing TBC) – both notably higher than the upcoming Intel HEDT flagship, the 18c/36t Core i9-10980XE, which is slated for $979.

Ryzen TR 3970X Ryzen TR 3960X Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX
Cores/Threads 32/64 24/48 32/64 24/48
Base Clock 3.7GHz 3.8GHz 3.0GHz 3.0GHz
Boost Clock 4.5GHz 4.5GHz 4.2GHz 4.2GHz
Total Cache 72MB 140MB 80MB 76MB
TDP 250W 250W 250W 250W
MSRP $1,999 $1,399 $1,799 $1,299

While these core counts are nothing new for Threadripper, the Ryzen TR 3960X and 3970X both benefit from massively increased cache levels, massive base clock improvements, health boost clock gains, and more I/O throughput thanks to the move to the new TRX40 platform and Socket sTRX4 with 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes.

You will need a TRX40 motherboard to support these new CPUs; they are not backwards-compatible with X399 – a move AMD claims was needed to grant the extra I/O support in the short-term and to introduce greater scalability in the long-term.

Lastly, on the complete opposite end of the CPU scale, AMD has also confirmed the rumours and announced the AMD Athlon 3000G, which will launch on November 19th for just $49. Featuring Zen+ CPU cores with a 2c/4t arrangement and AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics, the chip comes with a 35W TDP and is fully unlocked for overclocking, with AMD saying that the default 3.5GHz frequency can be increased to 3.9GHz without much hassle.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04