Ryzen 9 3900X: performance analysis

Crysis 3, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Metro Exodus, The Witcher 3.

We continue our 3900X testing with four more popular games, all of which come from live gameplay rather than a canned benchmark. Crysis 3 needs no introduction, having served as a test of high-end computer hardware since time immemorial (okay, 2013), but let's briefly cover the three other games in this section.

Metro Exodus is one of the few RTX games to be released thus far, and even with ray tracing disabled its campaign includes a number of challenging sections for both CPU and GPU. We've opted for the opening seconds of the Volga campaign stage, which includes some high-speed train gameplay plus a few surprises.

Kingdom Come Deliverance is another game with the capability to absolutely tank frame-rates in certain sections on its ultra high preset, but it does at least have the good grace to warn you that this level of graphical fidelity is designed for future hardware and consequently won't play out well in 2019 - even with a Core i9 9900K.

The Witcher 3 rounds out our second page of benchmarks, as we take to the saddle to experience the bustling streets of Novigrad and see if Intel's historic advantage here has been reversed. For now though, let's don our nanosuits one more time to check out how the 3900X handles Crysis 3.

Crysis 3

Crysis 3's campaign varies quite a bit from level to level and section to section when it comes to CPU and GPU utilisation, so we've picked an early jungle-based scene that really stresses the CPU while still making use of a large number of threads. We reckon that six to eight cores is the sweet spot here, but how does the 3900X's 12-core design fare?

In a word, well: we see three per cent higher averages at 1080p for the 3900X over the 3700X, which itself was 14 per cent to the good over the 2700X. However, Intel remains the overall champions, with the 9700K effectively tying the 3900X and the 9900K sitting a solid 10 per cent ahead. It is worth noting that the 3900X offers higher worst one per cent framerates than the 9700K, by around 10 per cent, so you are at least getting a more stable experience on AMD's mid-tier CPU. The 9900K remains top top here as well, with 22 per cent higher results at the lowest one per cent.

Crysis 3: Very High, SMAA T2X

  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X

Metro Exodus

Another collection of odd results here, as the 3900X and 9900K are slightly outperformed by their mid-tier siblings. Regardless, Intel retains its performance title here, with a 20 per cent higher result on the 9900K when it comes to averages and nearly 50 per cent when we look at how each processor performs at its worst.

As before, we see relatively similar performance between Intel and AMD chips in the earlier stages of the benchmark, with Intel handling the more explosive final section better and AMD suffering a few calamitous drops.

Metro Exodus: Ultra, DX12

  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X

Kingdom Come Deliverance

Kingdom Come Deliverance uses a much newer version of the CryEngine than Crysis 3, so we expect higher thread counts to provide a small but noticeable boost to performance. Indeed, that's what we see here with the 3900X leading the 3700X by 1fps and the 9900K leading the 9700K by 2fps. Not exactly shocking stuff, but it's a small and repeatable difference in a game that only runs at around 80fps on our fastest chip at Deliverance's extremely challenging ultra high preset.

Comparing the two flagship models, the 9900K leads the 3900X by a bigger margin, almost 10 per cent, at 1080p. It's an even bigger lead for the 9900K when it comes to the worst one per cent scores, with the Intel CPU leading by a whopping 50 per cent.

Kingdom Come Deliverance: Ultra High, SMAA

  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X

The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 has historically proven a tough challenge for Ryzen hardware, with the 9700K beating the 2700X by around 40 per cent at 1080p. The new Ryzen processors do much better here, but Intel's top two chips remain ahead of even the 3900X by about 10 per cent and 17 per cent for the 9700K and 9900K, respectively.

Worst one per cent frame-rates for the AMD CPUs are significantly improved from last-gen, nearly doubling from the 2700X to the 3700X, likely as a result of that faster single-threaded performance and the doubling of the L3 cache.

Witcher 3: Ultra, Post-AA, No Hairworks

  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X
  • Core i9 9900K
  • Core i7 9700K
  • Ryzen 9 3900X
  • Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Ryzen 7 2700X

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X analysis

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2.

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