What’s in the Box?
The Ryzen 9 3950X comes in a smaller box than the 3900X and the rest of the 3000 series as AMD didn’t bother to include a CPU cooler with it. Essentially, the included Wraith Prism or Wraith Spire coolers found with the rest of the series aren’t up to the task of cooling 16 cores adequately. The seal on the box shows AMD’s recommendation for liquid cooling on it. Of course, ultra-high-end air coolers should be usable, but not necessarily ideal. As I don’t keep air cooling on hand, I won’t dive into this a whole lot, but reports I’ve seen on our forums and others indicate that you will see lower boost clocks in multi-threaded workloads with even good air cooling.
Inside you’ll find an instruction booklet, a card talking about Ryzen 3000 series ready motherboards and compatibility, a case badge and a huge block of foam to fill the space. Yes, I did include pictures of the huge foam block that takes up 90% of the space in the box.
Who is this for?
Whenever you look at a product, you have to ask the question: Who is this product for? The Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X represent a new crossover realm between the mainstream and high-end desktop (HEDT) segments. These two CPU’s not only sit at the very top of the mainstream market stack but also take over and replace the spot formerly occupied by the “baby” Threadripper 2920X. The TR 2950X also sees replacement here and the HEDT stack moves up in terms of price point. Now that HEDT parts from AMD start at $1,399 and extends to $1,999 for the moment, its priced out of the realm of affordability for many people who are looking for higher core counts for content creation applications.
Before the launch of the Ryzen 3000 series the cost of entry for the HEDT market around $600 or so with offerings getting near the $1,000 mark with the 2950X. Now, this price point is being filled with the mainstream segment and specifically, the Ryzen 9 family which is comprised of the 3900X and 3950X CPU’s.
On the platform side, there is a gap as the X570 chipset offers much, but lacks the PCIe lane count of a true HEDT platform. Still, most people should find the PCIe lane counts of X570 and the performance offered by the Ryzen 9 family to be adequate for most of these workloads. If you don’t, then unfortunately, your only choices are to step up to Threadripper or go with a competing solution from Intel.