Ryzen 9 3900X and Core i9 9900K are high-end AMD and Intel processors launched in 2019 that still dominate the PC market. Price starting at $429.99 and state-of-the-art specifications such as a large number of cores and speeds in the 5 GHz range, the chips should be interesting for both professional use and high-level gaming. Check below for more details on premium CPUs and find out which one is best for your computer.
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs Intel Core i9 9900K
|Ryzen 9 3900X||Core i9 9900K|
|Launch||July 2019||October 2019|
|Price||from $429.99||from $439.99|
|Cores / Threads||12/24||8/16|
|Velocity||3.8 to 4.6 GHz||3.4 to 5.0 GHz|
|Memory||Dual-channel DDR4 up to 3,200 MHz||Duo-channel DDR4 up to 2,666 MHz|
|Cache||64 MB on L3||16 MB on L3|
|Video card||–||Intel UHD Graphics 630|
|TDP||105 Watts||95 Watts|
Intel and AMD’s two high-end processors compete in the same market range and feature cutting-edge specifications. When counting cores and threads, the advantage is AMD: Ryzen is a 12-core, 24-thread processor, while Intel’s Core i9 9900K adds up to an 8-core, 16 threads. AMD’s advantage in this regard is the ability to work on more fronts at the same time, which depends on applications that take advantage of this feature.
As for speed, Intel’s CPU offers more powerful clocks with a base speed of 3.6 GHz and the promise of reaching 5.0 GHz in turbo. On the AMD side, the clock is between 3.8 GHz and 4.6 GHz. As for memory, Ryzen supports dual-channel DDR4 cards running at up to 3,200 MHz, while the Core i9 recognizes two DDR4 channels at a maximum of 2,666 MHz.
In the cache, the Intel model has 16 MB in L3, while AMD appears with 64 MB, four times more. Also, there is one last important specification that ultimately differentiates the two processors: between the two, only Ryzen has integrated support for PCIe 4.0 slots, which should become more common in the future. Core i9 is limited to PCIe 3.0, the previous standard.
Since the first generation, Ryzen processors have tended to excel in situations involving the use of multiple cores and threads, while Intel dominates single-core work, quite common in everyday life. This is confirmed in benchmarks and reviews available on the Internet, such as the comparison performed by the PCMag site when running the Cinebench R15 test on both chips.
The publication points to a gap in the AMD model in multithread, beating 2,997 points in the test, while the Core i9 goes to 2,063, something interesting for types of use such as image editing, 3D modeling, and video rendering, among other examples. For single-core use, there are 218 points for the Intel chip and 208 points for Ryzen, reinforcing the interesting purpose of running text editors, and media players, among other examples.
Comparisons that test the performance in games also indicate the high performance of the two chips with different advantages between one and the other. PCMag has detected that, in general, the Core i9 is the fastest in games. In Rise of The Tomb Raider, for example, the CPU produced 81 fps against 76 for Ryzen, both running at 4K.
In Far Cry 5, this time with full HD resolution, the results were similar, with the Core i9 delivering 141 frames per second against 123 fps hit by Ryzen. In the same game, but 4K, the two processors reached the same 59 fps.
Tom’s Hardware also found that the Core i9 9900K tends to do better in games like Borderlands 3, producing an average of 125 fps against 119 for Ryzen. Other recent games that have been tested continue the trend, with Intel’s model always ahead by margins that vary depending on the game. It’s worth remembering that the Core i9 was recently replaced by the Core i9 10900K, appointed by the manufacturer as the “best gaming processor in the world”.
Both processors have similar TDP numbers, although the Core i9 9900K is more efficient at reaching a maximum TDP of 95 Watts versus 105 Watts for the AMD model. This amount of power signals the amount that is dissipated in the environment as heat. Although it does not represent the exact electrical consumption, the measure indicates who spends more or less: if the CPU heats up a lot, it can be slower and less efficient, requiring more power from the source.
The TDP also affects the user experience related to noise production. The more the processor heats up, the more aggressive the cooling solution associated with it will have to be. In general, this should represent a higher noise on the PC, which can hinder the user experience in some cases.
A significant difference between the two is that the Ryzen 9 3900X does not have an integrated graphics card, unlike Intel’s rival, which offers an Intel UHD Graphics 630. In other words: the user who chooses the AMD chip will need to invest in a dedicated graphics card when assembling a PC, while the Core i9 can meet that need at first. It’s worth mentioning that Intel’s integrated GPU isn’t good enough for games, but it allows it to control multiple monitors and supports 4K screens.
Another relevant aspect that is part of both processors is the overclock support. In AMD, this feature is associated with the motherboard, while the Core i9 is designed to overclock any compatible board.
Finally, there is a warning that both chips require good attention when choosing the motherboard. The Ryzen 9 3900X, even using the AM4 socket, common to Ryzen CPUs since the first generation, may require a BIOS upgrade to work in some cases. Intel’s processor runs on the LGA1151 socket, which has already been replaced in the 10th generation. Therefore, if the idea is to perform the upgrade in the future, it is important to remember that the Core i9 9900K will not fit in the new LGA1200, just like a newer Intel model will not work in the old motherboard.
Price and Availability
The top two Intel and AMD are relatively expensive. The Ryzen 9 3900X appears in the market with prices starting at $429.99 at the moment.
Intel’s model is more considered. It is possible to find the Core i9 9900K starting at $439.99.
Both are intended for a demanding public, and it is hard to imagine anyone being disappointed in one or the other. Still, a well-informed purchase requires attention to some differences. The Ryzen 9 3900X demonstrates good results in professional use, thanks to its high performance for multicore work. But, it’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t make AMD’s chip a bad option for games, since its results are close to those of Core i9.
The Core i9 9900K excels in the use of a single core at high speeds, as the 5.0 GHz turbo indicates. So if the idea is to have a PC for casual use, productivity, or gaming, Intel’s processor should be an interesting option. Also, due to the presence of an integrated graphics card and the lower price, the CPU can work well for those who are building a high-performance gamer PC and don’t want to spend too much at once.
Finally, it is worth keeping in mind some relevant details, such as support for PCle 4.0 SSDs by the Ryzen processor, which should ensure higher performance on the machine. Also, the possibility to upgrade in the future without having to replace the AM4 socket motherboard is a very positive point for AMD.