AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Offers Incredible Linux Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 7 February 2020. Page 1 of 8. 71 Comments

If you are looking for the absolute best single-socket workstation performance for Linux, there has already been the Threadripper 3970X that easily outperforms the likes of the Core i9 10980XE as Intel's top-end HEDT product, but now the Threadripper 3990X is shipping. The Threadripper 3990X is AMD's first 64-core / 128-thread desktop/workstation processor and will love your multi-threaded workloads from code compilation to content creation. As shown in our benchmarks, this single CPU is indeed faster than $20k worth of Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs.

The Ryzen Threadripper 3990X with its 64 cores and 128 threads comes with a 2.9GHz base frequency and 4.3GHz boost frequency and a full 288MB cache. This Threadripper 3990X is easily the best HEDT processor on the market, but will cost quite a bit at $3,990 USD.

In this article for launch-day are my preliminary Linux benchmarks of the Threadripper 3990X with many more being on the way in the days and weeks ahead. Unfortunately, I was only briefed this week and then obtained access to the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X on Wednesday morning, so in time for the embargo lift has just been an initial set of comparison benchmarks.

With that said, thanks to System76 for coordinating the 3990X Linux testing and supplying their new Thelio Major workstation with the Threadripper 3990X. This System76 Thelio Major is a beast with the 3990X, 128GB of RAM, dual Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics cards, and more, all within their beautifully crafted chassis made in Denver, Colorado. I'll have much more on this System76 Thelio with Ryzen CPU in forthcoming articles while more immediate details on their new PCs can be found at system76.com.

This initial round of Ryzen Threadripper 3990X was done on an Ubuntu 20.04 snapshot as of last week with the Linux 5.4 kernel and GCC 9.2.1. All of the systems, as always, were freshly re-tested on this forward-looking stack for how these HEDT CPUs should be performing with the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. Besides needing the MCE workaround (booting with mce=off until running the latest Linux 5.4 point releases or Linux 5.5), the experience has been good under Linux with the limited time for testing. Of course, with Linux 5.6 will also be better thermal reporting as well for AMD CPUs.

The other systems I benchmarked for this launch-day comparison included:

- AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
- Intel Core i9 10980XE
- Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 (one of the most closely priced Xeons to the 3990X with it currently retailing for $3400 to $4000 USD)
- 2 x Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 (the most advanced non-AP Cascadelake combination for Xeon CPUs available right now but costing around $10k per CPU)

All the other system details in the table below.

Apologies this morning's article is a bit light due to only having my hands on the system for about 48 hours so far, but more tests will be forthcoming.


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