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3900x or 3950x for a high end streaming machine?

Bnusbaum
  • 1 month ago

The title says it all... is a 3950x worth the extra $250 when playing on a 1440p 34" ultrawide and wanting to stream high res?

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Unlike rendering/compiling/simulation workloads, etc. unfortunately video encoding/decoding/transcoding or other compression-based workloads do not see the same brisk performance consistency with a 32-thread 3950X. Beyond the encoding spectrum, other finely scalable multi-threaded workloads can achieve performance gains of 15-25% - the higher percentage being more reflective of unique modular workloads/synthetic benchmark tests. The more common median being 15-20% (real-world actualised performance is not guaranteed). For streaming (encoding), this mark-up doesn't apply, especially in some of the test suite results i've come across. I've seen variables where the 3950X achieves only 3%-8% faster runs (over the 3900X) and some random compilations suggesting a 10%+ multi-threaded uplift. This wider margin is unclear - whether conducted in real-time workloads, better scalable artificial encoding tests or promising results from earlier affiliate higher binned samples.

There's a number of possible reasons why the 3950X, a 32-thread mammoth chip, doesn't deliver the desired performance across the board:

  • Poorer compression based client optimisations

  • Evidently discerning Windows OS scheduler drawbacks

  • Unified Memory (UMC) queued limitations/latency

  • Poorly optimised collaborative power performance controls (although recent updates may suggest otherwise)

  • etc (or a combination of the above)

Also, I wouldn't buy into some of the earlier benchmarks as these reviewers had most likely received premium silicon samples (higher binned) which unfortunately does not resonate across the board. Likewise, most of these encoding benchmarks don't account for simultaneous workloads either whereby gaming detracts some of that sought advantage.

Going 3950X - does procure favourable returns in heavy-lift multi-threaded processes but whether it's worth $250 is down to user preference/budget. I guess forthcoming optimisations (BIOS/OS/encode client updates/etc) and manual overclocking is another perf swelling possibility but with current power draw constraints, i can't see anything too promising.

Personally, i'd grab the 3900X and call it a day (actually i'd opt for a 2-build solution - more on that towards the end). For hi-res streaming and gaming, the 3900X should be more than sufficient. With $250 thrown into the upgrade-piggy-saver, it would be interesting to see how Ryzen 4000 series plays out (expected sometime in 2020). We have to remember AMD's consumer platform voyage to multiple CCX 12 core+ designs and the inaugurated dense 7nm process build sits in it's early developed phase and was hardly expected to be perfect across the board. With plenty of time and effort on AMD's part, 4000-series should see a more maturely efficient revision both with the base-architecture and the inevitable loftier IPC uplift - hopefully significantly greater performance returns. I wouldn't expect enterprise-grade possibilities with full-thread load distribution/execution but in the least a performance-savvy worthy upgrade for the asking price. In other words, saving $250 today and selling the 3900X tomorrow (good re-sale value) may open up better and more succinct opportunities down the road. Saying that, with the 3900X in the bag, your multiple core/thread propelled workloads would have to be ridiculously demanding to necessitate an upgrade in the first place - basically, it's far from a gamble.

.....(actually i'd opt for a 2-build solution - more on that towards the end).....

In terms of raw performance, nothing beats a 2-build gaming and streaming solution. Essentially, a second machine for dedicated streaming + a premium capture card with higher quality in-built encoder passthrough. On a single platform, regardless of which higher core count CPU you end up going with, there is one drawback which is unavoidable - "significant performance hits on the gaming side". We're essentially looking at 15-25% drop in fps performance @ 1080p. Marginally lesser with 1440p! That's not to say you can't achieve excellent game performance whilst maintaining top visual quality but if you're looking to achieve max performance on both ends (without game performance compromise) the 2-build solution is the way the go!

I don't usually recommend dedicated builds for gaming and streaming but for someone considering a $750 CPU (assuming the budget is plenty) I believe it's a possibility worthy of consideration. Some of the negatives being, it's not the most power efficient solution, takes up more desk/room space and costs more money but money well-spent if it achieves the set performance targets. The benefits are equally numerous - lesser system latency (CPU/memory/storage/etc), more versatile upgrade opportunities as you're least likely to upgrade the streaming spec, more actively engaged multi-tasking opportunities, etc etc.

I won't add more.... let us know your thoughts and which direction suits you best (3900X? 3950X? or a 2-build behemoth?) Also are you building from scratch? Budget? Have a parts list put together?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for this insight. I pulled the trigger on a 3950x. I would like to save some money as my budget isn't endless, but I also want the best processor I can get for a single gaming/streaming setup/workstation/futureproof. If my streaming takes off then I will opt for a second rig, but one really good one right now which can cover many workstation tasks seems the right path for me. I am gaming on an Alienware 34" 1440p Ultrawide with an Aorus Xtreme 1080ti being swapped from my old rig to this one. Let me know what you think: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/yd8rp8

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

3900x will be plenty for streaming / your graphic card is what affects your monitor what card do you got?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Aorus Xtreme 1080ti

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

It's worth it if you need it/will need it.

Besides performance, there are many other factors too. Given that you're going for a 3900X/3950X, it's unlikely for you to upgrade to a Ryzen 4000, because the performance gain will be quite minimal, and if you plan to use the machine for as long as manageable without touching the CPU, maybe like minimum like 5 years, but looking at 7+ years, or even beyond, I can see getting the 3950X.

Gaming right now doesn't use beyond 16 threads, so it's not a factor today, but with a 32 thread CPU already out now, I wouldn't be surprised there'll be AAA games in a few years that uses 20+ threads, and then when you add streaming to the mix, maybe a web browser in the background, maybe communication, like Discord, etc, will a 32 thread CPU seem worth it? Most likely. Three years ago, games didn't use more than 8 threads, Ryzen came out with a 16 thread CPU and within two years there are a bunch of games using 12+ threads. Unlikely to see similar growth, i.e. i don't think we'll hit towards 32 threads any time soon with games, since that CPU usage increase is largely thanks to Intel's suppression keeping their top end CPUs at 8 threads, but I'm not ruling out in five years time there won't be an increase in CPU usage for gaming.

Just my speculation though.

Also, I hear the 3950X has slightly better binned chiplets. Whether it's coincidental that reviews got better binned 3950Xs or it was intentional, I don't know.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I went with this build, let me know what you think: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/yd8rp8 (I already owned the 1080ti)

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

At this budget, there's not much to say, since it's obvious you want aesthetics, preferences, etc, and in that sense, nothing wrong with this.

If you want to trim the budget down, there are alternatives.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Unless you are into Raytracing or 4K MAX settings at above 60fps at all times,there is very very little to no reason to upgrade. Only RTX 2080 Ti and RTX Titan would provide a significant enough upgrade(please don't get Titan for gaming.please lol).

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