Intel Core i9-9980XE vs AMD Ryzen Threadripper

Today Intel is kicking off its newest High End Desktop processor, the Intel Core i9-9980XE Extreme Edition. This 14nm Skylake-X CPU boasts 18 Cores and 36 Threads and has an expected retail price of $1979. We compare the i9-9980XE to AMD's entire line of Threadripper CPUs to see where the 9980XE sits in the HEDT stack.

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Test Setup

Our competing processors are all charted below. We of course have our 9980XE, and for comparison, we have included every HEDT Threadripper processor that AMD currently sells.

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Intel System: ASUS ROG Rampage VI Apex - 32GB Corsair DDR4 @ 3600MHz with 18-19-19-39-2T timings - GTX 1080 - 3X Samsung 840 Pro SATA - Seasonic Prime Titanium 1000W

AMD System: MSI MEG X399 Creation - 32GB GSkill DDR4 @ 3400MHz with 14-14-14-34-1T timings - GTX 1080 - 3X Samsung 840 Pro SATA - Seasonic Prime Titanium 1000W

Water Cooling: Our water cooling loop is from XSPC and consists of a XSPC RayStorm Pro Water Block for AMD and for Intel, RX480 V3 Radiator, and D5 Photon Reservoir/Pump Combo V2. The cooling systems being used on both the AMD and Intel desktop CPUs are identical, the only thing that is different is the hold-down bracket.

All CPU clocks shown below are achieved by setting our EFI/BIOS to "Optimized Defaults." We set our RAM clocks and timings by hand.

9980XE OC = All core overclock to 4.1GHz with a 3600MHz.


Synthetic Arithmetic Benchmarks & RAM Bandwidth

As always, synthetic benchmarks are a good marker for performance, but are far from the end-all be-all of the CPU measuring stick. That said, there is value to be found in these metrics. We generally use these for finding out if anything is "wrong" rather than when something is "right."


SiSoft Sandra 2017

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Given our experience with Dhrystone, there are no surprises to be found here. This workload extends across all cores available. Our 4.1GHz overclock does extend to a ~8% increase on this synthetic benchmark. While the 2990WX does have a ~78% increase in cores compared to our 9980XE, those only amount to a ~38% increase in benchmark score.

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Again, we show no surprises here. Our Intel IMC is working well, with its quad-channel memory giving us nearly a 2X advantage over its desktop dual-channel 9900K CPU. The Threadripper bandwidth is how it has been since launch for these CPUs, with the shared memory architecture impacting our 2970WX and 2990WX CPUs that have two dies that are not directly attached to the memory controller.

Hyper Pi

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Intel truly shows off its clock and IPC dominance here. Again, these numbers should come as no surprise. Intel enjoys both an IPC and clock advantage in this single threaded benchmark. We see Turbo Boost doing a better job than our hand overclock, which is to be expected since we expect higher core clocks in lightly threaded loads.

wPrime

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With four threads thrown into the mix, we see the delta between the 9980XE and the 9980XE OC close a bit as the Turbo Boost on 9980XE is certainly not boosting as high, as we are now powering four threads. Along with the decreased clock, we see the delta between Intel and AMD diminish a bit. We again see Turbo Boost doing a better job than our hand overclock, which is to be expected since we expect higher core clocks in lightly threaded loads.