AMD Ryzen 9 5950X In-Depth Review : 16-Core Behemoth!

AMD Zen 3 Architecture + SoC Design

AMD Zen 3 Architecture

Codename Vermeer, Zen 3 is the next evolution of the Zen architecture, delivering a 19% improvement in instructions per clock (IPC) through these improvements :

Front-End Enhancements

  • Faster fetching, especially for branchy and large-footprint code
  • L1 branch target buffer doubled in size to 1024 entries for better prediction latency
  • Improved branch predictor bandwidth
  • Faster recovery from misprediction
  • “No bubble” prediction capabilities to make back-to-back predictions more quickly and better handle branchy code
  • Faster sequencing of op-cache fetches
  • Finer granularity in switching of op-cache pipes

Execution Engines

  • Reduce latency and enlarge structures to extract higher instruction-level parallelism (ILP)
  • New dedicated branch and st-data pickers for integer, now at 10 issues per cycle (+3 vs. Zen 2)
  • Larger integer window at +32 vs. Zen 2
  • Reduced latency for select float and int operations
  • Floating point has increased bandwidth by +2 for a total of 6-wide dispatch and issue
  • Floating point FMAC is now 1 cycle faster

Load Store

  • Larger structures and better prefetching to support the enhanced execution engine bandwidth
  • Overall higher bandwidth to feed the appetite of the larger/faster execution resources
  • Higher load bandwidth vs. Zen 2 by +1
  • Higher store bandwidth vs. Zen 2 by +1
  • More flexibility in load/store operations
  • Improved memory dependence detection
  • +4 table walkers in the TLB

SOC Architecture

  • Reduce dependency on main memory accesses, reduce core-to-core latency, reduce core-to-cache latency.
  • Unify all cores in a CCD into a single unified complex consisting of 4, 6, or 8 contiguous cores
  • Unify all L3 cache in a CCD into a single contiguous element of up to 32MB
  • Rearchitect core/cache communication into a ring system


AMD Zen 3 SoC Design

In addition to micro architectural improvements, Zen 3 (Vermeer) also features SoC design changes.

In Zen 2, each CCD (Compute Die) is made up of two CCX (core complexes), each with a 16 MB L3 cache.

Zen 3 uses a unified complex, in which each CCD now contains a single CCX with a unified 32 MB L3 cache.

This unified CCD design eliminates CCX-to-CCX communication, greatly improving core-to-core latency.

On the other hand, AMD reused the chiplet design, with one or two CCDs (fabricated on 7 nm) paired with a 12 nm IOD (I/O Die).

Reads from CCD to IO are still 2X write, to conserve die area and transistor budget. And it uses the same IOD from Matisse (Zen 2).

The new Zen 3 CCD has 4.15 billion transistors, with a die size of 80.7 mm². The Matisse-era IOD remains the same – 2.09 billion transistors, with a die size of 125 mm².


AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Benchmarking Notes

In this review, we will take a look at the content creation and gaming performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, comparing it to 6 other processors :

Cores /
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 / 32 3.4 GHz 4.9 GHz 8 MB 64 MB DDR4-3200
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 / 16 3.8 GHz 4.7 GHz 4 MB 32 MB DDR4-3200
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8 / 16 3.6 GHz 4.4 GHz 4 MB 32 MB DDR4-3200
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8 / 16 3.7 GHz 4.3 GHz 4 MB 16 MB DDR4-2933
Intel Core i7-8700K 6 / 12 3.7 GHz 4.7 GHz 1.5 MB 12 MB DDR4-2666
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 6 / 12 3.6 GHz 4.2 GHz 3 MB 16 MB DDR4-2933
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X 4 / 8 3.8 GHz 4.3 GHz 2 MB 16 MB DDR4-3200

Here are the specifications of the Intel and AMD testbeds we used.

Intel Testbed AMD Testbed
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F-Gaming ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero
Memory G.SKILL Sniper X DDR4-3400 (8 GB x 2)
Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 (8 GB x 2)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER (GeForce 457.09)
Storage 1 TB SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD
OS Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

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