Having a tough time choosing between a 3950X or 3960X.

izusaga

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Existing system is a few years old Intel flagship (i7-6950x) that has been nothing but disappointing since day one, and I'd like to modernize with a PCI-E 4.0 NVMe.

Configuration:
  • 3 monitors (34" curved 2k @ 140hz, two 29" 2k @140hz)
  • 1080 Ti
  • i7-6950x
  • 64 GB 3200 G.Skil
  • 1TB EVO Pro

Various Intel security "fixes" for the Government-embedded backdoors have reduced the processor performance roughly ~38% since I've bought it. Unacceptable, and enough for me to leave Intel behind for the immediate future for that very reason alone.

I'd like to buy a few of the 2TB AORUS NVMe, potentially configuring them in RAID just to test the IO bandwidth, and at this point intend to skip the 2000-series nVidia entirely and wait for the 3000-series improvements (ray tracing was somewhat of a snooze on the old process). Purposes include gaming, encoding, running a few VM's at all times, and some high-compute multitasking in the fintech markets.

Budget isn't an issue, but the 3970X (and the upcoming 3990X) are both complete overkill. The real conundrum comes down to the TDP difference between the 3950X and 3960X, because I'd rather not buy additional radiators just to keep the thing from cooking itself at load.

I'm a few years out of the build game at this point, so I'm sure I don't know what I don't know. What else should I be factoring into my decision?
 

Zedicus

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what does your workload look like?
the Ryzen Stuff is more susceptible to showing difference in memory performance.
the TDP of those chips are not in a range that i would think you would ever need multiple radiators. there are overclock capable air only coolers available for those.
 

izusaga

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Do you need quad channel memory?
Need, no. Want, yes. The bandwidth increase from quad channel is very appealing for gaming and other RAM-intensive workloads.

Do you need more than 20 PCIe lanes?
This is the frustrating part. The short answer is not necessarily if I'm just running one video card. The long answer is if I want to RAID50 the AORUS NVMe with PCI-E boards I probably will. Now I need to research the max number of M.2 NVMe I could fit onto the 20 lanes..
 

izusaga

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what does your workload look like?
the Ryzen Stuff is more susceptible to showing difference in memory performance.
the TDP of those chips are not in a range that i would think you would ever need multiple radiators. there are overclock capable air only coolers available for those.
Workload today does not accurately reflect workload tomorrow because I would be consolidating what is currently done on two systems (primarily because the i7-6050x is not capable of the adequate performance by itself).

Call it 50GB RAM swap at any given time and at least 8/10 cores @ 50%+ today. When "idle" for all intents and purposes.
 

izusaga

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I'm leaning towards Threadripper then, especially if money isn't an issue.
Me, too. I'm just more familiar with AM4 and the prospect of trying to wade through all the sTRX4 options to find the right board isn't very appetizing.
 

Zedicus

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another threadripper benefit is ECC support.
it has to be unboffered, but it still can be a good thing for large project work.
 

thesmokingman

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I'd like to buy a few of the 2TB AORUS NVMe, potentially configuring them in RAID just to test the IO bandwidth...

Budget isn't an issue, but the 3970X (and the upcoming 3990X) are both complete overkill. The real conundrum comes down to the TDP difference between the 3950X and 3960X, because I'd rather not buy additional radiators just to keep the thing from cooking itself at load.

I'm a few years out of the build game at this point, so I'm sure I don't know what I don't know. What else should I be factoring into my decision?
If yer really going to do nvme RAID then TR3 is the best way to go. And ya need to get the right board for this, Aorus Designaire or Aorus Xtreme as they both come bundled with the gen4 AIC card so you can run nvme RAID with ease. The Designaire is probably the best value because it comes with the AIC card and the Titan-Ridge TB3 card. The Xtreme is geared to a networked build with its seriously endowed dual 10GB nics.

I think you should be ok cooling wise especially if yer 6950x was previously overclocked. I'd also suggest adding a water temp fitting and read up in thread below about how to monitor cpu and temps etc.

You can see my build here and check out the AIC.

https://hardforum.com/threads/build-3970x-dual-2080ti-8tb-m-2-raid-render-monster.1990145/
 

izusaga

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Looks like the 3960X it is. Thanks gang. Now the true hard part, picking a board..
 

bobzdar

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Need, no. Want, yes. The bandwidth increase from quad channel is very appealing for gaming and other RAM-intensive workloads.



This is the frustrating part. The short answer is not necessarily if I'm just running one video card. The long answer is if I want to RAID50 the AORUS NVMe with PCI-E boards I probably will. Now I need to research the max number of M.2 NVMe I could fit onto the 20 lanes..

Quad channel makes virtually zero difference in gaming (3950X is generally faster, in the few games TR is faster it's due to having a ton of cache), so what are your other workloads? There aren't many that actually use the extra bandwidth...
 

izusaga

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Quad channel makes virtually zero difference in gaming (3950X is generally faster, in the few games TR is faster it's due to having a ton of cache), so what are your other workloads? There aren't many that actually use the extra bandwidth...
Memcache encrypted volumes for VMs.
 

tangoseal

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Quad chan ram is really zero benedit to gaming. On avg its 1 to 2% faster in any given scenario. Looks cool though haha

I enjoy my 3960x. A real powerhouse. I have 2 ccd disabled right now in order to play star citizen smoothly. I enable the other ccds when I need big power.
 

izusaga

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Quad chan ram is really zero benedit to gaming. On avg its 1 to 2% faster in any given scenario. Looks cool though haha

I enjoy my 3960x. A real powerhouse. I have 2 ccd disabled right now in order to play star citizen smoothly. I enable the other ccds when I need big power.
So assuming I'm keeping a 1080ti until the nVidia 3000 series is released, if I go with the 3950x would I be PCI-E lane limited to just one of the AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD's? If so, that alone pushes me into needing the upgrade to the 3960x, although I dislike that all the boards have fans on the chipset..
 

bobzdar

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So assuming I'm keeping a 1080ti until the nVidia 3000 series is released, if I go with the 3950x would I be PCI-E lane limited to just one of the AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD's? If so, that alone pushes me into needing the upgrade to the 3960x, although I dislike that all the boards have fans on the chipset..
No, most x570 boards can support 2, 1 direct to the cpu and the other to the chipset, along with x16 graphics. Some can support 3, 2 via the chipset and one via the cpu, but the two via the chipset will be limited by the cpu-chipset link speed. So you can run 3 and the only time it'd saturate would be if you were using both of the drives attached to the chipset at the same time. Even then I'd wager you'd have to have a very specific application profile with very fast drives to even see the difference vs. if they all had their own x4 link.
 

izusaga

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No, most x570 boards can support 2, 1 direct to the cpu and the other to the chipset, along with x16 graphics. Some can support 3, 2 via the chipset and one via the cpu, but the two via the chipset will be limited by the cpu-chipset link speed. So you can run 3 and the only time it'd saturate would be if you were using both of the drives attached to the chipset at the same time. Even then I'd wager you'd have to have a very specific application profile with very fast drives to even see the difference vs. if they all had their own x4 link.
I'm planning on using an AORUS M.2 2TB PCI-E 4x RAID. High IOps application. Saturation is the point.
 

bobzdar

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I'm planning on using an AORUS M.2 2TB PCI-E 4x RAID. High IOps application. Saturation is the point.
Unless you plan to use 3 of them and hit them all simultaneously, you won't, that's what I'm saying. Just be sure to attach one to the cpu and one to chipset if you get a board with 3 m.2 slots.
 

tangoseal

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If you use X570, one of the gen 4 nvme are going through the chipset and the chipset has a dedicated 4x link with its own lanes to the CPU. You will not be penalized for lanes until you use 3 nvme drives if your board supports it and a full 16x gpu and any other add in card.

You just can't go wrong with a 3960x if you need lanes. Thats the point, besides the cores, which may or may not benefit your compute needs, tr40x has a freight ship full of lanes to offer and for IO intense purposes its worth looking at.

If not threadripper there is also X299 Intel stuff with quite a few lanes on their 10k series chips but I dont know much about those because frankly I dont care about that offering from Intel right now in the least bit so I never looked.
 

thesmokingman

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I'm planning on using an AORUS M.2 2TB PCI-E 4x RAID. High IOps application. Saturation is the point.
You can't use that AIC card on x570 anyways cuz the card requires 16 lanes on its own, ie. x4 for each nvme. A RAID bifurication card on x570 is a ridiculous idea in that it will eat up a lot of lanes, ie. very expensive. The other issue is you cannot buy any gen4 bifurication cards individually or at least not yet, ie. not bundled. Thus if you wanna run that card, the choice is clear. Get a MB that has it bundled and those are only TRX40 boards atm, designaire and aorus xtreme. Asrock has a 4x bifurication card too btw.
 
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noko

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Looks like the 3960X it is. Thanks gang. Now the true hard part, picking a board..
Have you decided on a board? After looking at all the boards I came to the conclusion the MSI PRO TRX40 PRO 10G sTRX4 as best board in my case:
https://www.newegg.com/msi-trx40-pro-10g/p/N82E16813144277
Like that it comes with 10G Ethernet card, plus M.2 XPANDER-Z GEN4 card for two additional M.2's, MSI normally has great memory support and clocking which for all Ryzen generations plays a big part in performance. VRMs are sufficient, 12 phase, 70a each (not the best but more than enough for supplying over 500w if one ever wants to). The 4 pcie 16 expansion slots (2 are 16x, 2 are 8x) makes the board much more usable and expandable. The other board looking at is the AsRock Creator board which comes with 10G as well but built in, 4 pcie 16x slots but the VRMs while they should be sufficient are the weakest of any TRX40 board. The Gigabyte boards are getting more than usual higher issues by the users, ASUS whole lineup to me has configuration issues for one reason or not I do not like but still considering them. Initially board will have 3 GPU's, either both 1080Ti's or Vega FE's (most likely) with the 5700 XT (extra GPU's are for rendering) - later those will most likely get updated.
 

bobzdar

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You can't use that AIC card on x570 anyways cuz the card requires 16 lanes on its own, ie. x4 for each nvme. A RAID bifurication card on x570 is a ridiculous idea in that it will eat up a lot of lanes, ie. very expensive. The other issue is you cannot buy any gen4 bifurication cards individually or at least not yet, ie. not bundled. Thus if you wanna run that card, the choice is clear. Get a MB that has it bundled and those are only TRX40 boards atm, designaire and aorus xtreme. Asrock has a 4x bifurication card too btw.
Wait, is he talking about the x16 pcie card that holds 4 drives or using 2x auorus 2TB 4x pcie 4.0 drives? In his posts he says nothing about the AIC, just RAID 2TB nvme drives, which any x570 will handle without issue or speed limitation. If it's the AIC, obviously he'd need a threadripper or it'd have to split lanes with the GPU in x8 and x8. That would likely work fine, but at that point just go TRx40.
 

RamonGTP

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Workload today does not accurately reflect workload tomorrow because I would be consolidating what is currently done on two systems (primarily because the i7-6050x is not capable of the adequate performance by itself).

Call it 50GB RAM swap at any given time and at least 8/10 cores @ 50%+ today. When "idle" for all intents and purposes.
But when is tomorrow? Is it going to be in the useful lifespan of this computer? Will it be within the time frame before the OP decides he want's to upgrade again? The answer needs to be "yes" for both those questions for it to make sense.

As far as quad channel and gaming. Admittedly I haven't done a whole lot of research on the subject, but the handfull of things i've read and watched don't show an appreciable difference between TR and Ryzen for gaming. If I'm wrong, i'd love to see it, 720p gaming doesn't really count either.
 

DuronBurgerMan

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I'd have gone 3950X in this situation. In fact, I went 3900X despite having a number of multicore workloads, with zero regrets (it's awesome).

But then my whole modus operandi is trying to squeak out HEDT-like performance on consumer-grade hardware because I'm a cheap ass. So maybe it's good you didn't do that.
 

thesmokingman

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Wait, is he talking about the x16 pcie card that holds 4 drives or using 2x auorus 2TB 4x pcie 4.0 drives? In his posts he says nothing about the AIC, just RAID 2TB nvme drives, which any x570 will handle without issue or speed limitation. If it's the AIC, obviously he'd need a threadripper or it'd have to split lanes with the GPU in x8 and x8. That would likely work fine, but at that point just go TRx40.
That's what I assume the 4X meant in his post, ie. 4 nvme, 4x.
 

ManofGod

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3960X all the way. Better to have more than you need than to regret not having enough. Have fun.
 

cyberguyz

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Buy what you can afford. You can get a 3950x + motherboard for the price of a 3960x all by itself. Expect to pay a premium to add a TRX40 motherboard. For onboard drives in the3 3950X range, The Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master provides onboard 3x M.2 slots with full x4 pcie Gen4 support. It is the only x570 motherboard I know of that does.

On the TRX40 side, let's just say I am running 5x M.2 drives each one having full x4 support. There are a total of 72 PCIe lanes (80 lanes counting those reserved for chipset/cpu communication) to mess with.

It all depends on what you want and what you can afford.
 
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