AMD Ryzen

What you need to know

  • AMD announces the "world's first" 16-core CPU for gamers.
  • Set to launch in September for $749.
  • Uses the same AM4 platform as the rest of the Ryzen lineup.
  • 105W TDP matches the 12-core Ryzen 9.

AMD announced its new 7nm, Zen 2 based processors at Computex last month, but at E3 2019 the company went one better. Announced during the company's press event in LA, the Ryzen 9 3950X is what AMD calls the "world's first 16-core CPU for gaming." Mind. Blown.

The previously announced range-topper was the Ryzen 9 3900X, a 12-core, 24-thread CPU with a 105W TDP and a maximum boost clock of 4.6GHz. While this is set to be available on July 7 alongside the rest of the Ryzen 3000 lineup, the 3950X won't be here until September.

It's going to be worth the wait, though. The Ryzen 9 3950X packs 16-cores and 32-threads with a boost clock of 4.7GHz, while maintaining that same 105W TDP that you get in the 3900X. That in itself is incredible, and it's significantly lower power draw than you'll find on a 16-core Threadripper.

What's also special about the 3950X is that it's based on the regular AM4 platform the rest of the Ryzen CPUs are based on, which means if you already have a Ryzen system, you're not going to need to upgrade to a more costly platform to get one of these. The Threadripper series is based on the X399 chipset which is, in most cases, more expensive to get on board with than AM4.

Naturally, much of AMD's presentation was geared towards showing how its hardware is eating Intel for breakfast, but we'll have to hold out for real-world use to make the final decision on that. AMD is doing a lot right, though, and things are certainly looking good for the red team. AMD has hit 7nm before Intel (which literally just announced its first 10nm processors), has a new GPU architecture on the way and will be inside both the next PlayStation and Microsoft's Project Scarlett.

The Ryzen 9 3950X will be overkill for a lot of people, but at $749 it's priced attractively given the hardware on offer. AMD might well have said this is "for gamers," but in reality, folks such as streamers will see the most benefit. If you're not keen on having a second PC to stream from while you game on your main rig, the Ryzen 9 3950X is sure to give you a bigger advantage in a single-PC setup over a comparable Intel system.

Either way, it's great to see AMD firing on all cylinders and injecting some real competition into the market. It used to be really easy to recommend an Intel CPU for a gaming rig, but that's not the case anymore.

The rest of AMD's Ryzen 7 lineup is set to launch on July 7, alongside the Radeon RX 5700 GPUs.

Affordable accessories that'll pair perfectly with your PC

Every one of these awesome PC accessories will enhance your everyday experience — and none cost more than $230.

KLIM Aim RGB gaming mouse ($30 at Amazon)

Whether you're a gamer or not, this is an absurdly good mouse for the price. It's ambidextrous, has a responsive sensor, a braided cable, tank-like build quality, and, yes, it has RGB lighting, though you can turn it off if that's not your thing.

AmazonBasics USB speakers ($16 at Amazon)

These neat little speakers may only pack 2.4W of total power, but don't let that fool you. For something so small you get a well-rounded sound and a stylish design. And they only cost $16.

Razer mouse bungee ($20 at Amazon)

Use a wired mouse? You need a mouse bungee to keep your cable tidy and free of snags. You get no drag on the cable, and this one has subtle styling, a rust-resistant spring and a weighted base, all for $20.

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