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When looking to build a PC for content creation, 3D rendering, simulations, and other multi-core CPU intensive tasks, you’ll have to think differently than you would when buying one for general computing tasks and gaming. Processors for content creation and rendering need to be better at utilizing a large number of cores and threads, and they need to do so efficiently as well.
Top 3 Best Processors for Content Creation Reviewed
AMD has turned the entire competition upside down in the content creation niche thanks to the release of the Threadripper and Ryzen 2nd generation CPUs. These CPUs offer superior multi-core performance than their direct rivals, and the price to performance ratio is simply unmatched by Intel.
We’ve reviewed the best processors for content creation. Spoiler: Team Red makes a clean-sweep here.
It’s simply too difficult to recommend any other process over the AMD Ryzen 2950X for high-end desktops. Its competitors from Intel offer negligible performance gain yet cost over twice as much. The Threadripper 2950X is just too good to ignore.
- Socket: TR4
- Cores: 16
- Threads: 32
- Base Frequency: 5 GHz
- Boost Frequency: 4 GHz
- Cache: 40MB
- PCIe Lanes: 64
- TDP: 180 watts
Meet the king of the modern high-end desktop (HEDT) processors, the Threadripper 2950X. Don’t get us wrong – the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X isn’t the most powerful HEDT CPU you can buy. It’s not even the best in its own range of second-generation Zen processors.
What makes this such an appealing and overall brilliant processor for content creators is its value for performance. No, we’re not talking about a combination of decent performance that comes at a great price. We’re talking about jaw-dropping performance that comes at a price that simply makes it unreasonable to buy anything else.
For reference, the Threadripper 2950X has around the same performance as the Intel Core i9 7980XE, despite the latter’s higher core and thread count. The 7980XE does come out on top marginally in a couple of benchmark tests, but when looking at the astronomical price difference between the Threadripper 2950X and Intel’s older generation processor, it would take incredible ignorance to even consider Intel’s competing chipset.
This is because the Threadripper 2950X is half the price of the Core i9 7980XE, despite no real tangible difference in actual desktop performance between the two. That’s simply insane, and this brilliant price to performance point and multithreaded performance is exactly what’s got AMD back in the ring with Intel.
And boy has AMD delivered some seriously injurious punches to its rivals. The 2950X has massively improved its single-core performance over the first generation of Ryzen processors. This is all thanks to AMD’s progression in shrinking the size of their processors. Now at 12nm, the Threadripper is 300-500 MHz faster with its boosted single-core clock speeds than its predecessors. This translates into excellent performance in single-core tasks, including gaming.
Of course, it makes little sense to spend this much on a processor for gaming. That’s not to say the processor is particularly poor at the gaming front. The Threadripper isn’t just designed for gaming tasks and will give a serviceable performance at best in videogames. But you already know that, since this article is focused on workstation type of performance from processors.
And that’s where the Threadripper 2950X manages to impress as well. 16 cores and 32 threads mean there is ample multiprocessing power crammed into this bad boy, allowing for sensational performance in tasks like rendering, video editing. From a value perspective, it simply makes every other HEDT processor in the market right now completely redundant.
Power draw of the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X is also comparable to the 7980XE. Do note though that the 7980XE has more cores and threads than the 2950X. However, due to the Zen+ 12nm architecture, we wish it would consume less power than it does. Still, if you’re going for a high-end desktop processor, chances are you won’t be working with a 450 watts PSU anyway.
Intel’s exorbitant pricing of their Skylake-X and Skylake-X Refresh series is a grave mistake that has left them isolated in this category of processors. AMD has assessed the market and consumer demand perfectly, and the result is the brilliant Threadripper 2950X. It’s simply unparalleled in the balance it strikes between price and performance, and that’s why it’s hard to recommend any other processor over it.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is arguably the most powerful content creation and high-end desktop processor ever made for consumers. It’s not the most well-optimized because of how it is designed to handle multi-core processors, but for anyone looking to run the most complex simulations and most detailed renders, there is simply nothing can beat this processor.
The Threadripper 2990WX is simply a beast of a processor, able to provide multiprocessing performance unlike anything ever seen in the industry. This CPU will cost you plenty, but it’s still far superior in its value and performance than its predecessors.
- Socket: TR4
- Cores: 32
- Threads: 64
- Base Frequency: 0 GHz
- Boost Frequency: 2 GHz
- Cache: 80MB
- PCIe Lanes: 64
- TDP: 250 watts
Ready for a headache? You probably should prepare for one, as the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX’s specs are simply insane. A spec sheet of 32 cores and 64 threads means this is the higher core count anyone has ever seen in a processor released for consumers in the history of computer technology. These are numbers people would speculate that NASA computers tend to run on not too long ago.
This kind of ridiculous processing power left everyone gob-smacked when AMD first announced it, and it still remains surprising even now. Priced at around $1800, the Threadripper 2990WX is AMD’s most expensive consumer processor available. Yet it’s not the most expensive consumer processor available – that “award” goes to Intel’s Core i9 9980XE, priced over $800 more despite offering lower core count and comparable overall performance in most applications. Perhaps more surprisingly, even the far inferior and older generation Core i9 7980XE is more expensive than the 2990WX.
The Threadripper 2990WX is designed for a very small group of individuals who need the absolute best multicore performance. Think complex engineering and physics simulations, crazily complicated rendering, and other such highly advanced tasks. Yet for those looking for absolutely crazy multicore processing power, there’s simply nothing better from a core-pre-dollar value.
We’re tempted to pitch this against the Intel Core i9 9980XE – anyone would be of course, since it’s the only processor that comes close to this beast as far as core count is concerned. Before that, it’s important to give perspective on the value side of things though. Yes, it seems silly to talk about value for a processor that demands almost two grands, but the comparisons are essential to understanding just how well AMD has done with the Threadripper series in both performance and value.
The Core i9 7980XE has a comparable price to the Threadripper 2990WX, yet it blows Intel’s processor out of the water with its multicore performance. We’re talking about Cinebench R15 multi-core scores that surpass the 7980XE’s by a mind-blowing 1700 points. In real-world usage, only the Core i9 9980XE competes in performance with the 2990WX, but it’s simply a match that it Intel’s processor cannot win because it demands $800 extra.
The gaming performance of the 2990WX is comparable to the 7980XE as well, but once again the multi-core superiority is at full display, as you can be running video encoding and other processor intensive tasks simultaneously without ever feeling like you’re overloading the Threadripper 2990WX.
Single-core performance is where the 2990WX struggles, and that’s largely due to its low base and boosted frequencies. This makes sense though, as often there’s an inverse correlation between clock speeds and a number of cores. However, you probably won’t ever consider this processor if single-core performance is your concern – simply go for the 2950X or one of the mainstream Ryzen CPUs instead.
The Threadripper 2990WX is a computing marvel, designed for those who need to take the most benefit of multi-core technology. It blows its competitors out of the water in pure multiprocessing performance and manages to make a case for itself for great performance value despite its high price tag.
Just make sure you have a very powerful PSU for this beast, as it consumes around 250 watts of power when running at full strength.
The Intel Core i9 9980XE is the only processor that can come close to the performance of the Threadrippper 2990WX. Yet it’s still vastly inferior because it only features 18 cores and 36 threads, almost half as many as what the 2990WX offers. Combine that with the crazy price tag of this processor, and there’s simply no reason you’d ever want to consider it over the 2990WX if crazy-expensive HEDT CPUs is what you’re going for.
Best Mainstream Processor
There are more cores you can utilize on this thing and when it comes to gaming, it is almost as good as Intel’s best processors out there that are made to the game. The future truly is Ryzen for AMD. (Pun Intended)
- Socket: AM4
- Cores: 12
- Threads: 24
- Base Frequency: 3800 MHz
- Boost Frequency: 4600 MHz
- Cache: 64MB
- PCIe Lanes: 16
- TDP: 105W
So let us address the elephant in the room right away, this is not the best consumer based CPU in the market AMD has to offer, that is the 3950X, which is a whopping 16 core and 32 thread processor. That beast leaves behind Intel’s top tier consumer processor in dust in the benchmarks.
Not only that the Ryzen 3950X is not even part of the 3rd Generation Threadripper family, and it is still handing it to Intel in its hand and telling it to pack up its stuff and go home. That’s how great this processor is, let us be honest, Intel got lazy as it did not have any competition over the years and AMD caught up to it and won the race. Intel’s only hope is the 10th Generation desktop CPU’s to try and fight, but they are set to release this year, till then AMD won the round.
But problem is, well, its price point just puts it way up there in the non-consumer based products if you want that CPU you have to sell an arm and a leg to get it. But for a price tag under $500, the 3900X is the best mainstream CPU you can buy right now.
AMD recommends using its newest X570 chipset socket motherboards to utilize the full potential of gaming from this CPU, as this CPU enables you to go beyond the limitation of PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 4.0, which gives you way more bandwidth.
So you will be able to juice up more power than ever before from the X570, but that does not mean it will not work in the previous-gen X470 boards either, they would but they do not support PCIe 4.0 and you will be stuck with 3rd Generation PCIe.
Let us talk about clock speeds here, the AMD Ryzen 3900X has a base clock of 3.8GHz, which is one of the highest in the AMD stock line, but everyone buying a Ryzen isn’t doing it because they want change, Ryzen is an overclockers dream, this CPU is fully unlocked. The boost speed on this beast is 4.6GHz.
Of course, overclocking would mean more power consumption and heat, but with a decent enough CPU cooler, you will be able to deal with that easily. The AMD Ryzen 3900X has a 105W TDP power consumption at average.
AMD is the way to future if you truly believe it, because let us face it, Intel has lost its touch and will soon be left in dust with AMD’s consumer friendly prices and power. This truly is the dream of all content creators out there.
We could not find a better CPU than the 3700X to be the runner-up for the 3900X, because of its rising popularity. The 3700X is a very affordable CPU with an 8 core 16 thread processor. The CPU is more powerful than Intel and more affordable as well when it comes to content creation.
Intel still has AMD beat in the gaming department though, but not for too long, hopefully, the next generation of Ryzen CPU’s will show how lazy intel has been and show them their place. It has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz, which you can boost up to a 4.4GHz. It has a default TDP of 65W and comes with a Wraith Prism CPU cooler when you buy it.