The specification is mighty. 64/128 cores/threads, a base clock of 2.9GHz, a maximum boost clock up to 4.3GHz, 256MB of L3 cache. In benchmarks it can be found trading body blows not with rivals from Intel or with its own Threadripper stablemates, but with AMD’s own Epyc server CPUs.
Even with the stock performance being somewhat biblical due to the core-count of the CPU the overclocking potential of the 3990X is also faintly terrifying, with the world record clock speed currently sitting at 5.57GHz, achieved by the Korean overclocking team Safedisk. What we’re seeing here from AMD is not some delicate science experiment or a stunt, but a CPU which is robust and capable and which almost certainly hasn’t hit its limits yet.
With a price tag of £3699.98 the 3990X is not the sort of chip that anybody who has to worry about money will be going anywhere near of course. Plus there are the limitations of software to consider, the majority of applications, especially games, won’t be optimised for a large number of cores yet, much less such an extremely large number of cores. The shortcomings of software are not the fault of the CPU however. There’s no doubt that this is a technological statement from AMD, they wanted to show off, and they have done.