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AMD's Threadripper 3990X can run Crysis without a graphics card

(Image credit: AMD)

Whenever a new piece of hardware launches, an inevitable question arises: Can it run Crysis? Technically demanding for its time, Crysis was one of the first PC games to support DirectX 10, and it was brutal on hardware when it came out. If only AMD's Threadripper 3990X had been around back then, because it can run Crysis all but itself.

That's to say, it doesn't need any graphics muscle from a GPU. Linus Sebastian from Linus Tech Tips demonstrated this in a video posted to YouTube, in which he ran Crysis in software mode on AMD's muscular chip. Check it out.

Running Crysis and running it well are two very different things. "To be clear, it's not great," Linus says. But the fact that it runs at all is pretty impressive.

It's also somewhat playable, if you don't mind a choppy experience. This underscores now far processors have come. Granted, nobody should consider a Threadripper chip for strictly a gaming PC (none of the best CPUs for gaming cost anywhere near the same as the 3990X), and certainly not to play Crysis. But as a technical demonstration, running the game solely on the CPU underscores the kind of power the 3990X offers.

The 3990X sits atop the Threadripper stack. It's based on AMD's latest generation Zen 2 CPU architecture and wields 64 cores and 128 threads. It has a 2.9GHz base clock, 4.3GHz max boost clock, and 256MB of L3 cache. For the proper types of workloads, it's an absolute beast—gaming is just not one of them. You could build a gaming PC around a 3990X, but at nearly $4,000 for the CPU alone, bang-for-buck goes right out the window.

As far this demonstration goes, note that CPUs are not really built to process intense graphics information, at least not in the same way a GPU does it. There is so much raw power in the 3990X, however, that it can make a spirited run at Crysis anyway.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).