AMD's 3rd-gen Threadripper is now official, starting at $1,400 for 24 cores/48 threads

Steve

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Starting at the top of the food chain is 3rd-gen Threadripper. We knew 24 and 32 core models were nearly guaranteed, but that’s about all we knew prior to this announcement. Of course, the rumor mill has been working overtime on this one, last month we heard that the 64-core flagship 3990X wouldn’t arrive until next year and given the info we have today, that’s entirely possible.

What we can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Threadripper 3960X is a 24-core/48-thread part that clocks between 3.8 and 4.5 GHz depending on the workload, and it has a mammoth 140 MB cache. That all sounds amazing and it’s almost certainly going to be, but this entry-level 3rd-gen Threadripper part will set you back an eye watering $1,400. That might sound a bit shocking given the current 24-core 2970WX can be bought for $915, but remember the MSRP on that part was actually $1,300 at launch, so the 3rd-gen version costs $100 more.

In contrast, Intel's upcoming Core i9-10980XE will cost $1,000, but will be limited to 18 cores. While we don’t know yet how those parts will stack up, AMD's TR 3960X is coming out on top in core heavy workloads for sure. In fact, AMD is showing off their own benchmark that has the 3960X taking on the 9980XE, and in terms of performance we’re expecting Skylake-X and Cascade Lake-X to be the same given it’s just a refresh with a massive price correction. So the 9980XE should be representative of what we see with the 10980XE.

According to AMD, that means Threadripper will be up to 31% faster for compiler work, 22% faster in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, 24% faster for rendering with V-Ray and a massive 54% faster in Cinebench R20. That's for a 40% price premium which may or may not be worth it, hard to say for certain right now.

Speaking of price premiums, you might want to sit down for this one... the Threadripper 3970X is going to be 32-core, 64-thread CPU setting you back a cool $2,000. No doubt this has some bite to it, priced $200 above the 2990WX, it’s going to be the most expensive high-end desktop CPU on the market.

The 3970X clocks between 3.7 and 4.5 GHz and features a whopping 144 MB cache. AMD claims it’s up to 90% faster than the 9980XE in Cinebench R20, 49% faster in V-Ray, 47% in Premiere Pro and then 36 - 43% faster for compilers.

A new TRX platform

AMD has also detailed the new TRX40 platform featuring a mindblowing 72 available PCI 4.0 lanes. There are 88 PCIe lanes in total but 16 of them will be required to use the system as a graphics card is necessary. From the CPU there are 48 PCIe 4.0 lanes which AMD marks as general purpose, as they can be used for anything and will typically be accessible via PCIe expansion slots.

There’s an additional 8 lanes which are split into two 4 lane groups, each can be used to offer either a x4 expansion slot, a x4 NVMe slot or 4 SATA ports. The CPU also supports four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports and a quad channel DDR4-3200 memory controller.

A further 8 PCIe 4.0 lanes connect to the TRX40 chipset, providing four times more CPU-to-chipset bandwidth when compared to 2nd-gen Threadripper. The chipset supports a further 8 USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, four legacy USB 2.0 ports, four SATA 6 Gbps ports and a further 8 PCIe 4.0 general purpose lanes. On top of that there’s another 8 PCIe 4.0 lanes which are reserved and slip into two 4 lane groups. They can each be configured as a single x4 slot, two x2 slots or four x1 slots, or they can also be used to support 4 SATA 6 Gbps ports. The sheer number of expansion possibilities is mind boggling. No doubt we'll see some truly insane TRX40 motherboards.

The only downside here is that TRX40 and TR4 motherboards are not compatible. You won’t be able to use a 3rd-gen Threadripper CPU on an existing X399 board and upcoming TRX40 boards won’t support 1st and 2nd-gen parts.

AMD didn’t make any compatibility promises for Threadripper like they did with AM4. As much as we don’t like this, we also understand it. Cross-compatibility with TR4 would have meant board makers would face all the same issues they’ve run into getting older boards to work, and that still seems to be an ongoing process for 300 and 400-series AM4 motherboards.

Older boards can’t fully take advantage of all the PCIe lanes supported by 3rd-gen Threadripper CPUs, and the X399 chipset lacks PCI 4.0 support. It makes sense that those spending over $1,000 on a CPU, would want a motherboard that can take full advantage of their hardware.

A new $50 CPU

Shifting gears from $2,000 processors to a $50 processor, it’s not often you find an Athlon CPU in the same press deck as flagship Threadripper parts, but that’s exactly what we found. Announced for the first time is the Athlon 3000G, a fully unlocked $50 AM4 dual-core processor with SMT for 4 threads.

Now you might be thinking, we’ve already got that, it’s called the 200GE. However the 200GE is technically a locked part while the 3000G will be unlocked on all AM4 boards that support overclocking, B350 or better.

Out of the box it matches the 3.5 GHz clock speed of the 240GE which costs $75, the Vega 3 graphics engine remains the same but it is overclocked by 100 MHz, for a minor performance bump. It’s not the most exciting CPU ever as it’s not Zen 2-based and doesn’t pack a Navi GPU, but it offers a little extra value for just $50. This part will drop on November 19th and we plan to have a full review for prospective budget builders.

AMD is expecting to slay the Pentium G5400 with the 3000G, offering massive performance gains when comparing iGPU performance and anywhere from 4 to 25% more CPU performance. They also showed overclock gains at 3.9 GHz, so this appears to be a clock speed they believe most parts will achieve.

Ryzen 9 3950X arrives this month

Moving on, we finally have the Ryzen 9 3950X and the main takeaway here is the release date, slated for November 25, hopefully with no further delays. For those of you who aren’t yet up to speed, the 3950X supports the mainstream AM4 socket, it offers 16 cores, 32 threads, clocks between 3.5 and 4.7 GHz and packs a 72 MB cache. For what it’s worth, AMD rates it at 105 W for the TDP, the very same TDP they awarded the 12-core 3900X, though that part does have a higher base clock.

Pricing has been set at $750, or about $47 per core whereas the 3900X and 3700X both cost ~$41 per core. The pointless 3800X is more expensive per core at $50, but as we found a few months ago, you’re best off avoiding that part. You'll be paying a premium for those 16 cores, but that’s to be expected when buying the best quality silicon on the AM4 platform.

AMD says the 3950X will come up against Intel's high-end desktop platform Core i9-9920X which was their 12-core $1,200 part. But in reality, it'll be doing battle with the $700 Core i9-10920X, the refreshed 12-core Cascade Lake-X version that is much easier on the wallet. That will be a very interesting battle indeed. AMD's slides paint the 3950X in a good light as you would expect. Generally AMD's performance estimates are accurate but they can be selective on the numbers they show.

When it comes to gaming performance the 3950X has the 9920X beat, while it’s vastly superior for rendering and encoding work. AMD’s also expected to have a significant advantage when it comes to efficiency, offering over 2x the performance per watt when compared to the 9900K and 9920X.

AMD recommends a 280mm AIO or better for those buying the 3950X. Despite sharing the same TDP rating as the 3900X, it doesn’t come with the Wraith Prism RGB box cooler, so you will have to buy a good cooler on top of the $750 price of admission for the CPU itself.

Upgrade prospects

Speaking of the $750 price, you might be thinking, it sounds like a nice CPU but the price is too high and I don’t need 16 cores right now. Both valid thoughts for a wide majority of builders today, but the 3950X is actually amazing news for future upgrades even for budget builders, adding a lot of value to the AM4 platform.

Had you invested in an inexpensive Intel Z390 motherboard with a $180 Core i5-8400, for example, your upgrade prospects don’t look great down the road. Most likely in a few years you’ll have the option of an overpriced 8-core CPU or face the reality of having to ditch your motherboard and start over. Meanwhile, those who bought a decent B350 or X370 motherboard, up to two years ago, will have in the not too distant future the option of buying a 12 or 16-core Ryzen CPU second hand. The Ryzen 7 2700X was released about a year ago for $330 and today you can snap them up second hand for as little as $150 on eBay. In another year there’s no way you’ll be paying over $100. Backing that claim, the 2 year old Ryzen 7 1700X which originally sold for $400, can now easily be had for $100, sometimes less. So we'd dare to say in 2 or 3 years you will be looking at paying half price for a 3950X.

It really is interesting to see how much life the AM4 platform has in it. If you’d told me back in 2017 this is where Ryzen would land us in less than 3 years, I’d have said you’re dreaming. To be fair though, 8 cores on a mainstream platform for ~$330 was pretty incredible at the time, so who knows, I might have just said anything’s possible at that point.

Bottom line, we have a release date for the Ryzen 9 3950X. Pricing of 3rd-gen Threadripper is probably higher than most were expecting, but if history serves any lesson those MSRPs could be discounted in the months to come to less than $1,000 for the entry level model. Despite heavy price cuts from Intel, AMD’s done the opposite and jacked their price points up some. Could we look at a changing of guard here? Intel CPUs were overpriced before, so we have a new reality where AMD won't claim victory that easily and Intel is more willing to compete head to head.

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  • AMD Threadripper 2950X on Amazon
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  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2070 Super on Amazon
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Puiu

TS Evangelist
This time it's AMD that might need to adjust the pricing slightly lower.

These are higher than I expected by around 100-200$, although from what we know PCIe lanes tend to be expensive and they sure have a lot of bandwidth.
 

Thanthan

TS Rookie
This time it's AMD that might need to adjust the pricing slightly lower.

These are higher than I expected by around 100-200$, although from what we know PCIe lanes tend to be expensive and they sure have a lot of bandwidth.
I definately agree. Was honestly expecting the 24-core to be a 1000USD for the "demolish Intel" potential, but my guess is that Epyc is just doing so well that they don't want to lose money selling well binned chips for HEDT, and are thus increasing margins for those parts beyond original plans. I honestly the only thing that kept them from pricing the TRX40 chips higher is that they didn't want to lose the goodwill they've gained from people tired of Intel.
 
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mrvco

TS Member
I'm not the target market for TR, but I expect this is a good move by AMD and their long-term viability. It's a lot easier to adjust prices down as needed once initial demand has been satisfied.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I was anticipating pricing along these lines. As I see it, we can thank sIntel and the lack of competition for those prices. This is not unlike the situation when AMD released Athlon FX years ago - at least until Core 2 came along.

I am sure there will be enthusiasts out there with deep pockets that will go for this, but my bet is that this may only be attractive to professional workstation users.

It will be interesting to see benchmarks as well as sales figures.
 

Irata

TS Booster
Pricing wise, the cost per core is not that much higher than Cascade X, but TR3 is on a vastly superior platform.

Core i9-10980XE comes in at around $54 per core, the 3960X is $58 per core, but the two are not really in the same class.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
I really see no reason for Threadripper to exist. What's the target market for that thing? It's certainly not the server farms, because for that you have EPYC processors (equivalent of Xeons). It's certainly not desktop, because for that you have R9-3950 and similar CPUs.

Who should buy that thing?
 

OptimumSlinky

TS Maniac
I really see no reason for Threadripper to exist. What's the target market for that thing? It's certainly not the server farms, because for that you have EPYC processors (equivalent of Xeons). It's certainly not desktop, because for that you have R9-3950 and similar CPUs.

Who should buy that thing?
Professionals and freelancers whose productivity workloads benefit from lots of cores and threads. Video editors, visual effects artists, 3D animators, and so forth.

By your logic, the Core i9-10980XE shouldn't exist either, yet it does and has for some time.

 

Mugsy

TS Evangelist
I'm confused by the return of the "Athlon" name to refer to an AM4 (Ryzen?) socket CPU.

Isn't this just another Ryzen?
 

amstech

IT Overlord
I am not trying to pick on AMD here, I am very happy for them and the stellar comeback with Ryzen architecture, but the 'Smooth 1080p Gaming' screenshot made me chuckle a little bit.
If your buying a $750, $1400 or $2000 CPU to game at 1080p, I don't feel this is the best way to spend your paper presidents. :p
Although, I get what they are doing and saying "we game ok, alright folks!".
:D
 

Danny101

TS Guru
When AMD updates the AM4, if it accommodates Ryzen 3 chips such as 3950X, that would be a boom for enthusiasts and cements AMD's market share. I'm on the 370X platform and this will likely be the last chip released for it and will be the perfect starter chip for AM5. Then again my vision may change by the time I upgrade the platform.
 
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I am not trying to pick on AMD here, I am very happy for them and the stellar comeback with Ryzen architecture, but the 'Smooth 1080p Gaming' screenshot made me chuckle a little bit.
If your buying a $750, $1400 or $2000 CPU to game at 1080p, I don't feel this is the best way to spend your paper presidents. :p
Although, I get what they are doing and saying "we game ok, alright folks!".
:D
Yeah, it's a bit of a weird focus. The point of a 16C32T chip is not gaming and as many have mentioned, if you're serious you get a second PC for streaming instead of using one rig for both. However I guess if they ignore gaming completely people would chatter, wondering if it's even suited for gaming.
 
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Markoni35

TS Maniac
Professionals and freelancers whose productivity workloads benefit from lots of cores and threads. Video editors, visual effects artists, 3D animators, and so forth.

By your logic, the Core i9-10980XE shouldn't exist either, yet it does and has for some time.
You're wrong, because Core i9-10980XE has a more or less logical naming convention, placing it in the right line of products. But Threadripper...... is it a desktop product, is it a server product, what's the advantage/disadvantage over an EPYC CPU, it's totally unclear. If they named it Ryzen 9-3990X then it would make sense.
 

Toju Mikie

TS Addict
You're wrong, because Core i9-10980XE has a more or less logical naming convention, placing it in the right line of products. But Threadripper...... is it a desktop product, is it a server product, what's the advantage/disadvantage over an EPYC CPU, it's totally unclear. If they named it Ryzen 9-3990X then it would make sense.
I actually see it as a mix of both... you could use it as something like a small office server without paying for the cost of a server motherboard or server case, or you could use it as a desktop with a greater amount of cores to use for productivity applications, especially with these new processors having lots of PCIe lanes. Basically, a workstation desktop or a small server is how I see these. The main reason that I don't think these Threadrippers should use Ryzen 9 naming scheme is that they use a different socket than the Ryzen desktop processors.
 
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Jimster480

TS Booster
You're wrong, because Core i9-10980XE has a more or less logical naming convention, placing it in the right line of products. But Threadripper...... is it a desktop product, is it a server product, what's the advantage/disadvantage over an EPYC CPU, it's totally unclear. If they named it Ryzen 9-3990X then it would make sense.
It is higher clocked vs a server CPU. So that it is more desktop-task oriented rather than server task oriented.
It has alot more single thread performance because of boosting algorithms and max clockspeeds.
 
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Jeffrey2009

TS Member
History is always similar, and No manufacturer is a philanthropist. AMD earns itself the current prosperous and aggressive situation vs. Intel-- both on pricing and platform strategy.

However, the current Zen2 and the upcoming Zen3 on 2020 will be the last heritage of Jim Keller, who was the chief designer of the Zen architecture and as well as the former splendid K7/K8 era, when Intel's Pentium 4 couldn't compete with AMD's AthlonXP and even sold cheaper.

For reasons known to all, 10nm node could be only an interim for Intel with no doubt. They will catch up using 7nm in 2021 with Jim Keller's new architecture design, which I believe to be the new beginning of the core architecture that win the CPU competition back again vs. AMD's Zen4, which will work on DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
History is always similar, and No manufacturer is a philanthropist. AMD earns itself the current prosperous and aggressive situation vs. Intel-- both on pricing and platform strategy.

However, the current Zen2 and the upcoming Zen3 on 2020 will be the last heritage of Jim Keller, who was the chief designer of the Zen architecture and as well as the former splendid K7/K8 era, when Intel's Pentium 4 couldn't compete with AMD's AthlonXP and even sold cheaper.

For reasons known to all, 10nm node could be only an interim for Intel with no doubt. They will catch up using 7nm in 2021 with Jim Keller's new architecture design, which I believe to be the new beginning of the core architecture that win the CPU competition back again vs. AMD's Zen4, which will work on DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.
That's interesting, but Keller left AMD in 2015. This makes me wonder just how much of the architecture of Zen 2 he is responsible for. Arguably, Zen 2 is a big improvement over Zen. And according to this post, architecture is going to be the primary focus for Zen 3. https://www.techspot.com/community/topics/amd-continues-to-erode-intels-cpu-market-share.258243/post-1781262
 
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Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
the 'Smooth 1080p Gaming' screenshot made me chuckle a little bit.
If your buying a $750, $1400 or $2000 CPU to game at 1080p, I don't feel this is the best way to spend your paper presidents. :p
The exact same could be said of the 9900K. You have made many many posts on this very site touting Intel's mere 3% advantage at 1080p. I don't see why you'd draw an arbitrary "oh that's too pricey" at $750. The good thing about the 3950X is it will likely edge within a few percentage points of the 9900K in gaming and beat it in everything multi-thread by obscenely massive amount. It will be interesting to see how the higher clocks of the 3950X and improved AGESA BIOS will impact gaming performance. I know many 3900X owners were seeing anywhere from 3-8% improvements in CPU bound games.

Although, I get what they are doing and saying "we game ok, alright folks!".
:D
That chart doesn't say "we game ok", it says we have a 16 core CPU which ties Intel's best gaming processor and puts a whopping on Intel's HEDT processors in gaming. Of course, it also does multi-threading better then either as well so really it's the best of both worlds.

History is always similar, and No manufacturer is a philanthropist. AMD earns itself the current prosperous and aggressive situation vs. Intel-- both on pricing and platform strategy.

However, the current Zen2 and the upcoming Zen3 on 2020 will be the last heritage of Jim Keller, who was the chief designer of the Zen architecture and as well as the former splendid K7/K8 era, when Intel's Pentium 4 couldn't compete with AMD's AthlonXP and even sold cheaper.

For reasons known to all, 10nm node could be only an interim for Intel with no doubt. They will catch up using 7nm in 2021 with Jim Keller's new architecture design, which I believe to be the new beginning of the core architecture that win the CPU competition back again vs. AMD's Zen4, which will work on DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.
Keller has nothing to do with Zen 3 and had little to do with Zen 2. If you've watched what little video there is of him, he constantly praised the entire AMD CPU engineering team. Jim may be amazing at what he does but he knew AMD has other exceptional engineers. What Keller can do at Intel is going to depend on what corporate let's him do. Intel has always had talented engineers, it's Intel management that screwed the company over and didn't plan accordingly. Instead of going full throttle during the 10 years they remained unopposed they decided instead to spend their resources maximizing profits. It doesn't matter how good your engineers are if management doesn't have a clue (Rory Reed is a prime example of that).

That's interesting, but Keller left AMD in 2015. This makes me wonder just how much of the architecture of Zen 2 he is responsible for. Arguably, Zen 2 is a big improvement over Zen. And according to this post, architecture is going to be the primary focus for Zen 3. https://www.techspot.com/community/topics/amd-continues-to-erode-intels-cpu-market-share.258243/post-1781262
Keller said he enjoys making those large architectural sifts but not so much refinement of the architecture. Ultimately Zen 2 is just a follow up on the ground plan laid in Zen 1. I remember watching a rare interview of him some time ago.

 

Jeffrey2009

TS Member
That's interesting, but Keller left AMD in 2015. This makes me wonder just how much of the architecture of Zen 2 he is responsible for. Arguably, Zen 2 is a big improvement over Zen. And according to this post, architecture is going to be the primary focus for Zen 3. https://www.techspot.com/community/topics/amd-continues-to-erode-intels-cpu-market-share.258243/post-1781262
According to Lisa Su herself in the interview, Zen3 has already been finished and just for 7nm+ EUV manufacturering. Its improvement over Zen2 will be similar with Zen+ over Zen.

Believe me, I expect that AMD keeps being competitive on their products and in the market, thus we end-users would benefit from the competition. However, limiting X399 from supporting Zen2 Threadrippers(even if the future 48/64cores models really need more powerful chipsets, the 24/32cores 3960X/3970X should be no excuse), raising the new models' launch prices while Intel cutting half of their 10th gen X299 platform CPUs' prices(they were indeed not worth before, but becoming competitve now)... all these familiar operations just ring the bell.
 

Jeffrey2009

TS Member
Keller has nothing to do with Zen 3 and had little to do with Zen 2. If you've watched what little video there is of him, he constantly praised the entire AMD CPU engineering team. Jim may be amazing at what he does but he knew AMD has other exceptional engineers. What Keller can do at Intel is going to depend on what corporate let's him do. Intel has always had talented engineers, it's Intel management that screwed the company over and didn't plan accordingly. Instead of going full throttle during the 10 years they remained unopposed they decided instead to spend their resources maximizing profits. It doesn't matter how good your engineers are if management doesn't have a clue (Rory Reed is a prime example of that).
I believe we can both agree that 2017's Zen was indeed a semi-finished product and lauched with pretty high prices. 2018's Zen+ was a refined and polished one with a much more reasonable pricing strategy. The current Zen2 (both for AM4 & SP3 platforms) IS a remarkable generation without any doubt, but I have to say it smells starting "Harvest the fans" gradually.
 

OptimumSlinky

TS Maniac
You're wrong, because Core i9-10980XE has a more or less logical naming convention, placing it in the right line of products. But Threadripper...... is it a desktop product, is it a server product, what's the advantage/disadvantage over an EPYC CPU, it's totally unclear. If they named it Ryzen 9-3990X then it would make sense.
So because you don't understand the HEDT niche and TR branding, it should change?
TR has faster clocks than EPYC (plus a much lower price), it has more PCIe lanes and quad-channel memory compared with AM4. It's a high-end desktop part for high-end professional parts, and it's a separate platform from AM4. It's actually totally clear.

If anything, Intel's branding is messed up because you have the i9-9900K which is socket FCLGA1151, and then you have the Core i9-10980XE which is a completely different socket (FCLGA2066) yet shares the same product model name. They're both technically "i9s" but I can't use them on the same motherboard.

At least AMD is drawing a clear separation between HEDT and mainstream/gaming CPUs.
 
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amstech

IT Overlord
The exact same could be said of the 9900K. You have made many many posts on this very site touting Intel's mere 3% advantage at 1080p.
Eve, are you ok dude?
I didn't say a damn word about Intel, or make any comparison to them.
You are SO brand loyal and SO defensive of AMD, even when folks are neutral you still attack others. Because of this I've lost alot of respect for you.
It's really uncalled for and as someone who has some respect for you still, I think you need to R.E.L.A.X. If this article was about Intel I would have chuckled and said the same thing. Spending $750, $1400 or $2000 on a CPU to game at 1080p, Intel or AMD, is silly and I got a laugh of out that screenshot.
Good gracious, I'm starting to honestly feel sorry for you. You need to quell that biased brand loyal rage, its got you by the balls and it destroys your opinion and judgement.

Sooner or later, no one will care what you have to say if you keep this up. Get it together kid.
 
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