Thoughts on Ryzen Threadripper 1920X & 1950X: AMD's enthusiast monster CPUs

By Steve · 49 replies
Jul 15, 2017
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  1. This week we received news on AMD's upcoming Threadripper and the highlights include the clock speeds and the prices. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, yeah that’s a bit of a mouthful, is set to come in at $1000, the same price as the 10-core Core i9-7900X. Why is that a big deal? Whereas Intel is offering a 10-core/20-thread CPU at that price point, AMD is serving up a 16-core/32-thread monster. That’s 60% more cores for the same price.

    AMD also announced the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, a slightly more affordable 12-core/24-thread CPU for $800.

    Both CPUs are said to operate at a max boost frequency of 4GHz which is great. The 1950X sports a base frequency of 3.4 GHz, while the 1920X will run no slower than 3.5 GHz. We don’t yet know what the all-core turbo frequencies are, or how many cores will operate at the maximum 4 GHz turbo frequency.

    Those specifications complement what we already knew about Threadripper. To quickly recap: Threadripper CPUs pack two Zeppelin dies, the EPYC server-grade chips use four of these dies. Each Zeppelin die provides 32 Gen 3.0 PCIe lanes for a total of 64 lanes, so you can connect up as many graphics cards and high-speed NVMe storage devices you want without running into any bandwidth limitations.

    Within a Zeppelin die are two CCX modules, so technically Threadripper is two Ryzen 7 CPUs stitched together, or glued as Intel would so elegantly put it. Actually why glued Intel, they use fabric to connect the modules, stitching seems like it would be the prefered method. Anyway, in total there are four CCX units, each offering 4-cores/8-threads, so you can double everything Ryzen 7 has and this means you end up with a massive 32 MB L3 cache and support for quad-channel memory.

    As you might imagine, sticking two Ryzen 7s together is going to make for a massive CPU and that is exactly what Threadripper is, absolutely massive. AMD has designed a new platform to accommodate the behemoths, supported by the cunningly named X399 chipset. The new Socket TR4 uses the ‘Land Grid Array’ surface-mount packaging, commonly referred to as LGA. Unlike Ryzen 5 and 7, there are no pins on the CPU itself. These have been moved over to the motherboard, this is the same method Intel has been using for years. But whereas Intel’s latest high-end desktop CPUs utilize 2066 pins, Threadripper demands an incredible 4094 pins.

    This kind of extreme platform demands a new name, so superseding Intel’s high-end desktop or HEDT we now have the SHED, which is short for ‘Super High-End Desktop’. AMD also announced that the Threadripper CPUs will become available in early August, no mention of a 10-core part at this stage.

    So you’ll be able to buy one of AMDs super high-end desktop processors for a reasonable price soon, but should you? Potential buyers have the option to pull the trigger on the Core i9-7900X right now or go with the Threadripper 1950X in a few weeks' time.

    AMD showed a quick Cinebench R15 demo featuring both Threadripper models and compared the results to the Core i9-7900X. The Core i9-7900X scored 2167 pts which is consistent with our own findings, we reported a score of 2201 pts in our review.

    The 12-core 1920X spat out an impressive score of 2431 pts and to beat that the 7900X needs to be overclocked to 4.7 GHz, where it consumes enough power to embarrass your wall heater. Then the big guy, the 1950X turned in an incredible score of 3062 pts. While breathtaking, this wasn’t entirely surprising given the 1800X manages around 1600 pts. What this means is that for workloads that can utilize all of the 1950X’s many cores, it should deliver almost 40% more performance than the Core i9-7900X.

    That is a massive performance difference for a CPU of the same price. So should you wait a few weeks for Threadripper before making your ultimate choice? Hell yeah. As I see it, AMD really has Intel in a serious spot of bother with these high-core count CPUs.

    When it comes to gaming, there is no question the quad-core Core i7-7700K still rules them all, for now anyway. This goes beyond gaming, anyone seeking a CPU with 8 or more cores probably isn’t gaming, or at least they're not just playing games. When we talk about 10-core CPUs commanding such price premiums as the 7900X, gaming really isn’t a consideration and this is of course true for the 12 and 16-core Threadripper CPUs as well.

    So if you're not gaming, and you do require a high core count CPU for things such as encoding or rendering, then you really do want as many cores as you can afford. As we just saw with Cinebench, AMD’s higher core count 1950X takes the 7900X to the cleaners. Of course, we've yet to test Threadripper ourselves, but given what we know about Ryzen 7 and Intel’s Core-X lineup, I just don’t see how Intel can compete here given their current pricing strategy.

    As a side note, things we'd like to know but are still pending confirmation...

    We don't know if the 12-core model also features the same 32MB L3 cache as the 16-core model, AMD also haven't confirmed the CCX configuration, we'd assume we're looking at 3 cores per CCX for the 12-core model. We also don’t know about the official DDR4 memory support, we'd assume DDR4-2666 and possibly an insane 1TB of memory will be supported. Finally, if the CPUs come bundled with a cooler, and if not, can existing coolers be adapted to the new socket.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, AMD also announced the Ryzen 3 1300X and 1200. The 1300X will operate at a base frequency of 3.5 GHz with a turbo of 3.7GHz, while the 1200 will run at 3.1 GHz with a turbo of 3.4 GHz. No pricing info yet, but AMD says these CPUs will be available next week on the 27th.

    Before that happens, we'll have a simulated Ryzen 3 benchmark feature in the next few days as we know Ryzen 3 chips are simply Ryzen 5 1400s with SMT disabled. The results are very interesting and we'll be able to give you guys a heads up in advance if Ryzen 3 will be worth the expected asking prices.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2017
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  2. soulsassassin

    soulsassassin TS Addict Posts: 112   +47

    With this launch AMD is deleting the whole purpose of intel X series all together
     
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  3. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    "We don’t yet know what the all-core turbo frequencies are, or how many cores will operate at the maximum 4 GHz turbo frequency."

    That sounds like a very important detail AMD has conveniently left out.
    When AMD is quiet, you should worry.

    In comparison, we knew everything about Maxwell including how high it could overclock all at the same time at the same event. AMD giving us details in pieces is annoying at best. The only ones willing to overlook important information like that are the minority, and that is not how you make an epyc comeback in my opinion.

    "Before that happens, we'll have a simulated Ryzen 3 benchmark feature in the next few days as we know Ryzen 3 chips are simply Ryzen 5 1400s with SMT disabled."

    The number of CCX's could very well have an effect on its performance. I want to see your simulation and how it compares to the final product, as well as how much clock speed affect performance. That's where the R3 could live or die.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
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  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,861   +1,064

    I can't be the only one seeing the funny in the naming. Threadripper is literately taking Intel to the SHED.

    Seriously though, I don't see why any company would buy any of the x299 Intel products at their announced prices, especially at the top end. In every price range AMD either matches Intel's price but provides more performance or provides equal performance at a much lower price.
     
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  5. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 439   +280

    I expect Ryzen 3 1200/1300X should dominate the budget bracket. This should make the i3 and pentium G irrelevant. I'm eager to see that review. I may be right or wrong here.

    Overall, way to go AMD. Just keep the prices competitive. That is your advantage.
     
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  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,724   +1,117

    I cannot believe AMD is resorting to the tactic of borrowing their competition's naming schemes and putting bigger numbers on their own products. Why not go straight to X9001 chipsets so they can claim "its over 9000"? Surely AMD can't believe that someone who builds their own high-end systems will be fooled. What happens when SHED is the performance norm in a few years? Will their next meaningless acronym be UHED (Ultra High End Desktop)?
     
  7. Spect

    Spect TS Booster Posts: 30   +23

    We are seeing great things coming out of AMD. Their new CEO took over a couple years ago and completely restructured the company. After a few years of R&D we are seeing the first products coming out of her vision of the company. AMD offers a much better value over Intel in almost every category. If they can keep up the momentum AMD has the potential to be a great company. AMD doesn't have to beat Intel to be successful (even though personally I would love to see that happen). They just need to be competitive. Wether you are "Team Red" or "Team Blue" it really doesn't matter. What matters is that there is a team to choose. When Intel doesn't have any competition we lose. We'd get slower CPUs for an unfair price.
    I'm going to do my best and not let AMDs un-impressing past dilute my opinions. Things are looking up for them, and I think it's only going to get better. There is both enthusiast and budget level products in the pipeline. And if the rumors are true they beat Intel in performance and price.
    This is still a new architecture. If AMD can steal a percentage of Intels' market share, developers would start paying more attention and optimizing for AMD which would lead to a more stable and efficient CPUs.
    Good show 'ole chap, keep it up!
     
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  8. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,468   +930

    There is nothing "convenient" about it. You are getting 3.4/3.5 on all cores which is massive. Whether the chip's clock rises 100 extra or 200 extra MHz on all cores is irrelevant (you can just do a light OC anyway if you absolutely need more - but pros don't generally do that).
    All that matters for high end workstation platforms is the perf/$ and I/O.

    TL;DR that number is a lot less important than you make it out to be (especially when the delta between the clocks on all cores and boost clocks is very small). it's not a gaming machine.
     
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  9. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    You can do a slight overclock huh? Considering AMD isn't revealing the number of cores able to achieve STOCK turbo clocks, overclocking could be completely out of the picture. And that is just one issue. I'd be a fool to think this chip could be saved by overclocking, especially by the masses. Not everyone is a techie nor do they feel comfortable doing it. Even Intel has backed off with overclocking since what, Sandy Bridge, and they are still pulling 60b in revenue. Hence my original comment. ;)

    TL;DR Band-aids don't fix bullet holes.
     
  10. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,468   +930

    AMD isn't "hiding" anything. Stop making out as if something this small is "evil". You are also twisting my comment into something that only you seem to have understood. Nobody said that OCing is the answer, just that you can do it if you need to.
    "AMD isn't revealing the number of cores able to achieve STOCK turbo clocks" - you have the numbers, they just haven't mention the boost on all cores and for some god knows what reason you think that's bad. Nobody mentions those numbers. Intel's own marketing material does not mention those numbers.

    Have you looked at any store which sells Intel CPUs? Hell... have you checked intel's ark website? None of those mention boost clocks for all cores, just the base clocks and the max boost clocks. I even checked their own updated spec PDF for the 7th gen family.

    TL;DR you really need to set your priorities straight. nitpicking about nothing is just... weird.
     
  11. Bilibong

    Bilibong TS Rookie

    What are you so mad at? It's becoming a competitive market again. Much better for the masses who seem to be noticing AMD's pricing is better.
     
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  12. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    Except we do know Intel boost clocks....
     
  13. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    I'm "mad" because AMD does this time and time again. They give us a bit of information and then let leaks and rumours do the rest while every cheapskate and fanboy on the internet treats them as fact. If you are going to believe more cores are the answer, you're sadly mistaken. As a techie and a consumer, I have more sense than to believe everything I read on the internet, especially if AMD is involved.
     
  14. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    Apparently it is important if the writer mentions it and it is one of the last remaining details on the spec sheet to read TBD.
    When AMD is quiet, you should worry. Period.
    Source: Bulldozer, Fiji, Polaris, Polaris 2, Vega, Zen

    It's funny that during the time those above products were available, AMD has lost money every year as a result. So I'm not sure how anyone can be so optimistic considering. I'll believe there is actual competition when I see it and not before. There is nothing to gain otherwise other than to get likes on the internet from like-minded uneducated consumers.

    BTW, how many Ryzen systems are being sold by the four major OEM's?
    .....
    Exactly my point. What's my point? Ryzen is not ready for prime time. It caters to the MINORITY and has some serious issues to this day, and that isn't going to bring AMD back from the dead. Just like Async Compute didn't help AMD. Just like the mainstream target Polaris was supposed to be didn't help AMD.

    AMD needs to have something for the 90%, not the 10%, and they just don't have it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
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  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,586   +542

    As I see it, the most important thing that is coming out of AMD's new CPUs is competition. I am not in the market at this time for a new system, yet I still like the idea that AMD appears to be finally on top again. When these procs are out and in the hands of the reviewers, only then will we know for sure what AMD has under the hood.

    As Sepct hints above, I also expect that technical wizard and AMD CEO Lisa Su is well aware of their current lack of gaming performance. As I see it, however, the path that they are taking is a smart and economical path in that their new offerings give Intel a run for the money in the most important markets. The workloads that they are good at are in the server and pro markets. Not to mention HPC which requires excellent MT performance.

    I do not, however, think AMD has forgotten gamers, After their poor financial performance over the past few years, AMD needs something like this that they can market to the pro, HPC and server market. The gamer market may not be small, but where AMD is taking the lead in performance is where that money is. Intel has been milking this market for years, and there is a lot of money there, yet I bet that AMD is working at this moment to bring up gaming performance, and it is likely that we will see it in their next generation of parts.

    At this moment, Intel can no longer come out with CPU after CPU that barely, if at all, competes with their previous parts. Part of the reason that I am not yet considering an upgrade is because my primary PC is equipped with an E5-1650V2. With 40 pci-e lanes, quad-channel RAM, and 6-cores, there is still plenty of headroom.

    I am glad, however, that I have a choice now between AMD and Intel when I do decide to make a new build. As I see it, the renewed competition that Intel has in AMD's latest offerings will do nothing but good for the CPU market for many years to come.
     
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  16. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,468   +930

    I'm sorry dude but I can't take you serious when you say stuff like that. you don't seem to see anything, let alone the competition

    You are clearly just trolling or you don't know about who is selling Ryzen systems or how well the Ryzen CPUs are selling. You can just do a quick look on amazon's most sold CPUs and you'll see ryzen in 2nd or 3rd position (the 1600 and 1700 are just selling as well as the 7600k and are trading spots from time to time).

    You know what else you'll see? Big price cuts on many 7th gen Intel CPUs. It's the result of the "competition" you seem to be ignoring (or not seeing).

    As for who is building custom PCs with Ryzen in them: HP (Omen), Acer, iBUYPOWER, CyberpowerPC, MAINGEAR, etc just to name a few. To answer your question: 2 of 4 major OEMs are building AMD systems already with many smaller ones joining the fray.

    " It caters to the MINORITY and has some serious issues to this day" - can you tell us some of it's serious issues? because we don't see to be aware of them.

    FYI you went from AMD is hiding boost clocks on all cores to a full blown rant about how AMD didn't do well until now (like it's something we didn't know already).
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  17. Jyrkz

    Jyrkz TS Enthusiast Posts: 31   +16

    Intel fanboy. Period.
     
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  18. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    So you can't take me seriously and I'm trolling yet you keep replying.....
     
  19. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    Yes that's why I had a newegg wishlist with a 1600X, MSI X370 and 16GB Trident 3200MHz just a couple weeks ago.....

    Try harder please.
     
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,702   +2,400

    Well thank god, AMD finally "invented" the "Land Grid Array socket". That's something I've been emailing Intel about for the last 20 years. I'm glad someone finally listened!

    So, if you didn't glue, or stitch, or whatever attachment method of your choice, the two cores together, you would have to put two of these damned "(the name which may not be spoken. It's just too damned cumbersome)", CPUs, on a double socket motherboard and call it a "Xeon"?

    Anyway, I've always thought CPUs should be bigger, it just tends to make them look so much more impressive.

    I simply can't wait to see how big the after market HSFs for these will be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  21. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 474   +149

    AMD used LGA on Socket F (2006). You're like 11 years late.

    AMD uses "bigger is better" tactics as 4094>>2066.
     
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  22. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,227   +402

    Cause AMD doesn't care about DBZ lol.
     
  23. TheShaz

    TheShaz TS Rookie

    Zen looks to be a well thought out architecture. Its modular in concept. And the way its manufactured compared to Intel, they are cheaper to make.

    From the pending Ryzen 3 that will outperform and under cut the i3 line. To the current Ryzen 5 that takes on the i5 line to the Ryzen 7 and upcoming Threadripper that takes on the i7 line. Then to top it off the Epyc server line that takes on Intel's Xeon's.

    At every price point, AMD wins, from the Ryzen 3 all the way to the Epyc server series.

    In the course of 6 months, AMD recaptured the "Best bang for the buck" award.

    I personally have the Ryzen 7 1800x and it has been awesome!

    Does this mean the end to Intel? Oh hell no! Intel has a R&D budget that is bigger than many countries GDP, this will force Intel to INNOVATE. For a decade with no competition Intel has been raking consumers over the coals with minimal performance boost at each generation but with huge price increases.

    I can see Intel coming out with something nice in 1-2 years time, because if they don't then they will be in trouble. But when they do, AMD will be forced to keep up.

    No RED vs BLUE. Just rejoice that there is legitimate competition again.
     
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  24. TheShaz

    TheShaz TS Rookie

     
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  25. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,957   +620

    Sure there's a price difference. Especially since all the Ryzen chips have already been discounted across the entire lineup three months in. That doesn't happen when your new product is flying of the shelves considering according to you, "AMD beats Intel on performance", which is an incredibly naive statement. Does it beat it in power consumption? Memory frequency and compatibility? Stability? Optimization? Gaming? Or does it just beat Intel in a handful of applications? How does it compare with applications companies actually use, because we know they aren't running Cinebench and Handbrake all day.

    Companies currently paying thousands for Intel parts are spending just as much or more for memory. Saving a couple bucks on a cheaper product is not an option for some. Especially an unfimiliar new product that has very little optimizations to compete with what they currently have. Companies don't care about price as much as the average consumer. They want what works and that's all that matters. Throwing out all their current hardware to save a couple bucks is not in their playbook.

    I see the options on the Dell site, but aside from that Ryzen is primarily a boutique shop purchase, because if of its instability as a platform. Testing is especially important with Ryzen to be able to sell it with a warranty. If you look, every single Ryzen system there has 2400MHz memory. And we know why that is, don't we?

    I recommend you check out pcper's latest podcasts. They have more insight on what companies are looking for when it comes to hardware and can explain it better than I can.

    This could hurt AMD:
    http://wccftech.com/amd-ryzen-rma-fraud-on-amazon/

    Ryzen price drops:
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/amd-ryzen-7-cpu-price-discount/

    pcper (Ryzen Pro and EPYC):

     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017

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