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3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper
These are exciting times in the desktop CPU space, and much of what's provocative emanates from the direction of AMD. The perennial underdog's Ryzen CPUs have proven to be more than a mere thorn in Intel's side since making their debut back in 2017, and AMD has wasted no time in building on that early momentum with subsequent award-winning releases.
2019 has already seen the introduction of 3rd Gen Ryzen processors powered by an evolutionary 7nm Zen 2 architecture, and AMD is now bringing that goodness to the HEDT space with the launch of AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper product range
|Model||Cores / Threads||TDP||L3 Cache||Base Clock||Turbo Clock||Process||PCIe (usable)||DDR4||Package||Price|
|AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Gen|
|Threadripper 3990X||64 / 128||280W||256MB||TBC||TBC||7nm||56, Gen 4||Quad 3200||TRX4||TBC|
|Threadripper 3970X||32 / 64||280W||128MB||3.7GHz||4.5GHz||7nm||56, Gen 4||Quad 3200||TRX4||$1999|
|Threadripper 3960X||24 / 48||280W||128MB||3.8GHz||4.5GHz||7nm||56, Gen 4||Quad 3200||TRX4||$1399|
|AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Gen|
|Threadripper 2990WX||32 / 64||250W||64MB||3.0GHz||4.2GHz||12nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2933||TR4||$1799|
|Threadripper 2970WX||24 / 48||250W||64MB||3.0GHz||4.2GHz||12nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2933||TR4||$1299|
|Threadripper 2950X||16 / 32||180W||32MB||3.5GHz||4.4GHz||12nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2933||TR4||$899|
|Threadripper 2920X||12 / 24||180W||32MB||3.5GHz||4.3GHz||12nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2933||TR4||$649||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1st Gen|
|Threadripper 1950X||16 / 32||180W||32MB||3.4GHz||4.0GHz||14nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2666||TR4||$999|
|Threadripper 1920X||12 / 24||180W||32MB||3.5GHz||4.05GHz||14nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2666||TR4||$799|
|Threadripper 1900X||8 / 16||180W||16MB||3.8GHz||4.0GHz||14nm||60, Gen 3||Quad 2666||TR4||$229|
The chiplet design synonymous with Ryzen is paying dividends, and the ability to tie together multiple CCDs (Core Complex Dies) to a centralised I/O via Infinity Fabric makes it relatively easy for AMD to create Threadripper parts that raise the bar for core and thread count.
At the top of the new 3rd Gen range, the jaw-dropping 3990X employs the same eight-CCD setup of the server-specific Epyc 7H12, but don't get too excited just yet as the 64-core, 128-thread behemoth won't be making its way to retail until next year, and pricing is yet to be confirmed. There's still plenty of excitement further down the stack, mind, as the 3970X and 3960X are primed to set new standards in the HEDT space.
This time around, AMD has made the surprise decision to break from its promise of platform longevity and introduce 3rd Gen Threadripper in a new TRX4 package, mandating the purchase of a new TRX40 motherboard. The upside to such a decision is a bevy of improvements to the platform as a whole.
First up, there are now 72 usable PCIe lanes available between CPU and chipset, and AMD doubles bandwidth by moving from Gen 3.0 to Gen 4.0. A further 16 PCIe 4.0 are reserved for two-way traffic within the chip, greatly increasing the amount of data that can flow in either direction, and as you'd expect there's no shortage of connectivity. Whereas previous-generation X399 chipset provided eight PCIe 2.0, the TRX40 platform touts a whopping 24 PCIe 4.0, not to mention 12 USB 3.2 Gen 2, and support for more high-speed storage than any other consumer solution.
Such upgrades are arguably enough to justify the introduction of a new socket, and AMD has used this opportunity to increase chip TDP from 250W to 280W. The extra power budget allows for a seven per cent increase in peak frequency - up from 4.2GHz to 4.5GHz - and, when taking into account the refined Zen 2 architecture, we can expect a healthy performance gain over 2nd Gen Threadripper parts.
How much quicker, exactly? Benchmarks from leading review sites are eye-opening, to say the least. Taking full advantage of the new TRX40 platform, the flagship 3rd Gen Threadripper 3970X delivers a massive 45 per cent performance boost over the previous-generation Threadripper 2990WX. The bar has been raised, and then some.
AMD has extended its lead as the HEDT champion. Threadripper 3970X is almost twice as fast as Intel's nearest desktop challenger, the Core i9-10980XE, and AMD feels comfortable in charging $1,999 for such performance excellency.
Thought the Intel Core i9-9900KS was fast? HEDT Threadripper is in another league entirely and can have a profound impact in demanding multi-core workloads. We've never seen anything like it outside of the enterprise space.
And of course, if you're an enthusiast wanting the best of the best, AMD Ryzen can no longer be thought of as a second-class citizen when it comes to gaming.
Raising the power envelope to 280W does, however, make the new Threadrippers some of the thirstiest CPUs in recent years, meaning a high-quality cooler is recommended, though that's a small price to pay for such superlative performance.
AMD has moved to cement its position as the trendsetter in the high-end desktop space. Building on the foundations laid by its revolutionary Zen architecture, 3rd Gen Threadripper harnesses Zen 2 and a new TRX40 platform to deliver unprecedented levels of computing power on consumer desktops.
We can't wait to see what the 64-core 3990X can do, but if you're eager to experience the very best that today's PCs have to offer, Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and 3960X are an outstanding choice.