Workstation Powerhouses: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 16-core 2950X & 32-core 2990WX Review

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd-gen Packaging
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by Rob Williams on August 13, 2018 in Processors

Just as we were starting to believe that 16-core CPUs were amazing, AMD has come along and dropped a 32-core bombshell. It’s called Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, a workstation chip that cuts through renderers like butter. We’re putting it up against the forthcoming 2950X, and six other unsuspecting processors.

System: SiSoftware Sandra 2018

For the sake of time, I didn’t run as many Sandra tests as I normally would, especially since I wanted to focus on as many real-world scenarios as possible. Still, it’s not a bad idea to turn to synthetic benchmarks to get a true sense of scaling in certain areas, because some, more than others, are unexpected.

Case-in-point: despite the fact that the 2990WX is more powerful overall than the 7980XE, that chip slaughtered this one with almost twice as many cores. This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following the site, or CPUs in general, for a while. Intel’s held a dominating position in multimedia in general for quite a while, and its latest use of the AVX-512 instruction set helps out a lot with that. With the value AMD is offering consumers right now, software developers are going to be forced to notice before long, and begin improving the performance on Zen. It’s unfortunate to require 32 AMD cores to beat out 10 of Intel’s here. But again, the encode tests on the third page of this article prove that these synthetic results do not always translate to real-world scenarios. They’re still useful to gauge overall potential, however.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX Performance in SiSoftware Sandra 2018 Multimedia

The multimedia test didn’t fare super-well for AMD, but the mathematics test does. Here, the 2990WX leaps well ahead of the 7980XE, skewing the rest of the results by hogging so much space up top.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX Performance in SiSoftware Sandra 2018 Arithmetic

The crypto test on the Linux page exhibited great results for the 2990WX, so it’s no surprise that the trend continues here. AMD has actually been super-strong in crypto on both the CPU and GPU sides of the fence, marking one of the greatest gains in performance with recent architectures that I haven’t noticed since Intel introduced the AES-NI instruction set way back in the day.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX Performance in SiSoftware Sandra 2018 Cryptography

Finally, as mentioned on the previous page, different memory benchmarks allegedly give different test results, as the Stream-based benchmark in our Linux testing put AMD cleanly at the top, whereas Sandra paints a bit of a different picture thanks to its use of AVX-512, which is exclusive to Intel’s Core X-series chips (on the desktop).

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX Performance in SiSoftware Sandra 2018 Memory Bandwidth

All of the platforms that use quad-channel memory controllers easily hit well over 50GB/s at DDR4-3200 speeds, and if memory matters, you clearly want better than dual-channel.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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