AMD To Unleash Its Ultra-powerful Ryzen Threadripper CPUs August 10th
Posted on July 30, 2017 10:30 PM by Rob Williams
What could prove to be one of the most disruptive high-end enthusiast components is almost here: AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper. The fact that TR has been en route should come as a secret to no one. Even those outside of the tech world could have heard about it, because the rumor mill has simply been intense. People are stoked about the reality of owning CPUs that will allow them to truly multi-task on their machine, or get that one job done real fast.
The basic specs of Threadripper haven’t been an unknown, as the myriad leaks around the Internet have kept nothing a secret. This weekend, though, AMD did surprise a room full of analysts and journalists that not just two SKUs (as previously announced) would be available in August.
At the top-end is the 16-core Ryzen 1950X that we talked about just the other day, one that’s clocked at 3.4GHz stock and can peak at 4.0GHz when conditions are right. This chip is going to cost $999, with AMD claiming that it will dramatically outperform Intel’s equally priced competition. Moving down brings us to the 1920X, which shaves 25% of the cores off, and gains 100MHz at stock.
The interesting SKU revealed this weekend is the 1900X, an eight-core chip clocked at 3.8GHz and peaking at 4.0GHz. “But AMD already has eight-core Ryzen 7s!” Yes, that’s true, but AMD doesn’t have eight-core Ryzen 7s with 64 PCIe lanes or quad-channel memory support. For many, 8 cores might be enough, but all those lanes and increased memory bandwidth could prove useful over AM4 and Ryzen.
With as many cores and threads as Threadripper crams into its (rather huge) frame, it’d be accurate to call it a “workstation” CPU. But in reality, AMD sees more than just content creators using these chips. Developers and researchers stand to gain with the huge computing power, and so could multi-tasking gamers.
It might seem unrealistic to “need” 16+ threads, but how many times have you wanted to encode a video but held off because you were also playing a game? I’ve been there – sometimes even putting up with a lagging game. AMD’s promise is that with as much capability as Threadripper has, you can play a game while encoding a video – and also while running a video on another monitor. Oh, also while streaming to Twitch.
The most interesting thing about Threadripper is simply how competitive it is. Intel’s 10-core chip, the i9-7900X (which we just took a good look at) costs $1,000. Bearing that in mind, what do you think when AMD tells you that its 12-core 1920X doesn’t just match that performance, but in many cases beats it, but costs $800? That’s not even including the prospect of bumping up to 64 PCIe lanes (though the benefits there are going to be limited to very high-end consumers).
As for the ecosystem, AMD is going to have a variety of motherboards available at launch (or at least near launch) from the likes of ASRock, ASUS, GIGABYTE, and MSI. Most of these boards might look the same out-of-the-gate, what with the top-half of the boards looking so similar, and dark color schemes conveniently used by every single one of them. As for coolers, 20 preexisting liquid options are available, while a mere 5 air coolers do.
You can’t expect too much from overclocking 16 cores, but AMD assures us that Threadripper is very overclockable. 4.0GHz on all 16 cores should be possible for a good number of people as long as the cooling is sufficient; read: liquid-cooled. Even then, binning and luck is going to play a massive role here. You must ask yourself, though: with 32 threads at-the-ready, is overclocking even worth it? Here’s a shot of an overclocking results with all cores pegged to over 5.0GHz (yup – LN2).
AMD has left us with little time to write that much depth about Threadripper (or Vega, for that matter), so this post is beyond expedited. One thing I did want to mention is that TR is going to introduce a couple of interesting caveats; namely, some games and software might not appreciate the vast number of cores TR has. To get around that, AMD Ryzen Master software can be used to switch to “Game Mode”, which disables the processing capabilities of an entire die. All I/O connected to that die remains functional, so you won’t lose memory or anything of the sort in that configuration. Much more on this later.
It’s been leaked that TR under-the-hood is EPYC whittled down, meaning that if it’s cracked open, four dies will be seen, with two of them (probably permanently) disabled. AMD says that these dead dies act as “mechanical stabilizers”. I think that’s just marketing spin, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. AMD plans for TR to live up to its promises, plain and simple. Such things just don’t matter in the grand scheme.
Threadripper is officially available on August 10, but the 1900X 8-core model will be held off until August 31. Peeps interesting in jumping on the TR bandwagon immediately can preorder one of the chips beginning July 31 at system builders and etailers all over. It might be worth mentioning that non-X SKUs exist, but I assume those will be limited to system builders.
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.