Itís been a long time since CPUs have had a clear marketing number to appeal to mainstream consumers. Until the Core architecture took over from the ill-conceived Pentium 4 CPUs back in the day, the bigger the clocks the better the performance. Or so Joe Average believed.
With AMD losing their touch around the time Phenom came out, there hasnít really been anything to latch onto with each new generation. Whatís the difference between an i5 4600 and 8600 CPU? Sure those of us who are into PC technology will look at benchmark scores and real world performance, but thatís not most people. So now it seems the idea is to boast about who has the most cores at each price point. Thatís generally a good thing and hopefully will encourage mainstream applications like games and web browsers to become more multithreaded.
King of the Hill For now, it seems that AMD is winning the core-wars with the new flagship ThreadRipper CPU. We donít know what the product name will be for this 2nd-generation Threadripper part, but we do know a bit about whatís going on under the hood.
There are actually two chips showed off by AMD. Both chips are rated for 250W TDPs. Both are also clicked at 3Ghz, with a 3.4Ghz boost. The big difference is that one model has 24 cores and the other 32. The core speeds are considerably lower than previous CPUs in the ThreadRipper line, so itís unlikely to perform as well on software with low thread counts. The chips all have two threads per core, which makes them formidable parts when it comes to workloads such as data processing and video conversion.
While AMD showed these CPUs off using nothing but air cooling, only time will tell if overclocking is possible in any meaningful way. We know that these cores can handle much higher clock speeds, since weíve seen it in other CPUs. However, with this many cores running at, for example, 4Ghz the problem of dealing with the heat is significant. On top of that, it only takes one core out of the 32 that canít handle the higher clocks and the whole package will be unstable. It will be interesting to see, especially since these CPUs are made using a 12nm fabrication process.
We canít wait to get our hands on one of these and seeing what sort of workstation builds are possible!