AMD’s Threadripper CPUs are mostly known as consumer-grade CPUs that brought professional-grade features and performance to users who could never justify workstation prices. A Threadripper was perfect for the serious YouTuber with big video editing renders to do, and then spend the rest of the time gaming and perhaps even streaming at the same time.
So it might come as a surprise that the Threadripper brand is also associated with proper, full-fat workstation-grade CPUs known as Threadripper Pro. In March AMD announced the 5000 WX-series of processors and based on the specifications, the name “Threadripper” will get a lot more respect from OEM workstation users in the future.
The WX-Series Lineup
There are five Threadripper Pro CPUs in the lineup. All of them offer 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, and support up to 2TB of ECC memory, with a 280W TDP.
In other respects, each model is different, as you can see in this chart from AMD.
With the exception of the 64-core 5995WX, base clocks are quite similar across the board. Boost clocks are the same throughout, so we expect that low-thread applications will all perform the same when most of the die is idle. Cache memory scales as expected with core count.
As is often the case, the most exciting CPUs here are the ones towards the lower end of the range. The 12-core 5945WX promises to be a beastly entry-level workstation CPU, with a base clock that only knocks 400Mhz from the 4.5Ghz boost number.
Most professional users who need fast CPU performance in live usage don’t need more than 24 threads, so unless offline-rendering times are crucial, the vast majority of CAD/CAM, video editing, or real-time 3D modeling users will be happy with the 12- or 16- core model.
Apart from support for ECC memory and heaps of PCIe lanes, Threadripper Pro caters to professional users with a number of different features. AMD Memory Gaurd encrypts memory against hacking attacks, so if you’re crunching sensitive data or data that must not be altered, this is an important safeguard.
In the same vein, Secure Processor offers an on-die security chip that prevents illegal operations from getting through and AMD Shadow Stack helps prevent malware attacks that attempt to modify memory content.
These new Threadripper Pro CPUs neatly fill a gap between high-end mainstream AMD CPUs and the Epyc high-end workstation and server chips. They’re a great choice for OEM workstation makers since their overall system requirements are more modest. Moving Threadripper Pro from Zen 2 technology to Zen 3 brings a raft of efficiency and performance improvements, so it’s a big upgrade for current TR Pro owners.
Epyc’s big advantage (apart from total RAM support) is that you can have dual-socket setups to really crank up core counts, but with AMD now stuffing so many cores into a single socket, for most users, it makes more sense to go with the much cheaper and less complex single-socket solution offered by these new chips.