It’s been a long time since AMD could claim any sort of absolute performance crown, cost be damned. However, every dog has its day and the Threadripper 2990WX is a real pitbull in the benchmarks. We take a closer look at this sick puppy.
First things first, the 2990WX is not the absolutely fastest CPU you can buy.The Core i9-7980XE, for one, does edge it out a little, as do a few other extreme edition CPUs. OF course, this also depends on the type of workload. With a massive 32-core, 64-thread CPU under the hood you’re going to see it pull ahead in parallel tasks that make full use of what’s on offer. After all, when you have twice the number of cores and threads the 7980XE has, you can’t rely on a per-core performance advantage alone.
If you break the various benchmarks down into their components it’s clear that the 2990WX can walk all over the the top Intel i9 chip. Software rendering (Blender) is clearly in AMD’s favor. So anyone with mathematical loads that will max out all 32 cores, should sit up and listen. Especially given that the AMD chip is several hundred dollars less expensive.
So the simple fact that you have to remember is that this is the multithreaded performance king at the moment and it will cost you significantly less than the best Intel has to offer in the consumer space. We’re not comparing this to the Xeon chips that can match this sort of core count, because they are priced for an entirely different market segment.
With the overall positioning and purpose out of the way, let’s have a look at what the insides of this chip holds.
Big Specs Coming in Hot
The Threadripper 2 2990WX uses a multi-chip design made possible thanks to “infinity fabric” technology from AMD. This cuts the delay in communicating across the die down to incredibly low numbers. There’s 25 GB/s of die-to-die bandwidth in both directions.
The socket that this CPU fits into will look familiar to anyone who has used AMD Epyc server technology. It’s physically the same in terms of fit, but the underlying wiring is different. The good news is that this is a drop-in replacement for almost any X399 board,once you’ve done a BIOS update. If this were a new Intel CPU a new socket would be a given, but AMD helps us save money again. One caveat is that some board may require extra cooling, because 32-cores can really suck down the juice. A new PSU may also be on the cards.
This chip is not meant to be a server CPU, but a high-end desktop CPU. This massive core count is something Intel can’t do with their current CPU design. AMD has a real edge here. The base clock is 3Ghz with a boost clock of 4.2Ghz. Special cooling setups and adventurous overclocking may yields some very interesting result here for sure. We’re still experimenting with this chip, but things are looking good so far. The TDP is also a quite reasonable (considering) 250W. The chip natively supports up to 1 TiB of DDR4 memory, which is crazy until you think about the fact that this is only about 32 GiB per core.
Why We’re Excited About the 2990WX
This is a CPU that’s not particularly relevant to most regular computer users, but as professional workstation builders we are very excited about the possibilities now on the table. To get this sort of multi-threaded performance before, we would have to use dual or quad-socket motherboards. The rest of the system would have to be equally exotic and expensive.
Threadripper 2 give us massive price headroom to build systems that provide all the multithreaded performance our customers need at prices that were simply impossible before. The fact that this is a regular (if high-end) desktop chip has a knock-on effect throughout the entire build. You can already get a taste of what’s possible in our Titan A399 Octane workstation. This is one of our first 2990WX builds ready for sale and it’s a jawdropper.
Be sure to keep an eye on our future releases, we’re going to do some fantastic things with this monster AMD CPU.
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