Just as Intel is readying a new platform (X299) and line of performance processors (Skylake-X) for users who are willing to pay a premium for more cores and PCI Express lanes, so too is AMD. Hot on the heels of AMD's Ryzen launch will be new "Whitehaven" processors, and based on what has been spotted in the wild, at least one of the forthcoming Whitehaven CPUs will wield 16 cores and 32 threads.
Let that sink in for a moment. AMD brought itself back in the performance discussion with Ryzen, which is fully capable of going toe-to-toe with Intel in multi-threaded applications. Now imagine taking the top-end Ryzen part (Ryzen 7 1800X) and doubling the number of physical CPU cores, which in turn also doubles the number of threads. That is what Whitehaven will bring to the table, and then some.
The 16-core chip will not be clocked quite as fast as AMD's Ryzen 7 1800X (Summit Ridge) part—it will have a 3.1GHz base clock and 3.6GHz boost frequency, compared to 3.6GHz to 4GHz for the Ryzen 7 1800X. However, that is still relatively fast, and it is all about the core count when it comes to these enthusiast-grade processors. On top of that, Whitehaven processors will have more L3 cache than Summit Ridge line.
According to WCCFTech, AMD's Whitehaven processors will be physically larger than Summit Ridge and therefore require a new socket and platform—you will not be able to plop a Whitehaven CPU into an AM4 motherboard. It is not yet clear exactly what the socket will be, only that it is referred to internally as "S3" and that it will be LGA instead of PGA (meaning the pins will be on the socket instead of the processor).
It is also said that Whitehaven chips will feature quad-channel DDR4 memory support, up from dual-channel support on Summit Ridge. Combined with access to additional PCIe lanes, power users with the requisite coin will be able to piece together an AMD setup that should be every bit as powerful (if not more so) as an Intel X299 rig with Skylake-X inside.