AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X And 2970WX Review: Lower Cost, Many Core Beasts

Ryzen Threadripper 2920X And 2970WX - SANDRA, PCMark, And GeekBench

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmware was up to date, and then we entered their respective system BIOSes / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance" defaults. We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported speed for the given platform (without overclocking). The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed.

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX In Its Socket

When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed all of the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled, and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, and cleared any temp and prefetch data. Finally, we enabled Windows Quiet Hours and let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head
test systems
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2018
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2018, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that partially comprise the suite with Intel's latest processors (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPUs running at their default settings, with 32GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2,933MHz, in quad-channel mode, on a Gigabyte Aorus X399 Gaming 7 motherboard.

2970 san cpu
Processor Arithmetic - 2970WX

2970 san mm
Multi-Media - 2970WX

2970 san mem
Memory Bandwidth - 2970WX

2970 san cache
Cache and Memory - 2970WX

san cpu 2920
Processor Arithmetic - 2920X

san mm 2920
Multi-Media - 2920X

san mem 2920
Memory Bandwidth - 2920X

san cache 2920
Cache and Memory - 2920X

AMD's 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X processors put up relatively big numbers in these light-duty SiSoft tests. In the Processor Arithmetic benchmark, the Threadripper 2970WX broke the 675GOPs barrier, while the 2920X just missed hitting 387GOPs. They managed 1.27Gpix/s (2970WX) and 733MPix/s (2920X) in the Multimedia test, and both processors exceeded 60GB/s in the memory bandwidth test. Due to their multi-die topology, the Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X typically have higher latency in the cache and memory benchmark versus Intel's offerings, but they are in-line with other Threadrippers.
Synthetic CPU Testing

In the GeekBench test, we're stressing only the CPU cores in a system (not graphics or GPU architecture), with both single and multi-threaded workloads. The tests are comprised of encryption processing, image compression, HTML5 parsing, physics calculations and other general purpose compute processing workloads.

* Threadripper 2970WX (b) results = Dynamic Local Mode Enabled, (c) results = 1/2 core mode with UMA Memory

The 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X processors performed well here, but we've got some explaining to do before we proceed. You'll see multiple 2970WX results moving forward, because we tested the chip in three modes -- stock (with just AMD's platform drivers installed), with Dynamic Local mode enabled in Ryzen Master (b), and finally in 1/2 core compatibility mode to eliminate any latency penalties associated with workloads spilling over onto the compute dies that don't have local memory attached. Because AMD now offers all of these possibilities and the WX-series processors will behave differently in each mode, we thought it best to just show you them all. Eventually, DLM is going to be built into the driver (and potentially into Windows itself), so it may be the default mode at some point.

Geekbench obviously doesn't leverage every thread available in the 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X processors, but we still see the 2920X finish near the top of the pack and the 2970WX with DLM enabled not too far behind.
PCMark 10
System Level Benchmark
Next, up we have some full-system testing with PCMark. We're reporting all test results from the PCMark 10 benchmark suite, including the Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation and and total PCMark score. The Essentials test covers workloads like web browsing, video conferencing and app start-up times, while Productivity tests everyday office apps from spreadsheets to word processing. Finally, the Digital Content Creation test evaluates performance of a machine with respect to photo and video editing, as well as rendering and visualization.

* Threadripper 2970WX (b) results = Dynamic Local Mode Enabled, (c) results = 1/2 core mode with UMA Memory

Only a portion of the tests in PCMark 10 benefit from the additional resources available in a many-core processor; higher-clocks and IPC and lower latency play a larger roll overall. As such, the 2920X performs relatively well here and the 2970X in 1/2 core mode is the fastest of the three configurations we tested for that CPU. The stock Threadripper 2970WX score landed in the bottom third, but enabling Dynamic Local Mode resulted in a nice uplift.

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