AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper 2950X And 2990WX Review: Beastly Zen+ Many-Core CPUs

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX: SANDRA, PCMark, GeekBench

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmware was up to date, 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 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX

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 rigs 2990wx
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2017
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2017, 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 Pro motherboard.

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Processor Arithmetic - Threadripper 2990WX

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Multi-Media - Threadripper 2990WX

2990 san mem
Memory Bandwidth - Threadripper 2990WX

2990 san cache
Cache and Memory - Threadripper 2990WX

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Processor Arithmetic - Threadripper 2950X

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Multi-Media - Threadripper 2950X

san mem 2950
Memory Bandwidth - Threadripper 2950X

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Cache and Memory - Threadripper 2950X

The AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper processors put up some monster numbers in SANDRA. The Threadripper 2990WX broke the 821GOPS mark in the CPU benchmark, while the 2950X hit 486.5GOPS with half as many cores. In the Multi-Media benchmark, the 2990WX and 2950X hit 1.59GPix/s and 915MPix/s, respectively, and both setups offered up north of 55GB/s of memory bandwidth. Memory latency was in the 82ns+ range for both setups as well, which is right in line with the first-gen parts.

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.


Geekbench was the first of our tests that didn't behave well on the Threadripper 2990WX, most likely due to its NUMA memory configuration when all cores are enabled. As you can see, the Threadripper 2950X offers significantly more performance than the first-gen 1950X, especially in the multi-threaded test. The Threadripper 2990WX, however, finished right about in-line with the 10-core Core i7-7900X and well below other many-core processors.

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.


Only a few sub-tests in PCMark 10 leverage the massive compute resources available in many-core processors like Threadripper. Here, the 2nd Gen Threadripper 2950X outpaces the 1950X in a couple of tests, but ultimately finishes right in the same ballpark overall. The lower clocks of the Threadripper 2990WX, coupled with the higher-latency associated with workloads that spill over on to the cores without memory attached, result in scores in-line with a Core i7-7820X. All of these processors are plenty fast for the everyday workloads in PCM10, of course, but the trend is what it is -- the 2990WX can't really stretch its wings unless it's running a workload that whacks all of its cores simultaneously.

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