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

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX: The Verdict

Performance Summary: We are going to break up our summary into two parts, because the Threadripper 2950X and Threadripper 2990WX behave very differently. To put it simply, the 2nd Generation Threadripper 2950X is an across-the-board improvement over the original 1950X. The Threadripper 2950X offers better single and multi-thread performance thanks to all of the enhancements that arrive with Zen+ and it does so in essentially the same power envelope.

The Threadripper 2990WX’s performance proposition, however, differs depending on the use case. In compute intensive, multi-threaded workloads like those associated with content creation, the 32-core / 64-thread Threadripper 2990WX is an absolute beast. In our ray-tracing and rendering tests, the Threadripper 2990WX was over 50% faster than Intel’s flagship Core i9-7980XE desktop processor. Less demanding workloads, however, may not behave properly due to the non-unified memory architecture and core configuration of the 2990WX, which can result in higher latency and lower than expected performance. AMD gives users the ability to mitigate this issue with a simple toggle in its Ryzen Master Utility, but it requires disabling half of the processor’s cores.

We're told AMD is working with Microsoft to optimize future versions of Windows to better scale with more workloads on WX-series Threadrippers, but when those changes will arrive is unclear. As it stands today, with the right workloads, the Threadripper 2990WX is a monster. But with the wrong workloads, many lower-priced processors may offer better performance.

2nd gen threadripper 12
AMD Second Generation Ryzen Threadripper Processors -- Find Them At Amazon

AMD’s 2nd Generation Threadripper processors will be rolling out over the next few weeks. The beastly Threadripper 2990WX will be available today, at an MSRP of $1,799. If you run the kind of workloads that can exploit the many cores / threads available with the 2990WX, its price – while high – is still about $200 lower than the best Intel Core i9 processor, yet the 2990WX can offer 50%+ better performance. If you’re a content creation professional and your time is money, the Threadripper 2990WX is going to look mighty attractive. That extra performance requires some beefy cooling and power, but that’s to be expected with a processor packing 19.2 billion transistors.

threadripper availability

Gamers and enthusiasts on the other hand should look more closely at the Threadripper 2950X, which will be arriving August 31 at an MSRP of $899. The Threadripper 2950X is an across the board upgrade over an original Threadripper processors, and it’s highly competitive with Intel’s best desktop chip, yet it arrives at less than half the price. The Threadripper 2950X is a winner no matter which way you slice it, in our opinion. The enhanced boost algo in Zen+, the relative maturity of the overall platform, competitive pricing, and strong performance with a wide variety of workloads make the Threadripper 2950X a very intriguing option for enthusiasts.

The lower core count Threadripper 2920X (12-core / 24-threads) and Threadripper 2970WX (24-cores / 48-threads) won’t be arriving until October, at price points of $649 and $1,299, respectively. We hope to test those processors when they arrive as well, but for now this look at the Threadripper 2990WX and Threadripper 2950X will have to due.

 hot  not
  • Strong Multi-Threaded Performance
  • Zen+ Enhancements
  • Easy Performance Boost With PBO
  • Mature Platform
  • Maintains Compatibility With Existing Mobos
  • Competitive Pricing
  • 2990WX Falters With Some Workloads
  • Single Thread Perf Still Trails Intel Overall

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