AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X And 1920X Review: Unleashing The Multi-Threaded Beast

Ryzen ThreadRipper Processors - Many-Core CPUs For Heavy-Duty Mega-Tasking

AMD’s unrelenting attack on the desktop CPU market continues today, with the official launch of the company's beastly Ryzen Threadripper processors. If, by some cruel joke, you are unfamiliar with Threadripper, it is AMD’s premium, high-end, many-core desktop processor, that leverages the same Zen microarchitecture that debuted with the Ryzen 7 series a few months back. The flagship chip in the initial AMD Ryzen Threadripper line-up packs 16 physical processor cores and supports 32 threads through the use of SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading). To date, the largest number of cores supported on standard desktop platforms, without resorting to enterprise-class processors or dual-socket setups was 10. With Threadripper, AMD hopes to change the desktop computing paradigm and better address the needs of hardcore enthusiasts, content creators, and other creative professionals with a processor equally adept at gaming as it is churning through highly-parallel, compute intensive workloads, like 3D rendering.
amd threadripper 14
AMD Ryzen Threadripper Retail Packaging

News of AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper has been leaking out for weeks. More recently, AMD began disseminating official information on its own, but today we can give you the full scoop and detail everything there is to know about Threadripper. We’ve got both of the initial processors in house – the flagship 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and the 12-core Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, along with some killer motherboards, memory, and a powerful cooler capable of keeping temps in check while overclocking. So strap in and prepare for one of the more highly anticipated desktop processor launches in recent history...

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Processors
Specifications & Features
threadripper specs

Ryzen Threadripper uses the same packaging and socket configuration as AMD’s enterprise-class EPYC processors. The chips are massive by today’s standards and measure about 2.25” x 3”. They also feature a whopping 4094 contact pads on their underside, for use in AMD’s Socket TR4, which may also be referred to as Socket SPR3r2. These processors will not work in the same motherboards and sockets at the Ryzen 7/5/3 series processors – we’ll show you some X399-based Threadripper motherboards a little later.
amd threadripper 12 amd threadripper 11
AMD Ryzen Threadripper, Top And Bottom

The top-end Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is a multi-chip module featuring 16 processor cores (spread across two die), with support for 32 threads, thanks to SMT. The base frequency for the 1950X is 3.4GHz, with all-core boost clocks of up to 3.7GHz. Four of the cores will regularly boost up to 4GHz, however, and power and temperature permitting, those same four cores will reach 4.2GHz when XFR kicks in.

The 12-core Threadripper 1920X has very similar clocks. In fact the boost and XFR frequencies are exactly the same. The Threadripper 1920X’s base-clock, however, is 100MHz higher than its big brother, at 3.5GHz.

Let's break for some mega-tasking

But before we dive too deep into the technical meat, what exactly do you do with a 16-core/32-thread or 12-core/24-thread beastly CPU like this? Just about anything and everything, all at the same time. You can do all the things, in fact. So we decided to setup a mega-tasking demo of gaming, HD game streaming, video rendering and video recording, all simultaneously. Here's a quick video tease to whet your whistle...

Ryzen Threadripper Megatasking Streaming Video Render
4K Gaming, 1080p/60 Xsplit Streaming, 4K/60 Render And 1080p Recording - Threadripping

That's just one of the many use cases for an ultra-high end enthusiast chip like Threadripper, but also a common setup for pro-streamer/gamers that sometimes have to resort to two full desktop PCs to get the job done. As you can see, one Threadripper system doesn't even blink at these heavy-duty, multitasking, many thread workloads.

Back to the fine Threadripper details

Both of AMD's current Ryzen Threadripper chips feature 512K per-core of L2 cache (8MB total on the 1950X and 6MB on the 1920X), quad-channel memory controllers (2+2), and are outfitted with 64 integrated PCI Express Gen 3 lanes. The massive amount of IO on Threadripper is something AMD has been vocal about, not only because it’s more than Intel offers in its Core-X family, but because the total number of integrated lanes will not vary from Threadripper to Threadripper, whereas lower-end Core series processors may offer fewer lanes than the high-end parts. Both of the initial Threadripper processors also feature a 180W TDP.

cpuz 1920 1 cpuz 1920 2

CPUZ 1950x 1 CPUZ 1950x 2
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X (Top) and 1950X (Bottom) CPU-Z Details

CPU-Z details for both the Threadripper 1950X and 1920X are shown above. You’ll notice that the only thing that changes from CPU to CPU is the core count and hence the total amount of L1 and L2 cache. Instruction and feature support is identical, and matches the Ryzen 7/5/3 series processors, which is expected, considering they all leverage the exact same die.
amd threadripper 13
AMD Ryzen Threadripper Retail Packaging

AMD went all-out on its Ryzen Threadripper’s packaging. The chips come packed inside large, hard-foam containers. The container comes apart to reveal a stylized plastic enclosure with Ryzen Threadripper branding on the front, which holds the processor itself in a sturdy container of its own.

Beneath the processor container is a basic lit-pack with a couple of AMD Ryzen Threadripper decals and documentation, a mini-Torque wrench (with a Torx tip), and a metal bracket, which is compatible with all Asetek-built AIO liquid coolers that have circular pump / cold plate assemblies.

If you'd like to see the tools and mount in action, and learn how a Threadripper processor should be installed into its socket, we've got you covered. Dave recently updated one of Alienware's  Area 51 Threadripper Edition systems with retail-ready silicon and shot the entire process on video.

As you can see, Threadripper processors are meant to stay seated in the orange, plastic trays that come pre-mounted to the chips. The configuration is such that they can only be installed into the socket the correct way, which should minimize installation headaches. The included Torque wrench will also ensure that the socket retention mechanism is secured with the proper amount of force to prevent warping or contact issues. The Threadripper installation process may seem daunting compared to traditional desktop solutions, but it is relatively simple and quite robust. If done properly the first time, most users probable won't have to mess with it much afterwards, unless they're planning a CPU upgrade.

Ryzen Threadripper architecture is next...

Related content