Published in PC Hardware

AMD officially announces 2nd gen Ryzen Threadripper CPUs

by on07 August 2018

Four SKUs with some aggressive pricing

AMD has now officially lifted the NDA veil off its new 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper 2000-series lineup. The lineup has four different SKUs that will be available on different dates, including the workstation-oriented Threadripper 2990WX and the Threadripper 2970WX, as well as consumer/enthusiast-oriented Threadripper 2950X and the Threadripper 2920X.

As expected, the entire 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper lineup will use the 12nm Pinnacle Ridge architecture, which we saw earlier with the 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs, bringing slight IPC improvement, memory compatibility, new Precision Boost 2.0, XFR 2.0 technologies, and more.

Specification-wise, there are some differences between the workstation-oriented Threadripper 2990WX, 2970WX, and the consumer-oriented 2950X and 2920X, due to the higher core count and the way AMD had to deal with backward-compatibility with the TR4 platform and the quad-channel memory interface as well as PCIe connectivity, but we will get to that a bit later.

The flagship 2nd gen Threadripper 29990WX packs an impressive 32-cores and 64-threads, working at 3.0GHz base and 4.2GHz Boost clocks. The second workstation-class SKU, the Threadripper 2970WX, has 24-cores and 48-threads and works at the same 3.0GHz base and 4.2GHz Boost clocks. Both also share other specifications, including 512KB-per-core L2 cache and 64MB of L3 shared cache and a 250W TDP.

The consumer-oriented lineup starts with the Threadripper 2950X, a 16-core/32-thread SKU working at 3.5GHz base and 4.4GHz Boost clocks. The second and probably the most interesting SKU for consumers is the 12-core/24-thread Threadripper 2920X, working at 3.5GHz base and 4.3GHz Boost clocks. Both of these come with 32MB of shared L3 cache, as these use two Pinnacle Ridge dies, and a 180W TDP.

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Due to TR4 platform compatibility for the workstation-oriented Threadripper 2990WX and the 2970WX, AMD had to wire only two dies with PCIe and memory controllers, leaving the other two connected with InfinityFabric interface, and while this might not be a big issue, it does have a slight impact on memory latency, which is why AMD included two profiles and two operational modes. The slides spotted at reveal a bit more information as these were shared with select members of the press during Threadripper Tech Day. 

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With a simple push-button, you can switch between Game and Creator modes, which switch between local and distributed memory access modes and legacy compatible mode. The so-called Game Mode should reduce memory and core-to-core latency as well as overcome thread count limitation in some legacy games, while the Creator Mode, maximizes threads and total memory bandwidth, at least according to AMD.

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The legacy mode is off by default, and can be tweaked via AMD's new Ryzen Master software and should give workstation-users a lot more room to tweak their Ryzen Threadripper CPUs for maximum performance.

AMD is putting a lot of pressure on Intel and its X-series CPUs with the new 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper lineup, especially when it comes to price vs. core-count segment. Launching with some rather aggressive pricing, the flagship Threadripper 2990WX, priced at US $1799 will go against Intel's Core i9-7980XE and offer more cores (14) at a $100 lower price. A similar thing goes for the 24-core Threadripper 2970WX, which has the same $1299 price as the Core i9-7940X but packs 10 more cores.

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The consumer-oriented SKUs are even more interesting, as the $899 priced Threadripper 2950X is $100 cheaper than the Core i9-7900X and likely to end up 41 percent faster, at least according to AMD.

The other consumer SKU, Ryzen Threadripper 2920X, will probably be the most interesting, as it has the lowest $649 price, making it significantly cheaper than AMD's first generation Ryzen Threadripper predecessor, and will also give Intel's 10-core/20-thread Core i9-7900X a run for its money. It could also put much more pressure on Intel's Core i7-7820X and the Core i7-7800X SKUs, as well as the upcoming Core i9-9900K CPUs.

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According to what could be heard from retail/e-tail, AMD did not have a lot of luck in selling the 1st generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs, as while these were quite interesting, they targeted a slim market of so-called prosumers, bringing both low sales and tight margins. Hopefully, AMD will have more luck with the 2nd generation as these are certainly priced more aggressively.

According to details provided by AMD, most of the lineup is already up for pre-order, with the flagship Threadripper 2990WX launching on August 13th. The consumer-oriented Threadripper 2950X is also coming this month, on August 31st. The Threadripper 2970WX and the Threadripper 2920X will be available sometime in October 2018.

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Last modified on 07 August 2018
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