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  • AMD Threadripper Processor is Coming, all Hail the New King

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    AMD Threadripper

     

    HEDT - High-end Desktop PC segment, a term coined by Intel back in 2008 with the release of LGA1366 Core i7 CPUs. Since then the new HEDT CPU lineup was introduced 4 times and the socket itself was updated 3 times.

     

    The other participant in the field of CPU production, AMD, was mostly out of the playing field in the high-end consumer market, let alone in the prosumer market in the last 10 years. However, since March this year, AMD is back in the game. They've caught Intel, most of the professional community, and consumers by surprise offering more than competitive products at affordable prices.

     

    AMD doubled the core count offering than that of Intel's in the consumer market and surprisingly after a short while announced it is entering the HEDT prosumer market as well.

     

    Enter Threadripper

     

    Ever since the first Dual Core Athlon processor, AMD has been about "moar cores". Though, that hasn't played that well in the past given the weak single threaded performance of its units since the Athlon 64 days. Nevertheless, with the latest Zen core architecture designed by Jim Keller, AMD was able to close the single threaded performance gap and become competitive once again making the "moar cores" strategy viable.

     

    Now that the entire consumer processors lineup (Ryzen 3/5/7) is out in the open, AMD is focusing on the HEDT or prosumer market with the Threadripper CPU. As the name suggests, Threadripper has many cores and twice as much threads. The most powerful part has a whopping 16 cores / 32 threads. That is 10 cores / 20 threads more than Intel's best HEDT offering until now.

     

     

    Cores/Threads

    Frequency (GHz)

    L3 Cache (MB)

    PCI-e lanes

    TDP (W)

    Price ($)

    1950X

    16/32

    3.4/4

    32

    60

    180

    999

    1920X

    12/24

    3.5/4

    32

    60

    180

    799

    1900X

    8/16

    3.8/4

    /

    60

    /

    599

     

    Looking at the table above, not only is the configuration of the CPUs on a completely new level for AMD and fairly competitive for Intel, you can notice that the pricing is very aggressive as well.
     

    Skylake-X and Kaby lake-X

     

    When someone is at the top for a long time without any serious competition, complacency tends to kick in at a certain point. This is exactly what happened to Intel. Thanks to the fact that AMD was in shambles since they launched Bulldozer, advancements from generation to generation of Intel's processors were quite minuscule, and we haven't actually seen anything that revolutionary since the launch of their Sandy Bridge architecture. In order to respond to AMD's high-end comeback, Intel probably rushed with the launch of their latest HEDT X299 based Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors.

     

     

    Cores/Threads

    Frequency (GHz)

    L3 Cache (MB)

    PCI-e lanes

    TDP (W)

    Price ($)

    i9-7980XE

    18/36

    2.6/4.2

    /

    44

    165

    1999

    i9-7960X

    16/32

    2.8/4.2

    /

    44

    165

    1699

    i9-7940X

    14/28

    3.1/4.3

    /

    44

    165

    1399

    i9-7920X

    12/24

    2.9/4.3

    16.5

    44

    140

    1189

    i9-7900X

    10/20

    3.3/4.3

    13.75

    44

    140

    999

    i7-7820X

    8/16

    3.6/4.3

    11

    28

    140

    599

    i7-7800X

    6/12

    3.5/4.0

    8.25

    28

    140

    389

    i7-7740X

    4/8

    4.3/4.5

    6

    16

    112

    349

    i5-7640X

    4/4

    4.0/4.2

    6

    16

    112

    242

     

    The feeling among the tech community was almost unanimous, this is damage control from Intel, and some of the processors in the lineup seem out of place, to say at least (four core i5 and i7 parts).

     

    The Good, the bad, and the ugly

     

    The good? There are many good things that happened since AMD announced the TR processors. The first thing is the sheer number of cores that will be available to consumers from now on. Until the present day, the most powerful CPU from Intel had 8 cores and 16 threads and in a single generation leap, they will increase that to 18 cores and 32 threads thanks to pressure from AMD.

     

    Second, with aggressive pricing plans, AMD is putting more cores against Intel's offering in the same price bracket. Depending on the sales figures and performance, there will probably be some pricing adjustments from Intel in the near future, which is great news for us.

     

    Last, but not least, the affordability. Prosumers such as Picnet IT services will be able to get more than a decent fully built AMD machines for the price of a single Intel CPU.

     

    Closing words

     

    While AMD Threadripper may not be the king of raw performance, the fact is it is the king of price/performance ratio. Manufacturers like Dell have already adopted the new platform and you can preorder Alienware desktop builds with Threadripper 1950X.

     

    The official date of availability for the new Zen based SKUs is August 10th for the 1950X and 1920X. The 1900X will arrive at a later date in August as well.

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