At the tail end of last year, one of the key launches in the creator/workstation processor market was AMD’s latest 3rd Generation Threadripper portfolio, which started with 24-core and 32-core hardware, with a strong teaser that a 64-core version was coming in 2020. Naturally, there was a lot of speculation, particularly regarding sustained frequencies, pricing, availability, and launch date. This week at CES, we can answer a couple of those questions.

The new 64-core AMD Threadripper 3990X is essentially a consumer variant of the 64-core EPYC 7702P currently for sale in the server market, albeit with fewer memory channels, fewer enterprise features, but a higher frequency and higher TDP. That processor has a suggested e-tail price (SEP) of $4450, compared to the new 3990X, which will have a $3990 SEP.

AnandTech Cores/
Third Generation Threadripper
TR 3990X 64 / 128 2.9 / 4.3 256 MB 4x3200 64 280 W $3990
TR 3970X 32 / 64 3.7 / 4.5 128 MB 4x3200 64 280 W $1999
TR 3960X 24 / 48 3.8 / 4.5 128 MB 4x3200 64 280 W $1399
Second Generation Threadripper
TR 2990WX 32 / 64 3.0 / 4.2 64 MB 4x2933 64 250 W $1799
TR 2970WX 24 / 48 3.0 / 4.2 64 MB 4x2933 64 250 W $1299
TR 2950X 16 / 32 3.5 / 4.4 32 MB 4x2933 64 180 W $899
TR 2920X 12 / 24 3.5 / 4.3 32 MB 4x2933 64 180 W $649
Ryzen 3000
Ryzen 9 3950X 16 / 32 3.5 / 4.7 32 MB 2x3200 24 105 W $749

Frequencies for the new CPU will come in at 2.9 GHz base and 4.3 GHz turbo, which is actually a bit more than I was expecting to see. No word on what the all-core turbo will be, however AMD's EPYC 7H12, a 64-core 280W CPU for the HFT market, is meant to offer an all-core turbo from 3.0-3.3 GHz, so we might see something similar here, especially with aggressive cooling. Naturally, AMD is recommending water cooling setups, as with its other 280W Threadripper CPUs. Motherboard support is listed as the current generation of TRX40 motherboards.

Although we don't put much stock in vendor supplied benchmark numbers, AMD did state that they expect to see Cinebench R20 MT numbers around 25000. That's up from ~17000 on the 3970X. This means not perfect scaling, but for the prosumer market where this chip matters, offering +47% performance for double the cost is often worth it and can be amortized over time.

The other element to the news is the launch date. February 7th is probably earlier than a lot of us in the press expected, however it will be interesting to see how many AMD is able to make, given our recent discussions with CTO Mark Papermaster regarding wafer orders at TSMC. As this chip more closely resembles the price of AMD’s EPYC lineup, we might actually see more of these on the market, as they will attract a good premium. However, the number of users likely do put close to $4k onto a high-end desktop CPU and not go for an enterprise system is a hard one to judge.

AMD recommends that in order to maintain performance scaling with the 3990X that owners should have at least 1 GB of DDR4 per core, if not 2 GB. To be honest anyone looking at this chip should also have enough money in the bank to also get a 128 GB kit of good memory, if not 256 GB. As with other Threadripper chips, AMD lists the support as DDR4-3200, but the memory controller can be overclocked.

We should be talking with AMD soon about sampling, ready for our February 7th review. Please put in some benchmark requests below.

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  • Alistair - Monday, January 6, 2020 - link

    Buy a Mac Pro with a slow old Xeon 8 core, or build a Threadripper system for the same price with 64 cores? :)
  • PickUrPoison - Monday, January 6, 2020 - link

    Max 256GB RAM doesn’t cut it given the high-end configs Apple wants to support with Mac Pro.
  • mdriftmeyer - Monday, January 6, 2020 - link

    With the Mobile and now Threadripper Apple should abandon Intel now. Zen supports up to 2TB of DDR4 Ram so perhaps Apple will release an update sooner rather than later with upcoming RDNA 2.0 GPGPUs and Zen 3.0 Threadripper 4000 series at the earliest.
  • PickUrPoison - Monday, January 6, 2020 - link

    Did you intend to reply to my post? We’re discussing Mac Pro. So ECC.
  • PloniAlmoni - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Threadripper fully supports ECC....
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    And by “fully supports” you mean doesn’t support RDIMMS or LRDIMMS at all.

    So exactly what is the maximum memory that threadripper can support with single- or dual rank UDIMMs?
  • Pence - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    ECC stands for error correcting code. It uses extra memory to detect and correct data corruption. RDIMM and LRDIMM are types of buffered memory that reduce the electrical load on the memory controller. This allows more for more memory per memory channel. While most unbuffered memory lacks ECC and most buffered memory includes it, they are separate technologies and there is both unbuffered ECC memory and buffered non-ECC memory. Hope this helps. :)
  • gsvelto - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Most ThreadRipper motherboards claim a maximum of 128GiB memory supported which means either 16x8 or 32x4 DIMMs. I don't know if it's possible to load them with 8 dual-ranked 32GiB unbuffered ECC DIMMs but those have been available for a while:

    DDR4-2933 is also sampling in those sizes:

    If motherboards will accept those then 256GiB should be possible.
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    That is my understanding as well.

    That’s why I replied “Max 256GB RAM doesn’t cut it given the high-end configs Apple wants to support with Mac Pro” when OP crapped on the Mac Pro and suggested a threadripper build as an alternative :)
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    It is an alternative man.

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