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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  • PickUrPoison - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    @nicon0s Who’s talking about Xeon? I’m speculating about the price of the 3990X vs. the rumored sWRX8/WRX80 chipset motherboards with 8-channel and RDIMM and LRDIMM support.

    Did you even read hammer256’s comment that I was replying to? Keep up.
  • Nicon0s - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    I made it clear what I was referring to: "this 3990X at $4k is already not cheap".
    So the rest of the comment doesn't matter and it's not really connected to what I quoted. Saying that the 3990x is not exactly cheap is a generalized claim which I can address separately if I want to so I don't care that you are bothered by the fact that you are wrong.
  • Jackbender - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Understand what you mean. It's rather curiosity than hope on my part.
    I'm mostly wondering what are those TRX80 and WRX80 platforms that could be announced soon, if they are to be announced at all.

    It could be all wrong but, TRX40 is 4-channel, so what could TRX80 be?
    Many things, including 8 memory channels, which would make sense for memory-bandwidth-bound workloads, especially true at high thread counts.

    Some features are bound to remain accessible only to EPYC parts for the current generation I guess:
    - Secure Encrypted Virtualization
    - Secure Memory Encryption
    - 2-way multiprocessor (on some EPYC models)
    - Supported RAM capacities up to 4TB
    - 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes per CPU (64 only for Threadripper)
    Some platform features such as IPMI too are very unlikely to be seen on a premium desktop motherboard ecosystem but could be crucial to some server applications.

    With all these aspects in mind it's unlikely AMD would cannibalize their server market with high-end desktop parts having the same core count, same memory channel count as their server counterparts because mission-critical features would still be lacking for proper commercial server use.
  • hammer256 - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Yeah I'm curious too frankly. There is the potential for some beastly workstations if the T/WRX80 rumors are true. It's just that nothing solid has surfaced since the initial rumors, so I'm keeping my hopes low.

    But if AMD is to do this, do you think they might raise the TDP further for higher clocks? I can imagine pricing the 64 core processor at 7702P levels or a bit more expensive.

    I guess we'll see, it's shaping up to be an interesting year!
  • Jackbender - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    Threadripper 3960X, 3970X, 3990X and EPYC 7H12 all have a 280W TDP. That's the highest TDP of any x86 CPU I know of from an absolute standpoint.

    But in terms of heat flux, there's still headroom I would guess because there's so much surface available to conduct that thermal power away (there are other CPUs with higher values of watts per square millimeter of total die area). The configuration with 8 chiplets and 1 central I/O die shines from the standpoint of spread thermal power diffusion.

    I think I read somewhere that Threadripper overclockers can get away with 400W power draw from the TR4 socket (4096-pin LGA).

    Already at the 280W power level there's a restricted choice of CPU coolers on the market (big tower coolers or watercooling with enlarged base plate only, in order to cover most or all of the integrated heat spreader).
    Raising the TDP bar higher would make the matter worse.
  • resa87 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

  • Frank_M - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    How about some benchmarks for audio processing like Pro -Tools and Cakewalk.
    In general audio software uses one core or thread per track so more cores makes a difference.

    Another Benchmark I would like to see is the pre-compiled LaPack tests measured in FLOPS (kind of a real world Linpack test).

    There are other customers for multi core besides graphic artists.
  • Zizo007 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Apple should really think about using AMD now. Dual EPYC supports 4TB RAM 256 Threads and is much cheaper than any competing Xeon. Apple is waaay overpriced and its not even the top of the line. Dell should also start using AMD.
  • henryiv - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    One one hand, it is sad that this processor stays on a 4 memory channel trx40 platform; the performance will most likely be bogged down by the lack of bandwidth for feeding 128 threads. On the other hand, I am happy to have a drop-in upgrade to my 3970x system.
  • PickUrPoison - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    Yup. But if TRX80/WRX80 are real, instead of just rumors, things could get much more interesting. Would be worth buying a new motherboard, for sure :)

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