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.

AMD HEDT SKUs
AnandTech Cores/
Threads
Base/
Turbo
L3 DRAM
1DPC
PCIe TDP SRP
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 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Not a very good one if you need 512GB of RAM. Or 1.5TB for that matter. Or your workload is constrained by memory bandwidth. Or you want/need to run MacOS. Reply
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    It's a better one actually. The 3990x can go up to 1TB memory capacity with the proper motherboard. TRX80 and WRX80 chipsets and motherboards have already been rumored a few months ago.

    "Or you want/need to run MacOS"

    Why would somebody that needs over 512GB RAM or more consider a Mac in the first place? Apple hasn't been in this segment for many years and companies or individuals that needed huge amounts of RAM have migrated to Windows or Linux many many years ago.
    Mac Pro supports a lot of RAM because of the Xeon CPU not because it was needed or was requested by somebody or there are many MacOS workloads that need +512GB RAM.
    Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    You came in late, but the subject was Xeon workstations and whether threadripper was a viable alternative to Mac Pro as OP claimed.

    Xeon workstations by definition have ECC memory. Threadripper supports a max of 256GB ECC. That’s it. Not 512GB, or 1TB, or 1.5 TB. So if you need more than 256GB, TR is not even an option. A non-starter. Unusable.

    Customers are willing to pay $50-100k or more for Xeon Workstations for a reason. That you don’t understand the use cases for them doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and is not particularly relevant. Educate yourself.

    PS Don’t get hung up on MacOS. People run Windows and Linux on Macs as well.
    Reply
  • Nicon0s - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs also support ECC memory. It's unbuffered but that doesn't matter as you aren't going to uses huge amount of RAM to need buffered or registered memory.
    Last generation Threaripper CPUs support more than 256GB RAM. The specs I've seen for the 3990x say it supports up to 1TB RAM(and it's possible buffered memory). Current TRX40 motherboards are limited to 256GB RAM not the CPU itself.

    "TR is not even an option. A non-starter. Unusable."

    LoL you must be joking. In terms of performance and efficiency it actually makes intel's Xeons look like a joke. And you don't even have to go up to a 3990x, the 3970x beats any CPU Intel has.
    You are concentrating too much on this niche RAM usage which is irrelevant for the vast majority Mac Pro users anyway and totally ignoring the CPU performance.
    What if you need more CPU performance? Then according to your logic Mac Pro is not even an option. A non-starter. Unusable.

    "Customers are willing to pay $50-100k or more for Xeon Workstations for a reason"

    Yeah for niche reasons, server farms or whatever not for Mac Pros although the Mac Pro itself is a niche so a niche within a niche.

    "That you don’t understand the use cases for them doesn’t mean they don’t exist"

    If you concentrate on a niche case it doesn't mean that that's all that matters and nothing else is relevant and that a Threadripper build can't even be considered an alternative to this incredible Mac Pro.

    "PS Don’t get hung up on MacOS. People run Windows and Linux on Macs as well."

    Yeah buy an overpriced Mac to install Windows on it because you only want/need to run MacOS. Nice backpedaling.
    Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    @Nicon0s—Hey troll, don’t selectively edit my quotes to create a straw man. I said “So if you need more than 256GB, TR is not even an option. A non-starter. Unusable.” TR is limited to 256GB of ECC RAM. So yes, if you need a workstation with more than 256GB, TR is not an option. That’s not hard for you to understand, is it?

    And motherboards aren’t the issue with respect to memory capacity. The TR memory controller doesn’t support buffered ECC, only UDIMMs. AMD reserves RDIMM and LRDIMM support to EPYC. EPYC is the appropriate CPU for this usage. Not TR. Educate yourself.

    re: OS support, if you want a workstation that supports MacOS, Linux and Windows, you have one option (professionals don’t steal the tools they use to do their work, they willingly pay for them, so I exclude Hackintosh). Bring that to you attention is hardly backpedaling.

    If you have a problem with Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo only using Xeon in their workstations, the question of why is best put to their customers. Ask them why they prefer to buy Xeon.

    Get lost, you’re boring. And wrong. Back under your bridge.
    Reply
  • Nicon0s - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    @PickUrPoison why don't you go on Macrumors and troll there like you always do, you fanboy.
    I didn't create any straw man, you are the one trying to ignore the huge CPU power difference between a Threadripper and this already outdated and late Mac Pro because of some niche RAM usage you haven't even exemplified at all up to this point.

    "And motherboards aren’t the issue with respect to memory capacity."

    There's no issue at all fanboy. And I only said that the latest Threadripper CPUs supports more RAM than the 256GB limit we see on TRX40 boards. Threadripper and EPYC CPUs use exactly the same silicone, it there are limitations they are artificial and can be enabled with more advanced boards, like the rumored TRX80. So you should educate yourself.

    "re: OS support, if you want a workstation that supports MacOS, Linux and Windows, you have one option (professionals don’t steal the tools they use to do their work, they willingly pay for them, so I exclude Hackintosh). Bring that to you attention is hardly backpedaling. "

    You said I shouldn't get hung up on MacOS when I pointed our that isn't a justifiable reason for needing a computer with this OS, if the usage requires huge amounts of RAM. So if the heavy lifting with RAM workloads would be done by Microsoft or Linux then the Mac Pro makes no sense and can be replaced by any other Mac computer, even a Mac Mini. More than 512GB of RAM and up to 1.5TB RAM + MacOS isn't a real match that a lot of people will need or want or try. And your answer to that was, just install Windows or Linux on it. Yeah like I've said nice backpedaling.
    The 2013 Mac Pro maxed out at 64GB RAM so it's like I've said, people that wanted huge amounts of RAM migrated away from MacOS and Macs years ago. The 256GB limit is perfume for people that only worked with Macs all their lives.

    "If you have a problem with Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo only using Xeon in their workstations, the question of why is best put to their customers. Ask them why they prefer to buy Xeon."

    It's like you are tying to make it seem like they prefer to use Xeons or something. I suspect that this situation has more to do with Intel and their relations with these OEMs.

    The 3970x and 3990x are faster than any Xeon. AMD demoed a single 3990x beating a dual 28 core Xeon platinum config in a productivity workload. AMD's chips are so much faster it's comical and this is precisely what you keep ignoring.
    Apple's fancy Xeon computer is simply decimated in CPU performance by AMD's consumer CPUs. The 3970x is basically the same price Apple is asking for a 16 core Xeon and in CPU performance the Threadripper solution simply humiliates that 16 core Xeon.

    So yeah :
    Get lost, you’re boring. And wrong. Back under your bridge.
    Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    Sorry I triggered you with facts you can’t dispute. This is not a safe space—deal with reality, and deal with these facts:

    1) Altering quotes makes you a troll, and then proceeding to argue against that changed meaning is the very definition of a straw man argument. Educate yourself.

    2) The TR motherboards you keep referring to can only support 256GB of ECC RAM. The Mac Pro supports 1.5TB. Educate yourself.

    3) The 2013 Mac Pro supports 128GB of RAM, not 64GB.

    And the 2017 iMac Pro supports 512GB; the 2018 Mac Pro, 1.5TB. The 256GB of this $4,000 TR is hardly “perfume”. Educate yourself.

    4) I’m sure the fact that Mac users can also run Windows and Linux is upsetting to you, but it’s a fact. One of your major problems seems to be that you don’t know why workstation users need more than 256GB. Or why some users prefer Macs. Educate yourself.

    5) If a workstation user needs more than 256GB of RAM, TR is not an option. It doesn’t matter if it has 10,000 cores. Do you not understand that core count is only one factor in analyzing the suitability of a tool against its requirements? You can’t just throw cores at a problem that won’t even fit into memory. Educate yourself.

    6) Workstation customers have no interest in TR at all. Stop trying to push it for that market. It’s not usable. You’re being ridiculous. AMD doesn’t support RDIMM and LRDIMM on TR because they don’t want workstation customers buying less expensive CPUs, they have EPYC for that. It’s called market segmentation. Educate yourself.

    7) As I said downthread:

    “Completely agree TR doesn’t target Xeon, and EPYC does. That was never up for debate. OP proposed a TR build instead of a Mac Pro, and I disagreed.

“The rumored sWRX8 chips would be extremely interesting for workstation usage (if they exist as has been rumored). They could trounce Intel. 8-channel memory, 96-128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, a ton of cores and RAM, good base clocks, good pricing... sounds good to me :) “

    I guess that makes me an AMD fanboy?

    8) If you think you can dispute any of the above points 1 through 7 please do try. But you’re out of gas, aren’t you lol.
    Reply
  • Nicon0s - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    LoL the funny thing is that after so many "Educate yourself" you still failed to give any example about who and what fancy Mac Pro users need more than 256GB RAM and you still ignored the massive performance difference between the CPUs.
    Yeah a niche within a niche like I've said.

    "8) If you think you can dispute any of the above points 1 through 7 please do try. But you’re out of gas, aren’t you lol. "

    Well you didn't really dispute any of my points so your comment is a waste of time in the first place. Go back and dispute what I wrote and then have pretensions if not shut up, but you won't because you are an apple troll who gets mad like a school girl when somebody says something negative about apple.
    Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    There’s a reason I say “educate yourself” It’s not up to me to educate you about, for instance, the engineering and scientific workloads that’s require tons of RAM.

    There’s a reason Dell, HP and Lenovo sell expensive workstations with 512GB or a a terabyte (or more) of RAM. They don’t exist merely to make the 256GB limit of ECC RAM on threadripper inadequate and therefore frustrate you. Why do you think AMD makes EPYC lol? There’s no reason to get mad when someone says something truthful that you don’t like.

    No matter how upsetting it might be for you that Mac Pro competes in this space, that doesn’t change the facts. I’m not sure why you can’t admit that some users need more than 256GB of RAM, or why you want me to prove that to you.

    This whole exchange started because you didn’t know that TR could only use 256GB of ECC memory, and therefore wasn’t an alternative to a Mac Pro for those who require greater than 256GB of RAM. You also seemed unaware that Macs can run Linux and Windows as well as OSX ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    In any case, no matter how many ad hominem attacks you throw my way, it won’t change a thing. I don’t know why you continue to insist TR is a substitute for Xeon in a Mac Pro or any other workstation. You are familiar with EPYC, are you not? You do understand that AMD makes them because they meet the requirements of some users, whereas TR cannot? Educate yourself. If you’re really interested in this stuff, perhaps you might want to consider pursuing a degree in computer science. Good luck in your future endeavors :)
    Reply
  • Nicon0s - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    There's a reason, there's a reason bla bla.
    OK so you said:

    "The TR motherboards you keep referring to can only support 256GB of ECC RAM. The Mac Pro supports 1.5TB. Educate yourself."

    But before than you claimed:

    "Threadripper supports a max of 256GB"

    I explained multiple time that that's the TRX40 limit no Thredripper's but you ignored it until you repeated what I said multiple times and finished with: "Educate yourself"
    Yeah man you are so cool and smart and so fair and honest.

    But anyway, why don't you give any examples of those Mac Pro engineering and scientific workloads that require tons of RAM and would would run them?
    You think you are so smart but you haven't realized up to this point that you are talking about pure exceptions. You generalized that a Threadripper computer is not an alternative to a Mac Pro because you can't install as much RAM but you ignore the fact that for over 95% of the market, this is irrelevant anyway and the most important thing is the actual performance of the workstation not that it support 1.5TB RAM. The the RAM thing is only an excuse to try to insinuate that the massive price and performance difference vs a 3990x is irrelevant in general and you obviously continue to ignore the simple fact that the 3990x absolutely murders the top of the line Xeon Mac Pro in most common CPU intensive workloads.

    "Mac Pro competes in this space"

    Mac Pro is a glorified hipster box that will mostly only be used buy YouTubers and other similar hipsters to edit videos on Final Cut, so a situation where the over 512GB RAM support doesn't matter anyway or more exactly it doesn't matter for most of the potential Mac Pro market. Criticizing it's value vs a cheaper and 2X faster alternative is a very valid point.

    It's funny you keep trying to bring Dell and other PC OEMs into the discussion. Dell will sell you anything, with as many cores, ram and GPUs you want, they aren't a hipster company that needs 6 years to redesign a classic PC box. Its weird you are trying to use them to make a positive point for Apple.
    Reply

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