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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  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    I found quite a few TRX40 that support 256GB RAM and it seem quite a common thing. Reply
  • colonelclaw - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Every single TRX40 motherboard for sale at scan supports 256GB RAM. All 14 of them at time of posting. Reply
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    So what? it still supports unbuffered ECC memory and unbuffered regular RAM so it offers a higher degree of flexibility in comparison to a Mac Pro because you don't need to only install what type RAM Apple wants even if you need it or not. And it's not like buffered ECC memory is needed for 256GB max anyway. Reply
  • Hul8 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Read it again. The point was that he didn't want to be limited to 256 GB... :-/ Reply
  • tamalero - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    I'm still confused by the fact that he wants more than 256Gb of ram, but talks about a 8 core processor. Reply
  • alpha754293 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    @tamalero
    "I'm still confused by the fact that he wants more than 256Gb of ram, but talks about a 8 core processor."

    Highly memory intensive applications is very much a niche corner of the market.

    But I agree with @Zizo007:

    "Threadripper is 256Gb max but Xeon is not meant to compete with TR, its targetting Epyc."

    Comparing a HEDT processor like Threadripper to Xeon isn't the wisest nor the smartest thing to do.

    If you're going to compare against Xeon, then you should compare it against AMD's EPYC, which, as correctly stated, supports up to 4 TB of RAM.

    And if cost wasn't an issue, I would actually use a whole bunch of those as blade nodes where the host would only get like maybe 64 GB of RAM or something like that, and the rest out of the 4 TB would be used a volatile RAM cache server or something with multiple, beefy UPSes so that I don't have the write endurance problem with U.2 NVMe SSDs.

    It costs more, but believe it or not, it will actually save me money in the end doing it this way rather than constantly replacing U.2 NVMe SSDs two or three years from now.
    Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    If “he” is I, you’ve confused yourself. Only OP mentioned 8-core; my replies have been to refute that a TR build is a proper substitute for a Xeon workstation (Mac Pro or otherwise). Reply
  • xrror - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    LRDIMMs and RDIMMs were nasty mem-hacks anyway - quit trolling like an idiot. Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Nasty mem-hacks? Yes, quit trolling like an idiot, indeed. Reply
  • Pence - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    You don't even know what those mean do you? (L)RDIMM is how EPYC processors support as much memory per slot as this thing supports in total. Reply

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