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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  • Hul8 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    What ever happened to those rumors about possible Threadripper variant for workstations - essentially a higher clocked WS variant of EPYC? 8 ch, ECC, RDIMMs. Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    I haven’t seen anything since the Gamers Nexus leak early last September. Supposedly a workstation version, WRX8 socket and WRX80 chipset. Baby Epyc. Reply
  • karwa - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Apple isn't going to go through the effort of redesigning the Mac Pro so soon after release (it's not just the board changes, either - they'd also have to write new, high-performance drivers).

    In fact, at this point, I don't expect we'll see Apple make major architectural changes to any of their Macs unless it's to put Apple's own SoCs in there. We all know that's the eventual goal; it's just a matter of time before they're able to build a viable product. There are lots of rumours that it may start as early as this year for the low-power portables like the MBA. Once that happens, we're probably no more than 3 years away from an ARM-based MBP, too.
    Reply
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Exactly what high end configs does Apple want to support with the Mac Pro that more than 256GB RAM is so essential?
    Most Mac Pro users will have less than 256GB Ram in their cases.
    Anyway Epyc supports up to 2TB RAM and can run in dual socket configs so it's not like Apple offers the impossible.

    You can't deny the fact that this Threadripper CPU offers almost double the performance of Intel's 28 core Xeon at a much lower price.
    Reply
  • RedButler - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    so get a 7x EPYC - 1TB ram is quite a lot Reply
  • smilingcrow - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    No problem as Threadripper is just a cut down version of the EPYC platform and AMD are known for semi-custom design. So easy enough to use the full EPYC platform which currently supports 2TB per socket, 8 channel RAM, 64 cores and PCIE 4.0 which would give it a major boost over the Intel platform in the Mac Pro.
    Or they could cut it back to support only 1.5TB and offer 6 channel RAM a per the Intel platform.
    As the I/O is on a separate die that's not an issue as it isn't with the Threadripper which is limited quad channel RAM.
    Reply
  • 808Hilo - Saturday, January 18, 2020 - link

    There is just no software for the MacPro except Apples homebaked music- and video-apps. A Macpro does not mesh well with 99.9% of all production. They lack drivers for graphic cards, no 4.0 bus, old intel chips, passive cooled, proprietary hardware, apple dongle. This is the killing criteria for 30 years and fewer and fewer people buy into this. Apple crippled their own marketshare and for the forseeable future AMD CPUs and Nvidia cards, and, maybe, the new highend AMD card are the hotticket. Reply
  • fred666 - Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - link

    99% of Mac Pro sold are going to have 256 GB RAM or less anyways. Reply
  • bull2760 - Saturday, January 25, 2020 - link

    Threadripper is not a server grade CPU like the Xeon. If your going to compare and Apple with an Apple you need to use EPYC. In that case EPYC more pci express lanes and double the memory capacity of Intel. Apple could very easily adopt the EPYC platform for use in a Mac Pro. Than you would be comparing an Apple to an Apple. Reply
  • tyaty1 - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    You can use an EPYC based WS in that case .
    But it very rare that you need more the 256gb for workstation type load.
    Reply

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