AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X Review

Written by Antony Leather

October 29, 2018 | 13:36

Tags: #amd #threadripper #x399

Companies: #amd

Manufacturer: AMD

UK price (as reviewed): Threadripper 2970WX TBC Threadripper 2920X TBC

US price (as reviewed): $1,299 (exc. tax) (Threadripper 2970WX) $649 (exc. tax) (Threadripper 2920X)

Threadripper's impact on the high-end desktop (HEDT) market has been significant, perhaps both due to it coming as a surprise as well as holding the top spot in terms of core count and multi-threaded performance for a short while and continuing to offer excellent value compared to Intel's HEDT CPUs. The second-generation parts were even more impressive, with the Threadripper 2950X making big gains across the board compared to the 1950X and the Threadripper 2990WX outstripping anything Intel has for HEDT by big margins, at least where software could tap into all of its 32 cores.

With Intel set to release a second salvo of 14nm HEDT CPUs this year, AMD has not only its cheaper first generation Threadrippers still on sale, but is adding two more second-generation models to sit alongside the existing 32-core and 16-core models. The Threadripper 2970WX sits beside the monstrous 2990WX as the second CPU in its desktop workstation range, except here it offers 24 cores and 48 threads. The Threadripper 2920X is the new 12-core model with 24 threads and the direct replacement to the 1920X. 

Threadripper 2990WX Threadripper 2970WX Threadripper 2950X Threadripper 2920X
Cores/Threads 32/64 24/48 16/32 12/24
Base Freq 3GHz 3GHz 3.5GHz 3.5GHz
Max Boost Freq 4.2GHz 4.2GHz 4.4GHz 4.3GHz
L3 Cache 64MB 64MB 32MB 32MB
TDP 250W 250W 180W 180W
Price $1799 $1299 $899 $649
Release Date 13th August October 31st August October
The two newcomers differ slightly in how they add to AMD's product stack. The Threadripper 2970WX sports the exact same frequencies as the 2990WX, with a maximum 4.2GHz boost frequency and 3GHz base frequency, with our testing showing an all-core boost usually in the region of 3.6GHz to 3.7GHz. It also has the same 64MB L3 cache and 250W TDP, with the only real difference being the core count and price. The latter sees it offer some serious multi-threaded grunt but for just $1,299 instead of $1,799, putting it roughly in line with Intel's Core i9-7940X 14-core CPU in terms of price.

The Threadripper 2920X, though, has both four fewer cores and eight fewer threads than the 2950X, but has a 100MHz deficit on the maximum boost frequency, too. Still, it can reach 4.3GHz and combined with AMD's enhanced boosting algorithms, the Threadripper 2950X has already shown that AMD isn't letting up as far as applying pressure on Intel at the high end goes, offering better performance across the board compared to the 1950X in both lightly-threaded and multi-threaded applications. At $649, it's unmatched in Intel's line-up in terms of I/O, offering the full 64 PCIe lanes of the X399 platform - something you currently only get from Intel's Core i9-7900X upwards, although that's set to change with the new 9000-series HEDT CPUs, with the full number of lanes available right the way down the stack.

In terms of performance, though, Intel only really has one competitor here in terms of price and performance - the Core i9-9900K. You'll obviously be losing a shedload of PCIe lanes, but thanks to eight cores running at 5GHz when overclocked combined with a lower price both for the platform and the CPU, it's possible Intel's new flagship desktop CPU isn't just making its own HEDT CPUs look bad, but AMD's too. If you want to know about AMD's second generation Threadripper see our original review of the 2990WX and 2950X here.

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