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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  • vhhvhh - Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - link

    You are probably Romanian so you don't understand paying for performance and stability.
    One should never take seriously any benchmark presented by the selling entity AMD or Intel.
    The MacPro is over priced indeed as a starting point but everything else -> take it up with Intel.
    You clearly don't understand manufacturing and buying cycles at the corporate level:
    3 Years from now if Ryzen is still king then you will see the switch... For now a third generation 'finally faster' product would be very difficult to explain to any purchasing department.
  • Zizo007 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Threadripper is 256Gb max but Xeon is not meant to compete with TR, its targetting Epyc.
    Epyc supports up to 4TB RAM 256 Threads 2 sockets which pretty much destroys any Mac Pro, Apple should really start to think about using AMD now.
  • Zizo007 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Also Epyc is much cheaper than the Xeon in the Mac Pro. Mac Pro is waaay overpriced and not even the top of the line.
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    IBM, Dell and Lenovo don’t sell EPYC workstations either. They are probably evaluating them, and Apple probably is as well. Will AMD be able to crack the high end Xeon workstation market? That remains to be seen. Those customers aren’t particularly price conscious.
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Dell actually sells AMD based servers.

    AMD is steadily gaining server market share which isn't a surprised with almost 2x the performance in many workload vs Intel's top Xeon and like 2x the power efficiency.
    Apple doesn't have a strong base of enterprise server and workstation costumers like Dell, Lenovo or HP so the more they wait to adopt in their products the obvious top performing CPUs on the market the more will hurt them. Which is fine by me actually.
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Dell, Lenovo and HP don’t use AMD in their workstation products. That could change in the future if customers want EPYC instead of Xeon. Who knows?

    Apple doesn’t really target the server market, they discontinued those products upwards of a decade ago. So regardless of what the big three do, I’d expect Apple’s share to remain roughly zero ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • PickUrPoison - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    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 :)
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    There are 64 GB LRDIMM unbuffered ECC modules available. Expensive, but available (Crucial sells them, for example: That would give you 512 GB of RAM in an 8-slot TRX40 motherboard. RAM speed is reduced, though, compared to the smaller sizes (DDR4-2666).

    Most motherboards are only certified to use 32 GB modules, but 64 GB modules should work.

    The nice thing is that AMD gives you a nice selection of core count vs memory controllers vs PCIe lanes, so you can pick and choose the CPU/motherboard/RAM that fits your needs.

    02-16 cores with two memory controllers and 24 PCIe 3.0 / 4.0 lanes (depending on motherboard).
    24-64 cores with four memory controllers and 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes.
    08-64 cores with eight memory controllers and 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes.

    Figure out what your computing needs are, then find the CPU that fits best.
  • PickUrPoison - Thursday, January 9, 2020 - link

    To my knowledge, all load-reduced DIMM modules use a buffer; that’s how they are able to present a normal load to the memory controller and then fan out the signals to more memory chips than would otherwise be possible. AMD only supports LRDIMM and RDIMM modules with EPYC. Also, those DIMMs you linked are quad ranked, and afaik, threadripper only supports single or dual ranked DIMMs.

    But there’s nothing wrong with AMD limiting large memory capacities to EPYC; that’s perfectly legit. EPYC also offers other enterprise-related features that make it a better choice for high end workstations and servers like eight-channel memory controllers, and OOB management for servers is a requirement for many.
  • leexgx - Friday, January 10, 2020 - link

    So much popcorn reading this (fully agree with PickUrPoison poster)

    Funny when people don't concede to there lack of knowledge on said subject

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