AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX & 2950X CPU Review

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Monday , August 13, 2018

AMD teased us a bit last week by showing off its new 2nd Generation Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X packaging and specifications. This week AMD lets us show off the new Threadripper. The 2990WX is likely a lot different part than many people were expecting, and it turns out that it might usher AMD into a newly created market.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX & 2950X

Last week AMD let us have a peek at its new 2nd generation Threadripper CPUs packaging and specifications. If you missed that, the video below shows you all the new Threadripper packaging, which is certainly better done than it was with the previous generation.

As we saw with the 2nd generation Ryzen processors, the new Threadripper CPUs are based on AMD's "Zen+" 12nm architecture, which has delivered better clocks in lower power envelopes. These new Threadrippers have soldered integrated heat spreaders, unlocked multipliers, and of course also benefit from Precision Boost 2 that uses AMD's Extended Frequency Range 2 technology and algorithms. As it was with Threadripper's 1st generation, these CPU dies have been binned from the "top 5%" of Ryzen dies. There is nothing earth shattering here, but of course as we all know with Threadripper we have multiple dies down on the substrate delivering tremendously wide core and thread counts.

The 2950X and 2990WX are two very different CPUs. Our 2950X is 16C/32T, and our 2990WX is 32C/64T. The 2950X has two dies, with each die being composed of two CCX units. Each of these dies is directly attached to two channels of memory. The 2990WX has four dies, again with each die being composed of two CCX units. However, two of these dies are not directly connected to the memory, but are attached to the memory interface via Infinity Fabric through the two directly connected dies. This of course introduces latencies that we would not have if we had all dies directly attached to memory. This is the defining difference between the 2990WX and yet-to-be released 2970WX processors and AMD EPYC brand server processors, which have 8-channel memory that allows all dies on the CPU a direct memory connection. As we will see, there are some tradeoffs to this configuration.

The "W" is for Workstation

AMD has smartly named these new 4-die parts, with a "WX" model number. This "W" very much means "workstation."

As we will all see on the following pages, the WX series Threadripper is in no way being presented as an "enthusiast" or "gamer" CPU. We have seen Intel step across the line in the last decade when it comes to marketing High End DeskTop (HEDT) parts, and AMD has been very sure to not make the mistake of calling the WX series in any way a "gaming" CPU. AMD has been very specific in marketing the WX series as a "creators and innovators" CPU. While there will be a small niche of enthusiasts that are drawn to the WX series processors, it is simply not meant for the majority of us.

The "X" in the latest Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 series of CPUs points to these CPUs using Precision Boost 2, and the same stands for these new Threadripper CPUs as well. Precision Boost 2 is being used in these new Threadripper parts.

2990WX & 2950X Specifications

The 2950X has a TDP of 180 watts, a base frequency of 3.5GHz, and a Boost Frequency of 4.4GHz. The 2990WX has a TDP of 250 watts, a base Frequency of 3.0GHz, and a Boost Frequency of 4.2GHz. Transistor count is 9.6 billion and 19.2 billion respectively. Each individual die is 213mm square. The 2950X has two dies, and the 2990WX has four.

2nd Gen Threadripper Pricing and Availability

The 2990WX is available today for $1800 at both Newegg and Amazon. The 2950X will become available on August 31st for $900. The 2970WX (24C/48T) and the 2920X (12C/24T) processors will be available in October and will be $1300 and $650 respectively.

The 1900 series Threadripper CPUs will remain available for the present time and will round the out the bottom of the current Threadripper product stack.