Bill Roberson/Digital TrendsAMD’s Ryzen 3000 mainstream processors have blown us, and just about every other tech site, away. Everything from the 3600 through to the 3900X have been killer CPUs, delivering stiff competition to Intel. But what about Threadripper? AMD has quietly confirmed the upcoming launch of these new high-end chips, and the rumors have continued to build as we get closer.
Don’t want to wait? Here are the best processors you can buy right now.
Pricing and release date
AMD made an official announcement to confirm that Threadripper 3 would launch sometime in November. Previously, the company had only confirmed that the Threadripper line was still on track for 2019. At the 2019 iteration of the Hot Chips conference, AMD CEO Lisa Su revealed to AnandTech that although the company wasn’t ready to pull back the veil on Threadripper entirely, AMD would release explicit details about their powerhouse CPU later this year.
It was previously thought that the rumors had pointed to a 2020 launch for AMD’s beefy CPU series, but AMD has restated in commitment to pushing out these chips this year. The image above was also released, showing the first official imagery for the new chips.
Pricing is another matter entirely. All we have to go on there are previous Threadripper prices. AMD launched its first-generation Threadripper CPUs for between $550 and $1,000, while the second-generation, which offered as many as double the cores, reached $1,800. It’s possible that the new-generation will maintain something close to that thanks to improved efficiencies and yield with the new 7nm technology it’s based on. But with more cores, AMD may opt for inflated prices so as not to completely invalidate its second-generation Threadripper processors.
First-generation AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950x Bill Roberson/Digital TrendsA third-generation Threadripper CPU line is likely to be the most powerful range of non-server CPUs AMD has ever released. With a new Zen 2 architecture at its core, these chips would be based on the same combination of 7nm chiplet and 12nm I/O die as Ryzen 3000 and Epyc “Rome” processors. That means improved instructions per clock (IPC) or upwards of 15 percent, as well as improved power and memory efficiency.
With rumors of up to 64 cores on the top Threadripper 3000 chip, we would expect these processors to dominate second-generation Threadripper chips in multi-threaded workloads. The IPC boost would help improve single threaded performance too, although we may not see such expansive clock speeds with so many cores on one chip.
Still, improved boost clock algorithms should mean that we’ll see Threadripper 3000 processors maintain higher clock speeds for longer, depending, of course, on cooling and power. With the combination of the new I/O die and Windows 10’s May update scheduler fixes, we can expect automated switching between AMD CCXs. That means better performance, particularly during gaming.
Although mainstream processors will likely still be better for gaming on a bang for buck scale, it’s quite possible that the better binned cores in the Threadripper CPUs could make them some of the best gaming processors out there too.
Bill Roberson/Digital TrendsAs with the Ryzen 3000 mainstream CPUs, a third-generation Threadripper processor would be based on the brand new Zen 2 architecture, which overhauls the design of the CPU. Instead of the four dies found on earlier-generation Threadripper chips, the new ones will feature a large IO die in the middle, and a collection of 7nm chiplets all joined together by an advanced version of AMD’s InfinityFabric.
The main difference between these chips and the more mainstream Ryzen offerings are the number of chiplets. But beyond additional cores, Threadripper chips also enjoy a far greater number of PCIe lanes. First and second-generation Threadripper CPUs featured 64 PCIe lanes (compared to 24 on mainstream chips), so we would expect at least as many on a third-generation Threadripper line.
Although AMD has massively improved memory latency with Zen 2 cores, to help provide enough bandwidth for as many as 64 cores, Threadripper 3000 chips will support more than the dual-channel memory of Ryzen 3000 CPUs. The last two generations of Threadripper have supported quad-channel memory, but it’s possible that like AMD’s Epyc Rome server CPUs, new Threadripper chips could support eight-channel memory.
AMD promised that like its mainstream Ryzen CPUs, that Threadripper’s TR4 socket would support all new-generations of processors up until 2020, so we would expect these new Threadripper CPUs to work on existing Threadripper motherboards. That said, like Ryzen 3000, we’d expect to see a new, third-generation chipset to launch alongside Threadripper 3000 chips, possibly to cater to the introduction of PCIe 4.0.
If the new chipset is anything like AMD’s mainstream x570, though, it will be very power hungry and will require capable, active cooling to keep it at a safe operating temperature. That could make for some very interesting motherboard designs.