This year, two major computing conferences are happening at the same time; Apple’s WWDC and Computex. While WWDC is focused primarily on software and operating systems, Computex is more of a product and hardware extravaganza. Awesome stuff usually comes out, simply because there are so many companies there. Being a hardware focused event, AMD has decided to wow the world with the launch of the second generation Threadripper processors.
If you recall, Threadripper is AMD’s answer to Intel’s high end desktop processors. They are high core and high thread count, but lower frequency chips due to heat generation. Last year, Intel won with the highest core count (18) CPU and also the maximum turbo frequency race. However, many would not be able to justify the price of such a monster rig. On the other hand, the Threadripper sixteen core was great value in price-to-comparison.
Intel has launched a massive new 28 core CPU, which it says will run at 5GHz. On the one hand, that sounds insane. On the other hand, it…actually sounds unrealistic. Or that frequency is attained under some special conditions. Just how much power are 28 cores drawing at that frequency? And the cost? Well, the CPU might be based on a US$10,000 Xeon Platinum, which runs at nowhere near 5GHz. Honestly, US$10,000 sounds like the lower end of the estimates.
For the second generation of Threadripper, AMD has upped the maximum core count from 16 to 32. The original Threadrippers had four 8-core complexes per CPU, though two were inactive. The refresh will have CPUs with all four complexes active, bumping up the core count significantly. It’s unclear whether the original core counts were due to issues with yield, or some other technical issues. Being built on the slightly newer 12 nanometre process means that clock speeds will also increase slightly.
The increase in the number of operational cores hasn’t changed the pin layout of these chips though. They remain compatible with the TR4 socket on the X399 platform. However, some aspects of the motherboards will have to change; BIOS being the most likely candidate for update if users want to upgrade.
Prices for these new Threadrippers haven’t been announced, nor has the full range. But given their increased capabilities, the price for the top of the range CPUs should increase by some margin. At best guess, the 32 core, 64 thread CPU runs at 250W and goes from 3GHz to a maximum turbo clock speed of 3.5GHz, give or take here and there, and cost at least 50 per cent more than the first generation chip.
With the kind of capabilities already known about the Ryzen 2 series, these Threadripper CPUs should be, dare we say it, a ripper of a product. Now, we think that we can hear our bank accounts begging for sweet mercy. Availability will begin in the third quarter of this year.