27 Nov 2019

Threadripper 3000 shows that AMD's momentum shows no signs of slowing down

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Threadripper 3000 shows that AMD's momentum shows no signs of slowing down AMD

25th November 2019 was a dramatic day as we saw both AMD and Intel launch new families of CPUs.

If we are being pedantic, Intel 10th Gen HEDT (High End Desk Top) is more about huge price cuts than anything that is genuinely new but AMD Threadripper 3000 and the TRX40 platform are most definitely new and are destined to shake up the workstation market.

Let’s get Intel 10th Gen. HEDT out of the way as there isn’t a great deal new to say. UK prices are currently sitting higher than dollar prices so the 10-core is £600, 12-core is £730, 14-core is £840 and the 18-core is £1,100. We expected the 18-core i9-10980XE with its list price of US$979 to sell for £949 or £999 so £1,100 looks … painful.

Intel Core-X specs.png

The Intel 10th Gen parts have not done so well in reviews, in part because Intel pulled the launch forward from 2pm UK to 8am, which translated as 4am US Eastern and midnight on the Pacific Coast. This allowed Intel to launch a few hours before AMD Threadripper 3000 which was scheduled for 2pm UK on the same day, and gave websites the choice of publishing a 10th Gen review on time that ignored Threadripper as it would follow six hours later, or to wait until 2pm UK time and publish both reviews simultaneously.

The other part of the reason the Intel parts have done poorly in reviews is because they have barely changed from 9th Gen, apart from some minor tweaks to clock speeds. Balanced against that the prices have dropped significantly so I am here to make a very specific case in their favour. If you currently work with a PC that runs on an Intel X299 motherboard and an elderly 6-core or 8-core CPU such as the i7-7800X or the i7-9800X, this might be a good time to update your BIOS and drop in a 12-core i9-10920X which looks fairly appealing at £730, compared to the almost-identical Core i9-9920X at £1,299. The upgrade will be quick and simple and you will certainly see a benefit.

AMD Threadripper

Other than that, the news this week is all about AMD Threadripper 3960X and 3970X with 24-cores and 32-cores respectively. They look fairly expensive at £1,350 and £1,899 and you have to factor in a new TRX40 motherboard which is likely to rush you £500-£700.

That’s a lot of money for a motherboard and CPU but the performance of these new parts is simply amazing and trounces anything we have seen to date. AMD has also announced they will launch the Threadripper 3990X during 2020 with 64-core and 128 threads. We have to assume the price will be at least US$4,000 and could easily be US$5,000 so this CPU will be out of reach for most people but the very idea of AMD launching a 64-core CPU aimed at Professionals is mind boggling.

AMD product stack.png

IO Bandwidth.png

We note there is a ‘missing’ model code 3980X about which AMD has said nothing. Could that be a 48-core Threadripper?

Three or four years ago we could never have imagined saying ‘AMD Threadripper is the natural choice for Professionals’ but we are pleased to say that time has certainly arrived in 2020.


Leo Waldock


Leo Waldock has been writing about PC technology for some 20 years.

If he had a family motto it would be "You know, Windows really isn't as bad as you might think".

He has yet to own a Mac and believes that a Micro Four Thirds Panasonic is a decent camera, which just goes to show we never stop learning.

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