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Threadripper 2 Grows to 32 Cores

August 28, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Few people really need a 32-core 64-thread PC processor that can hit 4.2GHz, but so what? The folks at AMD will sell you one anyway, just because . . . they can. And because Intel can’t. So there. It’s reason enough for AMD to introduce the world’s most powerful PC processors—the second-generation Ryzen Threadripper family.

The company positions two of the four family members for content creators who can pay $1,799 to get the 32-core 64-thread 2990WX or $1,299 to get the 24-core 48-thread 2970WX. Video editing, software development, and other compute-intensive tasks are its justification for these monster chips. The other two models are the 16-core 32-thread 2950X and the 12-core 24-thread 2920X, which list for $899 and $649, respectively. They target the high-end desktop PCs prized by avid gamers and by content creators who can’t afford the costlier models. All these chips use the second-generation 12nm Zen+ CPU core that enhances the original 14nm Zen core.

Although these products are much pricier than mainstream PC processors, they’re a bargain for their features and performance. In fact, they resemble server processors. Base clock speeds range as high as 3.5GHz and turbo clocks as high as 4.4GHz. They have up to 16MB of L2 cache, up to 64MB of L3 cache, DDR4-2933 DRAM interfaces with error correction (ECC), and 64 PCI Express (Gen3) lanes.

The 32-core 2990WX and 16-core 2950X shipped on August 13; the others are scheduled for October. In each branch of the family, AMD is delivering the high-end models first, enticing early adopters to spend more money. The low-cost derivatives will arrive two months later, broadening the market. This strategy maximizes revenue and enables the company to ramp production of the chips that will probably sell in larger volumes.

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