Doubling the cores and threads leads to predictably gargantuan performance that puts AMD in a different HEDT league to Intel.
First-generation Threadripper, built on the solid foundation of the Zen architecture, moved AMD's consumer CPU performance into a league that it hadn't occupied for a very long time.
The original review opined that 'Threadripper shines most brightly in benchmarks that take advantage of its muscular, many-core design. Digital content creators need to sit up and take notice, because AMD brings true premium workstation-class performance, massive I/O and all, to the desktop.'
Such evaluation is certainly more keenly applicable to the Threadripper 2990WX - a 32-core, 64-thread chip that's a drop-in upgrade over the 1950X. Doubling the cores and threads leads to predictably gargantuan performance that puts AMD in a different HEDT league to Intel. The difference between this $1,799 chip and Intel's $1,999 Core i9-7980XE can be as much as 70 per cent in AMD's favour.
Obtaining blistering performance is laced with a few provisos, however. Applications need to be able to harness the raw horsepower on tap - some multi-core benchmarks only scale well to 16-18 cores - so there needs to be software-side optimisations in certain cases. The good news is that workstation-class apps do tend to scale well, evidenced by our CPU-centric benchmark results, meaning a Threadripper 2-equipped system ought to fly.
Yet for all the bombast about multi-core domination, fully deserved though it is, the Threadripper WX isn't all things to all people. The key characteristic that makes it so great in core-scaling benchmarks is its Achilles' heel for, say, gaming, where titles just don't know what to do with 64 threads. Out-of-the-box performance is crippled at 1080p, to the point of being unplayable in some games, though AMD ameliorates the problem by having a Game Mode activated via a reboot. It's certainly far from being an elegant solution, but for the foreseeable future, there is no way around this: it will be interesting to see how, if Intel introduces a desktop 28-core processor, it gets around the same issue.
When the dust settles on the 2nd Gen Threadripper WX launch we feel the general consensus will be that AMD has created a truly monster HEDT CPU that brings colossal, never-before-seen performance into the workstation space. Its true impact will be felt by those content creators whose projects takes hours to render on older hardware. But it's not a gaming CPU. For that, you will probably need to dial it down to an X-series Threadripper, and we'll have the 2950X's review soon.
Bottom line: The AMD Threadripper 2990WX is a niche processor that's in a multi-core league of its own. Feed it well with optimised software and it has no performance peer. For everyone that can't take full and utter advantage of 64 threads, the X-series may well be the better bet.
32 cores and 64 threads!
In a multi-core league of its own
Drop-in upgrade over last-gen TR
Single-thread not as good as Intel
Very poor at gaming without Game Mode
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor is available to purchase from Scan Computers.
At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.