AMD Ryzen Threadripper Finally Arrives

Today we'll be looking at the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12-core processors. These processors are the the tip of the spear for AMD and are aimed at the high-end desktop market. This completes the AMD Ryzen processor lineup for the desktop and more importantly marks AMD's move back into the high-end desktop market after having to abandon it years ago. AMD Ryzen Threadripper Platform AMD is releasing two processors today, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread processor at $999 and then the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12-core, 24-thread processor at $799. The clock rates on the Threadripper 1950X will be 3.4GHz base, 4.0GHz for the boost clock, and possibly 4.2GHz for those with a proper cooling solution that are able to leverage the extra 200MHz boost offered by XFR. The Threadripper 1920X 12-core part has a slightly higher base clock of 3.5GHz, but the 4.0GHz boost clock and 4.2GHz XFR speeds remain the same as the big 16-core part. AMD X399 Platform The AMD Ryzen Threadripper X399 platform goes along with the Threadripper processors and is a beastly platform. These new chips have 4,094 contact pads on the bottom and fit into the AMD TR4 socket (also known as Socket SPR3r2). You have quad-channel DDR4 3200MHz memory support right off the bat with 64 PCIe lanes available on all Threadripper processors. You can do 4-way SLI/Crossfire setup and run a 3-way PCIe x4 NVMe RAID array for mass storage with ease on one of these boards! AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Installed One way to think of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is that is is basically at the highest level essentially two Ryzen 7 1800X processors at a 200MHz lower clock speed. Both of AMD's current Ryzen Threadripper chips feature 512K per-core of L2 cache, but there is 8MB total on the 1950X and 6MB total on the 1920X due to the core topology. The AMD 1950X has a 4+4 core configuration whereas the 1920X has a 3+3 configuration. AMD Threadripper Specifications The table above better shows the differences between the 1950X and the 1920X. You can also check out a CPU-Z screen shot of the 1950X below. Threadripper 1950X CPU-Z Let's move onto the benchmarks after looking at the test systems on the next page.

Our CPU Test Systems

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We tested on eight different desktop platforms (Intel Z77, Intel Z97, Intel Z270, Intel X99, Intel X299, AMD AM3+, AMD AM4, and AMD TR4) in this article, so we'll just quickly touch on each as all shared common parts (CPU Cooler, Video Card, SSD, Power Supply) and only differed in the board, processor, memory kit and memory timings. AMD X399 Platform: The Intel X399 platform that we used for testing consisted of the ASUS X399 Zenith Extreme motherboard, G.Skill 32GB 3200MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3200MHz with 14-14-14-34 1T memory timings. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium water cooler and Samsung SSD 960 M.2 PCIe SSD. Intel X299 Platform: The Intel X299 platform that we used for testing consisted of the ASUS X299 Deluxe motherboard. The Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H115iwater cooler and Crucial MX300 1050GB SSD. Intel Z270 Platform: The Intel Z270 platform that we used to test the Intel 1151 processors was running the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 with UEFI F5e that came out on 12/28/2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H105 water cooler and Crucial MX300 1050GB SSDs on all of the desktop systems.
Intel LGA1151 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-7700K

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 5 Click Here

Memory

16GB Vengeance 3000MHz DDR4 Click Here

Video Card

GeForce GTX 1080 FE Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial MX300 1050GB Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H105 Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M65 Pro Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i Click Here

Monitor

ASUS VE278Q 27" Click Here

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit Click Here
Intel Z97 Platform: The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with BIOS 2801 that came out on 11/15/2015. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 11-11-11-28 1T memory timings. Intel Z77 Platform: The Intel Z77 platform that we used to test the Intel 1155 processors was running the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H (rev 1.0) motherboard with BIOS F16h that came out on 07/11/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2133 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Intel X99 Platform: The Intel X99 platform we picked to use for the LGA2011-v3 processors was the ASUS X99-E-10G WS board with BIOS 0403 and that is the initial release UEFI as no newer version has come out since the introduction of that board in 2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings. AMD AM3+  Platform: The AMD AM3+ platform that we used to test the AM3+ processors featured the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer  motherboard with BIOS 1.60 that came out on 01/14/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Laptops:  Just for fun we also included Dell XPS 13 9350 and Dell Dell XPS 13 9360 laptop results! These are retail Dell laptops with clean installs of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 installed for comparison to the desktop platforms. Let's take a look at overclocking and move onto the benchmarks!

Threadripper - NUMA versus UMA Testing

One of the new 'features' of the Threadripper chips is that they can be run in either 'Creator Mode' or 'Game Mode' and that is the controlled by the optional Ryzen Master software. Gaming mode is associated with the NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) setting while Creators mode gets the the UMA (Uniform Memory Access) setting. This is usually something only seen on enterprise class processors, but Threadripper is a descendant of AMD's EPYC server processors and the company lets you choose between NUMA and UMA to get the best computing experience from Threadripper. AMD's Gaming mode compensates to attain lower latency due to the fact that Threadripper has two dies that are internally connected with AMD Infinity Fabric. With NUMA the memory access time depends on the memory location relative to the processor. Under NUMA, a processor can access its own local memory faster than non-local memory. Gaming mode also exists to accommodate some legacy games that simply will not run with chips with 12 or more cores. (Dirt 3 for example is a game title that is tricky with this many cores).  Gaming mode can dynamically disable half of the cores to allow those titles to run if needed. AMD has tested 100 game titles thus far and is seeing double digit performance games in most titles. To switch between 'Creator Mode' and 'Game Mode' you will need to restart the system. So, if you want to take a break from doing some compute workloads and game for a bit you'll need to open Ryzen Master, switch to gaming mode, reboot the system and then jump into the game. Not a huge deal, but an extra step you may not have ever needed to do before. So, just remember this... Distributed Mode (UMA) spreads out transactions evenly across the DRAM for applications that prefers WIDE DRAM access. Local Mode (NUMA) does transactions in die-local memory and is for applications that prefers FAST DRAM access. Creator Mode is UMA (Distributed) and Game Mode is NUMA (Local). We tried out Creator and Game Mode on a few benchmarks and here is what we came up with: 3DMark Fire Strike Creator Mode:  3DMark Fire Strike Game Mode:  The overall, physics and combined score all dropped in 'Game Mode' on the Threadripper 1950X, but notice the actual graphics score went from 26,832 up to 27,486. This means benchmarks that test both GPU and CPU performance will be wonky on Threadripper. Sandra Memory Bandwidth Creator Mode: Sandra Memory Bandwidth Game Mode: Sandra memory bandwidth showed we were getting 36 GB/s of memory bandwidth in 'Game Mode' versus 62 GB/s in 'Creator Mode'. Just a minor difference! AIDA64 Cache & Memory Latency Creator Mode: AIDA64 Cache & Memory Latency Game Mode: Using the AIDA64 cache & memory latency benchmark we can see that Game mode greatly decreases the latency at the higher block sizes and that improvement is what helps in games. For the rest of the benchmarks that you'll see in this review we used 'Creator Mode' for all non-gaming tests and then 'Game Mode' for all gaming benchmarks and 3DMark.

Memory Bandwidth Benchmark

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 SP3 Memory Bandwidth: link

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 is a utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks. This test has been popular for CPU and memory benchmarks for well over a decade and it is one of the easiest benchmarks out there to run.

Memory Bandwidth Results Summary: The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X test platform came a 3200MHz memory kit, so that is what we ran it at. We got 62 GB/s of memory bandwidth on the Threadripper 1950X and strangely enough 65 GB/s of memory bandwidth on the Threadripper 1920X. The Intel Core i9-7900X was running slower DDR4 3000MHz memory kit with CL15 timings, but was still right there with about 57 GB/s of memory bandwidth on Sandra. The fastest processor on the chart is still the Intel Core i7-6950X with DDR4 3000MHz memory kit with CL15 1T timings at just over 67 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Real World Benchmarks

Dolphin 5.0 x64 Emulator Benchmark: link

The long awaited Dolphin 5.0 release happened in 2016 and thanks to a major cleaning up of the codebase Dolphin has reached a new level of efficiency, powered by a revitalized dynamic recompiler. Dolphin is considered by many to be the best Nintendo Wii emulator for PC you can find. It also works for Gamecube. We are running the official Dolphin 5.0 benchmark as it offers closer mapping to real world Dolphin performance as the previous version was extremely floating point heavy. We feel this is a pretty good general CPU benchmark for real world performance as emulation workloads are something that most gamers will run at one point or another.  We benchmark the standard Wii homebrew application and run it with the speed limit set to 'unlimited' and the External Frame Buffer set to 'real' in case you wanted to run this on your personal system.

Agisoft Photoscan 1.2.6 x64 - 2D to 3D Image Manipulation Benchmark: link

Agisoft PhotoScan is a stand-alone software product that performs photogrammetric processing of 2D digital images and generates 3D spatial data to be used in GIS applications, cultural heritage documentation, and visual effects production as well as for indirect measurements of objects of various scales. We us the 50 images from the 'Building' sample data download page for our benchmark. We take the total time it takes to complete four steps: Align Photos, Build Dense Cloud, Build Model, Build Texture with all the default settings for each.

KeyShot 6.3 - 3D Rendering and Animation: link

KeyShot 3D rendering and animation software is one of the fastest, easiest way to create amazing, photographic visuals of your 3D data. We installed KeyShot 6.3 to do some benchmarking and real-world stress testing using the camera_benchmark.bip scene that is included with the application. This benchmark tests a 800x554 pixel image with a continuous sample rate and shows the Frames Per Second (FPS) that the scene is being rendered from. This scene has nearly 42,000 triangles and does a good job at using all available cores to render the scene.

Blender 2.78a Open Source 3D Creation Benchmark: link

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. We use the BMW CPU Benchmark (CCO, 3MB) created by Mike Pan for our testing.   Real World Benchmark Results Summary: When it comes to our 'real world' benchmark tests we found the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X both did great in the benchmarks that were heavily multi-threaded. For example in Blender and Keyshot the Threadripper 1950X easily defeated the Intel Core i9-7900X. Our results in Photoscan weren't much faster than the 8-core Ryzen 7 parts, so we talked with the Agisoft Team and tried out the latest build that processes data faster and uses the CPU more effectively. We saw a big performance improvement with that version on Threadripper and Skylake-X, but didn't have time to test the other processors and platforms. The Dolphin emulator benchmark is very lightly threaded and core clock plays a huge roll in that benchmark, so it isn't a big surprise to the AMD and Intel processors with the most cores doing poorly on Dolphin since they have lower clock speeds.

Media Encoding & Encryption Benchmarks

HandBrake v1.0.1 - link

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is popular today as it allows you to transcode multiple input video formats to h.264 output format and is highly multithreaded. We used Big Buck Bunny as our input file, which has become one of the world standards for video benchmarks. For our benchmark scenario we used a standard 2D 4K (3840x2160) 60 FPS clip in the MP4 format and used Handbrake version 1.0.1 to do two things. We used the new Fast 1080p30 preset to shrink that down to a 1920 x 1080 video clip to reduce the file size. This is something people often do to save space to put movies onto mobile devices. We also ran the workload using the normal preset as it puts the CPU at a higher load than the Fast 1080p30 preset.  

X264 HD Encoding - link

the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It’s nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test. Media Encoding Benchmark Results Summary: Our media tests showed AMD appears to be the new winner in town when it comes to media encoding! In Handbrake and X264 we found that both the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ($999) and the Threadripper 1920X ($799) were able to perform the task at hand faster than the Intel Core i9-7900X processor!

Cinegy Cinescore  10.4 Professional Video Encoding Benchmark:

The broadcast and media industry needs benchmarks that are meaningful and relevant. Cinegy Cinescore uses many commonly used professional quality codecs to measure the encoding speed of a system. This sets expectations of how many channels a given machine can capture, how suitable it is for e.g. UHD editing, or which speed can be expected to do transcode jobs. Cinegy Cinescore covers a fair number of commonly used formats and codecs and measures the encoding speed as well as the system load for doing that for the different target resolutions - HD, UHD and 8K.

VeraCrypt 1.19 - link

VeraCrypt is an open-source disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and is a fork based on the discontinued TrueCrypt 7.1a utility. The developers claim that weaknesses found in TrueCrypt have been resolved with the VeraCrypt project. This is a popular utility used by people that don't want to use Microsoft's built-in encyption tool for Windows 10 called Bitlocker. Encryption Benchmark Results Summary: If encryption is something you do, you'll find having more cores and threads to be very beneficial as you can see from the results above. The extra cores on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors gave them two fastest scores on this benchmark!  

3DMark & Cinebench

Futuremark 3DMark 2.2.3509 - link

3DMark is a popular gaming performance benchmark that includes everything you need to benchmark your PC whether you're gaming on a desktop PC, laptop, notebook, or a tablet. 3DMark includes seven benchmark tests and we'll be running 'Sky Diver' that is aimed at gaming laptops and mid-range PCs.

Maxon Cinebench R15.038 - link 

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. 3DMark and Cinebench Benchmarks Results Summary: The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors perform okay in 3DMark Fire Strike. We ran this benchmark in Gaming Mode and that doesn't help the Physics score too much. In Cinebench we got got the highest multi-CPU score we have ever gotten as well at over 3,500!

Discrete GPU Gaming Performance

Thief

Thief is a series of stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix on February 25, 2014. We picked this game title for CPU testing as it is known to scale well with CPUs. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Set in a cyberpunk-themed dystopian world in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided features the return of Adam Jensen from the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with new technology and body augmentations. The game was released on August 23rd, 2016 for PC users and we are using it to show DX12 performance on the CPUs that we tested. DX12 removed most all of the CPU overhead, so we wanted to see what happens to performance on DX12 game titles as well. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; DX12 enabled, exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, medium graphics. Discrete Gaming Benchmarks Results Summary: Gaming performance hasn't been anything to write home about on this mega-core processors, but gaming performance was smooth. You can run multiple streams and game at the same time with more than acceptable frame rates, so it can game! 

Power Consumption

No review is complete without taking a look at power and we were really curious of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X would do since they have a 180W TDP. For starters both the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X  platform had nearly identical power consumption. Both used around 90 Watts at idle and that is impressive as includes the ASUS X399 motherboard,  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 FE video card, SSD and the CPU liquid cooler. Both processors topped out at 255W in Handbrake and 330W when playing Thief at 1080P. This processor uses more than most, but that is expected with this many cores!

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Temperatures

To test the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor we used the Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition liquid cooler. This is an Asetek based liquid cooler and fits with the included mounting bracket that is provided in the retail box of the processor. We normally scrape off the factory applied thermal paste, but we wanted to see what the temperatures would be like if we didn't. So, we left the little circle of paste be and slapped it on the 1950X knowing that not even the entire base plate nor the large lid on Threadripper would be fully covered with thermal paste. We then fired up the AIDA64 System Stability Test for 20+ minutes and found that we had an idle temp of 54C and a load temp of 79C on the CPU. The VRM temperature on the ASUS X399 board was at 30C when we started and jumped up to 60C by the time we were done, which is pretty good considering these components can easily go over 100C for a short period of time without bad things happening. After the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU was tested we carefully removed the processor to see how the factory thermal paste was distributed. It actually didn't do bad, but you might be able to get better temps by applying a slightly larger amount of your own to get more coverage. We cleaned all this paste off before we tested the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X and for that processor we used Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminum Thermal Compound and we got 31C at idle and 65C at load when we spot checked it real quick over a six minute period. The 1920X being 31C at idle versus 54C at idle on the 1950X will require future investigation in the future. We did get 5 UEFI revisions over the course of a week, so it is possible that a new UEFI build changed the way the temperature was being read. ASUS changed the VRM fan settings multiple times over the course of the week, but we are happy with it. The fan doesn't kick on now until the VRM temperatures hit 60C. It is a noisy little fan, but it keeps the VRM components nice and cool. Update 08/10/2017 2PM CST: We have had a chance to re-test the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X with Prolimatech PK-3 Nano Aluminum Thermal Compound and the temperature difference is unreal. With the stock Thermaltake thermal compound when we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test for 20+ minutes and found that we had an idle temp of 54C and a load temp of 79C on the CPU. With the new thermal compound and better coverage on the block we found the idle temp was now 27C and the load temp was just 60C. That is a massive drop! Before w/ Stock Thermaltake Thermal Paste: After w/ Prolimatech PK-3: Let's move onto overclocking!

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Overclocking

When it comes to overclocking the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X we were delighted to find that the ASUS X399 Zenith Extreme motherboard made that task easy. We managed to get up to 4.1GHz stable without manually adjusting the core voltage! We did change the following settings in the UEFI to get this overclock. From what we could tell this overclock was stable and we were able to run a bunch of benchmarks and even the AIDA64 stress test without crashing. Let's show off our multi-CPU score on Cinebench with this overclock! How does 3,535 cb sound in Cinebench R15? We were at 3,055 stock, so this is an improvement of nearly 500 points. Stock our single CPU score was 170 cb, so we actually dropped that score by one point somehow with this overclock. With the Threadripper 1950X processor overclocked up to 4,100MHz we noticed that the CPU package power went over 300 Watts when running Cinebench! We were able to get the AMD Ryzen Threadripper running at 4.2GHz on on the desktop, but it would crash once we fired up most benchmarks. We tried going up to 1.475V on the CPU Core and couldn't get it stable. Let's wrap up this review on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and Threadripper 1920X are very impressive processors that did extremely well in content creation benchmarks that take advantage of having a 16-core, 32-thread processor in the system. The good news is a good number of applications on the market actually put the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core processor at 100% load as seen in the screen capture below. We were running Agisoft PhotoScan Standard v1.3.2 in that screenshot and and for some workloads we were able to fully utilize this processor! Content creators should really love the performance numbers from Ryzen Threadripper 1950X as the that processor topped the chart in Handbrake, Blender, Keyshot and X264. It has been years since we've seen AMD on top of a performance chart, so this is exciting.   You can purchase the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core processor for $999.99 shipped or the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X for $799.99 shipped on Amazon. You'll need to pickup an AMD X399 motherboard ($350 to $550) to go along with that processor, but the prices are comparable to what Intel is asking for a Skylake-X processor and Intel X299 motherboard. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X and 1950X are 180W TDP processors, so make sure you have one of the 25 recommended CPU coolers! AMD Ryzen Threadripper Liquid Coolers: AMD Ryzen Threadripper Air Coolers: AMD is back! The AMD Ryzen Threadripper platform is finally here and the numbers are exciting. Intel is going to respond to Threadripper by releasing Intel Core i9 Skylake-X processors with more cores, but the prices will be going up to $1999. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X at $999 easily out performs the Intel Core i9-7900X 10-core processor that is also $999 as it has more cores. To get a 16-core processor from Intel you'll need to wait for the Intel Core i9-7960X and that will cost $1,699. Intel is charging $700 more for 16-threads, so it looks like AMD is going to be the price versus performance winner for some time to come. LR Editors' Choice   Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is the fastest processor for heavily multi-threaded applications that we have ever seen!