Enthusiasts, developers, content creators and prosumers of all stripes champing at the bit for a new generation of High End Desktop CPUs have plenty of reason to be over the moon today. Yes, the wait is almost over; AMD have announced the imminent release of Ryzen Threadripper's Second Generation of CPUs, including the frankly absurd 32-core, 64-thread Threadripper 2990WX.
This new generation of CPUs comes on the heels of 2nd Generation Ryzen, a rejuvenated platform comprising refreshed motherboard chipsets and updated CPUs utilising the 12nm Zen+ core architecture. Across the board performance was improved, costs came down, and new features were introduced; however the mainstream desktop platform remained limited to 8 cores (i.e. one CPU die). Threadripper, with its TR4 socket, doesn't suffer from quite the same fundamental limitations.
Debuting on August 13th will be the flagship Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. This 32-core and 64-thread monstrosity utilises the same refreshed CPU dies as 2nd Gen Ryzen, but on a chip that can can accommodate four dies rather than just the one. Physically identical in size to 1st Gen. Threadripper, the new CPU will as much as double the operating cores compared with the first outing. In this respect, it has much in common with AMD's enterprise-class EPYC range.
Other aspects of Threadripper's DNA continue to run through this new generation. Clock speeds are exceptionally aggressive, featuring a Boost frequency of up to 4.2GHz on the 2990WX from a base of 3GHz. Perhaps unsurprisingly the TDP envelope increases, from 180W to 250W; still, that's not unexpected when you're literally doubling the number of active cores. Active L3 cache is also doubled to 64MB, while the number of accessible PCIE lanes and memory channels remain at 64 and 4 respectively.
The price, of course, is high even compared to last generation's flagship. The 2990WX has an MSRP of $1799 in the US, while UK retailers such as OverclockersUK are placing it at ~£1650 inc. V.A.T. However on a per-core basis not much has changed, and many users will see $55.22 per core as an absolute steal.
Later this month AMD will be releasing a 16-core, 32-thread option, the Threadripper 2950X. This is a broad replacement for the 1950X, but comes in with substantially increased clock speeds: 3.5GHz base, and 4.4GHz Boost; both within the same 180W TDP envelope.
Looking ahead to October, AMD are planning two additional entrants into the 2nd-generation Threadripper lineup: the 24-core, 48-thread 2970WX, and 12-core, 24-thread 2920X. It's possible that the latter will become a new entry-point into AMD's HEDT ecosystem, putting clear water between it and the 8-Core Ryzen 2700X for mainstream AM4 platforms.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper's second generation is gunning for Intel's current HEDT lineup, headed by the Core i9-7980XE CPU. At pre-release overclocking events the 2990WX already dethroned Intel's flagship in the Cinebench R15 multi-threaded CPU test, and looks set to take the lead in a broad set of benchmarks where multi-threaded performance is king.
Helping to satisfy the unorthodox cooling requirements of 2nd Gen Threadipper, including support for SocketTR4, is the release of Cooler Master's Wraith Ripper tower cooler. This is not the first time Cooler Master and AMD have collaborated on such a solution - CM was also the manufacturer of the closed loop liquid cooler utilised by the Fury GPU lineup. Wraith Ripper is a much needed additional option in the still somewhat sparse selection of TR4-compatibile coolers on the market today.
Complementing the release will be a new selection of X399 motherboards from major AMD partners GIGABYTE, MSI, ASUS and ASRock. Furthermore X399 existing motherboards should also be forwards compatible with 2nd gen. Threadripper via a BIOS update, helping to suppress cost inflation. Check with the board manufacturer for compatibility information.
More information on 2ng Generation Ryzen Threadripper can be found here