AMD Announces Its Latest Graphics Chip, the Ryzen Thread Ripper
Nadia Krieger posted on August 09, 2018 |
$1,799 GPU for high-end graphics released in time for SIGGRAPH

We’ve smashed the Cinebench benchmark, AMD says very excitedly as it introduces the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. It scored the highest for any single-socket desktop processor category, they go on to say. It’s a very big deal for graphics geeks, such as those found in movie studios, 3D animation and special effect houses. How much effect this high-end chip, the $2,800 flagship of the new Threadripper line, with its ludicrous 32 cores and 64 threads, will have on engineering software still remains to be seen.

The 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper WX processors replace last year’s X series. (Image courtesy of AMD.)
The 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper WX processors replace last year’s X series. (Image courtesy of AMD.)

We’ll find out next week, when AMD fights for attention with chip makers Intel and NVIDIA at the graphics geeks’ annual conference, SIGGRAPH, being held in Vancouver, coinciding with when the Threadrippers go on sale.

AMD’s claim to high frequency fame was achieved using a liquid-nitrogen cooler, which helped dissipate the heat from an overclocked processor that races at 5.1Ghz, producing a Cinebench R15 multi-threaded CPU score of 7,618—well over the previous record holder Intel’s Core i9-7980XE CPU with a score of 5,828. Intel was using a water-based cooling system. 

AMD still beats out the i9-7980Xe on price, according to AMD, retailing for $200 less than the Intel chip.

Even if you could get your hands on an industrial-grade cooling system—liquid nitrogen or otherwise—it is not recommended to try and perform the overclock at home. Whereas the freely available Ryzen Master Software utility gives you control over all of the processor’s settings, attempting to match the world record is very likely to breach the terms of AMD’s warranty. That said, AMD does boast a main clock of 3Ghz, and can still boost within the warranted limits to an impressive 4.2Ghz. 

The 2990WX is one of four WX models, all of which are built on the new 12nm Zen+ core architecture. Keeping the HEDT standard high, the other three feature 24, 16 and 12 cores. The 16-core 2950WX model is set to be released later in August at $899, and the 24- and 12-core models will hit stores in October at $1,299 and $649 respectively. 

The 2990WX will, of course, appeal to the super high-end creative designer and/or bleeding edge enthusiast craving speed at all cost. Whereas AMD official Jim Anderson calls for “creators, enthusiasts, and gamers everywhere to experience the benefits of these new products,” personal users may find the 2990WX to be more than overkill. While gamers normally appreciate high clock rates, it may be that the 32 cores will prove to be unnecessary, as even demanding games have a limited number of cores they can use. Turning the majority of the cores off is one option. But it may be more desirable to save and grab one of the less costly models, which all have base clocks of 3Ghz or higher.

According to the press release, the WX models are all compatible with existing and new X3999 motherboards. They are also designed to be compatible with the new premium Wraith Ripper air-cooler systems, also from AMD.

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