AMD has given it’s all in pushing the performance envelope with its Ryzen chips, and the second generation of Threadripper silicon is AMD’s attempt to compete against the latest high-end Intel chips. But what’s the outlook for Threadripper Gen 2?

Ryzen Threadripper 2

What the second generation brings

More cores, more performance in short. The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX launched in August alongside the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, with the Ryzen Threadripper 2970X and the cheaper 2920X available since end October. All these chips offer notable improvements in power efficiency and thermal performance too.

Core counts are the real story here. How does 32 processor cores sound? Well, you can get that in a Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX which features the ability to handle 64 threads in total while running at a maximum boost rate of 4.2 GHz. Step down the range and you can pick from 24, 16 or 12 cores with the Ryzen Threadripper 2920X doing 12-core duty at a max of 4.3 GHz. The highest-clocked chip in the range is the 16-core 2950X which maxes out at 4.4 GHz.

MODEL CORES/THREADS BOOST / BASE FREQUENCY (GHZ)         L3                 TDP       PCIe® Gen 3.0 LANES
AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 2990WX 32/64 4.2/3.0 64 250W 64
AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 2970WX 24/48 4.2/3.0 64 250W 64
AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 2950X 16/32 4.4/3.5 32 180W 64
AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 2920X 12/24 4.3/3.5 32 180W 64

There are other new features common to the second generation Threadripper chips. Precision Boost was a much-liked feature which allowed users to select clock speeds in increments of 0.025Ghz. AMD has replaced this feature with the ability to automatically run the chip at the maximum of its electrical and thermal limit whenever asked to do so.

XFR 2 (extended frequency range 2) allows you to boost the processor by up to 16% across your choice of a number of cores. There are other interesting tweaks – some of which can potentially void your warranty! But clearly, AMD wants users to be able to pull the full performance of these chips.

How do the new Threadripper chips perform?

The top-end 2990WX is absolutely phenomenal under the right workload due to the massive number of cores. There’s no kidding around with 32 cores, but the issue is that not many workloads can make use of so many threads. This includes games. In fact, you will find that a much cheaper Ryzen 7 2700X or Intel Core i7-8700K outperforms the AMD mega-core chip.

Will games adapt to such high core numbers? We don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet. That said if you use your PC for both gaming and developing or creating content the new Ryzen Gen 2 Threadripper chips will serve you really well.


Who are the Threadripper Gen 2 chips aimed at?

AMD is not providing max gaming performance for the money with Threadripper chips and besides, we’d strongly recommend you SLI/Crossfire a pair of expensive GPU’s before plunging for a mega-expensive CPU. Instead, Threadripper chips are intended for creators, programmers and the like that run simulation and other activities that utilize many high-performance concurrent threads.