The monstrous 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX stomped onto store shelves earlier this month, offering tremendous value if you can put all those threads to work. That’s potentially a big “if” (our Gordon Mah Ung has laid out the reasons why you should or shouldn't buy the Threadripper 2990WX.). On Friday, a more reasonable, yet still satisfyingly mega-core AMD alternative appeared with the launch of the Threadripper 2950X ($899 on Amazon and Newegg).
The 16-core, 32-thread chip replaces the first-gen Threadripper flagship, the 1950X, but at starting price $100 lower than its predecessor's. The added value doesn’t stop there, though. The Threadripper 2950X works in the underlying improvements baked into the 2nd-gen Ryzen architecture—namely the higher clock speeds enabled by the 2nd-gen Precision Boost and Extended Frequency Range (XFR) technologies.
While the 1950X started at 3.4GHz and tapped out at 4GHz boost speeds, the Threadripper 2950X ups that to a 3.5GHz base speed and 4.4GHz boost. That’s a solid 10-percent increase at the top end. The 2nd-gen Ryzen chips usually run at significantly higher clocks under the same workloads than their predecessors even if they’re not maxed out.
Those improvements should help close the single-thread performance gap between 16-thread Ryzen and Intel’s 16-thread desktop CPU, the Core i9-7960X, which costs significantly more at $1,400 on Newegg. AMD’s X399 motherboard platform provides many more PCIe lanes than Intel’s as well, a whopping 64 in all. The 2950X seems to offer tremendous comparative value.
While we haven’t tested AMD’s new chip, we did test the 1950X, 2990WX, and the mainstream 2nd-gen Ryzen processors. With what we know based on those reviews, the Threadripper 2950X should provide a noticeable performance uplift compared to its predecessor. You can grab it at Amazon and Newegg for $899.