Hot on the heels of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X launch, the company shared more information about its Threadripper 1900X model that is available for purchase today. AMD gears the new entrant for prosumers, creators, developers, and researchers, and of course, multi-tasking gamers. The company also announced support for bootable NVMe RAID arrays on X399 motherboards.
AMD unabashedly aims the Threadripper lineup at the HEDT market with copious core counts for demanding workloads. The series drops into premium X399 motherboards with the TR4 socket, and the 1900X slots in as the 8C/16T model. AMD also has eight-core Ryzen 7 models paired with mainstream AM4 motherboards. Aside from the similar core counts, the 1800X is much different than its larger 1900X cousin, largely due to architectural and platform differences.
The Ryzen 7 series is a single-die design, whereas the Threadripper 1900X features a dual-die design with four active cores in each die, along with two dummy die to ensure package stability. AMD selects the top 5% of its die for Threadripper models, so the 1900X also features higher base and turbo frequencies than the 1800X, but the most important differences lay in connectivity options.
The 1900X features two dual-channel memory controllers that provide access to quad-channel memory (for up to 512GB of memory capacity), a significant gain over the 1800X's dual-channel memory. AMD's less stringent segmentation results in the full complement of connectivity options, even for its lower core count models. The 1900X supports up to 64 PCIe lanes (the 1800X's 16 lanes pale in comparison) and more USB ports. The improved memory performance provides a big boost for memory-bound workloads, and increased PCIe connectivity makes for a compelling offering for users who have more elaborate requirements.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Threadripper 1950X||Core i9-7900X||Threadripper 1920X||Core i7-7820X||Threadripper 1900X||Ryzen 7 1800X|
|Interface/Chiset||TR4 / X399||LGA2066 / X299||TR4 / X399||LGA2066 / X299||TR4 / X399||AM4 / X370|
|Base Frequency (GHz)||3.4||3.3||3.5||3.6||3.8||3.6|
|Boost Frequency (GHz)||4.0 (4.2 XFR)||4.3 / 4.5 (TB 3.0)||4.0 (4.2 XFR)||4.3 / 4.5 (TB 3.0)||4.0 (4.2 XFR)||4.0 (4.1 XFR)|
|L3 cache (L2+L3)||40MB||23.75MB||38MB||19MB||20MB||20MB|
|Memory Controller||Quad Channel||Quad Channel||Quad Channel||Quad Channel||Quad Channel||Dual Channel|
The Ryzen 7 series comes with eight cores and varying clock frequencies spread across three models that range from $329 to $499. Due to AMD's unlocked multipliers, the three Ryzen 7 models provide nearly identical performance if you overclock. We often see the Ryzen 7 models selling far below MSRP, so they certainly represent a great value. The Ryzen 7 and 5 series will continue to serve gamers well, including those who stream, whereas the 1900X slots in for users who need access to more sophisticated use cases. It also provides a lower cost of entry for the TR4 platform, which provides a cheaper upgrade path in the future.
AMD provided several performance comparisons (test notes at the end of this article) that compare the 1900X to its more well-equipped siblings. As expected, the 1900X features better performance than the 1950X and 1920X in lightly threaded titles, while it loses a minor amount of performance in games that favor more cores. The 1900X also fares well compared to the 1800X in games that benefit from higher clock speeds, whereas the 1800X holds the advantage in threaded titles. AMD's benchmarks compare the 1920X in legacy mode, which halves the number of threads, essentially creating a four-core processor. This mode sidesteps the latency of inter-die communication, but we can see that it has an impact on performance in some games.
The story is much different when we shift focus to productivity applications. The 1900X's superior memory subsystem facilitates more performance across the board in applications like POVRay, Blender, Handbrake, and Veracrypt.
Overall, the 1900X's benefits boil down to its better connectivity options. AMD outlined several use cases that would benefit from that, such as using a GPU, streaming card, and NVMe RAID array simultaneously. This setup consumes only 48 of Threadripper's 64 lanes, so AMD also outlined a few more stringent setups for deep learning and render farms. For instance, the 1900X accommodates up to four GPUs (although two will have restricted bandwidth) and an NVMe array.
Speaking of NVMe, the X399 platform launched without support for bootable NVMe RAID, but the company is adding support for RAID 0, 1, and 10 via firmware updates. You can build bootable RAID arrays of up to ten devices, and the upgrade is free.
Aside from the step down to eight cores, the 1900X is quite similar to its Threadripper predecessors. Pairing a less expensive chip with an expensive motherboard can be a bad decision, much like we see with Intel's Core i7 and i5 processors on the X299 chipset. Those processors offer roughly the same performance as their mainstream counterparts, and because you don't gain any extra connectivity options to make it worthwhile, shifting to the expensive X299 platform offers zero benefit to users.
AMD's approach is entirely different. It's eight-core Ryzen Threadripper 1900X features a different architecture, and pairing it with X399's expanded connectivity options yields a tangible benefit over the mainstream Ryzen 7 series. The 1900X surely isn't for everyone, but it should be a good fit for users with especially specific requirements.
The Ryzen Threadripper 1900X is available for order today, and NVMe RAID support comes September 25.