AMD Adds Dynamic Mode for Threadripper, Two New Chips Coming In October

AMD announced that its Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X processors would be available on October 29, 2018 for $1,299 and $649, respectively. The company also announced several new advances on the software front, including a new Dynamic Local Mode that automatically migrates applications to CPU cores with direct memory access.

The two new Threadripper processors, which AMD announced earlier this year, offer a less-expensive path onto the X399 platform. The range-topping Threadripper 2990WX introduced the first 32-core, 64-thread processor to the high-end desktop. The impressive processor boasts a 3.0GHz base frequency that stretches up to 4.2GHz, but it also comes with an eye-watering $1,799 price tag.

The more accessible $1,299 Threadripper 2970WX slots in with 24-core and 48-threads and features 3.0/4.2GHz base/boost clocks. Fewer cores equate to less raw horsepower in heavily threaded workloads, but like all of AMD's Ryzen processors, the 2970WX comes with an unlocked multiplier, so overclocking is on the table. The 2970WX also features the same 64MB of L3 cache as its more expensive counterpart. That's generous on AMD’s part: Intel typically disables cache in lock-step with cores, so “lesser” chips come with less cache. 

AMD’s WX processors feature a unique architecture that causes poor performance in a few common desktop applications. As we’ll cover shortly, AMD also revealed a new software feature today that helps address the performance challenges born of the multi-chip design.  

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Cores /ThreadsBase / Boost (GHz)L3 Cache (MB)PCIe 3.0DRAMTDPMSRP
TR 2990WX32 / 643.0 / 4.26464 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2933250W$1,799
TR 2970WX24 / 483.0 / 4.26464 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2933250W$1,299
Core i9-7980XE18 / 362.6 / 4.424.7544Quad DDR4-2666140W$1,999
TR 2950X16 / 323.5 / 4.43264 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2933180W$899
TR 1950X16 / 323.4 / 4.43264 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2667180W$750
Core i9-7960X16 / 322.8 / 4.42244Quad DDR4-2666140W$1,699
TR 2920X12 / 243.5 / 4.33264 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2933180W$649
TR 1920X12 / 243.5 / 4.23264 (4 to PCH)Quad DDR4-2667180W$399
Core i9-7920X12 /242.9 / 4.416.5044Quad DDR4-2666140W$1,199
Core i9-7900X10 / 203.3 / 4.313.7544Quad DDR4-2666140W$999

The new $649 Threadripper 2920X slots in beneath the 16 core, 32 thread 2950X. The 12 core, 24 thread 2920X offers a base frequency of 3.5GHz and a maximum boost clock rate of 4.3GHz. As with previous X-series models, the 2920X utilizes a pair of eight-core dies and two dummy packages. The active dies expose the same 32MB of L3 cache as the more expensive 2950X.

AMD Dynamic Local Mode

AMD’s Threadripper processors have a unique Multi-Chip Module (MCM) architecture that can penalize performance in some applications. AMD’s targeted enhancements to the X-series processors have eliminated much of the performance overhead, but the new WX-series processors feature a quad-die design that presents new challenges. We’ve covered the nuts and bolts of the design, but in short, two of the four die inside the processor come without directly attached memory controllers. That requires memory-hungry applications to access another die during operation, which penalizes performance.

AMD originally created two selectable memory modes, Local and Distributed, to sidestep some of the challenges. But switching between those modes requires a reboot, and there’s still room for improvement on the performance front.

AMD-provided benchmarks

AMD’s new Dynamic Local Mode, which is strictly for the Threadripper 2990WX and 2970WX processors, runs as a background service inside the operating system and automatically detects memory-starved application threads and dynamically assigns them to die with local memory controllers, thus boosting performance up to 49 percent. Conversely, it detects threads that aren’t as sensitive to memory latency and assigns them to the die without memory controllers, thus maximizing the processor’s execution resources. This new implementation is transparent to the user and happens without a reboot.

As we can see from AMD's benchmarks above, the company claims the feature provides substantial boosts in some games and applications. We'll be putting this new feature to the test shortly, but we'll have to wait to share the details. AMD will make the new Dynamic Local Mode available to the public at the time of the Threadripper launch on October 29.

Finally, the company also announced a few updates to the broader software ecosystem:

  • Game performance using Nvidia Graphics products on Ryzen Threadripper platforms has reportedly been improved. See page 13 of the 399.24 driver release notes for more information.
  • The Far Cry 5 Update 9, released on August 9, addressed an application bug affecting many logical processor (high thread count) products, including Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, and claim to improve gaming performance. You can read more details here.
  • Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 update (version 1809) on October 2. In addition to a number of new features, the update is said to improve stability with products leveraging 64 or more logical processors (high thread count processors), including Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX.

EDIT: Corrected 2970WX boost clock.

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • thrones.rush
    $1,299 cpu not sure how you can call that more accessible. to the vast majority of people its stratospherically out of reach
  • stdragon
    I was wondering about that bottleneck. I know that in dual socket servers, that with VMs you want to prevent NUMA spanning. Basically, each CPU has direct access to its own bank of RAM. Each CPU package can cross over to the member bank on the other side, but in doing so there's a performance penalty.

    Well, in many ways this like NUMA, but within the CPU package. Think of two socketed CPUs in one package. Anytime a process is split between two dies instead of running multiple threads on the same die, there will be a similar performance hit as that link between the two is the bottleneck.

    Anyways, I'm very glad that AMD had a solution to this.
  • rinosaur
    21378042 said:
    $1,299 cpu not sure how you can call that more accessible. to the vast majority of people its stratospherically out of reach

    The target audience for TR is content creators who normally have to shell out big money for wide processing loads. This is $500 less than the 2990 and will probably match it in *some* workloads. $500 saved will buy you 64GB of RAM.

  • pawinda
    Chart above shows TR4 1950X with 64MB L3 Cache. Isn't it actually 32MB?
  • pawinda
    Chart also shows TR4 1920x with 64MB L3 cache.
  • newsonline5000000
    I wonder how this Dynamic mode is made secure ? I dont like it security wise , and I expect hackers will soon use it to find back doors to the system memory.
  • secretxax
    But will Dynamic Local mode be available to the UEFI or Ryzen Master only?
  • stdragon
    It's a Windows service based application provided by AMD. But ultimately this would be better implemented at the OS kernel. Hopefully the next build of Windows 10 will have it implemented so that an application isn't required anymore.
  • rogue_onesie
    21378042 said:
    $1,299 cpu not sure how you can call that more accessible. to the vast majority of people its stratospherically out of reach
    Because it is not for the vast majority of people; it's for extreme workstations - creating movies, engineering , architecture, designing , etc.

    It is the first 32 core / 64 thread CPU and at $1,299 it's a fantastic value ... or you could pay $2,000 for the 18 core Intel i9-7980XE .

    So for powerful industry level performance at the consumer level, yes ... call it very accessible.
  • BulkZerker
    1920x still seems like the one to grab for pro-sumers on a budget. It's replacement is $250 more.