AMD's next-generation Threadripper Pro 5995WX may be the hottest news in CPU enthusiast circles right now. However, two Threadripper Pro 3995WX (via Reddit (opens in new tab)) recently established a new CPU record in PassMark.
A pair of EPYC 75F3 processors previously held the record, with a score of 110,748 CPU marks. The dual-Threadripper Pro 3995WX configuration put up a 12% higher score and stole the crown from the EPYC chips. While the new record is impressive in its own way, what's even more interesting is the fact that someone managed to get Threadripper Pro to run on a dual-socket motherboard -- something that wasn't meant to happen.
On one hand, Threadripper Pro and EPYC chips feature the same FCLGA-4094 package with 4,094 pins. However, the first slots into the latest sWRX8 socket (Socket SP3r4), while the latter still resides on the original Socket SP3. Although both sockets are of the same size, the connections and pin mapping are likely different. So, it was a surprise that someone managed to get Threadripper Pro to run on the Socket SP3.
Currently, there are two entries of dual Threadripper Pro setups on PassMark. The dual Threadripper Pro 3995WX system was based around the Gigabyte MZ72-HB0, whereas the dual Threadripper Pro 3975WX system utilizes Gigabyte's MZ71-CE1. Both motherboards are designed for EPYC processors. Due to the difference in design, Socket SP3 motherboards probably don't have the microcode to support Threadripper Pro processors, so it's likely that the person was utilizing a modified firmware to run the two Threadripper Pro in tandem.
The Threadripper Pro lineup was already dangerously close to the EPYC lineup in terms of features, such as 64 cores and support for 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes and eight-channel ECC RDIMM and LRDIMM memory. The only thing that really separated them, besides the software and security features, was that you can run EPYC in a multi-socket system.
It remains to be seen whether a bootleg dual Threadripper Pro system offers the same level of stability and functionality as an EPYC setup. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX (Zen 2) has a $5,489 MSRP, so getting two of them in a system puts you just under the $11,000 mark. The EPYC 7763 (Zen 3), on the contrary, comes with a $7,890 MSRP, so two could cost $15,780. The Threadripper Pro alternative is up to 30% cheaper.
Most businesses and enterprises probably aren't interested in saving a few thousand bucks, since stability is much more important. Nonetheless, the dual Threadripper Pro option certainly opens up the possibility for professionals and prosumers to put together a 128-core system that's more friendly on the wallet.
AMD's latest EPYC 7003 (Milan) lineup is already on the Zen 3 microarchitecture, but the Threadripper Pro 5000 army will feature the same Zen 3 prowess. So things will only get more interesting when the new Treadripper chips arrive. Rumors claim that Threadripper 5000 will potentially drop in November, with the Pro versions coming later in 2022.