AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X CPU Review

Final Analysis

Remember a few short months ago when Intel introduced its Kaby Lake-X Core i7-7740X, which sold for an affordable $350, giving the impression of high-end value, but then required a super-expensive X299-based motherboard? Ryzen Threadripper 1900X sort of feels like that to us. But whereas the -7740X totally neutered Intel's platform with just 16 PCIe lanes and a pair of disabled memory channels, at least Threadripper 1900X comes armed with all of its architecture's functionality intact. Sixty-four lanes of PCIe 3.0 and four channels of DDR4 memory with ECC support may make the difference to power users with lots of add-in devices or bandwidth-sensitive workloads. But 1900X just isn't much more compelling than Ryzen 7 1800X, which also supports ECC memory on some motherboards and comes with a more affordable platform.

We plotted the 1900X's gaming performance with both average frame rates and a geometric mean of the 99th percentile frame times (a good indicator of smoothness), which we convert into an FPS measurement. Our suite includes six games released in 2016 and five older titles that launched in 2014/2015. When we reviewed the higher-end Threadripper models, we hypothesized their extra cores could enable more performance in the future, so we included a chart with newer games. But that's not as big a selling point for 1900X, since its core count matches the 1800X.

If you're a gamer above all else, and semi-professional workloads aren't on your radar, AMD's Socket AM4-based Ryzen 5 and 7 CPUs are a better fit for you than Ryzen Threadripper. You'll see similar frame rates from a $220 Ryzen 5 1600 overclocked moderately. Of course, Intel would counter back that its Coffee Lake-based Core i5s between $200 and $300 are better still. The point is you have multiple options that are great for gaming before ever needing to consider a $500 Threadripper 1900X and a way-expensive motherboard.

The real competition happens in our application workloads. Ryzen Threadripper 1900X can't quite match the $600 Core i7-7820X in most workloads, so professionals on the hunt for overall performance may favor Intel's Skylake-X chip. The Ryzen 7 1800X often serves up similar performance as Threadripper 1900X, and it costs $100 less. Then there's the Core i7-8700K, which also sells for $400, trades blows with AMD's top Ryzen 7 chip, but currently suffers from a bad case of paperlaunchitis.

Consider also that exploiting the 1900X's four memory channels means buying a quad-channel kit of DDR4. And then there are the platforms: right now, the absolute cheapest TR4-equipped motherboard sells for $340. Most models come close to $400.

Of course, AMD says its Ryzen Threadripper 1900X is the lowest-cost way to get into its X399 platform...and it is. However, we can’t ascribe much enthusiast value to this niche option. There are faster choices if you prioritize performance and cheaper alternatives if you're trying to save money. Thus, we aren't particularly attracted to Threadripper 1900X. Please, AMD, don't be upset if we send flowers to this chip's better-looking sibling, Ryzen 7 1800X.

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  • rcrossw
    My 1900x is on an Asus Prime X399-A and running stable at 4190 Ghz. Temp 44 C. Prior to the 403 Bios it ran at 4225 Ghz.

    This is to let others know what I was able to do with the 1900x. I use a Ryzen 1700 for gaming. I do Photo work and Ballistics, on the 1900x. For what I use it for it is superb product. One last thing - I run both systems at 4K Res. Better on my older eyes.
  • TechyInAZ
    Excellent review. I've been waiting for this review for a while since it's the strangest threadripper CPU in the family. Specifically i was wondering if they were going to do two cores per CCX, glad they decided to do just all 4 in one CCX for better latency.
  • Kawi6rr
    Is Threadripper a gaming CPU? If not then why do you test in so many games? Doesn't make sense.
  • PaulAlcorn
    1864409 said:
    Is Threadripper a gaming CPU? If not then why do you test in so many games? Doesn't make sense.


    31 tests for applications. Some tested with both native CPU processing and OpenCL acceleration. Also, four synthetics that measure key performance traits.


    10 games, four synthetics.
  • antonysg77
    For a normal user who also plays games, Ryzen 7 1700 is a powerful processor, which is power efficient and also comes with its own cooling solution. Also, both the processor and motherboard are very reasonably priced.
  • mapesdhs
    1920539 said:
    31 tests for applications. Some tested with both native CPU processing and OpenCL acceleration. Also, four synthetics that measure key performance traits that are applicable to some apps.


    Bit odd basing the conclusion on tests that are not by the initial introduction representative of the target market for the product. Why does everything have to be about gaming?? If the CPU isn't aimed at gamers in the conventional sense then surely it makes more sense to test it based on the kind of task it is aimed at? For example, setup an X399/1900X system with four GPUs for CUDA in AE or somesuch, compare it to the same GPU config on an X299 board, how do they behave? Efficiency, power consumption, render times, stability during an intense render, etc.

    At the very least do some tests at 4K while streaming and show how the systems compare under such a scenario, such as GN has done for various CPU comparisons.

    Ian.
  • cryoburner
    1864409 said:
    Is Threadripper a gaming CPU? If not then why do you test in so many games? Doesn't make sense.


    It makes sense in that they can show that to people who might be considering going with it for a gaming system. Some people tend to think that just because some piece of hardware is more expensive that it will be better for gaming, when in reality that hardware may cost more because it adds features that don't even provide much benefit to games. The 1900X enables quad channel memory with a higher maximum memory limit, but games won't benefit from that, and 16GB of dual channel memory should work just as well for years to come. Likewise, a gaming system won't likely see much benefit from having a CPU with 64 PCIe lanes. Someone wanting an 8 core processor for a gaming system would likely get comparable performance by overclocking a Ryzen 1700 on an X370 motherboard for several hundred dollars less. The same goes for other HEDT processors with lots of cores like the other Threadripper parts and Intel's equivalents. For gaming, those extra cores won't likely provide any benefit, and will likely only make it harder to keep the chip cool,resulting in lower clock rates if anything. Of course, there will also be some people who want those extra hardware features for specific tasks other than gaming, but may want to be able to game on the system as well.
  • anbello262
    1864409 said:
    Is Threadripper a gaming CPU? If not then why do you test in so many games? Doesn't make sense.


    This site is aimed mainly at gamers, so it makes sense to base the conclusion on gaming performance. You just seem to be upset that "someone might read this the wrong way and think AMD sucks", as if our job would be caring for the companies best interests.
    They can do their own marketing, the job of Tom's is to give us all the information in the most scientifically accurate way possible, and then sum it up with a conclusion aimed at their readers, who are mostly gamers.
    If you are not a gamer, then you can just read the pages with the productivity apps, and just ignore the conclusion (since it will not apply to you). There is no misrepresentation or false information anywhere in the article
  • PaulAlcorn
    Well, the conclusion also takes application performance into account.

    Quote:
    "The real competition happens in our application workloads."


    Also, there are seven application price efficiency charts in the conclusion.
  • Nintendork
    BILLY GATES
    Dunno if you forgot than with any TR chip you will get the full 64pcie lanes + ECC support. Where can you find that even on the 2K i9? Well, you won't.
  • rhysiam
    1594419 said:
    7820x is better in every way. AMD needs to stay in their lane and that is the lowend-midrange builds.

    Unless you need more than 28 PCIe lanes or ECC RAM. In which case Intel locks you out unless you pay much higher prices.

    You've 'missed the point of this CPU entirely! If you care primarily about value for-money CPU performance this is a terrible CPU, in fact, one of the worst on the market. If, on the other hand, your primary concern is large amounts of ECC ram and/or many PCIe lanes for the lowest possible price, this will be for many the best purchase on the market. It's a niche product for sure, but for the few who want it, this is a fantastic product.
  • DerekA_C
    i see 8k gaming a thing or 4k 144hz possible with that many lanes possibly with vega refresh or 4 1080ti.
  • Gillerer
    I think that for CPU reviews' game benchmarks, it would be interesting to have a graph indicating how many cores are at full or near full utilization - indicating CPU bound scenario, or risk of getting CPU bound at certain points during gaming.
  • mdd1963
    You'd almost have to be retarded to intentionally choose a 1900X over an R7-1700...' seriously. :)
  • Gillerer
    46152 said:
    You'd almost have to be retarded to intentionally choose a 1900X over an R7-1700...' seriously. :)


    "almost have to be retarded", with the stress on the word "almost".

    Even if the performance of the 1900X is lacking, there are advantages to the X390 platform: more memory, more PCIe, more NVMe, NVMe RAID, 10Gb NIC available built-in to some motherboards. If you need or want those, but don't need extra cores, the 1900X makes sense.
  • Wisecracker
    54046 said:
    How much did Intel pay for this review??
    :lol:
    You have a point, though _:D_ This is not Ryzen TR 1900X Vs. Ryzen1800x ... or i7-7820X ... it's really AMD Socket sTR4 Vs Chipzilla('s X Next-99 or X Same-As-The-Last-99 Chipset)

    A TR 1900X/X399 Combo is $840US and in no surprise, the i7-7820X/X299 Combo is $5 less. oh, darn. THG whiffed.

    It's Intel X Old-And-Busted-99 Vs AMD's X Eat-Our-Dust-99 Motherboards. They're the same, except where they are not, and except where they're going. The irony that should not be missed is AMD is using Intel's own playbook against them (want more jam? ... upgrade to a 1950X or ? ) plus winning price points, with a long history of strong support for their high-end platforms.

    AMD is now capable of 'cluster-ing' and 'glue-ing' (HA!) on 4,096-landing substrate whatever suits their fancy, and has partnered in the engineering/design of their 'platform/controller hub' and X399 motherboard with AsMedia. Works for me. Show me the money. 4-6-8 CCX ( 8-12-16 ?) or 120 PCIe lanes works for me, too. I'd prefer a SIMD Engine Array with the compute power of an R9 280X to 32 cores / 64 threads but I'm not paid to make that call ...

    My best next-up guess for sTR4 is 2xRR, or 8/16 with 20 CUs (or nCUs, Lexa GCNnCUs? whatever :pt1cable: ) at $370US --- with the same OpenCL compute as the i7-7820X with a GTX 1080.

    That is, if the i7-7820X does OpenCL compute by then
    ('PCtel Mark' need not apply :ouch: )
  • LeonVolcove
    I did not see the power consumption page?
  • SBSExtensions
    Too bad there were no workstation (i.e. SolidWorks CPU & GPU) benchmarks. Could you use the 1900X in future benchmarks against other processors? Thanks.
  • jabliese
    You should add a tag line to every AMD review, "And, of course, the AMD motherboard is lacking Intel's ME." That's a decent selling point.
  • mapesdhs
    1426528 said:
    This site is aimed mainly at gamers, so it makes sense to base the conclusion on gaming performance. ...


    Even though the article opens by stating the product isn't aimed at gamers. Without the context of the conclusion itself being solely aimed at gamers, comments such as, "But 1900X just isn't much more compelling than Ryzen 7 1800X, ...", make no sense at all. Ditto, "... so professionals on the hunt for overall performance may favor Intel's Skylake-X chip.", when there were no relevant use cases even tested. Also, "Thus, we aren't particularly attracted to Threadripper 1900X."; who's the "we" here? Gamers? The conclusion section doesn't state this, it reads like an overall conclusion. I note my earlier post had several down votes; anyone care to respond with actual arguments as opposed to an easy page click? There are some very sensible use cases for this CPU, but the article reads like it's a pointless product because it's so focused on gaming, while talking about a product the article intro says isn't aimed at gamers. No 4K, no multi-GPU, no pro tasks that can exploit what the product can really to those for whom it's a very good fit indeed.

    Ian.
  • lotusmotors
    205977 said:
    BILLY GATES Dunno if you forgot than with any TR chip you will get the full 64pcie lanes + ECC support. Where can you find that even on the 2K i9? Well, you won't.

    Not a single Threadripper owner even uses ECC RAM because it's too slow. ECC is pointless for client PC anyways and only people bringing it up are non-owners.
  • mapesdhs
    2578136 said:
    Not a single Threadripper owner even uses ECC RAM because it's too slow. ECC is pointless for client PC anyways and only people bringing it up are non-owners.


    Spoken by someone who presumably doesn't do a task that needs ECC and hence isn't aware of its relevance. CUDA accelerated financial transaction processing, for example. 1900X with four GPUs and ECC would be ideal for that; ECC is more important than uber speed to those who need it. You claim it's "too slow"; please supply some data *on this platform* which supports this assertion for relevant tasks.

    Ian.
  • wiyosaya
    117741 said:
    1426528 said:
    This site is aimed mainly at gamers, so it makes sense to base the conclusion on gaming performance. ...
    Even though the article opens by stating the product isn't aimed at gamers. Without the context of the conclusion itself being solely aimed at gamers, comments such as, "But 1900X just isn't much more compelling than Ryzen 7 1800X, ...", make no sense at all. Ditto, "... so professionals on the hunt for overall performance may favor Intel's Skylake-X chip.", when there were no relevant use cases even tested. Also, "Thus, we aren't particularly attracted to Threadripper 1900X."; who's the "we" here? Gamers? The conclusion section doesn't state this, it reads like an overall conclusion. I note my earlier post had several down votes; anyone care to respond with actual arguments as opposed to an easy page click? There are some very sensible use cases for this CPU, but the article reads like it's a pointless product because it's so focused on gaming, while talking about a product the article intro says isn't aimed at gamers. No 4K, no multi-GPU, no pro tasks that can exploit what the product can really to those for whom it's a very good fit indeed. Ian.

    I have to agree with your comments. Someone ought to come up with a Finite Element benchmark as the FE type workload is something that benefits from a wide memory bus.
  • Wisecracker
    117741 said:
    ... comments such as, "But 1900X just isn't much more compelling than Ryzen 7 1800X, ...", make no sense at all. Ditto, "... so professionals on the hunt for overall performance may favor Intel's Skylake-X chip.", when there were no relevant use cases even tested. ...


    Pretty much this. But, Anandtech to the rescue (kinda) ..

    Though - it might be for a good reason. Ryzen DT gives Chipzilla HEDT (KL-X, SL-X, BW-E, HW-E) a good run for the money, and AMD X-399 HEDT blows-up Intel's X-299 price structure and HEDT going forward.