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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.

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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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Kawi6rr
    Is Threadripper a gaming CPU? If not then why do you test in so many games? Doesn't make sense.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    20301236 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    20301281 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.

    Reply
  • cryoburner
    20301236 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.
    Reply
  • anbello262
    20301236 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
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    Well, the conclusion also takes application performance into account.

    "The real competition happens in our application workloads."

    Also, there are seven application price efficiency charts in the conclusion.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply