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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X CPU Review

Our Verdict

AMD's Threadripper 1900X is designed to satisfy the needs of a small group of users that require up to 64 PCIe lanes and quad-channel memory with ECC support, but most enthusiasts are better served with cheaper mainstream processors.

For

  • 64 PCIe lanes
  • Quad-Channel memory
  • Highest frequencies of the threadripper family
  • Supports ECC memory

Against

  • Expensive X399 platform
  • Equivalent or lower performance to less expensive alternatives

Eight Cores For The High-End Desktop

AMD launched its Threadripper CPUs for high-end desktops. But, at the last minute, it also turned heads with a cheaper Ryzen Threadripper 1900X, an 8C/16T model that drops into X399-based motherboards. The company claims its 1900X is an ideal entry point for folks who might want one of the other Threadripper chips at some point down the line.

By now, we're all familiar with the key tenets of AMD's value proposition: you get more cores for less money, more affordable motherboards, and all of its architecture's features. Ryzen Threadripper 1900X carries that philosophy forward, though it sports the same number of cores as its nearest Intel competition (at a similar MSRP, no less), resides on a very pricey motherboard, and it costs more than the "mainstream" Ryzen 7 1800X, also an eight-core contender.

Specifications

The 1900X features a base frequency of 3.8 GHz, the highest base clock rate in AMD's Threadripper family. And it boosts up to 4.2 GHz if your cooler is beefy enough. Two dual-channel memory controllers combine to facilitate plenty of aggregate bandwidth, not to mention support for up to 512GB of DDR4. That's one significant advantage over the 1800X's dual-channel controller. The 1900X also supports ECC UDIMMS. And then there's the extra connectivity: Ryzen Threadripper 1900X exposes up to 64 lanes of PCIe 3.0 and more USB ports than Ryzen 7 1800X, which is limited to 16 PCIe lanes.

Why care about all of that extra I/O? It could be useful for power users with multiple GPUs, video capture cards, or voluminous NVMe-based storage arrays. In yet another example of AMD's broader feature set, the company offers bootable NVMe RAID 0, 1, and 10 for up to 10 attached SSDs, while Intel charges an additional fee for a vROC (Virtual RAID-on-CPU) dongle to unlock its full feature set. 

There are vast architectural differences between the 1900X and Ryzen 7 1800X, as well. In a nutshell, the larger Threadripper models distribute active cores across two dies and all four of the quad-core CCXes. But in a bid to mitigate a layer of latency, AMD confines the 1900X's active cores to a single CCX inside each die.

Each CCX features 8MB of shared L3 cache, so disabling two CCXes also removes much of that last-level storage space. This cuts the 1900X's total to 16MB of L3, while the larger Threadripper models have up to 32MB. Fortunately, no changes are made to the entry-level chip's memory or I/O controllers.

Threadripper 1950XThreadripper 1920XCore i7-7820XThreadripper 1900XRyzen 7 1800X
Price$999$799$599$549$499
Interface/ChipsetTR4/X399TR4/X399LGA 2066/X299TR4/X399AM4/X370
Cores/Threads16/3212/248/168/168/16
TDP180W 180W140W180W95W
Base Frequency (GHz)3.4 3.5 3.63.8 3.6
Boost Frequency (GHz)4.0 (4.2 XFR)4.0 (4.2 XFR)4.3 / 4.5 (TB 3.0)4.0 (4.2 XFR)4.0 (4.1 XFR)
Cache (L2+L3)40MB38MB19MB20MB20MB
Memory SupportDDR4-2666DDR4-2666DDR4-2666DDR4-2666DDR4-2666
Memory ControllerQuad ChannelQuad ChannelQuad ChannelQuad ChannelDual Channel
Unlocked MultiplierYesYesYesYesYes
PCIe Lanes6464286416

Interestingly, AMD still recommends using its Game Mode for the eight-core 1900X. This configuration attempts to confine data processing to the local die and its attached memory controller (NUMA). It also deactivates one die via software to eliminate die-to-die latency. That means AMD's Game Mode switches this potentially mighty CPU into a 4C/8T solution, similar to AMD's Ryzen 5 1500X and 1400.

Despite its cuts, AMD leaves the 1900X's TDP at 180W, similar to the 12-core 1920X and 16-core 1950X. That number is notably higher than Ryzen 7 1800X's 95W TDP and the Core i7-7820X's 140W rating. Like the other Threadripper models, you need to supply your own cooler; AMD doesn't bundle one. At least the company's decision to use Indium solder between its dies and heat spreader goes a long way when we get to overclocking.

Complicating the 1900X's value story is the price of X399 motherboards, which cost significantly more than X370-based platforms. So, if you're strictly a gamer, stay with AMD's Socket AM4-based chips before sinking big-time bucks into Ryzen Threadripper 1900X.


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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