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Ryzen Threadripper 2 (2990WX and 2950X) Review: AMD Unleashes 32 Cores

Editor's Choice

Office & Productivity

Adobe Creative Cloud

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Even though this suite has a few parallelized workloads, the final score is heavily influenced by the lightly-threaded tasks common in most desktop applications. The Threadripper 2950X outperforms its predecessor handily at stock settings, but the tuned Threadripper 1920X’s 4.0 GHz clock speed steals the show. The 2990WX languishes at the bottom of the overall score chart at stock settings, largely due to its lower frequencies, but tuning boosts it into contention with the Core i9-7980XE.

The Threadripper 2950X generally offers a more balanced profile than the 2990WX in most tests, but the 2990WX’s strength in the Indesign and Photoshop Heavy tests contribute to its overall lead. The tuned 1920X regularly pops up over the 2950X, but we verified the results through extensive retests.

Web Browser

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The Krakken suite tests JavaScript performance using several workloads, including audio, imaging, and cryptography. Like most web browser workloads, single threaded performance reigns supreme here. As such, it’s not surprising to find the Core i7-8700K and the Ryzen 7 2700X
at the top of the pile. 

The MotionMark benchmarks, which emphasize graphics (rather than JavaScript), are also exceedingly sensitive to CPU clock rates. Intel’s processors take the uncontested lead. The same story plays out in the WebXPRT benchmark.

Productivity

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The application start-up metric measures load time snappiness in word processors, GIMP, and Web browsers under warm- and cold-start conditions. Other platform-level considerations affect this test as well, including the storage subsystem. This benchmark remains firmly in Intel’s favor, and once again we notice the Threadripper 1920X’s 4.0 GHz clock speed boosting it above its newer counterparts. 

Our video conferencing suite measures performance in single- and multi-user applications that utilize the Windows Media Foundation for playback and encoding. It also performs facial detection to model real-world usage. Ryzen 7 2700X takes the lead while the 2990WX continues to lag in tests that aren’t heavily parallelized, but tuning brightens the picture somewhat.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries using the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized and the 2990WX rises to the occasion. The processor easily beats out the rest of the test pool, but
considering its 32 cores, the slight advantage over the tuned 16C Threadripper 1950X reminds us that AMD’s new flagship's performance doesn’t always scale well.

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Paul Alcorn

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