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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Review: Striking The Balance

Editor's Choice

Overclocking & Test Setup

Overclocking AMD's Ryzen processors is a fairly straightforward process. Most first-gen Threadripper 1950X CPUs tap out between 3.9 and 4.0 GHz. However, our 2950X maintained 4.1 GHz with ease. We didn't run into serious thermal constraints during our testing, but we do recommend water cooling (preferably with a full-contact block) for overclocking. The included Asetek mounting bracket is sufficient, but this partial-coverage solution isn't as robust as our full-coverage Enermax Liqtech 240 TR4 II cooler.

We dialed in a 4.1 GHz overclock by tuning the Vcore to 1.375V and bumping VDD_SoC up to 1.2V. We also increased the memory to DDR4-3466 with 14-14-14-34 timings and assigned the default LLC setting.

We recorded 246W of power consumption during our torture test with Prime95 and the processor at 4.1 GHz in Creator Mode. AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive serves much the same purpose as our manual overclock, but with clock rates that adjust dynamically to meet demand. Our Threadripper 2950X sample sustained an all-core 4.1 GHz with PBO active, drawing a steady 250W under load.

With PBO active, the CPU drops to lower clock rates during idle periods. Our Threadripper 2950X fell to 2.7 GHz, resulting in a ~31W power measurement. In contrast, our all-core overclock drew 36W at idle, illustrating the efficiency benefit of using AMD's automatic overclock feature rather than dialing in a manual adjustment.

Comparison Products

Test Setup

We tested the Threadripper 2 models with MSI's MEG X399 Creation motherboard. Due to cooling and power delivery constraints, we ran through our full test suite at stock settings, with PBO activated, and with an all-core 4.1 GHz overclock. Our PBO-enabled configurations did benefit from higher memory transfer rates, as detailed in the table below.

Test System & Configuration
HardwareGermany AMD Socket AM4 (400-Series)AMD Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC 2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2667, DDR4-3466AMD Socket SP3 (TR4)Threadripper 2MSI MEG X399 Creation 4x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 RGBIntel LGA 1151 (Z370): Intel Core i7-8700K MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC 2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2667, DDR4-3466Intel LGA 2066 Intel Core i7, Core i9 MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC 4x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2666All SystemsGeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition (Gaming) Nvidia Quadro P6000 (Workstation)1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD) 4x 1TB Crucial MX300 (Storage, Images)be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11, 850W Windows 10 Pro (All Updates)U.S. AMD Socket SP3 (TR4)Threadripper Gen 1 & 2MSI MEG X399 Creation 4x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2933, DDR4-3200, DDR4-3466Intel LGA 2066Intel Core i9-7960X, -7980XE, -7900XMSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC4x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2666, DDR4-3200AMD Socket AM4 (400-Series)AMD Ryzen 7 2700X MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2933Intel LGA 1151 (Z370)Intel Core i7-8086K, Core i7-8700K, Core i5-8600K, Core i5-8400, Core i7-8700MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2667All EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE 1TB Samsung PM863SilverStone ST1500-TI, 1500WWindows 10 Pro (All Updates)
CoolingGermanyAMD Wraith RipperAlphacool Ice Block XPXEnermax LiqTech 240 TR4Thermal Grizzly KryonautU.S.Wraith RipperCorsair H115iEnermax Liqtech 240 TR4 II
Power Consumption MeasurementContact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card) Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply 2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100 kHz, DC) 4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500 MHz) 1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function
Thermal Measurement1x Optris PI640 80 Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording
Acoustic MeasurementNTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50Hz) Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)Creative X7, Smaart v.7 Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (L x D x H) Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA) Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise

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  • Peter Martin
    nice
    Reply
  • djerinich
    see what are they not telling you is that you can actually run 2 maybe even 3 heavy tasks while getting no performance hit and still use your PC for gaming or whatever, now that's where the time savings and true potential of TR is! basically it replaces 3-4 computers that otherwise you'd need for same tasks. now that's a value.
    Reply
  • Peter Martin
    yeah, that is a very powerful processor. agreed.
    Reply
  • Hupiscratch
    Would love to see a high quality streaming test. With so many streaming channels nowadays, there is definitely people considering using these HEDT platforms for this.
    Reply
  • ElectrO_90
    So we all know what this CPU can do and know its ground breaking, and do some really great things. Even the verdict says its great but expensive?
    Anyway then it gets 4.5/10

    Another weird review with bias' throughout and a conclusion that doesn't make much sense.

    I know, I'm going to buy a F1 race car and compare it to a pickup truck just to prove that the F1 car is shit, because it can't carry my shopping.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21358431 said:
    So we all know what this CPU can do and know its ground breaking, and do some really great things. Even the verdict says its great but expensive?
    Anyway then it gets 4.5/10

    Another weird review with bias' throughout and a conclusion that doesn't make much sense.

    I know, I'm going to buy a F1 race car and compare it to a pickup truck just to prove that the F1 car is shit, because it can't carry my shopping.

    Hey electrO_90, thanks for sounding off. The rating is actually a 4.5 out of 5 (nearly perfect). Perhaps it isn't displaying correctly in your region, but I see the rating correctly here. Are you reading on the US site?

    Reply
  • ElectrO_90
    If its 4.5/5 then forgive my rant - but it clearly says here
    https://www.tomshardware.co.uk/amd-ryzen-threadripper-2950x-2990wx-cpu,review-34562.html
    4.5/10 which is why I don't understand the answer.

    And under https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-threadripper-2950x-2990wx-cpu,5797.html
    it shows 4.5/5

    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21358450 said:
    If its 4.5/5 then forgive my rant - but it clearly says here
    https://www.tomshardware.co.uk/amd-ryzen-threadripper-2950x-2990wx-cpu,review-34562.html
    4.5/10 which is why I don't understand the answer.

    And under https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-threadripper-2950x-2990wx-cpu,5797.html
    it shows 4.5/5

    Thanks for the heads-up, I'll report that to the relevant people.

    Reply
  • michael_732
    21358096 said:
    Ryzen Threadripper 2950X builds on all of the goodness offered by AMD's first-gen Threadripper processors. If you're looking to upgrade to an all-around crowd pleaser, Threadripper 2950X does not disappoint.

    AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Review: Striking The Balance : Read more


    great review, on point and mirrors my experience. what i love about the 2950x is the fact you now have smaller boards (mATX) with TR4 and beefy vrms. it still isn't cheaper (by much) but you really have to look at each x399 mobo independently, regardless of your inclination, just because the vrm temps vary so widely across all models...even at the very top of the market..
    Reply
  • newsonline5000000
    ThreadRipper needs a ~$200 Motherboard to totally take the market from intel. X299 Motherboards can be found starting from $189

    Reply