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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Review: Striking The Balance

Editor's Choice

Adobe Creative Cloud

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.

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AMD's Threadripper 2950X offers a well-balanced feature set. But the 2990WX’s strength in the heavily threaded InDesign and Photoshop Heavy tests allowed it to capture an overall lead. The tuned 1920X regularly popped up ahead of the 2950X, and we verified the outcome through extensive retesting.

Web Browser

The Krakken suite evaluates JavaScript performance using several workloads, including audio, imaging, and cryptography. Like most web browser workloads, single-threaded performance reigns supreme. These tests expose the trade-offs you make for an all-core overclock.

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AMD's second-gen Threadripper line-up goes a long way to improve the performance of lightly threaded workloads. But the value of its dynamic overclocking feature can't be understated. As we saw in the MotionMark benchmarks, which emphasize graphics (rather than JavaScript) and are also sensitive to CPU clock rates, PBO offered a big performance boost with minimal effort on our part (aside from the investment in a capable cooler).

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.

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX suffered due to its low clock rates, and PBO did little to help. Unfortunately, manual tuning of the 2990WX really isn't viable given its hefty core count and resulting power consumption. Meanwhile, the Threadripper 2950X chipped away at Intel's application loading prowess, though we don't expect high-end desktop CPUs to usurp mainstream alternatives like the Ryzen 7 2700X and Core i7-8700K in this test.

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. Threadripper 2950X's processing time showed little benefit from one setup to the next, though.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries using the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized. Nevertheless, Threadripper 2950X suffered tremendously from our 4.1 GHz all-core overclock, demonstrating sensitivity to frequency as well. At least AMD's dynamic overclocking feature boosted performance into the same league as the brawnier 32C/64T 2990WX.

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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.