Skip to main content

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Review: Striking The Balance

Editor's Choice

Final Analysis

There are plenty of reasons not to buy AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. Sure, 32 cores and 64 threads sound like a dream come true for prosumers and professionals. But the CPU comes with a list of caveats. You really need a high-end motherboard, a high-end power supply, and high-end cooling to extract maximum performance from your $2000 investment. Some threaded applications simply don't scale well across that many cores. When you factor in some of the odd performance results we've seen from other applications, it becomes necessary to exercise caution before taking the leap. Make sure your applications can properly utilize the 2990WX's available resources, and that you're willing to make some compromises elsewhere.

In contrast, Threadripper 2950X doesn't impose such stringent motherboard, power supply, and cooling requirements. It consumes a little more power than its predecessor at stock and overclocked settings, but the difference isn't large enough to affect previous-generation motherboards designed for overclocking. You certainly don't have to worry about pulling up to 500W through the socket under load like we saw from Threadripper 2990WX.

Considering the raw horsepower we're talking about, AMD's pricing is extremely competitive. Ryzen Threadripper 2950X kept pace with the $1700 Core i9-7960X in many of our tests, but sells for almost half of its price. Unfortunately, the X399 platform remains prohibitively expensive. And populating all four memory channels also gets expensive in light of today's egregious DRAM pricing.

AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive is the unsung hero of the second-gen Threadripper launch. Any enthusiast can attest to the benefits of overclocking, but tuning isn't for everyone. AMD's technology brings thought-free overclocking to the masses, and unlike some of the dynamic implementations we've seen on Intel motherboards, it doesn't pump in a ridiculous amount of voltage to the processor. The adaptive algorithms do a great job of responding to the capabilities of your specific system, meaning you can extract more value from beefier components.

While we still recommend the mainstream Ryzen 7 2700X or Core i7-8700K for gaming, they clearly can't keep pace with Threadripper in productivity-oriented applications. Intel's Skylake-X processors are still brutally fast, but you'll also pay a premium for the privilege of owning one. The Threadripper 2950X offers a lot more performance at a lower price than the first-gen Threadripper did at launch, but we wouldn't recommend a direct upgrade from the 1950X. If you're looking to upgrade from an older CPU to this well-balanced processor, AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2950X does not disappoint.

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

  • 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