Remember a few short months ago when Intel introduced its Kaby Lake-X Core i7-7740X, which sold for an affordable $350, giving the impression of high-end value, but then required a super-expensive X299-based motherboard? Ryzen Threadripper 1900X sort of feels like that to us. But whereas the -7740X totally neutered Intel's platform with just 16 PCIe lanes and a pair of disabled memory channels, at least Threadripper 1900X comes armed with all of its architecture's functionality intact. Sixty-four lanes of PCIe 3.0 and four channels of DDR4 memory with ECC support may make the difference to power users with lots of add-in devices or bandwidth-sensitive workloads. But 1900X just isn't much more compelling than Ryzen 7 1800X, which also supports ECC memory on some motherboards and comes with a more affordable platform.
We plotted the 1900X's gaming performance with both average frame rates and a geometric mean of the 99th percentile frame times (a good indicator of smoothness), which we convert into an FPS measurement. Our suite includes six games released in 2016 and five older titles that launched in 2014/2015. When we reviewed the higher-end Threadripper models, we hypothesized their extra cores could enable more performance in the future, so we included a chart with newer games. But that's not as big a selling point for 1900X, since its core count matches the 1800X.
If you're a gamer above all else, and semi-professional workloads aren't on your radar, AMD's Socket AM4-based Ryzen 5 and 7 CPUs are a better fit for you than Ryzen Threadripper. You'll see similar frame rates from a $220 Ryzen 5 1600 overclocked moderately. Of course, Intel would counter back that its Coffee Lake-based Core i5s between $200 and $300 are better still. The point is you have multiple options that are great for gaming before ever needing to consider a $500 Threadripper 1900X and a way-expensive motherboard.
The real competition happens in our application workloads. Ryzen Threadripper 1900X can't quite match the $600 Core i7-7820X in most workloads, so professionals on the hunt for overall performance may favor Intel's Skylake-X chip. The Ryzen 7 1800X often serves up similar performance as Threadripper 1900X, and it costs $100 less. Then there's the Core i7-8700K, which also sells for $400, trades blows with AMD's top Ryzen 7 chip, but currently suffers from a bad case of paperlaunchitis.
Consider also that exploiting the 1900X's four memory channels means buying a quad-channel kit of DDR4. And then there are the platforms: right now, the absolute cheapest TR4-equipped motherboard sells for $340. Most models come close to $400.
Of course, AMD says its Ryzen Threadripper 1900X is the lowest-cost way to get into its X399 platform...and it is. However, we can’t ascribe much enthusiast value to this niche option. There are faster choices if you prioritize performance and cheaper alternatives if you're trying to save money. Thus, we aren't particularly attracted to Threadripper 1900X. Please, AMD, don't be upset if we send flowers to this chip's better-looking sibling, Ryzen 7 1800X.
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