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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Review

TR4 Socket, X399 Chipset & Test Setup

The Threadripper TR4 Socket

Accommodating AMD's massive Threadripper processors required a new interface. Socket TR4 (SP3r2) for X399 motherboards boasts 4094 pins, which is much more complex than Intel's LGA 2066 interface found on X299-equipped motherboards. Socket TR4 socket marks AMD's transition from a PGA (Pin Grid Array) with the first Ryzen models to an LGA (Land Grid Array) implementation.

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The processor employs a unique mounting process that should be safer than the normal latching mechanism, all the while remaining simple. Just remove the three Torx screws in a pre-defined order and the retention mechanism swings open. There is another assembly underneath that you also swing open. Pull out an internal plastic cover, and then slide the processor—contained in an orange plastic shroud—into the carriage. It's important to leave the black cover over the socket until you install the processor in the flip-up housing. Those pins are fragile.

After sliding the processor into its carriage, you remove the socket cover and swing the processor down into the socket. Then you swing down the mounting mechanism and tighten the fasteners (in the listed order) with the bundled Torx T20 torque wrench. We've included a picture of AMD's recommended TIM application technique. Heat sink installation requires four additional fasteners.

Socket AM4, like Threadripper, has its roots in the EPYC data center design. But the processors aren't interchangeable.

The X399 Chipset

The X399 chipset supports two USB 3.1 Gen2 and six USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, along with six USB 2.0 connections. Two PCIe 3.0 lanes allow motherboard vendors to add more storage connectivity (four SATA or two SATA Express), and the eight general-purpose PCIe 2.0 lanes accommodate other controllers, such as Ethernet or WLAN/Bluetooth. Eight SATA ports round out the chipset's connectivity options, and you can leverage several RAID configurations with the attached SATA devices. Unfortunately, NVMe RAID isn't supported in hardware yet, though software RAID is still an option.

The Threadripper processor provides an additional eight USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and four SATA connections (hardware RAID supported). The 60 remaining PCIe lanes support up to seven PCIe devices. Overall, the platform provides a wealth of connectivity options.

Comparison Products

Test Systems

We introduced our new test system and methodology in How We Test Graphics Cards. If you'd like more detail about our general approach, check that piece out.

In this case, only the hardware configuration with CPU, RAM, mainboard, as well as the new cooling system are different, so the summary in table form gives a quick overview of the systems used:

Test System and Configuration
HardwareGermany AMD Socket SP3 (TR4)AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950XAsus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme4x 8GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200Intel LGA 2066Intel Core i9-7900XMSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC4x 4GB G.Skill RipJaws IV DDR4-2600AMD Socket AM4 WorkstationAMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, 1600X, 1500XMSI X370 Tomahawk4x 8GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200Intel LGA 2011v3Intel Core i7-6900KMSI X99S XPower Gaming Titanium4x 4GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-2400Intel LGA 1151Intel Core i7-7700KMSI Z270 Gaming 72x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200 @ 2400 MT/sAll SystemsGeForce GTX 1080 Founders EditionNvidia Quadro P6000 (Workstation)1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System)2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11, 850W Power SupplyWindows 10 Pro (Creators Update)USAMD Socket SP3 (TR4)AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950XAsus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme4x 8GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200 @ 2666 and 3200 MT/sIntel LGA 2066Intel Core i9-7900X, i7-7820XMSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC4x 8GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200 @ 2666 and 3200 MT/sAMD Socket AM4 AMD Ryzen 7 1800XMSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium2x 8GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200 @ 3200 MT/sIntel LGA 1151 Intel Core i5-7700K MSI Z270 Gaming M72x 8GB G.Skill RipJaws V DDR4-3200 @ 2666 and 3200 MT/sAll EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE 1TB Samsung PM863 SilverStone ST1500, 1500W Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703
CoolingGermanyAlphacool Eiszeit 2000 ChillerAlphacool Eisblock XPXThermal Grizzly Kryonaut (For Cooler Switch)
MonitorEizo EV3237-BK
PC CaseLian Li PC-T70 with Extension Kit and Mods Configurations: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
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, 500MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC) 4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz) 1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function
Thermal Measurement1x Optris PI640 80Hz 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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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.