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Ryzen Threadripper 2 (2990WX and 2950X) Review: AMD Unleashes 32 Cores

Editor's Choice

Workstation - Compute

Whereas rendering tasks are typically graphics-heavy, favoring CPUs with high clock rates, compute workloads are more up Threadripper's alley. The new 2950X is definitely a step up from AMD's previous-generation Threadripper 1950X. Meanwhile, Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX doesn't always scale well, making it difficult to justify that premium price.

In SolidWorks, for example, Threadripper CPUs failed to impress since our benchmark didn't scale well across available cores. It's also no secret that many applications were compiled and optimized for Intel CPUs, putting AMD at an inherent disadvantage.

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Once we fire up a benchmark that's able to utilize all available processing resources, AMD's Ryzen Threadripper chips take off. The 2990WX carved out a seemingly insurmountable lead, while the 2950X with PBO enabled nudged past Intel's Core i9-7980XE.

The 3ds Max SPECapc workload is now dominated by AMD, which uses physical cores to outmaneuver Intel's mix of real and logical resources. The Ryzen 7 2700X did score a first-place finish thanks to its higher clock rate, though.

Flip over to the pure rendering score and Threadripper 2950X with PBO enabled jumps into first place. There, Ryzen 7 2700X is easily outperformed by multiple Threadripper configurations.

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The LuxRender workload from SPECwpc is well-optimized for threading, allowing AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX to truly shine. Every other model is left in the dust.

HandBrake does scale across multiple cores, but it tops out before the 32C/64T Threadripper 2990WX really takes off. As a result, the flagship Threadripper model loses to AMD's 2950X with PBO enabled.

7-Zip is similar in that our workload doesn't scale perfectly according to core/thread count. In fact, this benchmark is influenced more heavily by clock rate. Eight threads are usually sufficient, allowing Core i7-8700K to claim a first-place finish.

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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.