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

Editor's Choice

Power Consumption

It appears that AMD made a conscious effort to minimize idle power consumption compared to previous-generation Threadripper CPUs. This is most impressive from Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, which hosts four active dies. Clearly, that model ducks in well under the level you'd expect by multiplying Ryzen 7 2700X's idle power consumption by four.

Threadripper 2950X fared especially well during our longer CAD run, which predominantly only uses up to four cores.

The 2990WX, on the other hand, sucks down a lot more power without a commensurate performance improvement.

Our gaming workload reflects big gains from AMD's second-gen Threadripper CPUs compared to their predecessors. Even turning PBO on for some extra performance doesn't kill the power story. Both new models offer significant efficiency improvements.

Full load represents a worst-case scenario for any flagship-class CPU.

Both new Ryzen Threadripper models employ Indium solder between their dies and heat spreader, whereas Intel sticks with thermal grease. We delidded CPUs from both families in order to measure overclocked power consumption without thermal throttling ruining our readings. Otherwise, we would have hit a ceiling at around 300W with Intel's grease under the hood.

It's apparent that motherboards impose AMD's specifications as hard limits: Threadripper 2950X, 1950X, and 1920X all top out at 180W without PBO enabled, while 2990WX peaks at 250W and not a watt more.

Power management is therefore the real highlight of today's launch, especially since the influence of cooling was perfectly implemented.

Even during our stress test with PBO enabled, Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX's thermal battle ends exactly at 500W. To top this, you need to manipulate your motherboard's limits and start messing with LN2. Then it's possible to top out just under 600W using a static 4.1 GHz.

Really, Threadripper 2950X represents the sensible upper limit for daily use. It also happens to be economically viable at a price point around $900. Compared to the previous-gen Threadripper flagship, this new 16C/32T model is a big improvement. Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, on the other hand, just doesn't impress as much.


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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.