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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX Review: 24 Cores on a Budget


If you really needed to, you could equip the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX with a potent air cooler, so long as you don't overclock manually or activate Precision Boost Overdrive. However, a large Blender workload would completely overwhelm it. Conventional heat sinks and fans just aren't up to the task.

Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX can hit 450W during everyday operation. That amount of waste heat requires more than air or a compact all-in-one liquid cooler. You need a much more capable thermal solution if you want to unlock the CPU's maximum performance potential.

AMD deserves credit for this processor's finely-tuned protection mechanisms. Even with PBO active, you can easily push Threadripper 2970WX to the limits of a weaker cooler without damaging it. But you have to give up proper performance in return.

XFR2 and PBO both work well on a platform with ample cooling. The chip adjusts its voltages based on telemetry data, and PBO is actually preferable to manual overclocking. While we're not fans of hidden mechanisms, PBO does exactly what you expect.

AMD prioritizes package temperature: all measurements and information are based solely on this Tdie reading. For compatibility reasons, the 27°C-higher Tctl value is used for fan control. AMD sets the upper limit for Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX at 68°C, which translates to a Tctl value of 95°C.

At idle, our cooler keeps Ryzen Threadripper 2920X below 25°C. Under a real-world Blender workload, we average about 43°C with the CPU keeping all cores at 4 GHz. With PBO active, the 2920X accelerates to 4.15 GHz across all of its cores. The average Tdie rises to just over 49°C. This gives us a maximum delta  of less than 30°C for our potent cooling solution.

During a normal Blender workload without PBO, Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX reaches 3.55 GHz on all cores and averages 48°C. With PBO turned on, the all-core clock rate jumps to 4.025 GHz at an average temperature of 62°C.

The CPU does peak at 68°C though, meaning our sample is at its limit for full performance. Any higher and it would need to throttle back a bit.


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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.