Skip to main content

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

Rendering, Encoding and Compression

Rendering

Image 1 of 8

Image 2 of 8

Image 3 of 8

Image 4 of 8

Image 5 of 8

Image 6 of 8

Image 7 of 8

Image 8 of 8

Many of these workloads stress the memory subsystem, diminishing Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX's core count advantage due to accesses from the remote memory controllers. The 2970WX benefits from higher clock rates to surpass the 2990WX in our single-threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench tests. Both are closely matched after we active PBO, though.

If you're looking for single-threaded supremacy, Intel's ninth-gen chips cannot be beaten, as evidenced by Core i9-9900K's dominance.

Threaded workloads are an ideal match to Threadripper's high core counts. But the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX doesn't scale linearly in these types of workloads. That means the 2970WX's $500-cheaper price is attractive for high-end desktop PCs.

Encoding & Compression

Image 1 of 7

Image 2 of 7

Image 3 of 7

Image 4 of 7

Image 5 of 7

Image 6 of 7

Image 7 of 7

Our compression and decompression metrics work directly from system memory, removing storage throughput from the equation. This workload should benefit from threading. But either memory throughput or poor software scaling holds the 2990WX back from realizing its potential in the compression test. The same issue affects Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, though Dynamic Local Mode provides a slight performance uptick. But neither the 2970WX nor the 2990WX are a match for the 2920X and 2950X with their dual-die architectures. Conversely, the WX chips dominate our decompression tests, illustrating the performance trade-offs AMD's highest-end CPUs force you to make.

y-cruncher, a single- and multi-threaded program that computes pi using AVX instructions, is a great test to measure Threadripper’s AVX performance. Intel’s Core i9 employs two 256-bit AVX FMA units per core that operate in parallel, whereas Ryzen's Zen architecture divides 256-bit AVX operations across two FMA units per core. Intel's AVX instruction support shines during the single-threaded benchmark. However, spreading the workload across Threadripper's many cores helps improve its standing. Despite an eight-core advantage, the 2990WX offers little benefit over the 2970WX in the threaded y-cruncher test. Clearly, their cores suffer from a memory bandwidth bottleneck. 

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.