Earlier this year AMD launched its highly successful Ryzen line of processors, and it’s not stopping there, with news that it's preparing to launch a 16-core (32-thread) processor named ‘Threadripper’, aimed at enthusiasts and high-end desktop PCs.
This news comes after rumors emerged that AMD’s competitor, Intel, was lining up a series of Core i9 processors, with the top-of-the-range Core i9-7920X coming with 12 cores (24 threads).
Processors that have more cores and threads are able to handle more tasks at once – which means these CPUs are more adapt at multitasking.
CPUs with very high core counts have been present in servers and enterprise machines for a while now, but it looks like the new processor arms race between AMD and Intel is bringing mega-core processors to people’s home PCs.
Here’s everything we know about the AMD Ryzen Threadripper line, including release date, price speculation and other rumors.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? AMD’s mega-powerful 16-core processor
- When is it out? According to AMD, this summer
- What will it cost? It'll be pricey, but we expect it to be cheaper than Intel’s offering
AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper release date
While we don’t have a concrete release date for the AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper line of CPUs to be released, Jim Anderson, Senior VP and General Manager, Computing and Graphics at AMD said at AMD’s financial analyst day on May 16 that Ryzen Threadripper chips would arrive in the summer.
And Computex, the international information technology show in Taiwan, is rapidly approaching – it's at the end of May – so we may hear more about the release date for AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper CPUs then.
AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper price
At the moment we don’t have firm details about what price the AMD Ryzen 9 Threadrippers will release at either, but as they'll be packed with cores and aimed at enthusiasts we’re not expecting them to be cheap.
However, AMD has constantly proved that it's willing to offering very competitive prices, often undercutting Intel’s products by quite a margin. AMD’s top-of-the-range Ryzen 7 1800X costs £400 ($399, around AU$520), and prices are already beginning to drop further.
This CPU comes with eight cores and 16 threads, so we’d expect the top-end AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper to be quite a bit more expensive, possibly around £800 ($800, AU$1,200), and maybe as much as £1,000 ($1,200, AU$1,400). But, while these are eye-watering prices, they're likely to be below Intel’s Core i9 prices.
AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper specs and power
So far all we officially know about the AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper is that the series will feature "up to 16 cores and 32 threads".
That means we have an idea of what the top-of-the-range Ryzen 9 Threadripper chip will boast, but it's likely there will be a number of other Threadripper CPUs that come with fewer cores and threads, making them more affordable.
As for how fast those cores will run, again we don’t have specifics, but the 1800X has a base clock of 3.7GHz that turbos up to 4.0GHz. We can’t imagine the top-end AMD Ryzen 9 Threadripper being much slower than that unless there are heat/power draw issues, but it’s pushing the limits of what speeds can be achieved without overclocking.
It’s likely the Threadripper series will use AMD’s SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading) technology found in other Ryzen chips.
Meanwhile, a recent leak hinted at the specs of the Ryzen 9 CPU lineup. The Ryzen 9 1998X will run with a base clock speed of 3.5GHz and a boost speed of 3.9GHz, and a total draw power (TDP) of 155W.
The Ryzen 9 1977X and Ryzen 9 1977 are rumored to be 14-core (28-thread) CPUs running at base and boost speeds of 3.5GHz/4.1GHz and 3.2GHz/3.7GHz respectively, with a TDP of 155W and 140W.
AMD’s Ryzen 9 series will then apparently have three 12-core processors: the 1976X, 1956X and 1956, running at 3.6GHz/4.1GHz, 3.2GHz/3.8GHz and 3GHz/3.7GHz respectively. The 1976X will have a TDP of 140W, and the others will notch down to 125W.
Finally, at the bottom of the range are the still-impressive 10-core Ryzen 9 1955X and 1955 chips, running at 3.6GHz/4GHz and 3.1GHz/3.7GHz respectively, with a TDP of 125W.
All of these processors are said to support quad-channel DDR4 memory, the same as Intel’s Core i9 offerings, and 44 PCIe Lanes across the range (as is the case with Intel’s top two i9 CPUs, the 7920X and 7900X).
The Ryzen 9 series processors will use a modified variant of the SP3 socket, which was originally designed for AMD’s beefy server chips that go up to 32 cores.
- What about graphics? AMD Vega release date, news and features: everything you need to know
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