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AMD's 3rd-gen Threadripper is now official, starting at $1,400 for 24 cores/48 thread
[Image: 2019-11-06-image-23.jpg]

Highly anticipated: 3rd-gen Threadripper is now official starting with a 24-core, 48-thread part that will set you back a handsome $1,400 and only goes up from there, for what is likely going to be insane core heavy performance. We also have news of a new $50 Athlon CPU. Finally, the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X arrives on November 25, which means a lot for those on the AM4 platform today and a few years down the road, too.

Starting at the top of the food chain is 3rd-gen Threadripper. We knew 24 and 32 core models were nearly guaranteed, but that’s about all we knew prior to this announcement. Of course, the rumor mill has been working overtime on this one, last month we heard that the 64-core flagship 3990X wouldn’t arrive until next year and given the info we have today, that’s entirely possible.

What we can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Threadripper 3960X is a 24-core/48-thread part that clocks between 3.8 and 4.5 GHz depending on the workload, and it has a mammoth 140 MB cache. That all sounds amazing and it’s almost certainly going to be, but this entry-level 3rd-gen Threadripper part will set you back an eye watering $1,400. That might sound a bit shocking given the current 24-core 2970WX can be bought for $915, but remember the MSRP on that part was actually $1,300 at launch, so the 3rd-gen version costs $100 more.

In contrast, Intel's upcoming Core i9-10980XE will cost $1,000, but will be limited to 18 cores. While we don’t know yet how those parts will stack up, AMD's TR 3960X is coming out on top in core heavy workloads for sure. In fact, AMD is showing off their own benchmark that has the 3960X taking on the 9980XE, and in terms of performance we’re expecting Skylake-X and Cascade Lake-X to be the same given it’s just a refresh with a massive price correction. So the 9980XE should be representative of what we see with the 10980XE.

According to AMD, that means Threadripper will be up to 31% faster for compiler work, 22% faster in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, 24% faster for rendering with V-Ray and a massive 54% faster in Cinebench R20. That's for a 40% price premium which may or may not be worth it, hard to say for certain right now.

Speaking of price premiums, you might want to sit down for this one... the Threadripper 3970X is going to be 32-core, 64-thread CPU setting you back a cool $2,000. No doubt this has some bite to it, priced $200 above the 2990WX, it’s going to be the most expensive high-end desktop CPU on the market.

The 3970X clocks between 3.7 and 4.5 GHz and features a whopping 144 MB cache. AMD claims it’s up to 90% faster than the 9980XE in Cinebench R20, 49% faster in V-Ray, 47% in Premiere Pro and then 36 - 43% faster for compilers.
A new TRX platform

AMD has also detailed the new TRX40 platform featuring a mindblowing 72 available PCI 4.0 lanes. There are 88 PCIe lanes in total but 16 of them will be required to use the system as a graphics card is necessary. From the CPU there are 48 PCIe 4.0 lanes which AMD marks as general purpose, as they can be used for anything and will typically be accessible via PCIe expansion slots.

There’s an additional 8 lanes which are split into two 4 lane groups, each can be used to offer either a x4 expansion slot, a x4 NVMe slot or 4 SATA ports. The CPU also supports four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports and a quad channel DDR4-3200 memory controller.

A further 8 PCIe 4.0 lanes connect to the TRX40 chipset, providing four times more CPU-to-chipset bandwidth when compared to 2nd-gen Threadripper. The chipset supports a further 8 USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, four legacy USB 2.0 ports, four SATA 6 Gbps ports and a further 8 PCIe 4.0 general purpose lanes. On top of that there’s another 8 PCIe 4.0 lanes which are reserved and slip into two 4 lane groups. They can each be configured as a single x4 slot, two x2 slots or four x1 slots, or they can also be used to support 4 SATA 6 Gbps ports. The sheer number of expansion possibilities is mind boggling. No doubt we'll see some truly insane TRX40 motherboards.

The only downside here is that TRX40 and TR4 motherboards are not compatible. You won’t be able to use a 3rd-gen Threadripper CPU on an existing X399 board and upcoming TRX40 boards won’t support 1st and 2nd-gen parts.

AMD didn’t make any compatibility promises for Threadripper like they did with AM4. As much as we don’t like this, we also understand it. Cross-compatibility with TR4 would have meant board makers would face all the same issues they’ve run into getting older boards to work, and that still seems to be an ongoing process for 300 and 400-series AM4 motherboards.
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