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Since before Threadripper launched, we’ve known that AMD had an eight-core variant of the chip waiting in the wings. The new CPU has hit the market as the
Ryzen Threadripper 1900X
, with eight cores, 16 threads, and support for AMD’s X399 motherboard platform.
The Threadripper 1900X has a 3.8GHz base clock, a 4GHz Turbo clock, and a 200MHz XFR range for short-term boosting if the CPU’s thermals and power consumption permit it. That’s not very different from the Ryzen 7 1800X, with its 3.6GHz base clock, 4GHz Turbo, and 100MHz XFR. The larger changes are at the platform level, where the 1900X has 60 PCIe 3.0 lanes and a quad-channel DDR4 configuration compared with just 16 PCIe lanes and dual-channel RAM for the 1800X.
Click to enlarge
The I/O capabilities and PCI Express 3.0 lanes give the 1900X an edge over the 1800X, provided you’re running workloads that can take advantage of them. The 180W TDP is almost certainly a carry-over from the other
chips as opposed to a regularly encountered limit, though it’s possible that AMD calibrates the 1900X to stick to its upper clocks more aggressively than the 1800X. This, however, is speculation on our part.
The 1900X is officially just $50 more expensive than the 1800X, at $549, but the unofficial price gap may well be larger. Amazon’s
best-selling CPU list
regularly shows the 1900X as a ~$430 chip. That price gap isn’t trivial, and we’d recommend making certain that the workloads you intend to run will benefit from the X399’s capabilities over and above the X370. That’s not always going to be the case; AMD’s own benchmarks show the 1900X being slower than the 1800X in some games.
Granted, 1080p is a worst-case scenario for Ryzen gaming; the gap shrinks as the GPU loads.
Application performance, Ryzen’s core strength, is better. Here, we see a modest uplift relative to the Ryzen 7 1800X. POV-Ray is 1.09x faster, as is Blender 2.78c. Handbrake picks up 4 percent, and VeraCrypt is 1.08x faster.
Remember, we’re calculating from the Ryzen 7 1800X’s performance rather than the Ryzen 7 1700 that AMD references. That’s why the values are different from what’s shown on the graph.
And in the Blue Corner…
The Threadripper 1900X has a direct competitor from Intel, in the form of the Core i7-7820X. This is a Skylake-SP-derived CPU, with 8 cores, 16 threads, a 3.6GHz base clock, and a 4.3GHz boost (4.5GHz in Turbo Boost 3.0). Reviews of the Core i7-7820X show it generally besting the Ryzen 7 1800X, but with a caveat: Both the i7-7820X and the X299 platform are more expensive than the Ryzen 7 1800X (~$130 more and ~$80 more, respectively). Threadripper offers far more PCIe lanes than the Core i7-7820X (60+4 versus 28), but SLI support has been slowly dying off from both AMD and Nvidia, making this arguably less important than in the past.
The 1900X should compare better with the Core i7-7820X than the 1800X does, thanks to its higher base clock and quad-channel memory, but moving to Threadripper wipes out the cost savings the Ryzen 7 1800X offers. The 1900X is only $20-$40 less expensive than the 7820X and Threadripper motherboards are currently
expensive than their X299 counterparts. AMD’s 12-core and 16-core Threadripper CPUs are still compelling, but the company’s eight-core chip will have an uphill fight ahead of it. AMD couldn’t reasonably have launched the chip much cheaper than it did, given existing product segmentation. But we suspect the 1900X’s attractiveness against Intel or the Ryzen 7 1800X will depend more on whether you need those PCI Express lanes and RAM channels than anything else.