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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2920X
Date 30th October 2018
Author booj
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer AMD


Temperatures and Power Consumption

AMD forces its temperature sensor to report quite a bit higher than temperatures actually are - up to 27c higher. The reason for this is to keep fan profiles from spiking up and down and to provide some protective headroom if one die is warmer than another. It should also be said that AMD are using solder as opposed to thermal paste or pads between the dies and heatspreader. This along with the large heatspreader surface area should contribute to cooler temperatures.

Click to Enlarge
2920x temp testing

Click to Enlarge
2970wx temp testing

With all those cores requiring heat dissipation, we expected temperatures to be a primary concern, but we were amazed at just how cool both processors run. At idle our tested cooler was silent, with Ryzen Master reporting temperatures in the low 30ís. Itís the load temperatures that really surprised though. With the cooling set at auto, and an ambient temp of around 22C, the 2970WX never even hit 70c (tdie) with all 24 cores and 48 threads at 100% load. Unsurprisingly the 2920X was even better, barely cracking 60c. Those very large CPU packages with their individual dies, soldered heatspreaders and large cooling contact areas make a huge difference.

Power Consumption

Power consumption levels appear to be hard limited. We used HWInfo's power package and measured the 2920X and 2970WX at almost exactly the limits specified by AMD. We saw 250W under full load for the 2970WX and 180W for the 2920X. Moving beyond these levels requires tweaking the Precision Boost Overdrive settings, but be aware that trying to overclock a processor with 24 cores or more to 4GHz+ will see you running towards 500W+ and thermal limitations that even a custom water loop wonít be able to overcome.

Idle power consumption is also quite high at 40w+ for Threadripper WX series models. This would appear to be a consequence of having four physical dies as most modern CPUs, even Intelís extreme core count CPUs, idle at under 20w thanks to their monolithic dies.

Conclusions

It's a bit tricky to sum up Threadripper 2 in only a few words. For some users they donít make any sense at all, but for others theyíre simply magnificent. Youíll know if Threadripper can be of use to you or not, primarily based on the multi-threaded nature of how you use your PC. Weíre seeing a full blown CPU-core arms race, and AMD is well placed thanks to these latest offerings. Intel is reacting with its own ultra high-end platform later in the year. This kind of market battle benefits the consumer, and we love it.

AMD squarely positions Threadripper for content creators and multi tasking. It really isnít a gaming-oriented CPU, though it will serve you well if you are gaming, streaming, downloading a torrent, having a Skype chat and about a million other things at the same time. Or, more sensibly, if you have heavy multi-threaded CPU workloads such as rendering, encoding or other hardcore number-crunching. If youíre this sort of user, then you will adore Threadripper. But if youíre more interested in pure gaming, or limit yourself to more everyday tasks, then there is simply no need for this many cores and an AM4 or Intel 1151 CPU will do the job just as well, or better, for less money. Single threaded performance still matters to a lot of users, and Intel is still ahead there.

However, the Threadripper 2 CPUs really have shaken up the market. The feature rich X399 platform has to be considered along with all the goodies it brings, including those 64 PCIe lanes for the best available expansion capabilities. They arenít cheap, but time is money as they say and if your tasks require the grunt on offer, thereís nothing better outside of enterprise-class options.

The 2970WX like its 2990WX big brother should only be considered an option for those who can make use of it. If youíre one of those users, itís an absolute monster. For those who donít use applications that support highly multithreaded workloads, then the WX series CPUs are very much overkill.

The 2920X is different. Its 12-core design and relatively reasonable pricing makes it a good step up from the mainstream platforms, giving access to everything the X399 platform has to offer. If you find yourself frequently performing a mix of tasks or occasionally needing highly multi-threaded grunt then itís a terrific CPU. Regular users and gamers are still better off with the mainstream platforms. But regular users arenít what Threadripper is all about. If you need the horsepower and can make use of it, the slight lunacy of Threadripper makes perfect sense.

Final thoughts:

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X: 9/10
Pros:
- Reasonable price for the core count
- Good generational improvement over the 1920X
- All around crowd pleaser

Cons:
- The overall platform is expensive

AMD Threadripper 2970WX: 7/10
Pros:
- Massive multithreaded performance Ė If you can make use of it
- Surprisingly cool running
- Game mode option for work and play

Cons:
- Scales poorly with some workloads
- 2 grand+ is a lot to drop on a CPU!

Feel free to discuss this review in this thread in OCAU's Forums. For wide-ranging discussion of AMD's various platforms, see our AMD Hardware forum.

Page 1: Introduction and Packaging
Page 2: Features, X399 Chipset, Ryzen Master
Page 3: Benchmarking Setup and Results
Page 4: Temperatures, Power, Conclusions


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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