AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX Review

High-end server processor released in 2018 with 24 cores and 48 threads. With base clock at 3GHz, max speed at 4.2GHz, and a 250W power rating. Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is based on the Colfax 12nm family and part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.
Price 63.6%
Speed 82%
Productivity 115%
Gaming 88%
Category Server
Target high-end
Socket Compatibility sTR4
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included No
Overclock Potential 2 %
Year 2018 Model
Price 1299 USD
Number of Cores 24 Cores
Number of Threads 48 Threads
Core Frequency 3 GHz
Boost Frequency 4.2 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 4.3 GHz
Power Consumption 250 W
Manufacturing Process 12 nm
L3 Cache 64 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 1024 GB
Price-Value Score 63.6 %
Speed Score 82 %
Productivity Score 115 %
Gaming Score 88 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 32 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 16 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 8 %
Overall Score 48/100

The Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is one of AMD's high-end Server processors. It was released in 2018 with 24 cores and 48 threads. With base clock at 3GHz, max speed at 4.2GHz, and a 250W power rating. The Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is based on the Colfax 12nm family and is part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.

Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is also the successor of AMD's last gen Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor that was based on the Zen and 14nm process and was released in 2017.

This processor packs 24-cores and 48-threads in a mainstream package for the first time, and does it at a similar price point as the Xeon W-2295, a processor with just 18-cores and 36-threads.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX marks yet another blast from Team AMD, ramping up the intensity of the AMD vs Intel processor war. Still, though, there’s more than just core counts when it comes to a mainstream processor, as single-core performance needs to be on point, especially if you’re hoping to play the best PC games.

Now, we're asking ourselves whether or not the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX finally dethrones the Xeon W-2295 as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX doesn't reach the same single-core performance as Intel, but we're starting to see more games adopt multi-threaded CPUs, so that doesn't matter as much.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, and the Zen+ architecture itself, is notable because it leads 12nm processors to the mainstream for the first time. But, there’s a lot more going on under the hood than just a smaller manufacturing node.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 24 cores, 48 threads and high price tag. If you’re looking for the absolute best processor money can buy on a mainstream processor, then look no further. Whether you’re playing PC games or even doing hardcore video and 3D work, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Xeon W-2295 will still perform a little better. Old games that are completely single threaded, like World of Warcraft, will still run better on an Intel processor – but that gap is definitely starting to narrow.

Over the last couple years, AMD has been reaching for dominance in the desktop CPU world, and with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, it's finally there.

AMD's Zen+ series has landed, upping the ante with Intel in its high-stakes game for desktop PC market dominance with a well-rounded lineup of new chips that push mainstream platforms to higher core counts and more raw compute than we've ever seen. As a result, Intel's commanding presence in the enthusiast space is threatened in a way we haven't seen in over a decade.

That something is the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX. AMD cranks the TDP dial up to 250W on this 24-core 48-thread chip, making it the high-performance counterpart to the 180W Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, which is basically the same 12nm chip built with the Zen+ microarchitecture, but with a lower TDP rating. That chip came away from our first look at the Zen+ series with an Editor's Choice award, going toe-to-toe with Intel's Xeon W-2295, so it's fair to say we have high hopes for the higher-performance model. AMD still hasn't sampled the chip to the press, so we bought one at retail to put it under the microscope.

The Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX slots in beneath the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, which comes with 12nm compute die to yield a 32-core 64-thread part. AMD has worked wonders to reduce the impact of this sort of multi-chip arrangement, but it's fair to assume that the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WXs single-compute-die design, paired with a higher TDP rating that facilitates more aggressive boost clocks, could actually rival the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX in some applications – games included.

We covered the deep dive details of the Zen+ chip design in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Ryzen Threadripper 2950X review, so head there for more information on the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX's architecture, which is identical to the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X.

As we've seen, gaming remains an advantage for Intel, so if squeezing out every last frame is all you care about, Intel's processors are a good choice. Much of that performance advantage will be less noticeable when gaming at higher resolutions, or if you pair the processors with a lesser graphics card.

Value seekers who aren't afraid to press the Precision Boost Overdrive button and have sufficient cooling should look to the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X for roughly equivalent performance to the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, particularly if gaming factors heavily into the buying decision. That could save you money, reinforcing our decision to give the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X an Editor's Choice award.

This decision to 12nm has brought a beefy 15% boost to IPC (instructions per clock) performance. Effectively, compared to a Ryzen Threadripper 1-Generation processor at the same clock speed, you will get a straight 15% increase in performance. That’s not big enough to be evident in day-to-day workloads, but it does still mean something.

What this all means is that the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX is an absolute beast when it comes to multi-threaded workloads, especially at this price point. If you're counting on doing some video editing or compiling one hell of an Excel spreadsheet, you're going to see firsthand a performance boost with the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX.

With Ryzen Threadripper, AMD continues to innovate on its new architecture and 12nm process. Like Ryzen Threadripper, AMD has engineered Ryzen Threadripper to operate on a sTR4 chipset with all the modern amenities of computing. This includes support for DDR4 RAM, the fastest NVMe SSDs and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Now the biggest question is can AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 88% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX proves it has the chops to be your main gaming system and a just as effective media creation platform – two things that are becoming intrinsically connected in this age of live-streaming, eSports and uploading gameplay videos.

The Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX clocks up to 4.2Ghz just as it promises on the box, and with AMD’s software you can take one of the cores all the way up to 4.3GHz. However, don’t expect to get much beyond that without seriously upgrading your cooling solution and manually tweaking voltages behind the operating system level.

That said, to squeeze out all the potential of this surprisingly potent high-end chip, you’ll want (and need) to splurge on an enthusiast-grade X399 motherboard.

Like all other Colfax chips, the Ryzen Threadripper-series CPUs drop into any Socket sTR4 motherboard. But most will find a home on boards equipped with the X399 chipset, which has provisions for overclocking and offers plenty of connectivity options. Unlike Intel, AMD plans to utilize its current socket until 2020, so upgrading to future models shouldn't require a new motherboard.

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