AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Review

High-end server processor released in 2018 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 3GHz, max speed at 4.2GHz, and a 250W power rating. Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is based on the Colfax 12nm family and part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.
Price 63.8%
Speed 82%
Productivity 126%
Gaming 88%
Category Server
Target high-end
Socket Compatibility sTR4
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included No
Overclock Potential 2 %
Year 2018 Model
Price 1799 USD
Number of Cores 32 Cores
Number of Threads 64 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 63.8 %
Speed Score 82 %
Productivity Score 126 %
Gaming Score 88 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 32 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 16 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 8 %
Overall Score 48/100

The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is one of AMD's high-end Server processors. It was released in 2018 with 32 cores and 64 threads. With base clock at 3GHz, max speed at 4.2GHz, and a 250W power rating. The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is based on the Colfax 12nm family and is part of the Ryzen Threadripper series.

Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX 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 32-cores and 64-threads in a mainstream package for the first time, and does it at a similar price point as the Xeon Gold 6212U, a processor with just 24-cores and 48-threads.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX 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 2990WX finally dethrones the Xeon Gold 6212U as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX 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 2990WX is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 32 cores, 64 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 2990WX can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Xeon Gold 6212U 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 2990WX, 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.

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 2970WX for roughly equivalent performance to the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, particularly if gaming factors heavily into the buying decision. That could save you money, reinforcing our decision to give the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX 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 2990WX 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 2990WX.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the Intel chip if you don't tune up the Xeon Gold processor. The base performance we showed for the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Xeon Gold 6212U will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

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 2990WX 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 2990WX 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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