One of the surprises from AMD’s first year of the newest x86 Zen architecture was the launch of the Threadripper platform. Despite the mainstream Ryzen processors already taking a devastating stab into the high-end desktop market, AMD’s Threadripper offered more cores at a workstation-friendly price. For 2018, the next generation is going to be using AMD’s updated 12nm Zeppelin dies, as well as including a few new tweaks into the system including better boost and faster caches.

This article is still a work in progress, and will be updated as more news comes in.

AMD’s Zeppelin silicon has 8 cores, and the first generation Threadripper uses two of them to get to the top-SKU of 16-cores. Inside the CPU however, there are four pieces of silicon: two active and two inactive. For this second generation of Threadripper, called Threadripper 2 or the Threadripper 2000-series, AMD is going to make these inactive dies into active ones, and substantially increase the core count for the high-end desktop and workstation user.

At the AMD press event at Computex, it was revealed that these new processors would have up to 32 cores in total, mirroring the 32-core versions of EPYC. On EPYC, those processors have four active dies, with eight active cores on each die (four for each CCX). On EPYC however, there are eight memory channels, and AMD’s X399 platform only has support for four channels. For the first generation this meant that each of the two active die would have two memory channels attached – in the second generation Threadripper this is still the case: the two now ‘active’ parts of the chip do not have direct memory access.

This technically adds latency to the platform, however AMD is of the impression that for all but the most memory bound tasks, this should not be an issue (usually it is suggested to just go buy an EPYC for those workloads). While it does put more pressure on the internal Infinity Fabric, AMD ultimately designed Infinity Fabric for scalable scenarios like this between different silicon with different levels of cache and memory access.

Update: AMD has just published a full copy of their slide deck for the Threadripper 2 presentation. In it are a few interesting factoids.

AMD Threadripper CPUs
  Threadripper
2
32-Core Sample
Threadripper
2
24-Core Sample
Threadripper
1950X
Threadripper
1920X
Socket TR4 (LGA)
4094-pin
CPU Architecture Zen+ Zen+ Zen Zen
Cores/Threads 32 / 64 24 / 48 16 / 32 12 / 24
Base Frequency 3.0 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.5 GHz
Turbo Frequency 3.4 GHz (WIP) 3.4 GHz (WIP) 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz
L3 Cache 64 MB ? 48 MB ? 32 MB 32 MB
TDP 250W 250W 180W 180W
PCIe 3.0 Lanes 60 + 4
Chipset Support X399
Memory Channels 4
  1. Both the 24-core and 32-core sample CPUs are clocked at 3.0GHz base and 3.4GHz all-core turbo, with the latter being a work-in-progress according to the company.
  2. The 32-core system was equipped with DDR4-3200 memory. This is notable because the Ryzen processors based on the same 12nm Zeppelin dies officially max out at DDR4-2933.
  3. The codename for the processor family is listed as "Colfax". This is the first we've heard this codename from AMD.
  4. Despite the high TDP, both CPUs used in AMD's demos were air-cooled, using AMD's Wraith Ripper Air Cooler

Also announced at the presentation is the state of play of motherboards. According to the motherboard vendors These new Threadripper 2000-series processors will have a peak TDP rating of 250W, which is much higher than 180W we saw on the 1950X. We have been told by partners that the 250W rating is actually conservative, and users should expect lower power consumption in most scenarios. Nonetheless, it was stated by several motherboard vendors that some of the current X399 motherboards on the market might struggle with power delivery to the new parts, and so we are likely to see a motherboard refresh. That is not saying that the current X399 offerings will not work, however they might not offer overclocking to the level that users might expect. At Computex there are new X399 refresh motherboards being demonstrated by a few companies, and we will report on them in due course. Other specifications are expected to match the previous generation, such as PCIe lane counts, despite the newly active dies.


MSI's 19-phase X399 Refresh Motherboard

The launch for these new processors, according to our moles is in early August. This aligns with what AMD stated at the beginning of the year at CES, and is almost a year from the original Threadripper launch.

Pricing on the processors is set to be revealed either today or closer to the launch time. We will update this piece as more information comes in.

It will be interesting if AMD is going to go through the ‘unboxing’ embargo this time around, or just jump straight to full performance reviews. As always, come to AnandTech for the full story.


GIGABYTE's new X399 Refresh Motherboard

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  • bill.rookard - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure, as everything depends on the clock speed that they release. Let's assume that Intel has the 28c part similar to the Xeon server part. That is clocked for 24/7 usage, so lets assume they can run the part about 15-20% faster for the 'i9' version. The Xeon is clocked for a 3.8 'all core' turbo, so maybe 4.2-4.3 boost for bursty workloads.

    Add in the 15% extra cores that TR2 has, subtract the 20% advantage in frequency that Intel has, and it'll be close. Pricing will matter.
    Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    Considering that Xeon goes for $10k, AMD's already won. Reply
  • ChristopherFortineux - Friday, June 08, 2018 - link

    If the top end TR2 drops at the same price as the 1950x intel will be in severe trouble. Reply
  • Fujikoma - Sunday, June 10, 2018 - link

    Christopher, I'd think the TR2 with 32 cores will sell for $1500 minimum. It would probably be better for them to sell it in the $1750 to $2000 range depending on how much more it can number crunch past the 1950X. AMD needs to sell at a price with a reasonable margin to get them financially stable. Not an Intel margin, but higher than they're currently at. Reply
  • 0ldman79 - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    Intel did that knowing exactly what would happen. They're back to playing the dirty PR game.

    The only thing AMD can really do is be quiet and let the industry throw Intel under the bus for it.
    Reply
  • Santoval - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    Intel's stunt was comparable and equally useless (but often entertaining) to LN2 stunts. Neither can lead to a commercial product, and both are done for PR purposes. Reply
  • SirPerro - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    Probably. Let's see how rocket science goes when we compare performance per dollar. Reply
  • 12345 - Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - link

    They don't want people using it to figure out the clock speeds based on 2nd gen Ryzen scores. Reply
  • cyberguyz - Thursday, June 07, 2018 - link

    I suspect if you used the same cooler on the 32-core threadripper, you would be hitting similar clocks and 'ripping' that 28-core intel a new one. Reply
  • ChristopherFortineux - Friday, June 08, 2018 - link

    The 32 Core TR will rip it a new one at 4GHz. Reply

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