Test Setup and Comparison Points

In our review kit from AMD, we were supplied with almost complete systems for testing. Inside the box of goods, AMD included:

  • AMD Threadripper 2990WX (32C, 250W, $1799)
  • AMD Threadripper 2950X (16C, 180W, $899)
  • ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme motherboard, rev 2
  • MSI X399 MEG Creation motherboard
  • 4x8 GB of G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 14-14-14
  • Wraith Ripper Cooler, co-developed with Cooler Master
  • Enermax Liqtech 240 TR4 Liquid Cooler, rated to 500W

For our usual testing, we stick to the same power supplies, the same storage, ideally the same motherboard within a range of processors, and always use the latest BIOS. Despite AMD shipping us some reasonably fast memory, our standard policy is to test these systems at the maximum supported frequency as promoted by the processor manufacturer, or in this case DDR4-2933 for the new Threadripper 2000-series processors.

For our testing we compared the first generation Threadripper processors with the second generation parts. We also have the Intel 18-core Core i9-7980XE, some results from the Core i7-7900X (10-core), and also two mainstream processors, one Intel and one AMD. This is due to our new CPU testing suite, which takes effect today.

Due to an industry event occuring in the middle of our testing, we had to split some of the testing up and take 30 kg of kit half-way around the world to test in a hotel room during Flash Memory Summit. On the downside, it means there is some discontinuity in our testing, although not that much - on the plus side, the hardware tested in the hotel room had a good amount of air-conditioning to keep cool.

AMD Test Setup
CPUs TR 2990WX ASUS ROG Zenith 0078 Liqtech TR4 4x8GB DDR4-2933
  TR 2950X ASUS ROG Zenith 0078 Liqtech TR4 4x8GB DDR4-2933
  TR 1950X ASUS X399-A Prime 0806 TRUE Cu 4x4GB DDR4-2666
  TR 1920X ASUS ROG Zenith 0078 Liqtech TR4 4x8GB DDR4-2666
  TR 1900X ASUS X399-A Prime 0806 TRUE Cu 4x4GB DDR4-2666
  R7 2700X ASUS Crosshair VI Hero 0508 Wraith Max 4x8GB DDR4-2933
  EPYC 7601 GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0   Fryzen 8x128GB DDR4-2666
GPU Sapphire RX 460 2GB (CPU Tests)
PSU Corsair AX860i
Corsair AX1200i
SSD Crucial MX300 1TB
OS Windows 10 x64 RS3 1709
Spectre and Meltdown Patched

The memory for our test suites was mostly G.Skill, with some Crucial. For the EPYC system, Micron sent us some LRDIMMs, so we fired up 1TB of memory to get all eight channels working.

On the Intel side, we are still getting up to speed on our testing.

Intel Test Setup
CPUs i9-7980XE ASRock X299 OC Formula P1.40 TRUE Cu 4x8GB DDR4-2666
  i9-7900X ASRock X299 OC Formula P1.40 TRUE Cu 4x8GB DDR4-2666
  i7-8700K ASRock Z370 Gaming i7 P1.70 AR10-115XS 4x4GB DDR4-2666
GPU Sapphire RX 460 2GB (CPU Tests)
PSU Corsair AX860i
Corsair AX1200i
SSD Crucial MX300 1TB
OS Windows 10 x64 RS3 1709
Spectre and Meltdown Patched

Over time we will be adding to our Intel CPUs tested.

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds. Some of this hardware is not in this test bed specifically, but is used in other testing.

Thank you to Crucial for providing us with MX200 SSDs and to Micron for LRDIMMs. Crucial stepped up to the plate as our benchmark list grows larger with newer benchmarks and titles, and the 1TB MX200 units are strong performers. Based on Marvell's 88SS9189 controller and using Micron's 16nm 128Gbit MLC flash, these are 7mm high, 2.5-inch drives rated for 100K random read IOPs and 555/500 MB/s sequential read and write speeds. The 1TB models we are using here support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (eDrive) encryption and have a 320TB rated endurance with a three-year warranty.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Crucial MX200 (250 GB, 500 GB & 1TB) Review

Thank you to Corsair for providing us with an AX1200i PSU. The AX1200i was the first power supply to offer digital control and management via Corsair's Link system, but under the hood it commands a 1200W rating at 50C with 80 PLUS Platinum certification. This allows for a minimum 89-92% efficiency at 115V and 90-94% at 230V. The AX1200i is completely modular, running the larger 200mm design, with a dual ball bearing 140mm fan to assist high-performance use. The AX1200i is designed to be a workhorse, with up to 8 PCIe connectors for suitable four-way GPU setups. The AX1200i also comes with a Zero RPM mode for the fan, which due to the design allows the fan to be switched off when the power supply is under 30% load.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Corsair AX1500i Power Supply Review

Thank you to G.Skill for providing us with memory. G.Skill has been a long-time supporter of AnandTech over the years, for testing beyond our CPU and motherboard memory reviews. We've reported on their high capacity and high-frequency kits, and every year at Computex G.Skill holds a world overclocking tournament with liquid nitrogen right on the show floor.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Memory Scaling on Haswell Review, with G.Skill DDR3-3000

Feed Me: Infinity Fabric Requires More Power Our New Testing Suite for 2018 and 2019: Spectre and Meltdown Hardened
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  • Eastman - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    Just a comment regarding studios and game developers. I work in the industry and 90% of these facilities do run with Xeon workstations and ECC memory. Either custom built or purchased from the likes of Dell or HP. So yes, there is a market place for workstations. No serious pro would do work on a mobile tablet or phone where there is a huge market growth. There is definitely a place for a single 32 core CPUs. But among say 100 workstations there might be a place for only 4-5 of the 2990WX. Those would serve particles/fluids dynamics simulation. Most of the workload would be sent to render farms sometimes offsite. Those render farms could use Epyc/Xeon chips. If I was a head of technology, I would seriously consider these CPUs for my artists workflow. Reply
  • ATC9001 - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    Another big thing which people don't consider is...the true "price" of these systems is nearly neck and neck. Sure you can save a couple hundred with AMD CPU, but by the time you add in RAM, mobo, PSU, storage etc....you're talking a 5k+...

    Intel doesn't want AMD to go away (think anti-trust) but they are definitely stepping up efforts which is great for consumers!
    Reply
  • LsRamAir - Thursday, August 16, 2018 - link

    We've been patient! Looked at all the ads multiple times for support to. Please drop the rest of the knowledge, Sir! "Still writing" on the overclocking page is nibblin' at my patience and intrigue hemisphere. Reply
  • Relic74 - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Yes of course there is, I have one of the new 32 core systems and I use it with SmartOS. A VM management OS that could allow up to 8 game developers to use a single 32 Core workstation without a single bit of performance lost. That is as long as each VM has control over their own GPU. 4 Cores(most games dont new more than that in fact, no game needs more that), 32GB to 64GB of RAM (depending on server config) and an Nvidia 1080ti or higher, per VM. That is more than enough and would save the company thousands, in fact, that is exactly what most game developers use. Servers with 8 to 12 GPU's, dual CPUs, 32 to 64 cores, 512GB of RAM, standard config.

    You should watch Linus Tech Tips 12 node gaming system off of a single computer, it's the future and is amazing.
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Saturday, August 18, 2018 - link

    You are downplaying the gaming market. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. Nothing niche about it. Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I agree with you - so this mainly concerning "It's over, Intel is finished"

    Normally I don't care much to discuss AMD related threads - but when people already bad mouth Intel, it all fair game in my opinion.

    But what is important and why I agree is that it not even close. Because the like it or not, PC Game industry which primary reason for desktop now is a minimal part of industry now - computers are mostly going to mobile - and just go into local BestBuy and you see why it not even close.

    Plus as in a famous WW II saying, "The Sleeper has been Awaken". One is got to be blind, if you think "Intel is finished" I think the real reason that 10nm is not coming out, is that Intel wants to shut down AMD for once and for always. I see this coming in two areas - in the CPU area and also with GPU - I believe the i870xG is precursor to it - with AMD GPU being replace with Artic Sound.

    But AMD does have a good side to this. That it keep Intel's prices down and Intel improving products.
    Reply
  • ishould - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    "I think the real reason that 10nm is not coming out, is that Intel wants to shut down AMD for once and for always." This is actually not true, Intel is having *major* yield issues with 10nm, hence 14nm being a 4-year-node (possibly 5 years if it slips from the expected Holiday 2019), and is a contributing factor for the decline of Intel/rise of AMD. Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I not stating that Intel didn't have yield issues - but there is 2 things that should be taking in account - and of course Intel only really knows

    1. (Intel has stated this) That all 10nm are not equal - and then Intel's 10nm is closer to competition's 7nm - and this is likely the reason why it taking long.

    2. Intel realizes the process issues - and if you think they are not aware of competition in market - not just AMD but also ARM then one is a fool
    Reply
  • ishould - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I agree they were probably being too ambitious with their scaling (2.4x) for 10nm. Rumor is that they've had to sacrifice some scaling to get better yields. EUV cannot come soon enough! Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I highly highly doubt that Intel would postpone 10nm just to “shut down AMD.” Intel has shareholders to look out for, and Intel needs 10nm out the door yesterday. Their 10nm struggles are real, and it is costing them investor confidence. No way would they wait around to win a pissing match with AMD while their stock value goes down. Reply

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