AMD Threadripper Pro Review: An Upgrade Over Regular Threadripper?by Dr. Ian Cutress on July 14, 2021 9:00 AM EST
Threadripper Pro is designed to fill a niche in the workstation market. The workstation market has always been a little bit odd in that it wants the power and frequency of a high-end desktop, but the core count, memory support, and IO capabilities of servers. AMD blurred the lines by moving its mainstream desktop platform to 16 cores, but failed to meet memory and IO requirements – Threadripper got part of the way there, going up to 32 cores and then 64 cores with more memory and IO, but it was still limiting in support for things like ECC. That’s where Threadripper Pro comes in.
The whole point of Threadripper Pro is to appeal to those that need the features of EPYC but none of the downsides of potentially lower performance or extended service contracts. EPYC, by and large, has been sold only at the system level, whereas Threadripper Pro can be purchased at retail, and the goal of the product is to be ISV verified for standard workstation applications. In a world without Threadripper Pro, users who want the platform can either get a Threadripper and lament the reduced memory performance and IO, or they could get an EPYC and lament the reduced core performance. Speaking with OEMs, there are some verticals (like visual effects) that requested versions of Threadripper with Pro features, such as remote management, or remote access when WFH with a proper admin security stack. Even though TR Pro fills a niche, it’s still a niche.
In our testing today, we benchmarked all three retail versions of Threadripper Pro in a retail motherboard, and compared them to the Threadripper 3000 series.
|AMD EPYC (Zen 3, 128 PCIe 4.0, 8 channel DDR4 ECC)|
|7763 (2P)||64 / 128||2450||3500||8 + 1||256 MB||280 W||$7890|
|7713P||64 / 128||2000||3675||8 + 1||256 MB||225 W||$5010|
|7543P||32 / 64||2800||3700||8 + 1||256 MB||225 W||$2730|
|7443P||24 / 48||2850||4000||4 + 1||128 MB||200 W||$1337|
|7313P||16 / 32||3000||3700||4 + 1||128 MB||155 W||$913|
|AMD Threadripper Pro (Zen 2, 128 PCIe 4.0, 8 channel DDR4-ECC)|
|3995WX||64 / 128||2700||4200||8 + 1||256 MB||280 W||$5490|
|3975WX||32 / 64||3500||4200||4 + 1||128 MB||280 W||$2750|
|3955WX||16 / 32||3900||4300||2 + 1||64 MB||280 W||$1150|
|3945WX||12 / 24||4000||4300||2 + 1||64 MB||280 W||OEM|
|AMD Threadripper (Zen 2, 64 PCIe 4.0, 4 channel DDR)|
|3990X||64 / 128||2900||4300||8 + 1||256 MB||280 W||$3990|
|3970X||32 / 64||3700||4500||4 + 1||128 MB||280 W||$1999|
|3960X||24 / 48||3800||4500||4 + 1||128 MB||280 W||$1399|
|AMD Ryzen (Zen 3, 20 PCIe 4.0, 2 channel DDR)|
|R9 5950X||16 / 32||3400||4900||2 + 1||64 MB||105 W||$799|
Performance between Threadripper Pro and Threadripper came in three stages. Either (a) the results between similar processors was practically identical, (b) Threadripper beat TR Pro by a small margin due to slightly higher frequencies, or (c) TR Pro thrashed Threadripper due to memory bandwidth availability. That last point, (c), only really kicks in for the 32c and 64c processors it should be noted. Our 16c TR Pro had the same memory bandwidth results as TR, most likely due to only having two chiplets in its design.
In the end, that’s what TR Pro is there for – features that Threadripper doesn’t have. If you absolutely need up to 2 TB of eight-channel memory over 256 GB, you need TR Pro. If you absolutely need memory with ECC, then TR Pro has validated support. If you absolutely need 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0 rather than 64, then TR Pro has it. If you absolutely need Pro features, then TR Pro has it.
The price you pay for these Threadripper Pro features is an extra 37.5% over Threadripper. The corollary is that TR Pro is also more expensive than 1P EPYC processors because it has the full 280 W frequency profile, while EPYC 1P is only at 225W/240W. EPYC does have 280 W processors for dual-socket platforms, such as the 7763, but they cost more than TR Pro.
The benefit to EPYC right now is that EPYC Milan uses Zen 3 cores, while Threadripper Pro is using Zen 2 cores. We are patiently waiting for AMD to launch Threadripper versions with Zen 3 – we hoped it would have been at Computex in June, but now we’re not sure exactly when. Even if AMD does launch Threadripper with Zen 3 this year, Threadripper Pro variants might take longer to arrive.