'"Today’s follow-up on last year’s Threadripper launch is a major achievement for AMD. Last year, the 16-core Threadripper 1950X and 12-core Threadripper 1920X put AMD well ahead of Intel’s HEDT lineup when it came to delivering more cores per dollar. At the $1,000 price point, the Threadripper 1950X generally ran the tables with the equivalently-priced 10-core Core i9-7900X.
Today, AMD is launching two cores immediately — the Threadripper 2950X and 2920X, which refresh last year’s 16-core and 12-core parts, as well as a set of 24-core and 32-core chips, the 2970WX and 2990WX. The 2950X and 2920X are launching today; the 2970WX and 2990WX will debut in October.
We have a 2990WX in-house, but we’re focusing on the 2950X today — and unfortunately, we’ve got to caveat our coverage a bit. Some of our benchmark results on the 2950X may be a few percent below where they ought to be, which we are currently looking into with AMD. To be specific, our 2950X may not quite be hitting top clocks, leaving it a bit slower than it ought to be in some tests. We’ll revisit the 2950X and the 2990WX in the very near future, but for now, let’s look at where the Threadripper 1950X’s replacement lands.
Most of Threadripper 2’s new capabilities have effectively been introduced already by second-generation Ryzen. Like the Ryzen 7 2700X, the Threadripper 2950X is built on an improved 14nm process marketed as 12nm. It has a more gradual boost frequency implementation that allows for higher clock speeds, and it’s designed to automatically turbo up more gracefully. All in all, the Threadripper 2950X should be a refinement and improvement of the 1950X family.
One new feature AMD is introducing with Threadripper 2 is called PBO, or Precision Boost Overdrive. PBO is an attempt to solve a problem with AMD’s current approach to power management. Specifically, under AMD, power management is an all-or-nothing affair. If you override AMD’s default idle clocks and power management states, you’re stuck redefining them yourself or simply accepting much higher idle power consumption. Precision Boost Overdrive offers a middle ground by overriding these defaults in three specific ways. I’ll let AMD explain:'"
Package Power Tracking (“PPT”): The PPT threshold is the allowed socket power consumption permitted across the voltage rails supplying the socket. Applications with high thread counts and “heavy” threads, can encounter PPT limits that can be alleviated with a raised PPT limit.
Thermal Design Current (“TDC”): The maximum current that can be delivered by a specific motherboard’s voltage regulator configuration after warming to a steady-state condition through continuous operation.
Electrical Design Current (“EDC”): The maximum current that can be delivered in a peak (“spike”) condition for a short period of time.
If Precision Boost 2’s performance depends on exploiting thermal and current headroom, then extending PPT/TDC/EDC with Precision Boost Overdrive gives the baseline Precision Boost 2 algorithm more room to play when it comes to maximizing performance of the system. The result is a processor with nT performance that is up to 16% faster than the out-of-box configuration. This capability is accessed in Ryzen Master.
As a parting note on this topic, it is important to note that Precision Boost Overdrive does drive the processor beyond AMD specifications — just like manual OC. As a result, the user must consent to a voided warranty before proceeding.