AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation Threadripper 2920X and 2970WX Review
Published: 29th October 2018 | Source: AMD | Price: |
We know whilst some people might prefer us to just run tests which emphasise a single aspect of a product, we understand that what you plan to do with your purchase has a significant weighting effect. Taking the Ryzen Threadrippers suitability from least to most;
If you just plan on gaming and don't give a fig for doing anything else, then first what are you reading this review for? But obviously anything at all will give you a good result, with games being infinitely more GPU limited than CPU. If, however, you are one of the growing breed of people who make their living creating content from tutorials to compilations of cats being cute then you'll appreciate the ability to get the video encoded as swiftly as possible. If you love to mod games and thus need all the 3D rendering capability that modern life has to offer then there is no doubting that the Threadripper makes for an exceedingly attractive proposition, combining a relatively affordable entry point and undeniably meaty results. The 2920X in particular straddles the line between affordability and results. The 2970WX is expensive enough that we feel if you really need that many cores then you might be worth saving up for the 2990WX, given how much more performance is available to you from that processor.
Now it might seem like an obvious decision then. We all know in the computer world that the 'bigger, better, faster, more' maxim holds true and thus if you can afford it you should grab the 2970WX and if you're a little lower on the fiscal scale the 2920X. Not so fast my impatient friend. The choice you make is significantly based upon what you expect to do.
The Threadripper 2970WX follows the same path the 2990WX trod, that having so many cores and threads available mean that if you're rendering or relying almost wholly upon hugely calculation heavy tasks in your daily use then it's absolutely the one to go for. But those high core counts come at a usability cost when using everything else. Windows, and certainly a lot of applications, just aren't designed to utilise 24 cores and 48 threads, and so the slightly lower clock speed plays a bigger role when your app is only using four (for example) and the rest is idle. If the coders were particularly slipshod in their work then it can actually impact negatively as we saw in Total War : Warhammer. AMD have worked around this by letting you disable some cores in their Ryzen Master software, but you need to be aware that you will be forever going in and out of it to toggle it on or off per application. However, if you just use Adobe Premiere, Autodesk Maya and a heavyweight Chess engine then there is no replacement for having this many cores available to you and thus it wins our OC3D Performance Award.
The Threadripper 2920X is a much better all-rounder than the 2970WX. It doesn't require any tweaking to reduce the core count for gaming, but has enough extra cores than similarly priced rivals that it chomps through high workload tasks effortlessly. That pricing has to be mentioned as AMD have gone super-aggressive with the price of the Threadripper 2920X, a mere $649 MSRP at time of review. This places it below the i7-7820X which it comfortably out-performs, and not that much more than the i9-9900K which when you take streaming into account it absolutely obliterates. Because it isn't stretching the limits of the amount of threads currently designed applications and games are expecting, and because the lower core count means that you can push the clock speed a little higher than its bigger brother, means that it's a seriously great chip no matter what your expected usage. Because it's just as happy crunching numbers as it is feeding your GPU with data for gaming and that very attractive price point means it wins our coveted OC3D Enthusiast Award.
Ryzen Threadripper 2920X
Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX
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