ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha Motherboard Review With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX – The Alpha Predator of The X399 Series
ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha2019
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000 Series CPU Lineup - 32, 24 and 16 Core HEDT CPUs For X399 and X399 Refresh Platforms
It took AMD several years to perfect their core design to rival Intel. The resultant Zen core delivered exceptionally great performance when it finally launched after five long years of development. The Ryzen mainstream processors were widely acclaimed and featured some of the most impressive performance, efficiency and pricing figures we have seen to date. But AMD didn't stop there, they went one step ahead and pitted their Zen core in a field where Intel had been dominant for years.
While Zen was a powerful and efficient new core from AMD, the optimized 12nm based Zen+ cores would further strengthen AMD processors a year later. Till now, AMD only had Zen+ cores inside of their Ryzen 2nd Generation processors but now, they are bringing those cores in Threadripper CPU lineup too. Today, AMD finally launches their 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper processors with advanced Zen+ cores.
With Zen+, AMD manages to bring their IPC on par with Intel's modern cores and use that CPU efficiency advantage to deliver a processor with multiple cores. 32 in fact on the flagship CPU and that's just the start of things we expect to see from AMD. Following is the entire CPU family under the 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper brand.
AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper Processors
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000 series processor lineup would feature a total of four new HEDT processors. These will include the flagship Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, 2970WX, 2950X and 2920X. The ‘WX’ models are aimed at content creators and developers while the ‘X’ series processors are aimed at gamers and enthusiasts.
While AMD’s ‘X’ series Threadripper chips are said to be aimed at enthusiast and high-end gaming systems, they are still very capable of workstation and developer-grade content creation system environments. All 16, 24, 32 core models are designed for complex workflows which include a range of different tasks such as Media Editing, Visual Effects, Modeling, Rigging, Animation, Data Science, Code Compiling and Machine Learning/Rendering.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX 32 Core $1799 US Processor – The Undisputed and The Unmatched Flagship of the 2nd Gen AMD HEDT Family
The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX will rock 32 cores and 64 threads that eclipse Intel’s halo Core-X product which will sport 28 cores and 56 threads. The chip is expected to feature a base frequency of 3.0 GHz (3.4 GHz all core precision boost) and a maximum boost frequency of 4.0 GHz while the precision boost overdrive frequency is rated at +200 MHz so expect up to 4.20 GHz in single core optimized workloads.
This shows that Zen+ cores can still achieve very high clock speeds even when they jumped to twice as many as their previous flagship, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.
Other details include 16 MB of L2 and 64 MB of L3 cache which rounds up to a total of 80 MB of available cache on a single chip. The TDP of the chip as stated before will be kept at 250W and all current generation TR4 socketed boards will be fully compatible with the 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper processors.
When compared to the Core i9-7980XE, the Ryzen Threadripper 2990X at $1799 US offers a better architecture based on a 12nm process, 14 more cores, 28 more threads and for $200 less since the i9 costs a grand $2000 US. Comparing it to the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, we get 16 more cores, 32 more threads, and faster clocks at $800 US more.
Even compared to the new Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, the 2990WX delivers up to 64% better performance in creation tasks which is absolutely killer performance. Given these prices, it will be another great product for the high-end market and put Intel’s HEDT in a lot of trouble which can cost in excess of $2000 US considering their new platform and Xeon Platinum prices.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX 24 Core $1299 US Processor – Insane Multi-Thread Performance at an Extreme Value
The second chip in the lineup is the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX which features 24 cores and 48 threads for a price of just $1299 US. Intel’s 12 core chip in comparison costs $1200 US so we are looking at twice the number of cores at $100 US premium. The chip features clock speeds of 3.0 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost (4.2 GHz XFR).
Keeping things in line and if the chip comes with the same die configuration as the 1950X, we will be looking at 64 MB of L3 cache and 12 MB of L2 cache which totals 76 MB total cache size. The chip will feature the same amount of PCIe lanes as the 2990WX and will have a TDP of 250W and would be supported by existing and upcoming X399 motherboards.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X 16 Core For $899 US – 16 Zen+ Cores With Faster Clocks
The Ryzen Threadripper 2950X will feature the same core config as its predecessor, the 1950X. We are looking at the same 16 cores and 32 threads. At the same time, the chip will be enhanced by the new Zen+ cores and provide higher clock speeds of 3.5 GHz base and 4.4 GHz boost with a 180W TDP. The chip will also come at a $100 US lesser price tag than its predecessor, at just $899 USD.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X 12 Core For $649 US – 12 Zen+ Cores at $100 US Less Than Its Predecessor
The Ryzen Threadripper 2920X will feature the same core config as its predecessor, the 1920X. We are looking at the same 12 cores and 24 threads. At the same time, the chip will be enhanced by the new Zen+ cores and provide higher clock speeds of 3.5 GHz base and 4.3 GHz boost with a 180W TDP. The chip will also come at a $100 US lesser price tag than its predecessor, at just $699 USD.
On the X399 front, we will be looking at a slew of new refreshed designs, specifically built for the 2nd generation HEDT processors. We have already seen the MSI MEG X399 Creation and AORUS X399 Extreme designs so we can also expect other products from the remaining manufacturers. For existing motherboards, partners have released new BIOS firmware that enables support on them (read more here). Expect to see full performance reviews in a few days of the flagship CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000 Series CPU Specifications:
|CPU Name||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X|
|CPU Family||AMD 2nd Gen Threadripper (COFLAX)||AMD 2nd Gen Threadripper (COFLAX)||AMD 2nd Gen Threadripper (COFLAX)||AMD 2nd Gen Threadripper (COFLAX)|
|CPU Architecture||12nm Zen+||12nm Zen+||12nm Zen+||12nm Zen+|
|Base Clock||3.0 GHz||3.0 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.5 GHz|
|Boost Clock||4.2 GHz||4.2 GHz||4.4 GHz||4.3 GHz|
|Cache (L3)||64 MB||64 MB||64 MB||64 MB|
|Cache (L2)||16 MB||12 MB||8 MB||6 MB|
|Platform||TR4 X399||TR4 X399||TR4 X399||TR4 X399|
|Price||$1799 US||$1299 US||$899 US||$649 US|
AMD 1st/2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper Official Gaming Performance - Game Mode and Creator Mode Explained
AMD has also released the official gaming performance data of their Ryzen Threadripper CPUs against Intel's Core X parts and their own HEDT chips. The data shows that the Intel Core i9-7900X still goes ahead of the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16 core and Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12 core while featuring ten cores. AMD Threadripper trails the Intel Core X CPU but on the other hand, we are still looking towards decent performance figures in gaming at 1080p and the gap is lower when gaming on higher resolutions.
Once again, like 1st Gen Ryzen Threadripper CPUs, the 2nd Gen series will feature support in Ryzen Master, allowing users to switch between Game Mode or Creator Mode. There will also be options to switch between legacy mode which will disable the extra threads on the processors to avoid incompatibility in legacy or older applications.
Both can be set through the Ryzen Master configuration utility which has now been updated to support 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper processors. The utility also provides other nifty features and configuration tool which can be used by overclockers to fine tune their chips.
Another thing worth noting is that in game mode, Ryzen Threadripper processors will optimize to run with 8 cores, 16 threads. That means only 2 CCX or 1 die would be enabled, reducing latency. This will allow the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X to operate at speeds of 4.4 GHz with Precision Boost 2.0, achieving the maximum 8 core default frequency on any Ryzen processor released to date.
With memory access modes, users can select between UMA (maximum memory bandwidth) and NUMA (lowest latency) modes. While on the topic of Ryzen Master, it should be pointed out that a new updated version will be released on launch day, 13th August, offering more fine tuning and control over the HEDT processors.
So what the Threadripper profiles do is that they optimize the chip for the specified workloads. For instance, the gaming mode will enable Local memory access mode and turn the compatibility mode to legacy. This will help reduce memory and core-to-core latency and overcome the thread count limitation in some of the legacy games which can endure bugs and issues with modern multi-core CPUs.
The creator mode, on the other hand, turns the memory access to the distributed mode and disables the legacy mode. This maximizes threads and total memory bandwidth for an unrestrained amount of CPU performance and will be the default profile for Threadripper processors.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000 Series Packaging:
When AMD released their first generation Ryzen Threadripper processors, we got to see two new things. First was obviously the processor itself which was a disruptive product for the market, the second thing was the gorgeous packaging that the chip was shipped inside. It was a good relief from the box styled packages that CPUs had previously shipped in, but it looks like AMD is going all out with their 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper processors.
Just like the 32 core behemoth which the new Threadripper flagship is going to be, the packaging of the processor is also going to be a grand scheme of things. It’s bigger, it looks epic and like the last package, it comes with a transparent window which reveals the CPU on the front. It seems to be made of strong alloy material and has either a plastic or glass cover on the front which is engraved with the Ryzen Threadripper label and logo.
The chip can be seen through the mirror and just like the mainstream processors, each Ryzen TR CPU will have the naming printed in clear black on the IHS which looks amazing. This time, AMD has gone with a more polygonal look, which looks impressive.
The back of the box has the same layout with the orange tint showing where the processor is placed. Given the room inside the box, we can tell that aside from the processor, it will ship with manuals and tools that are necessary for installing the Ryzen Threadripper processor on TR4 motherboards.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper looks really amazing when looking from the eye of an enthusiast. It's the most powerful platform for HEDT users that we have seen to date and a worthy competitor to Intel's HEDT Core-X lineup.