BENCHING: HOW DOES THE 2ND GEN THREADRIPPER STACK UP?
“It’s no surprise that the 2990WX absolutely dominates the heavily threaded benchmarks.”
Yep, Threadripper 2 CPUs are beasts! Obviously we know from their apt names that they will perform very strongly with multi-threaded workloads. With that in mind, benchmarking Threadripper 2 proved to be a challenging undertaking for several reasons.
As we discovered when testing both the 2990WX and 2950X, and let’s not forget Intel’s i9-7980XE, as many of our consumer focused benchmarks that make use of multi-threading simply don’t scale up to the insane core counts we’re seeing here. The key takeaway is that you MUST have a use-case for a CPU like the 2990WX. Things like rendering, encoding and hashing algorithms perform magni cently when supported, but if you can’t use all the cores, then the lower priced models like the 2950X make a lot more sense. It’s no surprise that the 2990WX absolutely dominates the heavily threaded benchmarks. Cinebench and Blender are laughed off, but unfortunately many consumer level video encoders just aren’t coded to support 64 concurrent threads. We tested a new benchmark called Cinegy Cinescore. It too failed to scale over 16c/32t. The 2950X with its lower core count is better supported by a lot of software and its superior clock speeds see it come out ahead in a few circumstances.
We looked at gaming too. We disabled ¾ of the cores on the 2990WX while leaving the 2950X at default and saw a bit of a mixed bag. Ghost Recon Wildlands and Warhammer II don’t have any problem with 8 and 16 cores, but Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5 really struggle with high core counts. To get the best gaming performance out of Threadripper, you should enable Legacy Compatibility mode in the Ryzen Master software, which disables cores. While ultimate gaming performance still favours Intel, remember, the gap is basically Game mode drops the number of cores in action while you play. nothing at high resolution and settings. Still, it’s fantastic that AMD offers a one click feature to extract maximum performance in games, leaving all those cores to be used only when they are needed.
We expected TR2 to get pretty toasty, but we were amazed at just how cool both processors run. At idle our tested cooler was silent, with Ryzen Master reporting temperatures in the low 30’s. It’s the load temperatures that really surprised though. With the cooling set at auto, the 2990WX never even hit 60c with 100% load. The 2950X was even better, in the mid 50s. It’s obvious that the very large CPU package with its individual dies and large heatsink contact area make a huge difference. Awesome.
AMD has updated its Ryzen Master application with full support for the Threadripper 2 series. Things like clocks speeds, voltages and DRAM settings are all adjustable. One of the really cool features is the fastest core detection. It identi es the strongest cores which you could then use for apps that require the highest clock
speeds. We also mentioned the legacy compatibility mode which we used for our 2990WX game testing. According to AMD it can boost game performance by 5 to 10% in most games. Ryzen Master is a particularly useful app with lots of information and settings available to tweak to your hearts delight.
There are two ways to summarize Threadripper 2. For a professional user that can make use of its power, the 2990WX is far and away the best consumer CPU on the market and it offers terrific relative value too. The 2950X is a better option if you need the grunt and game too, though there are the cheaper and better performing options to found on the mainstream platforms if gaming is your focus. You’ll know which kind of user you are.
Threadripper 2 ups the ante yet again, bringing unprecedented computing power to the consumer desktop. The 2990WX is the fastest CPU available outside of the enterprise realm, provided you have the workloads to make use of it. For most mortals, the 2950X is a better buy.
Load temps show these new chips are very cool customers indeed.