AMD rips the veil off Threadripper, surprises with entry-level option for $550

Computing power users have been hearing about AMD’s Threadripper chips since May of 2017. AMD can’t hold back any longer, and at Capsaicin Siggraph in 2017, it finally rolled out the launch details for its beefy new line of professional workload chips. It even announced a new Threadripper CPU that was, until this point, a secret.

The chips

Most of the high-end Threadripper options are what we expected to see, based on earlier official teasers, as well as unofficial leaks. AMD revealed the major specifications of both the $1,000 Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and $800 1920X last week, only fleshing out the minor details at Siggraph.

The surprise then, came from the Ryzen Threadripper 1900X, a new chip at the $550 price point that was previously unannounced. It cuts down to eight cores and sixteen threads, with a 3.8GHz base clock and 4.0GHz boost clock. Like its more expensive peers, the 1900X is unlocked for overclocking, supports up to 64 PCI Express lanes, and up to four channels of DDR4 memory.

Here’s the specifications for all three Threadripper chips.

Cores Threads Base
speed
Boost
speed
Price
1900X 8 16 3.8GHz 4.0GHz $550
1920X 12 24 3.5GHz 4.0GHz $800
1950X 16 32 3.4GHz 4.0GHz $1,000

Of course, chips with these numbers aren’t intended for light gaming, or checking your email. The Threadripper CPUs are built for ultimate speed, heavyweight multi-tasking, and handling some of the most complex tasks computers handle — like 3D rendering, lighting calculations, and video encoding. That’s why they’re so expensive.

Or are they? AMD is leaning heavily on its price advantage when comparing itself to Intel, which announced a new Extreme Edition line-up in response to Threadripper. The latest information puts Intel’s least expensive 8-core chip at $600. Its 16-core chip, the Core i9-7960X, is expected to sell for $1,700.

That also means that AMD’s chips offer more cores at any given price point. The top-end 1950X, for example, is priced alongside Intel’s Core i9-7900X, which has 10 coers and 20 threads. AMD says the Threadripper 1950X is up to 38 percent quicker than the i9-7900X in Cinebench nT.

The support is there, too. Gigabyte, ASRock, Asus, and MSI all have X399 platform motherboards ready to accept any of the three new Threadripper chips. There are also 20 liquid cooling options, four air cooling options, and a bracket in the box to use some of older coolers.

When can you buy it?

Just a few days before the event, Alienware began offering pre-orders on Threadripper powered Area 51 systems. If you’re looking for a pre-built system with one of the larger two chips and just can’t wait, that’s the best option. If you’re willing to wait a few hours, pre-orders with 90 retailers and boutique system builders will launch on July 31.

If you want to build your own system, then you’ll have to wait until August 10 to grab a Threadripper 1920X or 1950X. The more affordable 1900X will launch at the end of August.

amd threadripper pricing release threadripperslide1

AMD’s approach to the Threadripper launch can only be described as cheeky. Senior Vice President of Computing and Graphics Jim Anderson showed off a graph with an unprecedented price drop in Intel’s Extreme Edition chips at the eight and ten core level. What could cause what seemed to be yearly price increases to turn south all of a sudden? According to AMD, it’s competition. If a market leader flinches ahead of a big product release, it’s probably a good sign for the underdog.

But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and we’ve yet to taste Threadripper ourselves. Companies often find fortuitous ways to contextualize their products, and AMD has targeted the absolute beefiest chips Intel offers. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.