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AMD Prices Ryzen Threadripper 3960X At $1,399, 3970X At $1,999

AMD marketing manager Don Woligroski says the new Threadripper processors, set to launch Nov. 25, 'truly sit on top of what Intel can offer' in the high-end desktop market. 'We're in the $1,000-plus market by ourselves now,' he says.

AMD announced that it plans to launch its first two third-generation Ryzen Threadripper processors for the high-end desktop market, in addition to the delayed Ryzen 3950X, on Nov. 25.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker released new details, including recommended pricing and competitive comparisons, for the high-end CPUs on Tuesday after teasing a November launch for the new Threadripper and after delaying the Ryzen 9 3950X release date from September nearly two months ago. The company also revealed the new budget-friendly Athlon 3000G processor, set to launch Nov. 19 for $49.

AMD first launched the Threadripper processors as a premium product line that sits above the consumer Ryzen lineup in terms of performance and price, and the first two products in the new third-generation Threadripper family continue that tradition.

The Threadripper 3960X comes with 24 cores, 48 threads, a boost frequency of 4.5GHz, a base frequency of 3.8GHz and a 140 MB cache for the $1,399. The Threadripper 3970X comes with 32 cores, 64 threads, a boost frequency of 4.5GHz, a base frequency of 3.7GHz and a 144 MB cache for $1,999.

Both are based on AMD's 7-nanometer Zen 2 architecture, which already powers the third-generation Ryzen client processors and second-generation EPYC server processors that came out over the summer. Both support up to 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes between the CPU and chipset, but they require the new TRX40 chipset for motherboards.

The new Threadripper processors are set to launch the same month as Intel's new Core i9 X-series and Xeon W processors for the high-end desktop and workstation market. AMD's rival, which continues to hold most of the market share for desktop processors, is making significant price cuts, as much as 50 percent, for the new processors over the previous generation.

AMD said the two new Threadripper processors provide a performance boost of anywhere from 24 percent to 90 percent in various benchmarks over Intel's current-generation Core i9-9980XE, which will be refreshed with the forthcoming Core i9-10980XE later this month.

In Adobe Premiere CC 2019, for instance, the 32-core Threadripper 3970X had up to a 47 percent improvement while the 24-core Threadripper 3960X had a 22 percent improvement. For the Cinebench R20 nT benchmark, the 3970X showed up to a 90 percent improvement while the 3960X demonstrated up to a 54 percent boost over the high-end Intel part.

Don Woligroski, AMD's desktop processor technical marketing manager, said the new Threadripper processors "truly sit on top of what Intel can offer."

"We're in the $1,000-plus market by ourselves now," he said.

However, as partners of Intel and AMD have previously pointed out, Intel is starting to close the gap in terms of price-performance comparisons.

Price-wise, the recommended pricing for Intel's Core i9-9980XE sits at $1,999, which is the same as the new Threadripper 3970X but comes with nearly half as many cores and lower boost and base frequencies of 4.4GHz and 3GHz, respectively. However, Intel's forthcoming Core i9-10980XE comes with the same amount of cores and a higher boost frequency than the Threadripper 3970X, at 4.8GHz, for $979, half the price of AMD's 3970X and Intel's current-generation 9980XE.

AMD's Threadripper 3960X, on the other hand, is cheaper than Intel's 9980XE and more expensive than Intel's forthcoming 10980XE, at $1,399, while offering 33 percent more cores, a higher base frequency and a turbo frequency that is faster than Intel's 9980XE and slower than its 10980XE.

"With [Intel's] X-series announced pricing, certainly AMD does not feel like they have to undercut Intel anymore," Randy Copeland, CEO of Velocity Micro, a Richmond, Va.-based system builder that sells Intel- and AMD-based PCs, said. "The pricing is far more comparable and competitive between the two now, but it's still early and benchmarks will help fill in the rest of the advantage equation."

What changes up the equation, however, is AMD's forthcoming Ryzen 9 3950X, a mainstream processor that sits above the currently available Ryzen 9 3900X in terms of performance and price. Whereas the 3900X sports 12 cores and 24 threads for $499, the Ryzen 9 3950X comes with 16 cores and 32 threads for $749. The 3950X, set for a Nov. 25 launch, has a 4.7GHz boost frequency, 3.5GHz base frequency and 72 MB L2 and L3 Cache with a 105-watt thermal design power.

Woligroski, AMD's desktop processor technical marketing manager, said the Ryzen 9 3950X will serve as a bridge between AMD's mainstream Ryzen platform and its high-end desktop Threadripper line.

"This is very high performance for creators, for streamers," as well as those who do a lot of rendering and compiling, he said.

Comparing AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X to Intel's Core i9-9990K, Woligroski said the 3950X is mostly on par or slightly better when it comes to PC games while providing better performance than Intel's high-end desktop part, the Core i9-9920X. Where the 3950X really shines, however, is content creation, according to AMD, with seven benchmarks showing a performance boost from 18 percent to 79 in comparison to Core i9-9900K. Its performance-per-watt is also 2.34 times greater than the 9900K.

"The efficiency gets better as we add more cores," Woligroski said.

Wallace Santos, CEO of Maingear, a Kenilsworth, N.J.-based system builder that builds Intel- and AMD-based PCs for the enthusiast market, said he sees the Ryzen 9 3950X as a good processor for people who want to use their computers for gaming and professional workstation tasks.

"I have a lot of customers who are programmers or do a lot of creative work — Photoshop editing — and they're also gamers," he said.

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