AMD unveils its next-gen Threadripper CPUs with up to 32 cores

The 24-core TR 3970X will retail for $1,399, and the 32-core version is $1,999.

AMD has unveiled its 3rd-generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs built with its 7-nanometer "Zen 2" architecture, and the performance looks impressive. As before, there are 24- and 32-core variants, the TR 3960X and TR 3970X, respectively, with base clocks at 3.8GHz/3.7GHz respectively and a max boost speed of up to 4.5GHz. Both chips will run using AMD's all-new TRX40 chipset with 72 available PCIe 4.0 lanes and 12 USB-C 3.1 gen2 10Gbps SuperSpeed ports.

These chips and motherboards are aimed at content creators, because the extra cores and higher PCIe 4.0 bandwidth won't help gamers much. In fact, Threadripper chips almost always perform worse in games than its Ryzen desktop chips like the new Ryzen 9 3950X.

That said, AMD claimed that the Ryzen TR 3970X will boost Adobe Premiere CC 2019 encoding by up to 47 percent over Intel's similarly priced 18-core Core i9-9980XE. (Intel's new i9-10980XE has roughly the same performance as the i9-9980XE, but is half the price.) The cheaper 3960X version will still deliver a 22 percent speed bump over Intel's chip, though. As for the power consumption, both chips have a 280W TDP, so the i9-9980XE has a big advantage there with a 165W TDP.

For gaming, Intel's chips might still beat the Threadrippers, especially when overclocked. It's also notable that the two 3rd-gen Threadrippers use AMD's new "Socket sTRX4," so they aren't pin-compatible with the 2nd-gen models and thus can't be used on older sTR4 socket motherboards. AMD did say that the new socket would allow for "scalability," without providing more details.

We were very much hoping to see a 64-core version, as rumored, but it has yet to materialize. These Threadripper chips won't come cheap, but they do cost significantly less than any Intel chips with 24 cores or more. AMD hasn't given an exact release date yet, but the 24-core Ryzen RT 3960X Threadripper CPU will cost $1,399, and the 32-core version will be $1,999. By comparison, Intel's 18-core i9-9980XE still costs around $1,979, while the 18-core i9-10980XE is $979.