AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX & 2950X CPU Review

AMD teased us a bit last week by showing off its new 2nd Generation Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X packaging and specifications. This week AMD lets us show off the new Threadripper. The 2990WX is likely a lot different part than many people were expecting, and it turns out that it might usher AMD into a newly created market.


Gaming Benchmarks

These are very much "benchmarks." These are good in helping us understand how well CPUs are at performing calculations in 3D gaming engines. These benchmarks in no way represent real-world gameplay. These are all run at 1440p resolution as requested by many of our readers, but still with "low" IQ settings to remove the video card as a bottleneck except in Heaven.

We did recently take the time to run extensive real-world gaming testing with the Ryzen 7 which you can read here: The Definitive AMD Ryzen 7 Real-World Gaming Guide.

I have linked the AMD Reviewer's Guide here as it has pages of information about the 2950X and 2990WX when it comes to gaming. The sections that pertain to gaming start on page 26. When you look at 1080p gaming, there are some games that are greatly hindered when using the 2990WX in its default mode; some up to -82% in terms of framerate compared to the 2990WX Game Mode. I highly doubt many people that own a $1800 CPU will be gaming at 1080p, but it is nice to see AMD be so fully transparent about the 2990WX and its gaming shortcomings in stock mode. Using Ryzen Master, you switch the 2990WX into Game Mode and it basically becomes a Ryzen 7 processor or a 2950X in UMA mode. You can put it into two modes, one that is two-core, and one that is single-core. This does however require a hard system reboot.

In the charts below, we have added the 2990WX in its 1-core Game Mode. The 2950X is running in its stock mode, we have not toggled it to NUMA mode. Quite frankly, we do not see a lot of folks wanting to hard reboot their machine to change modes, this of course will be a personal preference.

Lost Planet

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Lost Planet scales into 8 cores. We see Intel's IPC and clock dominance show in gaming like we think it should. However, with the 2990WX in game mode we see it actually coming into parity with the Intel HEDT parts. Worth keeping in mind though, that a highly clocked 4-core or 6-core Intel CPU will give us a considerable increase in framerate in this game which is CPU limited as we are testing it.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

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Again we see Intel's clock and IPC push to a small lead here in Civ 6. Overall we are seeing about a 10% decrease in AI turn time from our slowest to our fastest.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

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Ashes of the Singularity has been a poster child for threaded gaming engines and has worked with AMD at length when it comes to tuning for Ryzen CPUs in the recent years. However, even so, this is another game that we see choke on the 2990WX until we put it into Game Mode. With our 2950X overclocked, we pull to a close delta with the Intel CPus. This benchmark will be one to watch when we get 8-core desktop processors from Intel soon.

Unigine Heaven

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This benchmark is a bit different as we have used "Ultra" settings for a reason. This benchmark can still be somewhat of a load on a GPU. Even at Ultra however, we are still pushing over 100 frames per second. The point here is that once you move beyond 1080p, it is more about video card than CPU. Again we see pretty much no scaling and results inside the margin of error. Most of your gaming, once you move past 1080p, and turn on any types of "eye candy," is going to be GPU limited.