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Core blimey!

7 August 2018

The price of the new Ryzen Threadripper 2990W processor has been leaked

You'll need a fairly substantial chunk of change to build a system using one of these gobsmackingly core-rich CPUs, if that's what you're planning.

While most of us make do with far lesser bits of silicon and find that 6 or even 4 cores is more than enough for our gaming, word processing, web-surfing or whatever, there are some folk who either need or want the latest and greatest. The Threadripper is for them I guess.

On the surface of it all, 32-cores handling 64 concurrent threads does sound like a hell of a lot of power but I suspect it's only going to be a very tiny percentage of the computer-using world who can justify the US$1,799 price-tag for this Ryzen CPU.

Oh, and before anyone asks, here's the Amazon (non-affiliate) link.

Early pre-release benchmarks indicate that the 2990WX has good performance when compared to Intel's current offerings in the same price bracket -- although I'd wait for some more info before placing too much credibility on those tests.

Unfortunately, Candy Crush players are unlikely to notice any speed-up, should they feel inclined to spend NZ$2,700 on a lump of silicon like this. In fact, if your favourite software packages can't take advantage of all those cores, chances are that the AMD offering, with its lower clock speed (even under boost) may not even be as fast as far cheaper Intel offerings.

In fact, I think the Ryzen family, whilst offering good value and worthy competition to Intel, has been just a *little* disappointing in terms of its real performance.

Many people were expecting big things from a family of CPUs that out-cored Intel at almost every point on the price-curve but the reality is that, in most cases, Intel still comes out ahead -- thanks to faster clock speeds and a greater ability to be overclocked.

Given the state of current gaming software, I'd also hesitate to suggest that this powerhouse of a CPU will deliver a better experience than the much cheaper Intel 8700K.

Where the Threadripper will really shine is where it's paired with software that is core-hungry.

The video editing and compositing software I'm using loves cores and the Threadripper comes highly recommended by the developer. Apparently, it will embrace those 32 cores and perform much faster for having them -- if your cooling solution has enough capacity to dissipate the massive 250W of thermal energy this chip consumes.

For this reason, I expect that some of the first customers for this chip will be from the video editing industry -- and chances are, they won't be able to get enough of them.

When time is money, that NZ$2,700 capital expenditure is soon more than repaid by far less time spent having expensive video editing professionals twiddling their thumbs waiting for some effect or render to complete.

In fact, it could be an expensive 12 months coming up for those in the video editing industry who wish to remain competitive. Not only is the Threadripper going to mean a whole new generation of editing hardware will be be appearing -- but the imminent release of new graphics card from NVidia will also result in quite a lot of upgrading in this market sector.

As someone who does spend a lot of time editing, I'm so pleased that my 1080p projects rarely tax the hardware I'm using so I feel no *need* (albeit there is some desire) to upgrade to "state of the art" silicon.

I do feel sorry for those who are "serious" video enthusiasts though.

Over the years I've known quite a few people who fall into the "serious enthusiast" category when it comes to photography or video. Going back a decade or three, these people would spend inordinate amounts of money on lenses, camera bodies, filters and goodness knows what else -- just to have "the best". In some cases, all this money made absolutely no difference to the quality of their work... but it made them feel good.

Now I see the same thing about to happen in the realm of "serious enthusiast" video editing. Not only do you now need to ensure you've got the latest cameras, lenses filters, etc... but you also need to have the best possible editing rig -- complete with state-of-the-art CPU and multiple "fastest possible" video cards.

Me, I'll just use whatever gets the job done.

However... it would be nice to have that additional 250W of heating in the editing studio during winter :-)

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