AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X vs Intel Core i9-7900X

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU

This year is a good one for the AMD CPU department. Starting from March, AMD has been throwing one punch after another at Intel with their Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 3 line-up of desktop processors.

Last week, the final uppercut has been struck with the Threadripper line-up of high-end desktop (HEDT) CPUs, going up to 16 cores and 32 threads in one package. Let’s look at what different reviewers have to say about the Threadripper 1950X and 1920X while comparing it to Intel’s current highest-tier CPU, the Core i9-7900X.

The Ryzen Threadripper line-up currently consists of the $1,000 16-core, 32-thread 1950X and the $800 12-core, 24-thread 1920X processors. The 1900X, an 8-core 16-thread CPU, will release on August 31st for $550.

All of these Ryzen CPUs boost 4 of their most powerful cores up to 4.2 GHz with XFR (extended frequency range) in cases where enough cooling is provided. Manually overclocking the chips will disable XFR, so in applications that use only up to 4 cores (i.e. games), leaving the Threadripper CPUs at stock settings is recommended, as an all-core overclock usually tops out at 4.0 GHz. All Threadripper CPUs also support quad-channel memory and 64 PCIe lanes.

Threadripper has a noticeably larger heatspreader due to its design.

Due to the inherent design of the Threadripper processors, AMD has two modes available in the Ryzen Master utility — one for content creation and one for gaming. This is done because under the heatspreader, Threadripper has four CPU dies, only two of which are actually active. Talking between these dies may be expensive in terms of performance, which is why AMD included the UMA (uniform memory access) mode for non-gaming tasks, and NUMA (non-uniform memory access) mode for gaming. UMA mode is active by default, as AMD feels Threadripper is designed for content creators first and foremost.

Intel’s competing Skylake-X processor is the 10-core, 20-thread i9-7900X for $1,000. It has a boost frequency of 4.3 GHz on all cores, and a 4.5 GHz boost (Turbo Boost 3.0) on the two best cores, which are different on each CPU. The Intel Core i9-7900X supports quad-channel memory and has 44 PCIe lanes.

Non-gaming performance

The Ryzen Threadripper and Intel Core X-series are meant for the extreme user who needs the crazy horsepower these CPUs can offer. A regular or even professional gamer will not benefit from these expensive processors.

Here are some benchmarks where these CPUs can be useful.

GamersNexus use intensive tests when measuring rendering time in Blender. The more powerful the test, the better the variations between the CPUs come out. Here the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X non-overclocked is comparable to the more expensive Intel Core i9-7900X overclocked to 4.5 GHz. The 16-core 32-thread 1950X is faster than the competition even at stock speeds. Source: GamersNexus


Steve from HardwareUnboxed/Techspot did an extensive array of benchmarks comparing the new CPUs. In Excel both Threadripper processors are faster than the competition. Source: Techspot


HandBrake is also a popular tool amongst content creators, and here the Intel Core i9-7900X, even though faster than the cheaper 1920X, falls behind the price-equivalent 1950X. Source: Techspot


Streaming and “megatasking”

With the release of the Core i9-7900X, Intel coined a new way of working called megatasking — playing a game at 4K resolution, streaming it at 1080p 60 FPS and encoding a recording of the gameplay, all at the same time.

PCPerspective created a test which pushes these processors to their limits — rendering a video in Blender while playing Rise of the Tomb Raider at 4K. The graph shows how the 1950X in “creator” mode has slightly slower gaming performance, but manages to complete the render noticeably faster. Source: PCPer



These processors are meant for extreme content creators, programmers or professional streamers who need to leverage the whole performance of a CPU. For regular streaming or casual gaming, an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 or Ryzen 7 1700 is recommended, whereas professional gamers should look at the Intel Core i7 7700K. Nevertheless, the tech media tested games with the new processors, and everyone who has seen previous Ryzen CPU benchmarks knows how things are going to get down.

PCPerspective tested a wide array of games, showing Ryzen Threadripper CPUs falling 10-15% behind Intel’s Core i9-7900X. Game developers have been making their games for Intel CPUs for years, and even though newer and future games will more leverage the performance that Ryzen offers, the current state shows that they are slower than the competition in these use cases. However, for gaming specifically, a cheaper AMD Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 7700K is still recommended over these HEDT parts. Source: PCPer

Power consumption

Different media outlets showed different results when it came to power consumption of the Threadripper processors. GamersNexus have in the past year shown extensive professionalism and technicality in their methodical testing, so I am not afraid of recommending their results as the most reliable on the market right now.

Blender, a program that uses all of the cores a CPU can offer, is a great benchmark for measuring power consumption. At stock settings, the 16-core 32-thread 1950X consumes almost 30 watts less power than the 10-core 20-thread i9-7900X. Overclocked however, with a noticeably higher core voltage of 1.44 V, the AMD flagship does consume more power than the overclocked Intel counterpart. However, it is important to notice that the i9 has 6 less cores, 12 less threads and has a noticeably lower core voltage. Source: GamersNexus


Techspot showed similar results, with the stock 1950X consuming less power than the Intel Core i9-7900X. Source: Techspot


Threadripper is AMD’s return to the high-end desktop market after almost a decade of absence. To say that it made some waves in the market is an understatement. Ryzen has shaken up the market, and Threadripper is another great entry.

Compared to Intel’s price-equivalent, the Core i9-7900X, the 1950X offers more cores, more PCIe lanes and better core performance per watt. The 7900X is still clocked slightly higher and has the benefit of most applications being better optimized for Intel’s microarchitectures due to their dominance in the market. However, the 1950X is still a compelling offer for those who use applications more dependent on cores and threads, or people who need three or more GPUs in PCIe x16. Threadripper’s 64 PCIe lanes will have no problem with that, whereas the 7900X (and all future Skylake-X CPUs) will run into problems due to their limited 44 PCIe lane design.

For gaming and casual streaming, we still recommend the Ryzen 5 1600 as the best value CPU, Ryzen 7 1700 as the most balanced gaming and streaming CPU, and the Intel Core i7 7700K as the best gaming CPU.