AMD is decisively ending the CPU battle with Intel

A person holding an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.
Bill Roberson/

AMD is putting its foot down. In what AMD senior processor technical marketing manager Donnie Woligrosky called “the worst-kept secret” in the desktop processor world, Team Red announced that it is bringing its hugely popular Threadripper chips back to high-end desktops. And they are destined to be some of the best processors money can buy.

If you’re not up to speed, AMD quietly and unceremoniously ended its Threadripper series for desktops a little more than a year ago. When the company announced its last generation of Threadripper CPUs, it revealed that it would stick with enterprise-grade Pro series chips going forward. A little more than 12 months after that announcement, AMD is changing course.

The new Threadripper 7000 series is divided into Pro and non-Pro parts, with the consumer parts reaching up to 64 cores and 128 threads. AMD has dominated the server market with its Epic CPUs for years, but in consumer desktops, AMD and Intel are mostly neck-and-neck. This is changing, as Intel has no high-end desktop CPUs to compete effectively with AMD’s new Threadripper CPUs.

Threadripper 7980XThreadripper 7970XThreadripper 7960X
cores/threads64 /12832/6424 /48
total cash320mb160MB152mb
maximum turbo frequency5.1ghz5.3ghz5.3ghz
price list$5,000$2,500$1,500

Like previous Threadrippers, these are expensive chips targeted at users who require extreme performance for work – or just for bragging rights. Massive core array meets power requirements of up to 350 watts, You’ll also need a TRX50 motherboard with support for larger chips, as well as a CPU cooler. AMD has three high-end desktop Threadripper chips, all of which will be available on November 21st.

Along with high-end desktop chips, AMD announced six new Threadripper Pro CPUs, reaching up to 96 cores and 192 threads. These are targeted strongly at businesses, and there are some key differences between Pro and non-Pro chips.

Features comparison between Threadripper and Threadripper Pro.

The WRX90 Platform Pro processors support 148 total PCIe lanes (144 usable) and eight-channel memory, along with Pro manageability features for larger computing fleets. In contrast, the high-end desktop platform lacks pro manageability features, comes with quad-channel memory, and supports a total of 92 PCIe lanes (88 usable). You also can’t use one of the higher-end desktop versions on the Pro chipset.

However, the same is not true in the opposite direction. AMD says you’ll be able to take a Pro processor and slot it into a TRX50 motherboard. This means you can pack a 96-core CPU into a high-end desktop with enough cash. AMD says boxed versions of its Threadripper 7000 Pro CPUs will be available alongside non-Pro models. Previously, AMD limited its Pro chips to system builders only.

Below, you can see what the flagship Threadripper 7980X can do compared to competing Xeon processors. However, the irony is that performance doesn’t matter much to consumers. Intel doesn’t sell Xeon chips directly to consumers, so you’ll have to spend thousands going through a wholesaler to find one. Currently, AMD is the only one that offers this level of computing power to high-end desktop users.

Performance estimates for the Threadripper 7980X CPU.

Of course, we still expect these chips to be powerful, far beyond anything Intel or AMD currently offers end users. The Threadripper 7000 CPUs are built on the same Zen 4 architecture powering processors as the Ryzen 9 7950X, just with a much larger core cluster.

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