AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7980X and 7970X Review: Revived HEDT Brings More Cores of Zen 4

AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 7000 processors mark the latest additions to the high-end desktop (HEDT) market, a segment AMD wants to bring back to the mainstream. Based on AMD’s proven Zen 4 architecture and built on TSMC’s 5nm process, both of AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper 7000 lineups – Pro and non-Pro – are designed to bring more cores and more I/O to the high-end desktop and workstation markets. Altogether, AMD is offering three new Ryzen Threadripper 7000 SKUs, the top-end 7980X with 64 cores, the mid-tier 7970X with 32 cores, and the entry-level chip in the line-up, the 24-core 7960X.

As has been the case for the vanilla Threadripper series since its inception, the purpose of AMD’s server-derived processors is to meet the demands of desktop users who require extreme multitasking capabilities and high throughput for complex workloads, offering more CPU cores, more memory channels, and more PCIe lanes than what otherwise comes with AMD’s desktop platform. At the same time, the basic Threadripper lineup differentiates itself from the professional workstation-focused Threadripper Pro chips – in this case, AMD’s new Threadripper 7000 WX-series – by leaving out some of the more ‘Pro’ features that come with that hardware, as well as some of the CPU/memory/IO hardware that the even more powerful Pro chips offer. Segmenting both product lines is a good idea, given the pedigree and use cases of both the Pro WX-series and non-Pro chips are aligned with. With Threadripper 7000, AMD targets customer bases that need CPUs more powerful than a desktop Ryzen processor but not as exotic (or expensive) as what’s essentially a full server-grade chip.

After taking a break in the previous generation, AMD is once again offering a HEDT-focused line-up to consumers, which is as grandiose as it is interesting. When AMD launched the Zen 3-based Threadripper 5000 series, AMD only ever released the workstation-focused Pro parts, leaving users looking for semi-affordable high-core count CPUs in the dust. This time, AMD has decided to bring the HEDT back, creating a pair of Threadripper lines similar to the Threadripper 3000 family in 2019.

Today in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7000 series review, we’re going to be focusing on the top two chips from the trifecta, the top-end Ryzen Threadripper 7980X (64C/128T) and the middle of the road 7970X (32C/64T). We’ll be comparing them to the previous Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series and directly against Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Workstation CPUs, including the flagship Intel Xeon w9-3495X. Also, we’ll be putting them against the desktop flagships, such as the Intel Core i9-14900K and the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, to see how much more performance AMD’s new foray into HEDT users can squeeze out. Is there a suitable place in the market for HEDT chips, given how far desktop processors have progressed within the last couple of years? Let’s find out.

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