Laying claim to the high-end desktop performance crown
We're always skeptical of manufacturer-provided performance numbers, but it's hard to argue with AMD's proclamations of dominance for Threadripper performance against the Intel competition. The only Core i9 CPU available so far is the 10-core Core i9-7900X, and it sells for the same $999 suggested price as the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X. Given that the AMD part boasts a whopping six more cores and 12 more threads, even the single-threaded performance advantage and AVX-512 support the i9-7900X offers isn't likely to be enough to let it overcome the Threadripper 1950X.
AMD's numbers for the Threadripper 1950X handily beat the i9-7900X. At least in heavily-multithreaded workloads, the chip seems ready to lay claim to the title of highest-performing chip around for its price. Intel's Core i9-7980XE promises 18 cores and 36 threads of Skylake-X, but that chip will sell for $2000, last we heard. For the moment, AMD seems ready to claim the absolute performance crown.
The Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, on the other hand, promises near-parity with the $999 i9-7900X across the same range of workloads. Presuming one's workload doesn't involve heavy use of AVX instructions, the 1920X's $799 price tag could prove quite compelling for an entry-level workstation or heavy-duty streaming machine.
Threadripper could also offer impressive performance-per-watt figures to go with its raw performance. AMD claims that even though the Threadripper 1950X is 24% faster than the i9-7900X in its Blender testing, the AMD CPU requires 2% less power at the wall to get there—a claimed 29% performance-per-watt advantage. I'm eager to see how that potential plays out in my own testing, but it does suggest Threadripper will be quite efficient.
AMD also showed (but didn't provide us with) gaming performance numbers for Threadripper CPUs that promise near-parity with Core i9 CPUs in both 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 scenarios. I'd question the wisdom of building around any of these high-end desktop chips for gaming and gaming alone, given their high price tags and likely platform costs. Still, if one needs to game and do the many other things that Threadripper promises to be capable of, the 1920X and 1950X should be willing companions.