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AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2920X CPU reviewed


Zen+ bolsters entry-level AMD HEDT

Throughout the year, AMD has been renewing its Ryzen CPUs with the Zen+ architecture, a combination of minor tweaks and process changes that promises better memory latency, more granular control over clocks in mixed workloads, and higher peak clock speeds overall. The Ryzen Threadripper 2950X was the first AMD high-end desktop CPU to benefit from this set of changes,  and now the company is bringing them to its new entry-level Threadripper: the 2920X. For $649, the 2920X offers a Ryzen 7 2700X-like 4.3-GHz peak clock speed plus a 3.5-GHz base clock.

Cores/
threads
Base
clock (GHz)
Peak boost
clock (GHz)
L2
cache (MB)
L3
cache (MB)
TDP Suggested
price
Threadripper 2990WX 32/64 3.0 4.2 16 64 250 W $1799
Threadripper 2970WX 24/48 12 64 $1299
Threadripper 2950X 16/32 3.5 4.4 8 32 180 W $899
Threadripper 1950X 16/32 3.4 4.2 8 32 $999
Threadripper 2920X 12/24 3.5 4.3 6 32 $649
Threadripper 1920X 12/24 3.5 4.2 6 32 $799
Threadripper 1900X 8/16 3.8 4.2 4 16 $549

While those figures may seem little changed from those of the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, AMD's Precision Boost 2 technology promises a more graceful descent to that base clock as cores and threads become loaded down. We've seen modest benefits from Precision Boost 2 and Threadrippers in our past testing, since many of our benchmarks load either one thread or all threads. For workloads that don't run flat-out, like compiling, Precision Boost 2 could prove an asset to the 2920X. Let's see if the combination of Zen+ tweaks and a lower price can help the 2920X stand out in an increasingly competitive high-end desktop space.

Our testing methods

As always, we did our best to deliver clean benchmarking numbers. We ran each benchmark at least three times and took the median of those results. Our test systems were configured as follows:

Processor Intel Core i7-8700K Intel Core i7-9700K Intel Core i9-9900K
CPU cooler Corsair H100i Pro 240-mm closed-loop liquid cooler
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master
Chipset Intel Z390
Memory size 16 GB
Memory type G.Skill Flare X 16 GB (2x 8 GB) DDR4 SDRAM
Memory speed 3200 MT/s (actual)
Memory timings 14-14-14-34 2T
System drive Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB NVMe SSD

Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700X AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
CPU cooler EK Predator 240-mm closed-loop liquid cooler
Motherboard Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wifi
Chipset AMD X470
Memory size 16 GB
Memory type G.Skill Flare X 16 GB (2x 8 GB) DDR4 SDRAM
Memory speed 3200 MT/s (actual)
Memory timings 14-14-14-34 2T
System drive Samsung 960 EVO 500 GB NVMe SSD

Processor Threadripper 2950X Threadripper 1920X Threadripper 2920X Threadripper 2970WX Threadripper 2990WX
CPU cooler Enermax Liqtech TR4 240-mm closed-loop liquid cooler
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme
Chipset AMD X399
Memory size 32 GB
Memory type G.Skill Flare X 32 GB (4x 8 GB) DDR4 SDRAM
Memory speed 3200 MT/s (actual)
Memory timings 14-14-14-34 1T
System drive Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB NVMe SSD

Processor Core i7-7820X Core i9-7900X Core i9-7960X Core i9-7980XE
CPU cooler Corsair H100i Pro 240-mm closed-loop liquid cooler
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
Chipset Intel X299
Memory size 32 GB
Memory type G.Skill Flare X 32 GB (4x 8 GB) DDR4 SDRAM
Memory speed 3200 MT/s (actual)
Memory timings 14-14-14-34 1T
System drive Intel 750 Series 400 GB NVMe SSD

Our test systems shared the following components:

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
Graphics driver GeForce 411.63
Power supply Thermaltake Grand Gold 1200 W (AMD)
Seasonic Prime Platinum 1000 W (Intel)

Some other notes on our testing methods:

  • All test systems were updated with the latest firmware, graphics drivers, and Windows updates before we began collecting data, including patches for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities where applicable. As a result, test data from this review should not be compared with results collected in past TR reviews. Similarly, all applications used in the course of data collection were the most current versions available as of press time and cannot be used to cross-compare with older data.
  • Our test systems were all configured using the Windows Balanced power plan, including AMD systems that previously would have used the Ryzen Balanced plan. AMD's suggested configuration for its CPUs no longer includes the Ryzen Balanced power plan as of Windows' Fall Creators Update, also known as "RS3" or Redstone 3.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all productivity tests were conducted with a display resolution of 2560x1440 at 60 Hz. Gaming tests were conducted at 1920x1080 and 144 Hz.

Our testing methods are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have any questions regarding our testing methods, feel free to leave a comment on this article or join us in the forums to discuss them.