Hardware

Can this monster 16-core PC chip challenge Intel's i9? AMD teases ThreadRipper

Due out this summer, the 'Ryzen 9' ThreadRipper processor will likely go toe-to-toe with Intel's i9 CPUs.

amdthreadripper.png
Image: AMD / YouTube

AMD has revealed more details about its most powerful PC processor, the 16-core ThreadRipper CPU.

Due out this summer, the 'Ryzen 9' processor will likely go toe-to-toe with Intel's i9 CPUs, which will range from a $999 10-core chip up to the a $1,999 18-core offering.

Although the relative performance of Intel's and AMD's new processors is unknown, AMD teased a few more details about ThreadRipper at the Computex conference in Taiwan yesterday.

ThreadRipper will be an 16-core/32-thread CPU, supporting quad-channel DDR4 memory and with 64 PCI Express 3 (PCIe) lanes for communicating with the rest of the system. Sixty of these PCIe lanes will feed into PCIe and M.2 slots on the motherboard and four lanes will shuttle data related to basic I/O, USB and other devices.

The 64-lanes seemingly puts AMD ahead of Intel's Core i9 processors, which Intel has suggested will have 44 PCIe 3 lanes. However, the benefits of using a CPU with a very high number of PCIe lanes appear to be minimal for most PCs, outside of machines using multiple top-of-the-range graphics cards alongside several SSDs connected via M.2.

ThreadRipper CPUs will run on motherboards based on the X399 chipset, and will be particularly large in size, as can be seen in the image above.

AMD stopped short of confirming important details about ThreadRipper, such as its clock speed, price or release date, beyond repeating it will be out "this summer".

In a demo, a ThreadRipper CPU was shown rendering an image of the ThreadRipper processor using the Blender software package.

"This thing is so incredibly fast that this render completes in a matter of seconds. Immediately it peaks all 32 threads and just an incredible amount of horsepower," said Kevin Lensing, general manager of the Client Business Unit at AMD.

While most PC processors used today have four or eight cores, moving to a 16- or 18-core processor may not deliver a significant performance boost to the majority of software that runs on PCs, due to the bulk of PC applications not being written to run efficiently on this number of cores.

The ThreadRipper appears to be a cut down version of AMD's Epyc processor aimed at the server market. AMD yesterday confirmed that the 32-core, 128-PCIe lane Epyc CPU will be launched on 20 June.

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About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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