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posted by martyb on Thursday August 03 2017, @09:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the Finally-Mega-FPS-Pong dept.

AMD's TR 1950X (16 cores) and TR 1920X (12 cores) CPUs will be released on August 10th:

The news at the top of the hour is the date at which AMD is making Threadripper and associated TR4 based motherboards available at retail: August 10th. This is expected to be a full worldwide retail launch, so don't be surprised if your favorite retailer starts posting teaser images about how much stock they have. August 10th will see both the 1950X and 1920X with their retail packaging, along with motherboards from the main four motherboard vendors.

AMD has also announced an 8-core version of Threadripper, the TR 1900X, for $549. Why buy it instead of spending $300 on the Ryzen 7 1700 or $420 on the Ryzen 7 1800X, both of which have eight cores?

There are some questions around why AMD would release an 8-core Threadripper, given that the Ryzen 7 1800X is also eight core and currently retails around $399 when distributor sales are factored in. The main thing here is going to be IO, specifically that the user is going to get access to quad channel memory and all the PCIe lanes required for multi-GPU or multi-add-in cards, along with a super high-end motherboard that likely contains multiple CPU-based PCIe x4 storage and/or 10G Ethernet and additional features.

Previously: CPU Rumor Mill: Intel Core i9, AMD Ryzen 9, and AMD "Starship"
AMD 16/12-Core Threadripper Details Confirmed

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mhajicek on Thursday August 03 2017, @09:39PM (12 children)

    by mhajicek (51) on Thursday August 03 2017, @09:39PM (#548493)

    What I need for my CADCAM workload is a quad-core with really high single-thread performance. If I had 32 cores at least 28 of them would be idle. I can't be alone here, can I?

    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03 2017, @11:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03 2017, @11:38PM (#548522)

      my dwarf fortress needs that, too.

      I guess we have to keep overclocking. the rest of the cores can just be epeen on the folding team?

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday August 04 2017, @02:17AM (9 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday August 04 2017, @02:17AM (#548555)

      As more cores become more common, there's greater incentive for CADCAM, etc. software designers to begin parallelizing their code more effectively. It can be a royal pain in the ass for some applications, but with processor speeds basically stagnating at the limits of current (affordable) technology building out is pretty much the only option to increase processing power.

      I'm actually struggling to think of what CADCAM does that would benefit from more power while being particularly difficult to parallelize. Perhaps the programmers are just too lazy to rewrite relatively mature core code to take advantage of new realities? Hard to blame them as long as people keep buying their software, but it would seem like the first product to embrace a 10-to-20-fold performance improvement would jeopardize a lot of brand loyalty...

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday August 04 2017, @02:40AM (8 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday August 04 2017, @02:40AM (#548563) Journal

        It's the heat that kills faster processors asfaik, not the cost as such. But if there's fewer transistors to produce that heat. Maybe it can work? Ie something like a souped up 6502 + MMU in 64-bit version that clocks 100 GHz.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday August 04 2017, @03:13AM (7 children)

          by Immerman (3985) on Friday August 04 2017, @03:13AM (#548580)

          The problem is that reliability falls as speed increases. You can overcome that to a certain extent by making things smaller, so that electrons cross the transistor faster/in response to a lower signal, or by increasing the voltage so that you get a better "signal to noise ratio". Unfortunately we're about as small as silicon-based circuits can get without running afoul of quantum mechanical interference, and increasing the voltage dramatically increases heat (power increases with the square of voltage) while offering diminishing returns on signal quality.

          A sufficiently simple chip could potentially be pushed a lot faster than a modern CPU, but even immersing the thing in a tank of oil coolant and letting it boil it off, ala the famous "Little Bubbles" Cray chip is unlikely to get you to 100GHz. Maybe with high-powered liquid nitrogen cooling, or liquid helium - but that's going to get very finicky and expensive. Plus, it won't run nearly as fast as you'd expect - consider that a modern high-end CPU runs at about the same speed as one from a decade ago, while even most single-threaded software will run considerably faster on a newer chip - all those extra transistors are buying you a lot of predictive optimizations as well.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Friday August 04 2017, @03:59AM (6 children)

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Friday August 04 2017, @03:59AM (#548608) Journal

            Transistors in the 0.5 THz to 1.0 THz range are possible:


            The Georgia Tech team used liquid helium to achieve the extremely low cryogenic temperatures of 4.3 Kelvins in achieving the observed 798 GHz speeds. "When we tested the IHP 800 GHz transistor at room temperature during our evaluation, it operated at 417 GHz," Cressler said. "At that speed, it's already faster than 98 percent of all the transistors available right now."

            If I'm not mistaken, a 1000 GHz chip would have to have lots of tiny [] cores. Which means that GPUs would benefit more than CPUs at such high clock speeds, because your CPU would have have to be Xeon Phi style with hundreds of cores.

            Good news for next-next-next-gen VR: if Silicon-Germanium, carbon nanotubes, or some other technology enables 100 GHz and above clock speeds, then we can easily see 1 petaflops [] to 1 exaflops GPUs.

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            • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Friday August 04 2017, @07:35AM (2 children)

              by fyngyrz (6567) on Friday August 04 2017, @07:35AM (#548640) Journal

              Memory remains a severe bottleneck - until/unless it's on-cpu-chip in significant amounts, the distance between the CPU and the memory will eat that speed like a pothead with a fresh bag of Fritos.

            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday August 04 2017, @01:11PM (2 children)

              by Immerman (3985) on Friday August 04 2017, @01:11PM (#548709)

              Quite, but that's basically an entirely new technology - lots of improvements available if we're willing to pay through the nose for it. Nothing that can be mass-produced in he short term though.

              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 04 2017, @01:58PM (1 child)

                by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Friday August 04 2017, @01:58PM (#548718) Journal

                IBM used silicon-germanium in its 7nm [] and 5nm demo chips [].

                3nm seems possible: TSMC Plans New Fab for 3nm []

                ASML is talking about 1-3nm [].

                TSMC could put out 3nm chips around 2022. So we have at least 5 years, possibly up to 10, before we need to explore raising clock rates, stacking cores in layers, or other crazy approaches to boosting performance.

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                • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday August 04 2017, @02:26PM

                  by Immerman (3985) on Friday August 04 2017, @02:26PM (#548725)

                  Yep - they're looking great in the lab, and I'm looking forward to them hitting the streets. For now though they're basically irrelevant. Maybe in 5-10 years we'll be able to buy them, and maybe they'll reopen the traditional clock-increasing method of boosting performance (really hope you didn't intentionally include that in the "other crazy approaches"), but I've seen far too many promising technologies get neglected and abandoned over the years to give a whole lot of credence to demo units.

                  Heck, silicon-germanium processors were supposed to be right around the corner 17 years ago when CPU clock rates started seriously plateauing. 17 years later and rather than a thousandfold increase in keeping with the prior trend, clock speeds have barely more than doubled, and all the tricks we've thrown at them haven't yielded performance improvements all that much more impressive. And we're still waiting on germanium.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 04 2017, @03:11AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Friday August 04 2017, @03:11AM (#548578) Journal

      Ryzen quad cores should be significantly cheaper than the Intel ones. They have not caught up in single-threaded IPC, but they have cleared much of the gap that had been left by the Bulldozer failure.

      With Threadripper, you really need to have a use for those cores and the I/O to justify the purchase. Previously, Threadripper was a range of 10 to 16 core chips. Now they've added this 8-core Threadripper to the lineup with 60 PCIe lanes instead of 16 for Ryzen and 44 for the Skylake Intel Core i9 chips, and I believe 16 for regular Core i7.

      Hopefully, what AMD has done here with Ryzen 7 and Threadripper, and Intel with Skylake-X, will encourage software makers to parallelize workloads much more where possible. There is a chicken and egg problem, but the egg has now been laid. Octo-core is reaching into the mainstream (although still $300 minimum). 10, 12, 14, and 16 cores are cheaper than ever before, with Intel's 10-core seeing a massive $700 price cut.

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