Threadripper is AMD Responding to Intel Responding to AMD
That title is fun right? Yesterday AMD had it’s Financial Analyst Day which turned out to be quite the product announcement. Zen was a pretty disruptive release and it seamed to prompt Intel to add more core options to their X299 platform releasing sometime this year. It looks like AMD doesn’t want to be outdone though, so they’re releasing a monstrous 16 core, 32 thread chip that will thoroughly compete with Intel’s enthusiast offerings, but there might be some slightly disappointing news from yesterday as well.
Technical details are pretty scarce right now, but PCWorld as an excellent slide showing the major highlights of yesterdays event. We only know the core and thread count of Threadripper for the time being, but seeing as how it’s based on Zen architecture, it will most likely have super competitive TDP and multi-threading performance numbers. AMD also announced Epyc, which looks like it will have 32 cores and 64 threads. This is completely designed for the enterprise market though, since it appears to have lower clockspeeds as well. The other fun announcements were related to Vega, but gaming seems like a minor focus in comparison to the professional uses mentioned during the FAD.
This where things get a bit murky. It’s looking more and more like AMD isn’t releasing a card that directly tackles the GTX 1080 Ti initially. While Vega, labeled Frontier Edition, has high levels of compute power, Raja had a straightforward mention that we’d be waiting a little longer for gaming variations of the flagship architecture. That will certainly come as a disappointment to expectant AMD fans and it seems fair to point the finger at the marketing campaign for building up false expectations on this. It does bring up the question as to whether Vega is actually going to be able to tackle Pascal architecture in gaming or not, but it could be that the professional market was always the initial target, even though some of the news we’ve seen didn’t strongly indicate that.
While news of a delayed Vega release for gaming is no fun at all, I still believe we have reason to be optimistic about not just Threadripper, but Vega as well. For starters, seeing high profile game developers partnering with AMD is always a good sign, even if you can’t draw solid conclusions from it. However, HBCC (High Bandwidth Cache Controller) is a good sign of what’s to come. This was able to turn 2 GB of video memory into really smooth performance on Rise of the Tomb Raider. If AMD has found a way to smooth out frame dips in gaming, a slightly lower average FPS could easily translate to an overall better gaming experience due to consistency. Time will tell, but feel free to check out the links below for more info that wasn’t covered here.