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AMD and Intel gear up for high-profile launches

by on05 November 2019

Will higher motherboard prices be AMD's Achilles heel?

A processor war is expected to erupt this month as Intel and AMD square off with three big product launches across mainstream and high-end platforms.

At first glance, AMD appears late to the fight with its Ryzen 9 3950X being the last of 2019's major mainstream launches for AMD on its Socket AM4 platform. This should have come out in September but was delayed. But could be delayed because it is taking aim at Intel's high-end desktop parts, the Core i9-9980XE. It will cause Chipzilla some headaches with its 16 cores expected to perform similarly to Intel's $2000 CPU, but for less than half the price.

Intel has cut prices for its new Cascade Lake-X CPUs, also due out this month. These can offer more PCI-E lanes and memory channels than the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X but are less powerful. The Ryzen 9 3950X has the highest boost frequency of any 3rd Gen Ryzen CPU of 4.7GHz so it is a good all rounder.

However, there are some other things at play here. For instance, Intel X299 motherboards are possibly cheaper than equivalent X570 motherboards depending on your requirements so while AMD will have the upper hand with processor pricing, Intel might still be on par once you factor in the system cost.

Then there is the 3rd Generation Threadripper. AMD has ditched everything below 24 cores because its Ryzen 9 3950X eats into its own Threadripper line-up. The expected 24- and 32-core CPUs will replace the Threadripper 2990WX and 2970WX which were great value for money, but only for workstation-based software but was not so hot in general content creation and gaming.  It could be spruced up by the Zen 2 architecture and any gains here will make life extremely difficult for Intel's high-end desktop line-up and its Xeon CPUs.

Again it might be screwed up by the motherboard pricing. AMD is sadly retiring X399 motherboards and they will not be compatible with 3rd Gen Threadripper. This means that the new chipsets being used, such as the TRX40, will require new motherboards and these will be PCI-E 4.0 compatible.  The new boards will want a pretty big price tag, pushing Threadripper beyond the usual realms of high-end desktop price and performance.


Last modified on 05 November 2019
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