Choosing the CPU
Our AMD Threadripper platform system buyer's guide will help you decide on what components are best for your Threadripper system build. Threadripper and other high-end desktop (HEDT) platforms are not simple builds like many think, they require many different considerations, and a simple system configurator isn't enough to take into account different issues. There are many considerations that you might not think about before ordering your parts, such as not enough current on some high wattage multi-rail PSUs.
To make things clear, I will over cover parts of the system that could negatively impact your build. Storage, graphics, and accessories are not covered by this guide, as Threadripper will take full advantage of all of these with ease (especially with those three M.2 drives directly routed to the CPU and two x16 slots directly routed without switches to the CPU).
The first step is to choose which CPU you will be using for your build. There are currently three Threadripper CPUs, the 1950X, the 1920X, and the 1900X. We have reviewed both the 1950X and the 1920X, which are 16 core and 12 core CPUs, both have SMT, which means they will offer 32 and 24 threads respectively. The 1900X will offers 8 cores and 16 threads, but it's very close to the Ryzen 7 1800X in CPU performance, which means you are basically paying for the extra platform features (PCI-E 3.0 lanes) and CPU quality (top 5% of Zen dies).
AMD's Threadripper CPUs scale in terms of price to performance quite well, so we recommend choosing a processor that fits your budget better. While all three of the CPUs have the same Max Turbo Core Speed of 4GHz and the same maximum eXtended Frequency Rage (XFR) of 4.2GHz, their base clock speeds differ. The 1950X has a base clock speed of 3.4GHz, the 1920X has a base of 3.5GHz, and the 1900X has a base of 3.8GHz. While the 1950X and 1920X have the same L3 cache size of 32MB, the 1950X has an L2 cache of 8MB and L1 of 1.5MB and the 1920X has L2 of 6MB and L1 of 1.125MB. The 1900X has an L3 cache of 16MB, L2 of 4MB, and L1 of 768KB. We also found in our review of the 1950X and 1920X, that while the CPUs have the same TDP of 180W, the 1950X uses 10W more at full load than the 1920X, so the 1920X is a bit easier to cool than the 1950X, while the 1900X should be even easier.
The good news here is that no matter what CPU you choose, you still get ALL platform features. There is no artificial restriction to PCI-E lanes or overclocking. All the CPUs are unlocked for overclocking. Each CPU will also have the ability to run 8 DDR4 DIMMs with ECC support up to 2TB all in quad channel. CPU selection is just the first thing you need to think about, and if you want to see how we gauged the 1950X and 1920X, our review can be found here.
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