Frequency, Temperature, and Power

A lot of questions will be asked about the frequency, temperature, and power of this chip: splitting 280W across all the cores might result in a low all-core frequency and require a super high current draw, or given recent reports of AMD CPUs not meeting their rated turbo frequencies. We wanted to put our data right here in the front half of the review to address this straight away.

We kept this test simple – we used our new NAMD benchmark, a molecular dynamics compute solver, which is an example workload for a system with this many cores. It’s a heavy all-core load that continually cycles around the ApoA1 test simulating as many picoseconds of molecular movement as possible. We run a frequency and thermal logger, left the system idle for 30 seconds to reach an idle steady state, and then fired up the benchmark until a steady state was reached.

For the frequencies we saw an ‘idle’ of ~3600 MHz, which then spiked to 4167 MHz when the test began, and average 3463 MHz across all cores over the first 6 minutes or so of the test. We saw a frequency low point of 2935 MHz, however in this context it’s the average that matters.

For thermals on the same benchmark, using our Thermaltake Riing 360 closed loop liquid cooler, we saw 35ºC reported on the CPU at idle, which rose to 64ºC after 90 seconds or so, and a steady state after five minutes at 68ºC. This is an ideal scenario, due to the system being on an open test bed, but the thing to note here is that despite the high overall power of the CPU, the power per core is not that high.

Click to zoom

This is our usual test suite for per-core power, however I’ve condensed it horizontally as having all 64 cores is a bit much. At the low loads, we’re seeing the first few cores take 8-10W of power each, for 4.35 GHz, however at the other end of the scale, the CPUs are barely touching 3.0 W each, for 3.45 GHz. At this end of the spectrum, we’re definitely seeing AMD’s Zen 2 cores perform at a very efficient point, and that’s even without all 280 W, given that around 80-90W is required for the chipset and inter-chip infinity fabric: all 64 cores, running at almost 3.5 GHz, for around 200W. From this data, we need at least 20 cores active in order to hit the full 280W of the processor.

We can compare these values to other AMD Threadripper processors, as well as the high-end Ryzens:

AMD Power/Frequency Comparison
AnandTech Cores CPU TDP   1-Core
Full Load
Full Load
3990X 64 280 W   10.4 W 4350 3.0 W 3450
3970X 32 280 W   13.0 W 4310 7.0 W 3810
3960X 24 280 W   13.5 W 4400 8.6 W 3950
3950X 16 105 W   18.3 W 4450 7.1 W 3885

The 3990X exhibits a much lower power-per-core value than any of the other CPUs, which means a lower per-core frequency, but it isn’t all that far off at all: less than half the power for only 400 MHz less. This is where the real efficiency of these CPUs comes into play.

The 64 Core Threadripper 3990X CPU Review The Windows and Multithreading Problem (A Must Read)


View All Comments

  • npz - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    You mean backend to support Windows clients only for local IT depts. The true backend systems, if you're a large enough company would be running Linux. Like large banks and financial institutions run Windows and associated servers only to support the desktop clients, but for its trading machines and account and financial databases, run Linux. Previously they might have run Solaris, but they've nearly all moved to Linux now. Reply
  • zmatt - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Many. I would argue most actually. There are certainly some areas where Linux really shines but one place where they aren't just behind but completely non existing is competing with active directory. Most offices still use AD domains, and for good reasons, and Linux doesn't have an answer to it.

    We have a few VM clusters that run redundant DCs. Its the only option because active directory is unique. It isn't perfect, but nobody offers a competing solution. Someone could develop an open source competitor but nobody has.
  • nightmared - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    While I have to admit Microsoft AD is fairly well integrated (with regards to features such as a folder redirections and GPOs) and coherent, there is alternatives (after all the core of AD resides in a "simple" LDAP server). The most compliant (because it is a re-implementation of the AD) is SAMBA4 and it works quite well. You can fairly easily manage a windows AD with it, free of charge (and it's open source, of course). Still not as pervasives as Microsoft AD with all its Powershell dedicated commands and its GUI managers. Reply
  • Whiteknight2020 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    But no group policy, integrated CA, recycle bin, DSC, third party ecosystem, gmsa etc. Not industrial strength, no support, no federation services.... Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    Check out Univention Corporate Server, they build quite the drop-in AD alternative. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Freeipa Reply
  • Whiteknight2020 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Is junk. Fundamentally badly designed, appalling to administer and weak on features. Nice try. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - link

    Badly designed? Do you mean because it's mostly an orchestration tool? Reply
  • Whiteknight2020 - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    RedHat have tried, but it's solution is pants. You can make Linux full citizens of AD with QAS though so you only need windows for the directory. Also does a nice job of certificate authority too. Reply
  • Chaitanya - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    Many of my clients are running windows servers even in Datacentres. Reply

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