News Shed a Tear for HEDT: AMD's Threadripper Pro Pricing Marks the End of an Era

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Unless one regards workstation and server-oriented sWRX8 platforms as 'desktop', there is nothing HEDT about it other than nothing current-gen being available. The much cheaper sTRX4 stuff already had everything anyone could realistically expect to pack on an eATX motherboard in an eATX case, the perfect middle-ground between mainstream desktop and full-blown workstation/server-class.

With the bulk of lower-end ThreadRipper sales likely going to people looking for the cheapest way to get extra PCIe lanes for SLI/CF, it makes sense that AMD would abandon TX4/sTRX4 at about the same time SLI/CF were effectively discontinued.
 
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Alvar "Miles" Udell

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With the increase in bandwidth provided by USB4 and PCIe 5, along with the increase in power afforded by upcoming MCM based GPUs, and the advent of 16 core Ryzen class processors, the need for Threadripper's key advantage, 128 PCIe lanes, for the "lower end" HEDT market has basically evaporated, so it makes sense to eliminate that market and focus on the mid and higher end HEDT market, the actual content creators and prosumers who make the kind of money, and have the ability to write a HEDT system off on taxes, so $3000 isn't that big of a deal.
 
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escksu

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There isn't much volume in hedt to begin with. AMD isn't making money from hedt to begin with, it's actually "losing", i.e. workstation and hedt CPUs are actually the same thing with some features disabled. So AMD could potentially sell these hedt CPUs at higher prices. Same for boards. The cost of manufacturing hedt boards aren't that cheap. But since they are not workstation boards, their prices are lower (means less profits).

HEDT was needed only during the days of quad core CPUs where fastest desktop CPU is just a quad core i7. So 6-8 cores are considered hedt and do make sense for those who needs more performance. But now, we have 16 cores for desktop.

Yes, we can argue that some pple needs the extra cores and pcie lanes. But how many are there? The market is simply way too small. If you need it, you would have to pay a premium for it.

On top of that, there is 0 competition too. Intel is not even talking about hedt for near future.
 
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Johnpombrio

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I always figured that the original Threadrippers were cut-down versions of the Pro chips that did not pass full testing. Perhaps the maturation of the processes meant that most of the chips are fully enabled.
 
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the need for Threadripper's key advantage, 128 PCIe lanes, for the "lower end" HEDT market has basically evaporated
TR4/sTRX4 rippers, the cheap HEDT-friendly ones, only had 56-60 user-accessible PCIe lanes depending on how many were reserved for the chipset and quad-channel memory. If you want 128 PCIe or octo-channel memory, you have to step up to either the WalletRipper Pro or EPYC stuff.

i.e. workstation and hedt CPUs are actually the same thing with some features disabled.
There are huge physical differences between sTRX4 (the last sensible HEDT platform) and sRWX8. If AMD wanted to stay in the legitimate HEDT market, it would keep sTRX4 alive to keep costs reasonable.

Between the practically nonexistent cost and feature difference between sWRX8 based WalletRippers Pro and EPYC systems, if AMD is genuinely wants to simplify its product portfolio, it could have just axed WalletRipper altogether, WX/Pro included.
 

escksu

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There are huge physical differences between sTRX4 (the last sensible HEDT platform) and sRWX8. If AMD wanted to stay in the legitimate HEDT market, it would keep sTRX4 alive to keep costs reasonable.

Between the practically nonexistent cost and feature difference between sWRX8 based WalletRippers Pro and EPYC systems, if AMD is genuinely wants to simplify its product portfolio, it could have just axed WalletRipper altogether, WX/Pro included.
Those physical differences are on the board, not the CPU. To amd, a threadripper CPU is essentially the same as the pro variant, only with some features disabled. It cost the same to make but selling price and margins are vastly different.

As for wrx8 vs epyc, it exist due to demand for high end workstation computers. I am very sure AMD have consulted with vendors like dell, Lenovo, hp etc.. to decide that. Also, these workstations are mostly used by corporates, not home users. So, hardly any diy.
 
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escksu

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AMD how about, this may sound crazy, just give us a 5950x tier CPU, but with more PCIE lanes?

So much stuffn ow-a-days wants fast lanes and non TR just dont give us the option for em.
They can technically but they won't. The cost of implementation vs volume is not there... Less than 1% of the users would need more than 20 usable lanes.
 
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I guess Intel could now strike with a 12980XE/13980XE and get a jump on AMD there, but I highly doubt that. I wish they'd bring Alder/Raptor Lake to extreme xD
 

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AMD how about, this may sound crazy, just give us a 5950x tier CPU, but with more PCIE lanes?

So much stuffn ow-a-days wants fast lanes and non TR just dont give us the option for em.
Well, the AM5 socket does bring two USB3-10G ports on-package and has four extra PCIe lanes (28 total including chipset link, up from 24) to accommodate up to two USB4/TB4 ports. If you need more than that, you do have X670 chipset lanes, X2 for the 'extreme' dual-chipset version. Beyond that, you'll have to wait for AM6 or pray for a cost-effective successor to sTRX4.
 

jasonf2

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The fact that all of these processors are developed on a mature core architecture at workstation pricing for the last couple of generations put them out of the HEDT system class anyways. Back when HEDT was at its high point it was usually leading a new core arch, with a ridiculous price for the consumer market, but it never really fit the workstation market due to some fairly important extension being absent. Threadripper from its inception was a marketing stunt to underprice and overperform. Zen 1 was pretty much as good as Intel at the time, but not dominating IPC to the point that ZEN 2-3 were at release. So Threadripper at $750 blew anything Intel had out of the water and made a marked point to buy AMD. AMD's movement into IPC dominance removed the need for the market stunt and they are simply moving into the workstation Xeon class pricepoint. This has always been a lower volume high margin spot.
 

escksu

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I guess Intel could now strike with a 12980XE/13980XE and get a jump on AMD there, but I highly doubt that. I wish they'd bring Alder/Raptor Lake to extreme xD
Yup, that's not going to happen. Intel has no interest in hedt right now. You will have to go for xeons class workstations for that. There is no reason for Intel to repackage their xeons as extreme editions due to the price point. The margins for hedt CPUs are also lower than xeons.
 

escksu

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I always figured that the original Threadrippers were cut-down versions of the Pro chips that did not pass full testing. Perhaps the maturation of the processes meant that most of the chips are fully enabled.
Possible but unlikely. This is because the additional features found in Pro versions are mostly handled by the I/O die. You still need fully working CPU chiplets for that. This makes threadripper CPUs expensive to produce.

Although the pro version shares many features with EPYC, they are used in different environments. Companies do not get TR pro to use as servers just to reduce cost. They just buy EPYC servers.
 

BeedooX

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My X399 needs upgrading, and I have a fantastic Threadripper waterblock that I won't be able to use in future then :(
 
It is indeed sad AMD is not offering a separate platform that is less expensive (or accessible?) for sure, but I can't fully agree the WX line doesn't apply for HEDT; I remember back in the day workstation stuff WAS the HEDT until Intel decided to create another segmentation point/market which seems to have been understood it was not needed again. Sad, but I can't say I don't agree with both Intel and AMD. Maybe this is better? Not sure, but as mentioned (and I agree) AM5 will be a decent jump and it'll definitely close the gap enough with sTRX4 to make it unnecessary and/or redundant. Only missing the plethora of cores and, maybe, amount of individual lanes.

Regards.
 
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They can technically but they won't. The cost of implementation vs volume is not there... Less than 1% of the users would need more than 20 usable lanes.
My understanding is that AM5 will provide more PCIe lanes - one more x4 for M.2 and one more x4 for connection to the chipset, so 32 in total (16GPU + 2x4 NVMe + 2x4 Chipset). I am yet to see the details on that, so cannot really confirm it. But with PCIe 5 support, the MB can use some PCIe switch to add more lanes. PCIe5x16 can be split to 2 or 3 PCIe4x16 without anyone noticing any performance degradation at least for 2-3 more years. Even after that it will be only a small hit and only when you load it to the max. BTW, the toal throughput of 24 PCIe5 lanes in both directions (192GB/s) dwarfs the memory throughput of dual channel DDR5 6400 setup (~100), so it's questionable how much of it can actually be used.

Now whether such PCIe switch chips exist now or will in the near future and whether they will be used by any MB manufacturer is a different story. Such chip may help with signal integrity because it will shorten the traces to the slots since they will run off the switch chip instead of the CPU but the savings will not offset the price of the switch. Still, the IO throughput is there and so is the possibility to be used in a smart way. At a cost.
 

Xajel

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I guess you forgot the non-Pro Threadripper.

These are becoming more separated now, the TR Pro are more closer to Epyc with more cores and 8 Memory Channels, TR can have low cores as it focuses more in higher clocks, but still limited to 4 Memory Channels. This is at least for the current gen, we don't know how AMD/intel will manage their upcoming DDR5/PCIe5 based platform

I guess, because of the pandemic and the chip shortage, the HEDT went a victim of delays. Both AMD and Intel are working on their next gen. HEDT platform, and for both of them it will be a new platform with PCIe 5.0 & DDR5.
 

msroadkill612

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AMD how about, this may sound crazy, just give us a 5950x tier CPU, but with more PCIE lanes?

So much stuffn ow-a-days wants fast lanes and non TR just dont give us the option for em.
In effect, u can get 8 extra true pcie lanes w/ Ryzen & an x570 mobo w/ 2x 8 lane pcie slots, & using just 8 lanes of double bandwidth pcie 4 for the GPU.
... not to mention the huge jump in chipset IO via the pcie 4 lanes link to cpu.

The x570 premium is a pittance but few seem interested & the huge false economy of b550 is preferred.
 

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The x570 premium is a pittance but few seem interested & the huge false economy of b550 is preferred.
Tons of people will never put much more than a GPU and NVMe SSD in their desktop system. They will be perfectly fine saving ~$100 going with a B-series chipset on a mATX board over a similar tier (ex..: TUF vs TUF or equivalent tier from other manufacturers) Z/X one. Paying 30-50% extra for features you know you will never use is wasted money.
 
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JarredWaltonGPU

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I guess you forgot the non-Pro Threadripper.

These are becoming more separated now, the TR Pro are more closer to Epyc with more cores and 8 Memory Channels, TR can have low cores as it focuses more in higher clocks, but still limited to 4 Memory Channels. This is at least for the current gen, we don't know how AMD/intel will manage their upcoming DDR5/PCIe5 based platform

I guess, because of the pandemic and the chip shortage, the HEDT went a victim of delays. Both AMD and Intel are working on their next gen. HEDT platform, and for both of them it will be a new platform with PCIe 5.0 & DDR5.
AMD has stated that Threadripper is going away and there will only be Threadripper Pro. There is no "forgetting" of the non-Pro Threadripper, that's the whole point. If you want non-Pro Threadripper, buy one now, because they are being phased out.
 
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AMD has stated that Threadripper is going away and there will only be Threadripper Pro. There is no "forgetting" of the non-Pro Threadripper, that's the whole point. If you want non-Pro Threadripper, buy one now, because they are being phased out.
Since the Pro/WX WalletRippers have practically the same features and prices as EPYC while requiring the same motherboard class as well, AMD should have scrapped ThreadRipper altogether at this point.
 
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waltc3

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Until you can compare the performance of the 3990X to the 5990X, there doesn't seem a lot of reason to complain, imo. That's what anyone will do, imo. The upcoming top-performing Zen4 desktop Ryzens will, imo, knock out the non-pro HEDT segment of the TR market.
 

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Until you can compare the performance of the 3990X to the 5990X, there doesn't seem a lot of reason to complain, imo. That's what anyone will do, imo. The upcoming top-performing Zen4 desktop Ryzens will, imo, knock out the non-pro HEDT segment of the TR market.
I'm going to hazard a bet that the vast majority of people who bought ThreadRipper for personal use got 1900X, 1920X or 2920X largely for the extra PCIe lanes. Lots of people looking at HEDT mainly did so for extra IO, especially back when SLI and CF were still a somewhat viable thing. People wanting to build home servers also needed those PCIe lanes to toss extra storage controllers, NVMe SSDs and 10GbE cards in. I was tempted to get a 1900X myself for eventual retirement into fancy NAS life while they were selling for relatively dirt-cheap.
 

TJ Hooker

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The fact that all of these processors are developed on a mature core architecture at workstation pricing for the last couple of generations put them out of the HEDT system class anyways. Back when HEDT was at its high point it was usually leading a new core arch, with a ridiculous price for the consumer market,
Not sure what period you consider HEDT's night point, but Intel's X series processors never debuted a new uarch AFAIK. They always came out a year or more after the mainstream chips from the same core generation were released.
 

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