News Threadripper Pro 5000WX CPUs Arrive In China, 64 Cores For $7,000

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Titan
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The WX ("Pro") series aren't really meant for HEDT. As AMD put it in its analyst day, those are aimed at "workstations and professional" uses, nothing about HEDT there. It remains to be seen whether AMD will resurrect the non-Pro/WX lineup with Zen 4.

As far as the traditional in-between desktop and server pricing and features HEDT used to stand for go, HEDT is a current-gen wasteland.
 
Ohhhhh, China only huh?!
"It speaks volumes that Intel AMD isn't launching this in the US first, though!"

"When do we see any foreign (to China) companies launch stuff in China first? That almost only happens when companies release China-exclusive crippled variants of popular models.

What does that say about Intel? AMD That it doesn't expect the products to perform well enough to survive criticism in the rest of the world in its current state. "
 
The WX ("Pro") series aren't really meant for HEDT. As AMD put it in its analyst day, those are aimed at "workstations and professional" uses, nothing about HEDT there. It remains to be seen whether AMD will resurrect the non-Pro/WX lineup with Zen 4.

As far as the traditional in-between desktop and server pricing and features HEDT used to stand for go, HEDT is a current-gen wasteland.
I mean, I do agree in part with you there, but HEDT and "Server-like parts" have been always separated by a thin veil and never properly defined. So while I do side with you on the sentiment, I can't on the technicality.

Ohhhhh, China only huh?!
"It speaks volumes that Intel AMD isn't launching this in the US first, though!"

"When do we see any foreign (to China) companies launch stuff in China first? That almost only happens when companies release China-exclusive crippled variants of popular models.

What does that say about Intel? AMD That it doesn't expect the products to perform well enough to survive criticism in the rest of the world in its current state. "
Haha, I was going to whine about the same exact thing xD

I want to see these in the US or EU markets!

Regards.
 
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InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I mean, I do agree in part with you there, but HEDT and "Server-like parts" have been always separated by a thin veil and never properly defined. So while I do side with you on the sentiment, I can't on the technicality.
Lets size that 'technicality' up on AMD's side when compared to when AMD was actively involved in HEDT...
  • only single socket possible on HEDT, dual sockets on servers
  • 60 usable PCIe lanes for HEDT vs 128 for servers/WX
  • quad-channel memory for HEDT vs octo-channel for servers/WX (12 channels for next-gen on SP5)
I'd say those three largest differences amount to more than just a technicality. On Intel's side, there just hasn't been any HEDT for a while.
 

escksu

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The WX ("Pro") series aren't really meant for HEDT. As AMD put it in its analyst day, those are aimed at "workstations and professional" uses, nothing about HEDT there. It remains to be seen whether AMD will resurrect the non-Pro/WX lineup with Zen 4.

As far as the traditional in-between desktop and server pricing and features HEDT used to stand for go, HEDT is a current-gen wasteland.
I don't think AMD has any plants to revive HEDT. Volume is just way too low. Margins are also not as good compared to workstations. Doesn't justify it's revival.
 
Lets size that 'technicality' up on AMD's side when compared to when AMD was actively involved in HEDT...
  • only single socket possible on HEDT, dual sockets on servers
  • 60 usable PCIe lanes for HEDT vs 128 for servers/WX
  • quad-channel memory for HEDT vs octo-channel for servers/WX (12 channels for next-gen on SP5)
I'd say those three largest differences amount to more than just a technicality. On Intel's side, there just hasn't been any HEDT for a while.
So can you have dual socket WX'es? Can you run non-ECC with WX'es? Do you need to fill all 8 RAM slots for Octo Channel or just run Single, Dual or Quad?

Also, you could also see it the other way: they're increasing the HEDT capability by bringing it even closer to server (more lanes, more cores, more everything over regular consumer). That's why I don't fully agree with your view. What "middle ground" is there to define HEDT? "It needs to be exactly half of what a single socket server can do"?

Keep in mind that, well, according to AMD, Thread Ripper was never meant to exist and it was a "quick hack job" that ended up being an important item in their lineup. Or so the story goes~

AM5 will bring a lot of connectivity and bells and whistles that bring it up to current "prosumer" ThreadRipper level, if you look at the capabilities. Only lacking elements would be Quad Channel? 64 cores CPU? Everything else, you could make a strong argument it's pretty darn close to current (old) TR as a platform.

Regards.
 

gg83

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Ohhhhh, China only huh?!
"It speaks volumes that Intel AMD isn't launching this in the US first, though!"

"When do we see any foreign (to China) companies launch stuff in China first? That almost only happens when companies release China-exclusive crippled variants of popular models.

What does that say about Intel? AMD That it doesn't expect the products to perform well enough to survive criticism in the rest of the world in its current state. "
Could it be there is a really high demand in China? Or is it a form of testing ground? Or were the chips meant for review?
Lets size that 'technicality' up on AMD's side when compared to when AMD was actively involved in HEDT...
  • only single socket possible on HEDT, dual sockets on servers
  • 60 usable PCIe lanes for HEDT vs 128 for servers/WX
  • quad-channel memory for HEDT vs octo-channel for servers/WX (12 channels for next-gen on SP5)
I'd say those three largest differences amount to more than just a technicality. On Intel's side, there just hasn't been any HEDT for a while.
I was about to ask the difference between the two. You summed it up perfectly.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
What "middle ground" is there to define HEDT? "It needs to be exactly half of what a single socket server can do"?
It doesn't need to be half, though it would be a logical place to be when the gap between desktop and server is so massive and about to get even larger.

If your only choice for "HEDT" is to buy what amounts to a full-blown server chip, put it on what is a full-blown server motherboard, then pay the same amount as a full-blown server CPU ($1500-6000) and motherboard ($1000+) which are being marketed as high-end workstations or entry-level servers, then you are buying a 1P-server class system, not an HEDT one. The ThreadRipper 3995WX is a $5600 extra on Puget's configurator, which makes it more expensive than EPYC 7713P's MSRP.

Also note that the TR Pro/WX and its motherboards are effectively OEM-only, nearly impossible to get a hold of in any way other than buying a pre-built workstation or server based on it, much like servers tend to be.

AMD is basically telling WX/Pro customers: "may as well just go straight EPYC."
 
It doesn't need to be half, though it would be a logical place to be when the gap between desktop and server is so massive and about to get even larger.

If your only choice for "HEDT" is to buy what amounts to a full-blown server chip, put it on what is a full-blown server motherboard, then pay the same amount as a full-blown server CPU ($1500-6000) and motherboard ($1000+) which are being marketed as high-end workstations or entry-level servers, then you are buying a 1P-server class system, not an HEDT one. The ThreadRipper 3995WX is a $5600 extra on Puget's configurator, which makes it more expensive than EPYC 7713P's MSRP.

Also note that the TR Pro/WX and its motherboards are effectively OEM-only, nearly impossible to get a hold of in any way other than buying a pre-built workstation or server based on it, much like servers tend to be.

AMD is basically telling WX/Pro customers: "may as well just go straight EPYC."
I can agree to the stupidly expensive top of the line WX'es, but in terms of pricing scheme, that's always been the case even with Intel. Some HEDT and workstation CPUs (not even Xeons) have been more expensive than their lower end server counter parts. I am by no means justifying it, but just pointing out it's been like that for a long while, kind of.

As for everything else you point out, well, HEDT has always been "server class" hardware to a degree artificially segmented (rejects? just segmentation? no idea). And that's exactly why I'm not so sure these WX'es, while agreeing they're stupidly expensive for what they are aimed at, can't be considered HEDT.

But I'll leave it there, since I think you do have a point anyway: it's too darn high/expensive anyway for anyone without a proper business case. And then I go back to the "well, HEDT wasn't never meant for mainstream anyway" and knee-jerk myself XD!

Regards.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I can agree to the stupidly expensive top of the line WX'es, but in terms of pricing scheme, that's always been the case even with Intel.
The 5000 WalletRippers are only available in WX flavor which require the high-end server sWRX8/SP3v4 socket and $1000+ motherboard, no more of that cheap sTRX4/SP3r3 stuff that delivers exactly the maximum amount of connectivity that still makes sense on an (e)ATX motherboard.

Back when HEDT was a fully endorsed thing AMD and Intel were actively pushing, the bottom-end HEDT CPUs were equivalent to top-end mainstream with a $100-200 premium for expanded IO capabilities and motherboards started under $300. If you needed extra IO, such as for being able to run SLI/CF with full x16 to each GPU, you could get it for about $300 more than a sensible mainstream build with top-end CPU. AFAIK, more PCIe was by far the main reason quasi-normal people ever bothered with HEDT in the first place, an easy leap to make when your alternative is paying $200+ extra for one of few "mainstream" boards with a 56+ lanes PLX chip on it. Now that SLI/CF is dead and higher-end mainstream CPUs have more cores than people can shake stuff at, most of that in-between market is gone, hence AMD not bothering to release mainstream-friendly WalletRipper 5000s for sTRX4.

But I'll leave it there, since I think you do have a point anyway: it's too darn high/expensive anyway for anyone without a proper business case. And then I go back to the "well, HEDT wasn't never meant for mainstream anyway" and knee-jerk myself XD!
There was a time where getting into HEDT was actually affordable almost to the point of being a future-proofing option. That time has gone, along with at least two of its most common use-cases.
 

domih

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.../...
It remains to be seen whether AMD will resurrect the non-Pro/WX lineup with Zen 4.
.../...
HEDT != Workstation ? I'd rather say the line is quite blurry. The denominations only exist because INTEL and AMD practice market segmentation sometimes supported by the actual technology in the packages, sometimes not.

The first 3 generations of HEDT/workstation Threadripper were TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: a lot of cores, a lot of PCIe lanes, more memory channels at a price MUCH LOWER than the EPYC server cousins.

Once AMD got the HEDT market for itself with INTEL nowhere to be seen, AMD logically as a corporation went for maximizing profit with significant market segmentation.

As a result, if you want a lot of PCIe lanes, you ALSO have to spend money on the PRO features (more memory, security features, memory guard, OOB management) which you might not need nor want as DIYer. If you do not want to spend that amount of money, then you settle for the 5950X kneecapped in terms of PCIe lanes and memory.

The non-PRO Threadripper series is dead. AMD marketing calls it "simplifying and unifying the platform":

<<...Examining what our most demanding enthusiasts and content creators value most in the platform has led us to unify the Threadripper and Threadripper PRO product lines. Going forward, the Threadripper platform will now use a single “common infrastructure.” This means there will be one set of Threadripper PRO processors to choose from, with one CPU socket and chipset, and every processor will be based on AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO silicon...>>

It's always interesting to witness how marketing spins bad news in a positive way.

Ref: https://community.amd.com/t5/business/design-build-accelerate-on-the-ultimate-workstation-processor/ba-p/530661
 

InvalidError

Titan
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HEDT != Workstation ? I'd rather say the line is quite blurry.
It is not blurry at all IMO: HEDT traditionally was a transition zone between normal desktops and full-blown enterprise-class server/workstation stuff. AMD killed off most of what was left of its HEDT segment by abandoning its in-between platform, forcing its customers to pick a side across the chasm that opened up.

If you are desperate enough for more cores, IO, RAM, etc. that you can justify paying $1500+ more over a sensible top-end desktop to make the jump into workstation/server space, you are clearly in workstation/server territory. If you aren't but still need a bit more than mainstream platforms can deliver, then you are screwed because the HEDT middleground that used to cover that segment for only a few hundred extra bucks no longer exists.
 

domih

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It is not blurry at all IMO: HEDT traditionally was a transition zone between normal desktops and full-blown enterprise-class server/workstation stuff. AMD killed off most of what was left of its HEDT segment by abandoning its in-between platform, forcing its customers to pick a side across the chasm that opened up.

If you are desperate enough for more cores, IO, RAM, etc. that you can justify paying $1500+ more over a sensible top-end desktop to make the jump into workstation/server space, you are clearly in workstation/server territory. If you aren't but still need a bit more than mainstream platforms can deliver, then you are screwed because the HEDT middleground that used to cover that segment for only a few hundred extra bucks no longer exists.
The Threadripper 1000, 2000 and 3000 series IGNORE the difference between "HEDT" and "Workstation".

Once AMD learned what they could do in the Workstation market, they changed the deal and use the opportunity to add $1,300+ to the quasi same silicon. The mobo makers were happy to follow suite reaching $1,000+ for new mobos:

No Pro
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X 16C/32T ($899.99 MSRP) + ASRock X399 Taichi ($350 MSRP)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24C/48T ($1399.00 MSRP) + ASUS ROG ZENITH II EXTREME ($850 MSRP)

Pro
ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI ($999 MSRP) + ...
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3955WX 16C/32T ($1600 cheapest on NewEgg)
OR Imaginary non-existing 3965WX 24C/48T ($2605 average between above and below)
OR AMD Ryzen Threadripper 32C/64T 3975WX ($3610 cheapest on NewEgg)

Yes for Corporate America it makes sense, they are ready to spend more for the "PRO" stuff and last but not least a long term guaranty of availability and support. When AMD writes "...Examining what our most demanding enthusiasts and content creators..." it means Corporate America, certainly NOT the enthusiasts, individual data scientists, individual creators, individual developers running multiple IDE, Databases, VMs + multiple PCIe cards (accelerator, RAID, 10+ GbE...), enthusiast DIYers.

For all these latter users, it just sucks. Budgets are limited and it means $2,000+ (CPU + mobo) for the same capabilities and usage. To add injury to the wound, "Enterprise" pricing is a relative notion to say the least. When a corporate account buy systems by the palette, they get significant discounts. Such an opportunity will never occur for an individual. Get away low-life!

From AMD point of view, I would do the same thing to address all the internal screams from sales managers protesting about the low-life Threadripper phagocyting their Threadripper PRO or EPYC sales. Indeed you want to phagocyte your competitor products not your products. Good for AMD. Not good for me. Fine.

When AMD was hungry they were looking for money from anywhere, including enthusiasts. No longer the case. Fine. But AMD marketing telling me in 2022 I asked for PRO only is pure BS. In French we calls that "wanting the butter, the cost of the butter and the ass of the farmer's wife". In other words, AMD should not pretend that its corporate America strategy and market segmentation is good for enthusiasts.

Happy 2950X and 3960X user here. When I saw AMD selling these back in 18 and repeat in 19, I could not believe they were doing so. Were they that hungry or simply market ignorant? I'll use these machines for 10 years or until AMD or INTEL do something similar. It would be interesting to see if INTEL or AMD declare pricing war on HEDT/Workstation. I'm not holding my breath. Again they have no incentive to disrupt their Enterprise products sales and they are not hungry anymore.

Extra Note: LENOVO and DELL use the same "users asked for it" to unilaterally lock the Threadripper PRO to their mobos brand by abusing AMD PSP. It's like HP abusing the DMCA by putting some IP in their ink cartridges.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Extra Note: LENOVO and DELL use the same "users asked for it" to unilaterally lock the Threadripper PRO to their mobos brand by abusing AMD PSP.
While the PSP being locked from factory may suck from a DIY resale and repairability perspective, locking it from the factory is also the only way to ensure the BIOS hasn't been tampered with by middlemen, it definitely makes sense from the enterprise point of view where these systems will be handling company-confidential stuff on a daily basis.
 

domih

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While the PSP being locked from factory may suck from a DIY resale and repairability perspective, locking it from the factory is also the only way to ensure the BIOS hasn't been tampered with by middlemen, it definitely makes sense from the enterprise point of view where these systems will be handling company-confidential stuff on a daily basis.
Not entirely satisfying though. I hope SuperMicro, Tyan, ASRock Industrial and others will be nicer / smarter.
  1. Offer the order option: lock or not lock.
  2. Distributors can guaranty absence of tampering by publishing SHA256 or SHA512 of their BIOS with a PGP signature of the digest. So any customer as second option can decide to lock later. Pretty standard in OSS.
This would satisfy everybody.

But no locking to your brand is too tempting for main brands and nobody gets fired for ordering DELL or LENOVO.

The used market for Threadripper PRO 5000 and later series is basically DOA :-(

AMD's implementation for this feature is simple minded, they could have done much better.

Note: This being said, thanks for the debate!
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
  1. Distributors can guaranty absence of tampering by publishing SHA256 or SHA512 of their BIOS with a PGP signature of the digest. So any customer as second option can decide to lock later. Pretty standard in OSS.
How do you read the BIOS to actually verify that? You'd need to use an SPI chip reader to dump it from a different PC for verification since reading the chip by booting the computer would have a chance of having a virtualization virus intercepting SPI reads and writes to hide and protect itself. Then you enable PSP thinking everything was fine and the computer is bricked.

AMD's implementation for this feature is simple minded, they could have done much better.
There is no miracle solution to root-of-trust issues. The only time that PSP can be programmed with the correct BIOS vendor certificate without risking that malware may beat the manufacturer to it is at the factory. If $6000 CPUs ship with PSP unlocked and malware decides to program it, your $6000 CPU is bricked.
 

domih

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How do you read the BIOS to actually verify that? You'd need to use an SPI chip reader to dump it from a different PC for verification since reading the chip by booting the computer would have a chance of having a virtualization virus intercepting SPI reads and writes to hide and protect itself. Then you enable PSP thinking everything was fine and the computer is bricked.


There is no miracle solution to root-of-trust issues. The only time that PSP can be programmed with the correct BIOS vendor certificate without risking that malware may beat the manufacturer to it is at the factory. If $6000 CPUs ship with PSP unlocked and malware decides to program it, your $6000 CPU is bricked.
BMC can read and write the BIOS, after all you still need to be able to upgrade the BIOS for patches. The issue is with the fuse inside the CPU. It's heavy-handed. With correct digest and key management with the keys/certs NOT on the machine, you could achieve the same degree of security. I do not think that a host or guest hack can do anything to the activity of the BMC.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
The issue is with the fuse inside the CPU. It's heavy-handed. With correct digest and key management with the keys/certs NOT on the machine, you could achieve the same degree of security.
How would the CPU tell that the stuff it is receiving from off-board sources is genuine? Any attacker can generate certificates and signatures for their hacked BIOS and put them on the management server after breaking into it. Also, where does the management server providing all of this stuff get its own certificates from? If the CPU has no internal higher-authority certificate to check derived certificates used to sign its BIOS against, then it has absolutely no means of telling legitimate certificates, signatures and code from correctly prepared attacks.

No matter how you slice it, you need something baked into the CPU to establish a root of trust.

With data breaches costing companies billions of dollars each year, the occasional bricked system from a PSP issue is a small price to pay to avoid worrying about compromised BIOS without having to do any additional work, deploying, administering or maintaining any additional infrastructure.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Not if you maintain the trust. The BMC has it own PKI when getting the keys.
And how does the CPU's PSP and equivalents know that the BMC itself has not been compromised if it doesn't have keys of its own to challenge whatever it receives from the BMC with? You are asking for blind trust between the BMC and CPU, the chain of trust is still broken.
 

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