When putting together a computer, it’s essential to remember the CPU, which is like the brains of the machine.
The performance, specs, and cost of CPUs are only a few of the things to consider.
When it comes to choosing an AMD processor for your next computer, you’ll find that there are a number of different models now available from “Team Red.”
However, this does not include the more costly Threadripper and Epyc CPUs.
So, what are the differences between the CPUs from these three manufacturers, and which one should you go with if you want to play games?
To learn more and find out the answer, continue reading.
First, let’s take a deeper look at each of the three aforementioned companies before moving on to the comparisons.
The Ryzen series is the first to come to mind. AMD’s Ryzen CPU range contains a number of different CPU models that are further subdivided by their overall performance and cost as follows:.
- The Ryzen 3 – Low-end
- a mid-range processor
- Zen 7: The pinnacle of high-end
- Ryzen 9 – Dedicated Users
There are a wide range of mainstream Ryzen CPUs, from entry-level to high-end workstation CPUs, all of which can be found on the market today.
The Ryzen Threadripper line of high-end processors offers more cores and threads than even the most powerful Ryzen 9 models, but at a significant cost over the entry-level Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.
Moreover, apart from pricing and performance differences, the Threadripper employs a specific sTRX4 socket, which is different from the AM4 standard used by the rest of the Ryzen series.
Epyc, a line of CPUs built on the same architecture as Ryzen and Threadripper, rounds off our look at the current CPU landscape. If you’re looking for the best performance in multitasking and stability, you’ll want to go with a server-oriented CPU, which has more cores, higher multitasking performance, and better stability. Epyc CPUs, like Threadripper, make use of a special socket called the SP3.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most sought-after CPU specifications and features of today.
The number of cores and threads is one of the most important considerations when looking for a CPU in 2022, and Ryzen’s success can be attributed in large part to its superior core and thread counts, which much exceeded those offered by Intel in recent years.
Then, how do the Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs stack up against the Epyc?
The Ryzen 3000 series is worth a look. They offer anywhere from 4 cores and 8 threads in the cheapest Ryzen 3 models to an impressive 16 cores and 32 threads in what is currently the most powerful and most expensive desktop Ryzen 9 CPU, the Ryzen 9 3950X.
As a result, the Threadripper 3000 series outperforms even the aforementioned Ryzen 9 in terms of core count and thread count.
When it comes to core count, the second generation of Epyc CPUs now range from a low of 8 cores and 16 threads in the more cheap variants to a high of 64 cores and 128 threads, which matches the most costly Threadripper CPU.
Although Threadripper and Epyc CPUs have larger core counts than conventional Ryzen models, this is critical for workstations and servers that must process massive volumes of data quickly.
However, modern games do not require the massive thread counts given by Threadripper and Epyc CPUs, despite the fact that many of them are optimized for multiple cores/threads. Furthermore, higher clock rates and fewer threads are more beneficial to gaming than the opposite.
This is the frequency at which a single core of a processor runs. How much data can the core process per second is measured in GHz (gigahertz).
Although it’s worth mentioning that clock speeds aren’t a great method to estimate actual performance, especially because all of AMD’s current Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs have base clock speeds in the 3-4 GHz region and no notable variances in boost clocks either.
Although stability is more crucial for servers than sheer processing power, Epyc CPUs often have low base clock rates and don’t overclock as well as AMD CPUs, which are more inexpensive.
Cache memory is the next topic we should discuss. In terms of in-game performance, this is an entry on a CPU spec sheet that’s generally neglected by gamers because of its lack of significance. But, of course, it’s still an essential component of every computer’s processor.
Cache memory serves a purpose, then.
For the most part, it is a small area of RAM where the CPU can store vital data and access it when necessary. As a result, cache memory aids in multitasking, but it also plays a vital role in maintaining system stability as well.
The L3 cache memory on common Ryzen processors ranges from 16 MB to 64 MB, according to the newest CPU models. Threadrippers have 128 or 256MB of RAM, while Epyc CPUs have 32MB of RAM and can go up to 256MB in the second generation.
It is worth noting that both the Threadripper and Epyc versions substantially out-spec the conventional Ryzen models and are very closely matched in this respect, although this is a minor consideration when it comes to gaming CPU.
Cache memory isn’t the only sort of memory that needs to be considered when it comes to CPUs when it comes to memory. As a result, not only the motherboard but also the CPU influence the amount of RAM and the number of memory channels supported.
The mainstream Ryzen CPUs only allow dual-channel memory configurations in terms of memory channels. Epyc CPUs can support up to eight memory channels, whereas Threadripper variants can support up to four.
As a result, Threadripper and Epyc CPUs will be able to handle much higher memory bandwidth, enabling them to transport and process critical data much more quickly than before. Even though quad-channel and octa-channel RAM setups would be overkill for gaming PCs, they can give workstations and servers with a lot of extra bandwidth that can considerably boost their overall performance.
When purchasing for any piece of hardware, the price is obviously a major consideration. Some people are wary of spending too much money on a CPU, while others aren’t bothered by the extra cost if it’s worth it.
For the most part, conventional Ryzen CPUs are the most cheap, ranging from $100 for the budget Ryzen 3 models to $750 for the most expensive Ryzen 9 CPUs, but the most popular gaming-oriented Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 models are found in the $200-$400 price range.
As you may anticipate, Threadripper CPUs are more expensive. To put it in perspective, the latest Threadripper 3000 versions cost $1400-$4000, which is a significant premium over the regular Ryzen CPUs.
Given that Threadrippers were more reasonable in the $500-$1000 and $650-$1800 price categories, it’s fair to say that their third and fourth generations are more expensive than the first and second generations. Since the widespread launch of Ryzen 9 processors, Threadrippers have evolved into a high-end, performance-oriented alternative that now offers even more power at a substantially higher price point.
Lastly, AMD’s Epyc CPUs come in a broad variety of pricing points, starting at $450 (about the same as the price of certain Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 models) and going as high as $6950, making them the company’s most costly CPUs to date.
Ryzen Threadripper benefits
Ryzen Threadripper is a single-socket workstation platform that is presently in its third version. Threadripper is ideally suited for high-demand applications like professional VFX, video, and rendering with up to 64 total processing cores (and 128 threads). EPYC has a number of advantages, including:
Threadripper’s Boost speed is 4.3-4.5GHz, compared to many other high core count processor alternatives. Aside from Media & Entertainment, it has an edge in single-threaded applications, such as CAD and architecture. While EPYC’s Boost/Turbo is about 3.2GHz, EPYC’s single threaded performance suffers significantly as a result.
Most compatible motherboards don’t have official Windows 10 or Windows 11 compatibility because EPYC is mostly used in data centers. You can run Windows desktop on an EPYC workstation — we’ve done it on our HD360A for years – but you’ll need more knowledge and drivers to make it work properly. There will be no additional engineering required to run Threadripper on a desktop device with full Windows driver compatibility.
Component shortages have hit all of us hard this year, making it difficult to get the parts we need. Despite the fact that no CPUs are what I would call “readily available,” there is a significant difference in the availability of Threadripper and EPYC. Threadripper CPU workstations may be more expensive at the moment, but lead times are typically 3-4 weeks less than EPYC’s 20+ week lead time (yes, nearly half a year!) due to current supply restrictions.
AMD EPYC benefits
Many users running applications like Machine Learning and scientific simulations are turning to the EPYC platform because of its high core count, scalability, and overall higher I/O bandwidth. The following are some of the most important advantages for the professional user:
With Threadripper, you can only get up to 256GB of RAM in 4 channels, but most single-socket EPYC motherboards can support 2TB of memory across 8 channels. Most people will never require 256GB or more, but for those who do, it’s a tremendous advantage.
The TRX40 chipset does not support ECC, therefore until a refresh is forthcoming, EPYC (and Threadripper PRO) are the only AMD options for ECC support.
While Threadripper only supports a single socket, most EPYC systems allow twin CPU configurations, boosting the amount of possible cores and threads to 128 and 256. CFD and other CPU-intensive applications and simulations require this level of scalability to be effective.
A higher level of data encryption is provided by AMD’s Infinity Guard security capabilities than by Threadripper.
Most EPYC processors run at a default TDP of 200-225W, but Threadripper’s default TDP is 280W (or above). Liquid cooling is highly recommended for Threadripper because EPYC makes thermal management considerably simpler.
Ryzen Threadripper Pros
Because of Threadripper’s huge number of processing cores (up to 64), it is best suited for high-end workstation applications like video editing and VFX. The following are a few advantages:
- Like other high core count processors, Threadripper’s core frequency is higher than that of most high-core count processors (about 3.2 for Epyc). Aside from Media & Entertainment, it has an edge in single-threaded applications, such as CAD and architecture.
- The majority of Epyc-compatible motherboards do not have official Windows 10 support because the platform is designed primarily for datacenters. You can run Windows desktop on an Epyc workstation — we’ve done it for years on our HD360A – but you’ll need some extra know-how to get the drivers installed correctly. As a desktop platform, Threadripper does not necessitate any additional understanding of Windows driver support.
AMD Epyc Pros
Many customers running applications like as Machine Learning and scientific simulations are turning to Epyc because of its high core count, scalability, and overall higher I/O bandwidth. User benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Most single-socket Epyc motherboards offer up to 2TB of RAM in 8 channels, whereas Threadripper supports 256GB of RAM in 4 channels. Many people will never use more than 256GB, but that’s a tremendous advantage for those who do.
- Only Epyc (and Threadripper PRO) are AMD choices for complete ECC support until a chipset revision is released for the TRX40 chipset, which does not support ECC.
- There is only one socket for Threadripper, although the majority of Epycs enable dual CPU configurations, doubling the number of possible cores to 128 and the number of possible threads to 256, as well as increasing PCIe lanes and I/O capacity. Scalability is essential for the most CPU-intensive applications or simulations.
- Infinity Guard, AMD’s industry-leading security package, provides an additional level of encryption that Threadripper lacks.
What about WRX80 Threadripper PRO
The newest product in this category is AMD’s Threadripper PRO with WRX80 chipset, which in some ways combines the best of TRX40 Threadripper and Epyc. Threadripper PRO is comparable to the standard Threadripper in terms of core count and frequency, but it includes ECC support, more RAM capacity, and security measures from Epyc.
Which is Best For Gaming?
In case you’re a first-time PC builder, you might be wondering which of these CPU manufacturers is ideal for gaming. How much of a difference do the more powerful and pricey CPUs make when playing games?
No, they do not.
When it comes to gaming computers, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors are the most popular. There is no need for them to bottleneck the latest mid-range and high-end graphics cards.
When it comes to gaming, Threadrippers and Epyc CPUs are simply excessive, and you shouldn’t spend four digits on a CPU if you only plan to use it for gaming.
High-end servers and workstations can take full advantage of the additional features these CPUs offer, such as higher core/thread counts and better stability, more PCIe lanes for additional GPUs and SSDs, and greater RAM bandwidth, among other things that your average gaming PC can’t really benefit from. Obviously.
What about WRX80 Threadripper PRO?
With its WRX80 chipset, AMD’s Threadripper PRO fills a large gap between the TRX40 Threadripper and EPYC product families, combining the best of both. Because of its enhanced security features, ECC support, increased RAM capacity, and ECC support built into EPYC, Threadripper PRO performs on par with basic Threadripper in terms of speed and performance.
Which Should Professionals Use?
EPYC is primarily a datacenter solution for AMD, and this is a wise move. Infinity Guard security and the platform’s scalability make it ideal for servers, rather than most workstation applications.
As a result of its higher core frequency and Windows 10 support, Threadripper targets traditional workstation users and applications. EPYC has distinct advantages over Threadripper and even Threadripper Pro for some professional workstation users.
With applications like Design and Simulation, Machine Learning, Weather, Research/Academia, and Computational Fluid Dynamics, there may be enough performance benefit to warrant the increased cost of EPYC for those searching for high RAM density solutions of 256GB+ with more than 128 threads. In contrast, Threadripper has too many advantages for users in the media and entertainment, architecture and engineering, and design industries to ignore.
Which Should Professionals Use?
Is there a one-size-fits-all answer? With AMD’s Infinity Guard security capabilities, Epyc is a better fit for servers than most workstation applications due to its efficiency and scalability. Because to Threadripper’s increased core frequency and official Windows 10 compatibility, it’s the best option for most typical workstation users and apps.
Although certain professional workstation users may profit from Epyc over Threadripper or perhaps Threadripper Pro, this does not mean that all professional workstation users will benefit from Epyc. Customers looking for high RAM density solutions with 256GB+ of RAM and applications with more than 128 threads, such as design and simulation, machine learning, weather forecasting, and CFD research, may find that Epyc is worth the additional cost in order to gain the performance benefits it offers. In contrast, Threadripper has too many advantages for users in the media and entertainment, architecture and engineering, and design industries to ignore.
The mainstream Ryzen series, meanwhile, consists of CPUs targeted at the typical customer and comprises anything from entry-level options for cheap gaming PCs to the remarkably powerful Ryzen 9 variants, which would be right at home in many workstations.
Due to a number of factors, Ryzen Threadripper and Epyc CPUs aren’t good gaming CPUs:
- They have a lot more power than you’d need for a typical gaming PC.
- The majority of these CPUs are significantly more expensive compared to regular Ryzen models in this price range.
- Both of these devices make use of specialized sockets (sTRX4 and SP3).