AMD Threadripper 2950X Offers Great Linux Performance At $900 USD
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 13 August 2018. Page 2 of 7. 22 Comments

I have been testing out the Threadripper 2950X/2990WX on a variety of Linux distributions and kernel releases and have encountered no issues to bring up aside from the notice about the temperature reporting, which is important to be aware of if planning to air-cool these CPUs at their 180 Watt TDP or 250 Watt in the case of the 2990WX.

For these launch-day benchmarks, tests were done under Ubuntu 18.04 LTS while using the Linux 4.18 Git kernel. Some notes on this launch-day testing of both the 2950X and 2990WX:

- The latest near-final Linux 4.18 Git kernel as noted. This isn't anything close to a hard requirement, but as is the case with newer hardware, the newer kernels tend to work out better particularly if planning to utilize the open-source Radeon graphics with AMDGPU kernel driver.

- GCC 8.2.0 was used as the code compiler for all of the benchmarks in this CPU testing. GCC8 contains various Zen (znver1) scheduling optimizations and other enhancements over GCC7 that is shipped by default in Ubuntu 18.04. There isn't anything specific to these newer processors but just the overall Zen tuning enhancements.

- Besides using GCC 8.2, the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS on each of the systems were set to "-O3 -march=native" and all of the tests rebuilt under each CPU under test for ensuring the benchmarks are optimized for each processor's microarchitecture.

- All of the systems had their latest available BIOS/firmware for ensuring the latest CPU microcode as part of Spectre mitigation, plus the Retpolines, KPTI, and other Spectre mitigation work available in the Linux 4.18 kernel.

- The "performance" governor for the P-State/CPUFreq CPU frequency scaling drivers was set on each of the processors during testing rather than the default powersave/ondemand governors on Ubuntu.

The CPUs tested for this Threadripper 2950X article include the Core i7 5960X, Core i7 8700K, Core i9 7900X, Ryzen 7 2700X, Threadripper 1950X, and Threadripper 2950X. In the just-published AMD Threadripper 2990WX is obviously that processor plus a few more Intel reference points for the high-end desktop processors.

During testing, each of the systems had 32GB of memory (in each platform's respective maximum number of supported memory channels, DDR4-3200 frequency) and a 280GB Intel Optane 900P NVMe SSD with the above-listed Ubuntu 18.04 configuration for benchmarking. No graphics/gaming tests are being done for this article but is being reserved for its own Linux gaming article, among several other articles coming up.

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