AMD's preposterous Threadripper Pro price tag holds its 128-thread monster back from greatness

AMD Threadripper CPU render with name on chip
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD's Threadripper processors have been drifting away from the clutches of the humble enthusiast for years now, but for those without a corporate credit card the latest Ryzen Threadripper 5000-series chips are now wholly out of reach. If you want to get your hands on one of AMD's new and impressively mighty Threadripper Pro CPUs today, you could end up forking out up to $6,499 for the privilege.

Our pals over at Tom's Hardware have received the SEPs for three new Threadripper Pro chips, which are as follows:

These chips were announced back in March and are only available within majorly expensive corpo workstation builds from Lenovo and Dell. They will be sold separately for DIY builders, however, but that won't happen until "later this year," so says AMD.

There are also two other chips, the 5955X and 5945X, which will assumedly be cheaper as these chips' core counts are a little more pedestrian at 16 and 12—a match for some processors in the desktop Ryzen 5000-series range. However, pricing has not yet been confirmed for these two.

Most impressive of the lot is the 5995WX, which comes with 64 cores and 128 threads of the current generation Zen 3 architecture. That makes for a mean combination of high throughput and genuinely high clock speeds, at 4.5GHz boost across the lineup. That's genuinely great for a processor with so many cores.

If that wasn't already a tantalising mix, AMD brings 128 lanes of PCIe Gen 4, 8-channel memory, and 256MB of L3 cache. That's, uh, quite a lot, even though it is technically a lot less per core than the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. The WRX80 platform these chips slot into even offers CPU and memory overclocking.

For $6,499, however, this chip needs to deliver in absolutely every way. It certainly is stacked up to do so. But these are the Pro versions of AMD's Threadripper chips, and they do tend to rack up the bill a fair bit. You might then be thinking that you'd be better off waiting for the non-Pro versions of these chips to arrive. 

The non-Pro Threadripper 2990WX, a 32-core chip, launched back in August 2018 for a cool $1,750. Now that's still a whole lot of money, but it is notably a lot less than the $3,299 that AMD is asking for the 32-core 5975WX today.

Sadly, AMD is no longer planning to release non-Pro versions of its latest 5000-series Ryzen Threadripper processors. What you see is what you get, AMD confirms in a blog post, and that means that Threadripper is absolutely no longer the cheaper alternative to Intel's HEDT platform that it once was.

AMD Threadripper socket on a motherboard

I always loved how the Threadripper CPU bracket would lock in. Extremely satisfying. (Image credit: AMD)

The reality is that neither AMD nor Intel have really put a major focus into their HEDT chips over previous years, not like they used to when Threadripper first released. Intel's Core X-series used to be the pinnacle of desktop performance for those prepared to drop a bag of cash on a CPU—essentially a server die redesigned for the desktop market. 

Then AMD came along with Threadripper, a grand idea brewed up by its engineers in their spare time, to make HEDT a little more affordable. It arrived at nearly half the price of Intel's X-series, and subsequently caused a major drop in Intel's pricing next time around. 

Since then, however, Intel's lineup has wavered to near non-existence, and AMD's Threadripper is no longer looking to the enthusiast crowd for cash.

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Simply put: it looks like the competition in the HEDT segment has dried up.

Though it's not like either company simply ran out of muster. It's likely down to the fact that the standard desktop components offered by both AMD and Intel in 2022 come with high core counts. That wasn't the case when these HEDT processors were a big deal, a half-decade ago. 

With Intel's dominant but Skylake generation back in 2015, chips maxed out at four cores and eight threads, and often people put up with fewer. The Skylake X processors were the only ones able to deliver up to 18 cores with the Core i9 7980XE. That chip cost $1,999. Whereas today you can pick up either AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X with 16 cores for $554, or Intel's Core i9 12900K with eight Performance-cores/eight Efficient-cores for $590. The market has moved away from consumer-focused HEDT chips.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.