Following a plethora of leaks and rumors, AMD today finally confirmed when it plans on launching its third-generation Threadripper CPUs. They will arrive in November, alongside the 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X that was originally due to arrive this month.
All of the new processors are slated to ship "in volume," meaning this should not amount to a paper launch. Whether that actually ends up being the case remains to be seen.
"We are focusing on meeting the strong demand for our 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors in the market and now plan to launch both the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and initial members of the 3rd gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor family in volume this November," AMD said in a statement.
"We are confident that when enthusiasts get their hands on the world’s first 16-core mainstream desktop processor and our next-generation of high-end desktop processors, the wait will be well worth it," AMD added.
There is a bit to unpack here. Let's start with the 3rd gen Threadripper lineup. Threadripper represents AMD's high-end desktop (HEDT) category and is aimed at enthusiasts and power users who are willing to pay a premium for more cores (not necessarily the best CPUs for gaming, though).
The challenge AMD faces with its Threadripper family is making the CPUs compelling enough for an enthusiast to skip past its mainstream desktop Ryzen processors, which will soon scale to 16 cores and 32 threads, courtesy of the 3950X. Threadripper also uses socket TR4, and the previous gen (eg, 2970WX and 2990WX) experienced some difficulties in scaling performance due to the quad-channel memory allocation (two of the chiplets don't have direct access to DRAM and have to route memory accesses through another chiplet). At one point, it was questioned if AMD would bother with its Threadripper family going forward. However, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su put that query to rest a few months ago.
Interestingly, AMD's has published a slide indicating its third-generation Threadripper CPUs will premier at 24 cores. There have been rumors of a 32-core chip variant and even a monstrous 64-core model. I suspect we'll see more than 24 cores in this new round at some point (the previous generation Threadripper 2990X is a 32-core/64-thread CPU, by the way), but apparently not initially.
As to the 3950X, AMD basically confirmed it is having supply issues, though the company did not outright say that. Instead, we get the familiar line about being focused on "meeting the strong demand."
AMD actually unveiled the 3950X during its Next Horizon Gaming event in June. At the time, AMD said it would launch in September. That is not going to happen, and since the announcement, the 12-core/24-thread 3900X has been hard to come by. This fueled speculation of a supply issue on AMD's higher-end silicon, and delaying the 3950X until November is not going to quiet that chatter.
In any event, higher end AMD CPUs are coming in a couple of months, and should be available beyond an initial flurry of sales. Fingers crossed.