During AMD's opening keynote at Computex on Monday, the company unveiled a new generation of mainstream Ryzen processors to pair with the best AMD motherboard, among them the Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores and 24 threads of compute muscle. We also suspect that a 16-core/32-thread Ryzen processor is inbound at some point. Does that mean we won't see any more Threadripper chips? In a word, no.
AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su shared several more words on the matter with PCWorld. In the process, she extinguished rumors and speculation that Threadripper has no future, noting that AMD never said anything of the sort.
"You know, it's very interesting, some of these things that circulate on the internet. I don't think we ever said Threadripper was not going to continue. It somehow took on a life of its own on the internet," Dr. Su said.
That's easy to explain, though. As our friends at TomsHardware reported earlier this month, AMD had previously shared a slide with investors that showed third-generation Ryzen processors being on its 2019 roadmap, but more recently shared an altered version of the same slide, sans any mention of Threadripper—it had been scrubbed from the slide. At the time, I reached out to AMD for clarification on the matter, and never received a response.
Nevertheless, AMD is now setting the record straight.
"You will see more Threadrippers from us. You will definitely see more. Look, we love the high-end desktop market. I think we’ll see that, both for content creators as well as workstation needs, Threadripper has done well. And so you will see more from us with Threadripper," Dr. Su said.
She stopped short of offering up any specific details, either about the core and thread counts, or when we might see a new round of Threadripper CPUs. The tricky part for AMD will be finding enough separation between its mainstream Ryzen processors and upcoming Threadripper parts.
"If mainstream is moving up, then Threadripper will have to move up, up—and that's what we're working on," Dr. Su added.
It's an interesting balancing act. Assuming we do end up seeing a 16-core/32-thread 3rd gen Ryzen processor, it would be easy to say, 'Fine, just push Threadripper into 24-core/48-thread and 32-core/64-thread territory'. And maybe AMD will do that. However, those spaces are also occupied by the company's Epyc processors for servers and datacenters.
The high-end desktop (HEDT) category is starting to feel more like a server category. This is not a problem that is unique to AMD—Intel is planning to announce a new line of Core-X HEDT processors soon, which will compete with AMD's new stuff. It's going to be interesting to see what both lines (Threadripper and Core-X) bring to the table.