AMD Threadripper 3990x WideSource: AMD

What you need to know

  • The new AMD Threadripper 3990X has 128 threads, and Windows 10 Home and Pro can't make the most of them.
  • To get the most out of the card, you'll have to run Windows 10 Pro for Workstations or Windows 10 Enterprise.
  • The AMD Threadripper 3990X is available now for $3,990.

AMD recently released its monstrous Threadripper 3990X. It's a 128-thread CPU with a Max boost clock speed of 4.3GHz. It's an extremely powerful chip, but to get the most of that power, you'll need to upgrade to something above Windows 10 Pro. In Anandtech's review of the Threadripper 3990X, they noticed that systems running Windows 10 Pro split the CPU into two groups of 64 threads.

When split into two groups, a PC can still use all 128 threads, but a single program cannot. When a program runs, it goes into one of the processor groups. The system places the program in the group that's less busy to avoid congestion. A program can only use the threads within the group it's placed in, meaning that it's capped at 64 threads. Developers can make programs processor group aware, which gets around this issue, but if a program isn't built for this type of setup, it can only access 64 threads.

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You can also somewhat get around this issue by disabling simultaneous multithreading. This will make it so your system only has one processor group with 64 cores. The downside of this is that some performance is lost, according to Anandtech's benchmarks.

The real way to get around this is to run an operating system built to handle this many threads. Microsoft didn't build Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro to handle 128 threads. That's reasonable considering the vast majority of systems running those two versions of Windows will never see anywhere near 128 threads.

If you want to utilize the full power of all 128 threads while running Windows, you can run Windows 10 Pro for Workstations or Windows 10 for Enterprise.

There's a chance that the issue could go away, however. According to comments on Ars Technica (via TechRader), Windows 10 Pro has an update that allows it to see the 3990x's 128 threads correctly.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990x

This processor packs 64 cores, 128 threads, and has a max base clock of 4.3GHz. It also supports NVMe RAID so you can combine up to six NVMe disks.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

This powerful version of Windows can handle 4 CPUs, 6TB of memory, and get the most out of 128-thread CPUs like the AMD Threadripper 3990x.

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