See the original posting on Anandtech
In our series of Best CPU guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended workstation CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing (02-Oct). Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP.
Best CPUs for Workstations 2017
Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we’ve got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews. Our Best CPUs for Workstations guide mostly covers workstation processors available to consumers, although some server products cover both segments.
|Workstation CPU Recommendations: 2017
(Prices are 02-Oct or MSRP)
|Best Overall Choice
||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
||Intel Core i9-7980XE
Intel Xeon W-2195
AMD EPYC 7551P
||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X
||AMD EPYC 7351P
||Intel Xeon Bronze 3104
||AMD EPYC 7251
||Intel Xeon W-2123
|Ones to Watch
||None. For Now.
The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well.
Best Overall Choice:
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ($999) – Read Our Review
Our best pick here isn’t the fast overall CPU, it isn’t even the fastest single threaded CPU, and it is not the best bang-for-buck CPU. So why pick it at all then? Overall, it performs really well in all categories. Let me explain.
The 1950X at $999 is half the cost compared to the Core i9-7980XE at $1999. The 7980XE has two cores more and some extra IPC, but the 1950X has a much better performance-per-dollar ratio for almost all our pure throughput tests. It offers a full 60 PCIe lanes for coprocessors, compared to 44, and it matches the Intel for DRAM support (until 32GB UDIMMs hit the market, where AMD has stated it will overtake). Technically the Ryzen 5 or Intel Pentium processors have the best absolute bang-for-buck, but have a low overall performance: a workstation processor still needs a good absolute performance.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper is a jack-of-all-trades. In most circumstances, it is not the absolute best CPU, but it strikes as the best all-rounder.
Best Absolute Performance, Money No Object:
The Intel Core i9-7980XE ($1999) – Read Our Review
The Intel Xeon W-2195 ($2553)
The AMD EPYC 7551P ($2400)
For the top performance, I’ve picked three processors for different reasons, depending on your situation. For some workstation users money is no object – it can easily be amortized into the step up in the speed of the workflow. But what you get will depend on your access to hardware.
For prosumers building their own system, or buying at retail, then the best option is the Intel Core i9-7980XE. This processor is destined to be on the shelves of the usual retailers, and offers eighteen of Intel’s high-performance cores at a 3.4 GHz all-core frequency as well as AVX-512. For users that have software optimized for multithreading or vector instructions, Intel has you covered here.
What the Core i9-7980XE does is go for maximum threads at high frequency. In our testing compared to the Core i9-7960X, which has two fewer cores and a slightly higher all-core frequency, there were a few occasions where the processors performed equally and one or two where the higher frequency parts scored higher. For variable threaded workloads this can be the case, however in most circumstances workstation workloads are all about the multithreading. If a simulation doesn’t scale beyond 8 cores, then two simulations are run side by side in a sixteen core system. While single thread performance matters for some software, most of the gains are in thread count or memory performance.
Some workstation users will need ECC memory, and up to 512GB of it. When memory has an error rate of 1 error per GB per year, using 512GB ensures almost two bit errors per day: something that a 60-day simulation would find catastrophic. The top Xeon-W processor from Intel’s workstation line is the Xeon W-2195, offering almost the same as the Core i9-7980XE but with ECC RDIMM support and a few more PCIe lanes. The only issue is that Intel is not selling this at retail: only in pre-configured systems through system integrators, OEMs, or someone selling a tray chip as a third party. We’re also waiting for LGA2066 motherboards to hit the market, although very few will hit direct retail.
The same situation applies to AMD’s EPYC 7551P, e