Let’s start with the kind of computer I wanted – or needed?
I thought about pre-built one, possibly a workstation – big, tough, durable, with selected hardware… all good things, but at premium price – a lot more of the sum of the parts prices… yes, I know that they should earn some bucks to put all the pieces together, but hey, a grand (sometimes), really?
It seemed I was forced to build my first custom made computer – pardon me, my first HEDT (High End DeskTop) – that is, a nice acronym to call a powerful (and usually expensive) computer… but it is so cool, so, let’s go!
As I said before, I decided to use my previous case; big, simple, in very good condition; perfect body for an HEDT, I thought – and I still think it, of course!
“Brain!“, I started to think… like a zombie needs a brain, a computer needs one, too…
well, I hope to pick up a better… “brain” for my “gorilla” body!
AMD or Intel, this is the question… at the turn of the millennium, I used an Athlon 64, and it was fast (at the times); then, an Intel Core2 Duo, and it served me well for almost ten years, so going with an Intel i7 after that was almost a natural choice – even because the Ryzen had to be released at the time. But now, AMD came back, boldly, with powerful CPUs at the right price, while Intel, even if still produce great, powerful CPUs, decided to sell them at premium prices… so, was a no brainer choice to go with AMD, when you can get the same speed at half price – or get double speed at the same price!
OK, let it be AMD! But, what line, and what model? Well, Ryzen – at least the higher models – are known to be good, fast, with high clock speed; yet, they are limited to only 8 cores, only 20 PCI lanes (so, just one GPU and one NVME SSD), and only double channel memory… while ThreadRipper could have up to 32 cores – albeit at the cost of slower base clock speed, 64 PCI lanes (so, up to x4 GPUs and three NVME SSDs), and quad channel memory, even faster… so, guess what?
Now, which model? There are two generations available (with the third arriving in the summer, but did not, can not wait!); let’s sum them up:
“A picture is worth a thousand words”
Top dogs are the WX (where the W stands for Workstation); clearly oversized for video editing, a lot of their cores would just sit doing nothing, as many software but few ones just can’t use more than 16 cores – at least for the moment; add to this the fact their TDP is very high at stock speed, and insanely high when overclocked; more, prices are also over the top… both discarded.
Bottom lines are the simple 1900x, and the more robust 1920x and 2920x; discarding the smallest model – c’mon, 8 cores only, in 2019? 😀 – the other two offer 12 cores, at relatively low price… but, you know, “in for a penny, in for a pound”, so… “For A Few Dollars More” the 16 cores were the best choice!
Old or new? 1950x or 2950x? Cheaper or expensive? Brand new or used? A lot of questions passed through my mind… at first, I thought to spare some bucks with an used one, but you have to know the person who used it – at least, you can hope to get not an half-fried CPU overclocked to unnecessary speed and voltage by a maniac gamer! So, I’d prefer a new one – also because used prices are often not so distant from brand new, and also warranty is important – even if with overclock… oh well, this is another story!
Better the new, faster one, or the old, cheaper one? Well, on paper, 2950x should be about 13% faster, thanks to its 12nm Vs 14nm of its predecessor, but when both overclocked, most benchmark difference is limited around 4%… and, for a price that is nearly 70% higher, I think it’s not worth it… so, the CPU race winner is..
AMD THREADRIPPER 1950X
with AMD ThreadRipper 2950x as a good alternative only when the price, new, will be within the right percentage (max 13%) OR could be found used (guaranteed).
Last words: according to Puget Systems – an expert workstation maker – the ThreadRipper CPUs are a very wise choice for DaVinci Resolve!