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AMD justifies the shift to sTRX4 socket for 3rd gen Threadrippers and promises long-term support, but current Threadripper owners appear to be unconvinced

AMD Threadripper 3000 processors require a new sTRX4 socket. (Source: Wccftech)
AMD Threadripper 3000 processors require a new sTRX4 socket. (Source: Wccftech)
In a Reddit post, AMD has detailed the reasoning behind its choice of moving to a new socket sTRX4 for the Threadripper 3000 processors. AMD is looking at both near and long-term scalability for the sTRX4 platform, but current Threadripper users feel otherwise.
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AMD has made the 3rd gen Threadrippers official last week and with them, introduced a new socket as well. While previous generation Threadrippers supported socket TR4 and the X399 chipset, the latest iteration requires socket TRX4 and the TRX40 chipset. This essentially makes the new processors incompatible with any X399 motherboard in the market and neither can previous gen Threadrippers be used on the new platform.

So, what makes the new sTRX4 socket incompatible with older Threadrippers despite sporting the same 4094 pin arrangement? AMD took to Reddit to explain this. Although the pins are the same, "the mapping of those pins to voltage or data will be different this time 'round". The new socket is expected to play nice with Threadripper 3000's huge 88 PCIe Gen4 lane (72 lanes usable) support and apparently augurs well for both near and long-term scalability of the platform. 

Understandably, there has been some consternation in the Reddit thread regarding AMD's decision considering the fact EPYC's SP3 socket has essentially remained the same so far. Users who have invested in pricey X399 motherboards stand to lose out on Zen 2 improvements that can speed-up HEDT workloads. Also, DDR5 and USB 4.0 are expected to arrive sometime in late 2020, which could mean that existing and new customers would rather wait and watch how it all pans out.

While it is natural for individual consumers to feel let down by AMD's decision, enterprises who require the additional horsepower for machine learning and other HEDT workloads wouldn't probably mind the transition considering the performance advantages and I/O expansion this generation brings. To be fair to AMD, the company never actually promised any long-term commitment to the TR4 socket unlike what it did with socket AM4. Even with socket AM4, AMD had to route the smaller circuits on the 7nm Ryzen 3000 processors to the existing AM4 pins to ensure compatibility.

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1344 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 11 > AMD justifies the shift to sTRX4 socket for 3rd gen Threadrippers and promises long-term support, but current Threadripper owners appear to be unconvinced
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-11-13 (Update: 2019-11-13)