If you’ve yearned for the power of the Threadripper Pro, but haven’t wanted to buy a ThinkStation, you’re in luck: starting in March, AMD will begin selling the CPUs directly to consumers, ending Lenovo’s exclusive access to the processor line.
While the vanilla Threadripper seems like the peak of computing power to many (myself included), there are certain benefits the Pro line offers that would be seriously beneficial to those who need them:
Memory channels are doubled, from four to eight
PCI-E lanes are doubled, from 64 to 128
Memory capacity is expanded from 256GB to 2TB (!!!)
To sum up those massive numbers into a more real-world picture, the Threadripper Pro allows users to work with larger datasets due to its expanded memory capacity. It also allows double the expansion for users who need tons of graphics or networking cards.
Of course, all of these features mean nothing without motherboards that can support them — after all, what would be the point of 128 PCI-E lanes if the motherboard only had 4 PCI-E 16x slots? This AnandTech article points out three motherboards that should be coming to support the CPUs, but it’s not likely that we’ll see the same amount of variety and choice that we do with consumer motherboards.
There’s no word yet on pricing, but regular Threadripper CPUs aren’t exactly cheap. Still, if you need the capabilities of this kind of CPU, you’re probably making some money using it (hence the “pro” moniker), and these chips offer some features, like 64 threads and PCI-E gen 4, to workstation users that Intel simply doesn’t provide outside its server products.