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Armari AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X versus Intel Core i9 7980XE – Shootout!

Rating: 9.0.

AMD really threw the cat among the pigeons with the release of Ryzen 7, followed soon after by Threadripper. This in turn triggered a spate of activity from Intel, with the early release of Coffee Lake and Core i9. We have focused primarily on the enthusiast market for these releases so far, but they also have enormous potential in the professional workstation market. The new processors have also been accompanied by recent professional graphics releases from AMD and NVIDIA. But which is best – an all-AMD workstation, or an Intel/NVIDIA combination? We were given the chance to find out when leading UK workstation vendor Armari offered to send us the best of both worlds – two identical workstations, except one was AMD-AMD, and the other Intel-NVIDIA.

Both workstations are from Armari’s Magnetar S range, so benefit from the custom workstation chassis designed by Armari itself specifically for professional content creation activities. However, whilst one came equipped with AMD’s top-of-the-range Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics, the other sported the Intel Core i9 7980XE and NVIDIA GeForce Titan Xp graphics. Both processors were overclocked to a level that could be guaranteed as stable through the rigours of high-end production work.


In this article, we put both systems through an identical suite of tests that assess their abilities for 3D modelling, 3D rendering, and video encoding. We have also assessed the overall system power consumption of both systems when under maximum load.

There’s quite a difference in cost, too. AMD has been particularly aggressive with its pricing, so it should be no surprise that the AMD-AMD Magnetar is considerably cheaper than the Intel-NVIDIA one. But does that mean the latter is not worth the extra money? Let’s find out which is the best value, and which the best overall for professional work.

Armari Magnetar S16T-RW850G2 Specifications:

  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X @4GHz
  • Armari SPX-A57LX Water Cooling
  • 64GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 SDRAM @ 2,933MHz
  • Asrock X399 Taichi Motherboard
  • 16GB HBM AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Graphics
  • 512GB Samsung SM961 M.2 NVMe PCI Express SSD
  • 4TB Western Digital Gold Datacenter 7,200rpm SATA HDD
  • LiteOn Slimline SATA DVD-RW
  • 1000W Gold Efficiency PSU
  • Armari Magnetar S-Series Chassis
  • Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
  • 3 Years Warranty (1st Year On-Site, 2nd and 3rd Years RTB Parts and Labour)

Price: £4,554.00 inc VAT (Buy from Armari HERE)

Armari Magnetar S18X-RD850G2 Specifications:

  • Intel Core i9 7980XE @3.8GHz
  • Armari SPX-A57LX Water Cooling
  • 64GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 SDRAM @ 3,600MHz
  • ASUS PRIME X299-A Motherboard
  • 12GB GDDR5X NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Xp Graphics
  • 480GB Kingston KC1000 M.2 NVMe PCI Express SSD
  • 4TB Western Digital Gold Datacenter 7,200rpm SATA HDD
  • LiteOn Slimline SATA DVD-RW
  • 1000W Gold Efficiency PSU
  • Armari Magnetar S-Series Chassis
  • Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
  • 3 Years Warranty (1st Year On-Site, 2nd and 3rd Years RTB Parts and Labour)

Price: £5,754.00 inc VAT (Buy from Armari HERE)

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  • Scappatella Col Morto

    fake benchmarks. sorry.. but isnt possible

  • mazty

    Then please, go ahead and post your own benchmarks of the two systems. Oh wait, you can’t. Keep your tin-hat “fake news” screaming to your self.

  • DJ Argus

    Why does no one put a blu-ray player into their high end machines for these tests (or at all, even boutique companies make you do it as an upgrade)? If you have it hooked up to a monitor that also acts as your TV screen with HDMI connection, then why not make it your multimedia center like PS3/PS4/X-Box One was used for?

  • CPUsAreHistory

    AMD releases ThreadRipper, Intel Releases I9, AMD will release 12 nm new RyZens, seems like the competition and frog leaping is back.. great for customers..

    Intel was the king, then AMD was the king, then Intel was the king..

    One thing for sure, there is no more a single kind.. and that’s good because prices are going to go down in all categories.. no more monopolistic price hikes..

    Since AMD is back.. Cudo’s AMD…!!!

  • Terri White

    If you think about it, it isnt a fair benchmarck.
    It should be every component at stock values. No OC.

  • IDCboutu

    It seems like the ideal mix might be the Threadripper with the Titan XP.

  • Elcideous

    LOL ya thats what all the reviewers did with Ryzen 1600 vs 8400 no OC comparison then they say we will have OC results later.

  • CPUsAreHistory

    There is another variation with AMD that NVIDIA can’t compete with AMD. The Radeon Pro SSG, which contains 16 GB memory + 2 TeraBytes SSD highly integrated into the GPU..

    It can handle 8K, VR, 360 video stitching and other highly demanding graphics workloads like butter while the NVIDIA GPUs either crash with big data or just can’t perform smoothly..

    It is a $8000.00 GPU card, but if you want the best processing power for large data, you only have the high-end large-data AMD Radeon Pro SSG..

    CPU is not key here.. since most of these applications are GPU intensive and the CPU part is very secondary and the difference is negligible for these kinds of tasks when you have good enough CPUs form AMD or Intel.

  • gimpeverydayvidia

    AMD is coming back to its old glory.

  • crion

    Thanks for this nice review! Building a threadripper RX vega mgpu system myself this is interesting.

    I would like to point out that Armari could have read the QVL on ASRock Taichi and get better working G.Skill Flare-X memory for TR4 platform. It does provide benefit. 64GB [email protected] is not impressive for a finely tuned system. It could be considered sloppy.

    Also selecting the Fatal1ty MB X399 instead would grant you 10GBit LAN.

  • Hans Henrik Bergan

    AMD hasn’t been the king of CPUs since 2003ish Althon… And I don’t think they were ever the king of GPUs (nor were ATI)

  • PLMKO

    Phew, I’d like to know how many of these monsters they manufactured,

  • PLMKO

    5850/5870 for a while when Nvidia had to postpone 470/480

  • Petar Posavec

    Possibly because people might just see optical drives as obsolete.
    I know I have since for about 14 years now and hadn’t really used a DVD or a Blu-ray.
    There are storage limitations to consider with optical disks vs massive SSD’s and HDD’s, plus the fact that its easier to damage your optical drives – whereas, it’s a lot cheaper to just get an external HDD (even portable ones top out today at 4TB) and just put loads of stuff there.

    Also, most movies and shows can easily have Blu-ray quality without requiring tons of space thanks to superior compression algorithms.

  • Schattenwolf

    AMD is coming back to its old glory.

  • Anthony Nelson

    fake benchmarks. sorry.. but isnt possible

  • Dr James Morris

    Why? These are two production systems you can buy with three-year warranties. Armari will sell you precisely these systems.

  • Dr James Morris

    Fake account…

  • Dr James Morris

    Thanks! The Fatal1ty version of the board is quite a bit more expensive for just 10Gbit LAN, and although I’ve tested this in a previous ASRock board – it’s very quick – most people don’t have 10Gbit LANs so it’s a bit of a waste of money.

    Where the RAM is concerned, there is a bit of a RAM shortage in the UK right now. I’m absolutely certain Armari read the QVL. They have a direct line to ASRock and their suggestions for BIOS improvements are generally implemented immediately. But after testing, this was the best RAM that would work in the board with the BIOS at the time. During building, it appeared that you could either have faster RAM or a processor overclock, but not both at the same time. I’ve managed to run the system solidly at 3,066MHz, but it doesn’t make any difference to benchmark results. At 3,200MHz, it’s not entirely stable.

  • Dr James Morris

    Also, I just did a bit of research and G.Skill doesn’t have a Flare-X 3,200MHz kit as 4 x 16GB, only 2,933MHz, so I very much doubt it would be better than the Corsair memory used for this review.

  • pegon125

    LOL ya thats what all the reviewers did with Ryzen 1600 vs 8400 no OC comparison then they say we will have OC results later.

  • JitenGohil

    AMD is coming back to its old glory.

  • crion

    Well, G.Skill Flare-X is supposed to be gauranteed Samsung B-Die which means that on TR4 you can push it higher. 3.8GHz and 3200mhz @cl14-13-13-28-42-1T is not unheard of (4x 16GB Samsung B-die DIMM’s).

    http://cdn.overclock.net/d/d5/d50fd86a_HCI2.jpeg

    Corsair can and do change suppliers as they seem fit. A certain version of the RAM corresponds to Samsung B-die but it is never specified beforehand on the order or merchandise. Only when you open the box and check the Samsung B-die lists around the web you know if you got Hynix or Samsung E-die which can’t be pushed well on TR4 platform.

  • Dr James Morris

    Is that your system? From what I derive from your CPU-Z shots, you’re not running the processor at 4GHz but 3.8GHz. What we found was that you could either have a 4GHz overclock or faster RAM, but not both. The overclock provides more performance benefit. So slower RAM and faster core speeds was the best compromise. Try running your system at 4GHz with those RAM settings and see if it even boots. If it does, try the Blender Gooseberry render. If you manage to get that all to work without a crash then hats off to you. But if not, this would not be a valid configuration for a production system.

  • helion

    AMD is still the absolute king here. Offering performance that high at such a lower price is the clear winner for me, hands down. Intel wants $2600 for that processor here in Canada, meanwhile I can get the top of the line Threadripper for $1200. More than double the price for marginal differences? No thanks.

  • crion

    This screenshot is not my system but a well working prime/blender cunching system by chew.

    I would think 3.8GHz and 3200 cl 14-13-13 does fair better in performance than +200 on core. The Infinity fabric does depend on entirely on your ramspeed timings and frequency so what we usually find is that increasing RAM mhz with lower timings on TR4 does more than mhz numbers on a simple core clock.

  • Dr James Morris

    I know Ryzen gets more benefit from faster RAM than Intel appears to, but I’d love to see the benchmarks to prove what you are saying. We have found the opposite of what you are claiming. When I set the RAM on the Threadripper system to 3,066MHz and left the CPU at the same 4GHz, the Blender benchmark was EXACTLY THE SAME. And, I mean, to within a second. I’ll believe what you’re saying if you can show me benchmarks. Until then it’s uncorroborated theory.

  • mazty

    That makes no sense as both systems were tested with their off-the-shelf settings.

  • mazty

    Because it’s cheaper to buy a standalone bluray player for a TV that includes the correct codecs – Windows 10 doesn’t ship with the ones needed to natively play bluray discs.

  • DJ Argus

    Good points Petar, though I am worried about the FCC deregulating internet access where the internet companies who don’t enjoy competition and love profits (like Comcast) will now put in paywalls for video websites (like Comcast already did for Netflix, making the company pay more so Comcast wouldn’t slow down the connection to the website to its customers. If Ajit V. Pai gets his way, we will have to pay internet companies twice (or maybe more than one company), one price for access to the internet and another price (or prices) to be permitted full speed access to the websites! I’d rather have a bluray player on my computer for both purchasing games and movies for the probable situation of Ajit V. Pai putting profits of cable (and other internet access) companies over the consumers wishes for net neutrality, and making me pay more to my internet company for access to websites I already paid them both to access!

  • DJ Argus

    They’re roughly the same price mazty for either external or internal (sometimes the internal is cheaper because the HDMI connection and other things an external bluray player contains [like on the Playstation 3/4 for example] is already integrated into the computer), and the software to play the bluray disks comes with the software on the drives. So why aren’t these companies putting a $70 – $80 bluray player (as opposed to $25 – $50 for DVD-RW) inside a $3000 – to possibly as high as a $10000 machine?!

  • Petar Posavec

    I don’t like competition in general as it generates worst possible qualities.
    Also, it effectively makes companies come out with products that are basically identical to each other except with differences in features.

    Collaboration on the other hand from companies or even people at large to create highly innovative technologies and content by freely sharing ideas and removing planned obsolescence would be better.
    Couple it with recycling to harvest raw materials from older technology so you can make new one (and eliminate need for resource harvesting from the environment) and just put out the BEST that is possible using latest science.
    Current consumer technology is DECADES behind latest scientific knowledge and ‘competition’ is keeping us there artificially.

    Look at all the wonderful patents from several decades ago that we had the ability to turn into usable technology a LONG time ago.
    Instead, you mainly see people ‘protecting’ their intellectual rights as if their lifeline depends on it… and that’s the problem of a socio-economic system we live in, because it generates mistrust, competition and worst qualities in humans coupled with artificially induced scarcity.

    Profit and indefinite growth on a finite planet is the reason we are in this mess.

    Think of how much more we can achieve through free exchange of ideas, resources, etc… not for profit or competition but for preservation and restoration of the environment, advancement of the whole human species combined with increasing the living standard for everyone (not just select few).

    Until we change the current socio-economic system, the outdated rules in place will continue to exist and slow us down at every conceivable turn.

    As for people being forced to pay more to the ISP… that’s already happening as is.
    It’s a systemic issue at large that leads to these conditions, not lack of Blu-Ray or optical drives in general.

    Fact is, it is a lot more effective, faster and just overall better to store content on HDD’s for example because of storage capacity, lack of being able to easily damage the data, etc.
    Well, damaging the data can be relative depending on the situation… you can hit the computer or magnetize it if you wanted to, but most people don’t do that to their optical discs, let alone HDD’s.

  • Cooe

    Hawaii among many others would like to say high (290/290X). Might wanna study up on GPU history a little more. Beat the crap outta Kepler in 2012 and nowadays Big Kepler (780 Ti) isn’t anywhere even freaking close (I’m talking entire tiers apart). Heck Hawaii nearly managed to go near toe to toe with the majorly revamped and drastically improved Maxwell 2 (GTX 980. Hawaii thrashed the 970) the year later with pretty much no changes whatsoever. I dunno if I can name another GPU arch in history that has aged as wonderfully as Hawaii. It just keeps kicking arse, year after year after year, while other cards fall to the wayside.

  • Cooe

    And that’s far from the only one. People get serious selective amnesia when thinking about Nvidia vs AMD/ATI.

  • Nikz

    The thing is, it does not really matter what was at the end of the day. It may sway your preference but what is always the most important is what products are out now or in the near future and who can deliver the best product for YOU regardless of their past failures/successes.

  • Hans Henrik Bergan

    Marginal? Most games only use 1-2 cores. Some AAA games are optimized to use up to 4 cores, but not more than that. The css renderer in your browser use only 1 core (Firefox 57 is about to release the world’s first multithreaded css renderer, but it’s not out yet as of speaking), and as a programmer, I can assure you that optimizing programs for multiple cores is very difficult and hardly ever worth it. Thus, for the vast majority of programs, it doesn’t matter how many cores yiu

  • Cooe

    *are manufacturing.
    This is an active production product, with very hefty & growing enterprise demand (for a uniquely niche, $8000 professional GPU that is). You might be thinking of it’s Fiji (Fury/Fury X/Nano) based predecessor which had the same Radeon Pro SSG name as this Vega model which replaced it. As far as that card goes, iirc AMD never released it into open sale so examples in the wild are few & far between. It was more of a “selectively sampled proof of concept” that let those major scientists & companies test and confirm the idea’s potential to drum up demand in advance of it’s much more refined and more widely available successor; which my all accounts appears to have worked exactly how AMD/RTG planned (for many Uber memory intensive workloads like editing/scrubbing 8K video footage, it’s literally the only GPU on the market that is able to handle them).