At Computex earlier this month, Intel surprise-launched a limited edition Core i7-8086K CPU. Now, AMD has struck back with a rather ingenious — and admittedly entirely trollish — maneuver. If you happen to be one of the handful of people who won a Core i7-8086K, AMD will upgrade you to a Threadripper 1950X if you’re willing to turn your Core i7-8086K in for an exchange.
Here’s how AMD describes its offer:
[W]e’re giving 40 performance-hungry enthusiasts in the U.S. an opportunity to celebrate the next 40 years of high-performance computing by trading in their commemorative processor prize for our CPU that enables you to work, play and create with heavy metal.
The first 40 U.S.-based winners of the Intel® 8th Gen Core i7-8086k Limited Edition Sweepstakes (which opened on June 7, 2018 and closed on June 8, 2018) (“Competitor Sweepstakes”) to complete certain steps will be offered the opportunity to exchange their new, in-box prize processor for a flagship 16-core AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 1950X processor built for the gamers and creators who need a processor that can do it all. Those steps will be communicated on this webpage on June 25 at 1:00:00 PM EDT. Check back on June 25 at 1:00:00 PM EDT for complete details on how to participate.
Let’s say you won a Core i7-8086K. Should you take the deal?
Cinebench R15 is an excellent test of both single-threaded and multi-threaded rendering performance, and it adroitly hits Threadripper's strengths and weaknesses. Single-thread performance is acceptable, though not outstanding — Intel's Core i7-7700K wins there, nearly matched by the Core i9-7900X. Threadripper's multi-threaded performance is completely unmatched. It's 1.41x faster than the fastest Intel CPU you can buy today. The 7900X is substantially faster than the old Broadwell-E, but not by nearly enough to close the gap.
7zip is extremely fond of Ryzen and Threadripper, though the 7900X is somewhat faster than Broadwell-E. 10 CPU cores aren't nearly enough; AMD takes this test by 1.6x.
We tested Handbrake with a 4K video clip converted to 1080p using the "Normal" legacy preset with an average bit rate of 17,100 kbps. Threadripper is significantly faster than any other solution, though it doesn't scale perfectly compared to the Ryzen 7 1800X. In H.265, Intel leads overall. AMD scales slightly better in H.265 than H.264, at least when using Handbrake and these quality settings.
Maxwell Render 4's 'Benchwell' test scene is included with the application. We see two interesting trends here. First, the Core i9-7900X is much faster than the 6950X, picking up roughly 1.2x performance on similar clock speeds. Second, Threadripper's sheer core count is sufficient to put it in the lead, even though this test favors Intel CPUs overall.
3D rendering applications love threads, and Threadripper delivers them in spades. The Core i9-7900X isn't much faster than the Broadwell-based Core i7-6950X, and Threadripper makes hash of both, with significantly faster render times.
We wanted to test more than just rendering, so we opted to bake some physics calculations using this scene as a test render. We picked two target resolutions (higher resolution = more RAM used), 115 and 200. At the default resolution, both systems take a touch over two minutes; at higher resolutions Threadripper takes the cake.
Our GameCube emulation benchmark is fond of single-core performance and Intel excels here. Threadripper actually turns in markedly better scores than the Ryzen 7 1800X, possibly thanks to higher memory bandwidth or cache, but it still lags well behind our various Intel testbeds.
We've broken out the subests of PCMark 10 to highlight the results (the overall score was 7254 to 6210 for TR). AMD routes Intel here in everything but gaming, where it falls back moderately.
Our Adobe Premiere Pro benchmark measures how long it takes to apply the warp stabilizer effect to a 61s video clip, divided into equal segments depending on the number of cores in the system. It's a test we're using here for the first time, so we've only got two data points; the 7900X and the 1950X. We show the two systems neck-and-neck here, with Threadripper matching the Core i9-7900X.
But if you’re the kind of user with a 3D rendering or multimedia encoding habit, including audio processing — we’d take the Threadripper 1950X over the Core i7-8086K, hands-down. The 1950X is a superior solution to Intel’s Core i9-7900X precisely because even though Intel’s CPU cores are often a bit higher clocked and somewhat more architecturally efficient, there’s no way for 10 Intel CPU cores to match the performance of 16 AMD Zen CPU cores. That goes double when we’re comparing 6 Intel cores versus 16 AMD cores.
AMD’s offer, of course, is only open to 40 Core i7-8086K winners. It isn’t going to revamp the space. But if you won one of the chips and you do a very particular type of work, you’d actually be well-advised to take the swap.