AMD may have delayed its Ryzen 9 3950X due to “unsatisfactory clock speeds,” sources close to the matter claim. The company confirmed the delay to its highest clocked, 16-core CPU late last week, reportedly due to “focusing on meeting the strong demand” for Ryzen 3000 chips already in the market, but there may be more to this tale than meets the eye.
Announced back at E3 2019 to make a big splash on stage, the 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X was initially set to sit at the very tippy top of the client desktop Ryzen lineup from September. Built upon the 7nm process from TSMC and utilising the Zen 2 architecture, this processor is intended to stick it to Intel’s high-end chips, and offer a slightly pared back alternative to the HEDT Threadripper CPUs expected on the same process and architecture later this year.
But following a delay last week from AMD, it is no longer expected until November – alongside Threadripper. AMD’s press release implies this delay is due to “strong demand” for Ryzen 3000 chips – which we don’t doubt is a contributing factor – but sources close to the matter speaking with DigiTimes (paywall, via SeekingAlpha) reportedly claim it’s also due to unsatisfactory clock speeds from the full stack of CCX chips required by this monster processor.
Each Ryzen 3000 processor comes in discrete chips. One cIOD from GlobalFoundries’ 12nm fab for the I/O, and one or two CCXs from TSMC’s 7nm fab. The Ryzen 9 3950X, with a total core count of 16, requires twin CCXs in complete working order – and capable of reaching 4.7GHz max boost clock.
AMD confirmed it was binning every CCX heading to its top chip earlier in the year to reach the speeds necessary for its most core- and speed-happy chip. If the rumours are true, this could be where the issue stems for Ryzen 9 3950X production: TSMC isn’t pumping out enough full CCXs capable of hitting the required speeds.
Almost all of the Ryzen and Radeon stack will soon be on the 7nm process from TSMC, which has led to questions of supply, especially in the face of extended lead times from the pure-play fab.
AMD’s chips are also some of the best performing around, most of all when it comes to bang for your buck, and the heady demand from consumers means the red team has to produce swathes of chips every month to keep stock in check.
There’s also the question of max boost clocks that the company has been dealing with ever since Ryzen 3000’s July 7 launch. While soon to be sorted across the board with AGESA updates, AMD may have been reticent to launch its fastest chip while the debate raged on regarding achievable boost clocks.
High demand, along with binning chips for the absolute limits of performance, could be causing a headache for AMD and its Ryzen 9 production. However, these are unsubstantiated rumours, and we’re only privy to the official word from AMD – that it is focusing on Ryzen 3000 production. So take the word of these sources with a heavy dose of sodium.