It’s finally official, AMD is set to ship its long-teased “world’s first 64-core, 128-thread” CPU early next month. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X will be $4,000 and will ship on 7th February 2020. By all accounts AMD generally now has total supremacy in the marketplace, beating Intel by a mile on both price and speed. Their new CPU would be like having a 128-thread render-farm under your desk, crunching on your CPU dependent rendering (i.e. from Vue XStream, Poser’s Firefly etc). I imagine it would also probably be rather handy for capturing and streaming HD video while you run demanding software.
Of course it would need your other PC components to be able to keep up with it, so you’d really want it in a new PC. Thus the most important question is, what’s the likely cost of that? I can’t immediately find anyone set to ship such a thing in February, but I suspect you’re probably looking at $7,000 for such a PC by summer 2020. That’s a hefty dent in your wallet, but it’s not an impossible sum for a small studio looking for a tax write-off. Yet if AMD can get some sort of 64-core into mass production and thus drop the price, it would be nice to imagine that a 64-core could be in a $4,999 content-maker workstation by 2022.
The obvious step down appears to be the new $800 AMD Ryzen 3950X, at 16 cores and offering a mere 32 render threads. That’s for the CPU alone. I presume one could have a dual-CPU PC fitted with those, at $1,600, and get 64 threads that way.
Below that is the $500 AMD Ryzen 3900X at 12 cores and 24 threads, again for the CPU alone. A somewhat future-proofed self-build list in summer 2019 used this CPU and quality components and topped out at $3,400. However I see that the same CPU is now in UK gaming rigs at around £1,300 all-in. I assume the graphics card in one of those would also make light work of iRay renders from DAZ Studio, though at that relatively cheap price it probably wouldn’t be capable of fast real-time ray-tracing.