US retailers are selling the Genoa-based, 4th Generation AMD EPYC 9654 processor for as little as $3,898.80 (that’s about £3,070, AU$5,900), a saving of nearly 67 percent, down from its suggested retail price of $11,805 (£9,200, AU$17,700) and less than half its sticker price when I first started to track it almost a year ago. I asked AMD why such a big drop in pricing in less than 15 months and will update this article should I get an answer.
Starmicro and a flurry of smaller online retailers are competing on price for the CPU otherwise known as 100-000000789. Like AMD’s most powerful CPU, the Threadripper Pro 7995WX, it has 96 cores, is based on the Zen 4 architecture, has 192 threads, support for DDR5 and 384 MB L3 cache. The only major differences are the slightly higher TDP, a lower base clock and boost clock as well as more memory channels. Obviously, the elephant in the room is the price tag of the 7995WX, just a whisker under $10,000 (about £7,100, AU$15,200) from the likes of B&H Photo or Newegg.
So you could build an outrageously powerful workstation combo with two EPYC 9654 (that’s 192 cores), two beefy heatsink fans and a compatible dual-socket motherboard (like the Gigabyte MZ73-LM0) and have spare change for the price of a single 7995WX. Now, such a configuration will not suit everyone but for a particular audience that is looking for as much compute power on a budget, this would be particularly attractive.
The EPYC 9654 remains a formidably capable processor and was briefly the fastest CPU in the world on Cinebench R23 multicore. It is a key visual rendering benchmark - based on Maxon’s popular 3D software package - that divides in image into fragments each drawn on the screen sequentially. The better the processor, the quicker the image can be rendered, which corresponds with a higher score. A pair of 9654 reached a staggering 150,723 cb marks without overclocking back in December 2023, great for any rendering or number crunching tasks.
EPYC is shaping to be a formidable competitor to AMD’s own Threadripper Pro so much so that a lot of smaller boutique workstation vendors have started to sell EPYC rigs alongside Ryzen and Threadripper Pro as part of a wider, more diverse offering. EPYC processors are popular with hyperscalers and datacenter operators where they power anything from web hosting to CAE, ERM and VDI.
Note that other EPYC processors such as the 64-core 9534, 9554 and 9554p have seen some drops but nothing as dramatic as the 9654. Check out the extensive review of the AMD EPYC 9654 posted by our sister publication, Tomshardware, back in November 2022.
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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.