One of the interesting things to come out of this Threadripper launch is the stack of embargos. Last week AMD revealed the launch date and pricing, which will incidentally also be the date for our review of both chips. AMD also inserted a small embargo in the middle for today, allowing media outlets to do unboxings.

We’re Allowed To Show Pictures Now

Rather than discuss each element of what AMD shipped the ~250 reviewers who have review kits, this article is going to be mainly a picture story with annotations. Starting with a pelican case that AMD shipped the CPUs in.

Mug for Scale

Inside the massive padded box were two CPUs in special cases, along with a paperweight.

Yes, that’s an actual CPU in the paperweight, printed with AnandTech’s logo. We got CPU 30 out of 250.

Who has #1 ?

Each of the CPUs was in this overly padded secondary box.

Vital Codes

The instructions were far from clear. I tried to record this on video. Some swearing was involved – you definitely need two hands for this.

The CPU is housed in its own secondary support system. Twist, unlock, pull, grip, fail, try again, use force, swear, then eventually get the latch off.

The CPU comes in this orange holder. The orange holder goes into the motherboard as well, so there’s no need to take the CPU out.

The box also contains a bracket for Asetek liquid coolers to fit, and a Torx Screwdriver. There are some stickers as well.

Putting it in the socket is fairly easy – three Torx screws and the mechanism pops open. Slide into the tray, close the screws. I had more issues with the CPU cooler mechanism than the CPU tray.

This last picture shows how thermal paste spreads across the CPU after a couple of days of testing with a tight liquid cooler. We can’t say much about temperatures at this point because of the embargo.

Paperweight. No idea if the CPU inside actually works.

Along with the CPUs, AMD supplied almost everything needed for the system: an ASUS X399 Zenith Extreme motherboard, 32GB of G.Skill Trident RGB DDR4-3200 C14 memory, a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 drive, a Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W, and a Thermaltake Floe Riing 360 Premium liquid cooler (a 3x120 side radiator). The only thing missing was a Vega GPU (ed: you don't get everything).

What Does This Mean

I’ve never had a review sample come with quite so much kit in such extravagant packaging. Back with Ryzen they supplied a hardwood box with all the kit, and this one goes another stage up. AMD knows they can cause a stir on the social channels by being big and bright rather than staying understated, and to a certain extent, it works (as long as the company can afford it). It’s a corner of the product release cycle that AMD has honed in on, or one that its competitors have missed, although it is hard to gauge the return on investment and requires a marketing head to approve it nonetheless.

AMD Ryzen SKUs
PCIe TDP Cost Cooler
TR 1950X 16/32 3.4/4.0 ? 32 MB 4x2666 60 180W $999 -
TR 1920X 12/24 3.5/4.0 ? 32 MB 4x2666 60 180W $799 -
TR 1900X 8/16 3.8/4.0 +200 ? 4-Ch 60 ? $549 -
Ryzen 7 1800X 8/16 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 2x2666 16 95 W $499 -
Ryzen 7 1700X 8/16 3.4/3.8 +100 16 MB 2x2666 16 95 W $399 -
Ryzen 7 1700 8/16 3.0/3.7 +50 16 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $329 Spire
Ryzen 5 1600X 6/12 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 2x2666 16 95 W $249 -
Ryzen 5 1600 6/12 3.2/3.6 +100 16 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $219 Spire
Ryzen 5 1500X 4/8 3.5/3.7 +200 16 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $189 Spire
Ryzen 5 1400 4/8 3.2/3.4 +50 8 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $169 Stealth
Ryzen 3 1300X 4/4 3.5/3.7 +200 8 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $129 Stealth
Ryzen 3 1200 4/4 3.1/3.4 +50 8 MB 2x2666 16 65 W $109 Stealth

What now? Time to get back to testing. Review next week. 

The Change in NDA Philosophy: A Personal Commentary

This new ‘unboxing’ sort of embargo has been borne from a rapid change in how media approaches launches and NDAs.

In the past, from 2014 and before, when there was a product NDA in place it was expected that no media would even acknowledge that they had the product, let alone disclose the date of launch. In the advent of a more social media focused – and younger – technology press, skirting those NDA lines with product images has now become almost a standard: if you have the product, flaunt it, and generate hype for the review/video. Even when there is an NDA in place specifically barring certain types of content, such as unboxings, it seems that posting screenshots or gifs of the upcoming unboxing content being edited before the NDA is becoming the norm.

The reasoning stems from the fact that NDAs typically restrict product reviews and only mention performance and data analysis to be revealed at a certain date, and the argument is that the NDAs often say nothing about showcasing the product before the launch (or even if the NDA is itself under NDA). Depending on the company, this has had a mixed response: typically an incumbent market leader will come down hard if NDA rules are pushed, although PR teams and underdogs like to push the hype train as many times around the track as possible if the product is good.

AnandTech in this respect is fairly old-school: we’d rather spend more time testing the product to give more data for our analysis and reviews, making sure our readers have the sufficient knowledge at hand to invest in a product. Unboxings on AT are few and far between because there usually isn’t that much to show for our typical user base that know technology – it only really makes sense to us when something is unusual (like Threadripper), or to show to new users that may become enthusiasts. Ultimately, it’s that latter group that has spurned the tech media to invest in social media for this sort of content, especially around high-performance components or hardware where it actually makes sense, like monitors. Unboxing products like a CPU would usually take several seconds: CPU, manual, cooler, sticker, done.

Related Reading

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • at80eighty - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    this is an r/iamverysmart grade post
  • at80eighty - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    irony. this wasnt meant for you jabber
  • CajunArson - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    Considering that a lot of high-quality tech journalism websites have been denied review samples --
    including a very well known site that *reports* about *technology* whose founder is currently an AMD employee and had very positive things to say about RyZen -- and considering the over the top gaudiness of this case... I'm expecting Threadripper to be a big letdown in real-world use cases.

    I frankly don't care about some Cinebench score and all the compromises that presented issues with regular RyZen are going to be amplified in threadripper.
  • IanHagen - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    And you complain about it on Anandtech? The guys here are known to be very thorough with their testing and analysis, specially on the compute side of things (in opposition to sites which would rather focus on games on a 16 core HEDT CPU)
  • vanilla_gorilla - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    >I frankly don't care about some Cinebench score and all the compromises that presented issues with regular RyZen are going to be amplified in threadripper.

    I think you might be confused about the purpose of this processor. If you want to try and set FPS scores in Crysis you're looking at the wrong product.
  • ddriver - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    Yeah, just get an unlocked i3 and STFU, right?
  • Cooe - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    Lol translation - "All I do with my PC is play video games so that's all I care about, and therefore all that's important"
  • Gothmoth - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    i wonder what compromises this clown speaks about.. i bet he has not even touched a ryzen system!
  • IanHagen - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    That would be 11 FPS less on the average playing at 1080p in some "competitive professional e-sport" game, I reckon.
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    "Clearly there is no use for anything with more than four cores and eight threads. Waste of money. Testing the kinds of workloads you'd encounter while doing real work? Pointless numbers! The only thing that matters is average framerate in my favorite games!"

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now