Why AMD Raised the Top Price on Its Updated Threadripper Chip

Advanced Micro Devices is in the midst of introducing its second generation of processors based on its high-performance Ryzen design. And this year, it’s not just performance that’s increasing, but top prices, too.

On Monday, AMD took the wraps off its updated and insanely fast Ryzen Threadripper desktop PC CPU. Last year’s Threadripper, which had as many as 16 separate processor cores, topped out at $1,000. A comparable second gen chip with the same number of cores is only $900 this year. But that’s far from the top end in 2018. This year’s high-end, dubbed the 2990WX, has 32 cores and a price tag of $1,800. The entire line is aimed at customers who need top performance for tasks that take advantage of multiple cores, like film editors, 3D artists, and video gamers who also liveblog their exploits.

The move to add products up market makes sense as AMD’s chips have gained significant ground on the performance of chips from market leader Intel, thanks to CEO Lisa Su’s multi-year redesign effort. AMD says its new top Threadripper, which is available for pre-order on Monday and will be delivered on Aug. 13, set world records on popular video rendering software tests. Third party benchmarking tests haven’t been released yet, however.

Intel (INTC) may be feeling the heat. Intel debuted an unnamed Threadripper competitor in June with 28 cores in a demonstration that used a PC connected to a hidden 68-pound water chiller meant for large home aquariums to cool the chip. Intel said its presenter accidentally forgot to mention that the system was boosted above its normal speed. And while AMD’s second gen Threadripper is compatible with the same standard PC equipment as last year’s models, Intel’s new super-fast chip runs only in a high-end socket called LGA 3647 that is reserved for server computers and very high-end workstations.

AMD (AMD) introduced on Monday a total of four new models in the Threadripper series, ranging down to a 12 core model that will cost $650, but won’t be available until October.

AMD’s stock price gained as much as 2% on the news in midday trading on Monday, but still remains slightly below the almost 12-year high it hit in July of $20.18.

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