These are best Workstation CPUs you can buy in 2022

These are best Workstation CPUs you can buy in 2022

Workstations, by definition, are special computers that are designed for technical and more resource-intensive applications. These computers offer high performance than mainstream personal computers and are often fitted with more powerful CPUs, GPUs, among other components. While there are a ton of powerful processors out there that can be used inside workstations, both Intel and AMD make dedicated workstation-grade CPUs that are better suited for heavy workloads. There hasn’t really been a lot of updates in the workstation CPU space, so your options — at least for now — are fairly limited. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best workstation CPUs you can buy in 2022.

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Best overall workstation CPU: AMD Threadripper 3990X

AMD Threadripper 3990X processor inside its retail box

It’s been a while since AMD released its Threadripper 3990X processor, but it’s still holding up pretty well. In fact, we think it’s the best overall workstation CPU on the market right now. That’s not really a surprise since the workstation CPUs aren’t upgraded as often as the mainstream ones that are on the annual upgrade cycle. The Threadripper 3990X comes with 64-cores and 128 threads paired with 256MB of L3 and 32MB of L2 cache.

The Threadripper 3990X is based on the EPYC Rome 7702P CPU that’s designed for single-socket servers. These CPUs share a lot of similarities, but the difference largely comes down to the clock speeds, memory channels, and PCIe lanes. As far as the clock speeds are concerned, the Threadripper 3990X is significantly faster than the EPYC Rome 7702P with a base clock of 2.9GHz and a boost clock of 4.3GHz. We’re looking at an improvement of around 1GHz, which is pretty great. It’s particularly impressive since these core-heavy processors don’t always boast such high clock rates.

The 3990X supports up to 256GB of quad-channel DDR4-3200 memory. This is essentially a downgrade when compared to EPYC’s eight channels of memory support, but you can easily overclock them as they feature the same memory controller as the Ryzen 3000 series chips. You want to consider buying the eight-channel EPYC Rome CPU if you are dealing with workloads that benefit from higher memory throughput.

The AMD Threadripper 3990X also supports 64 lanes of PCIe 4.0 to provide twice the throughput per lane of the PCIe 3.0 interface on competing Intel chips. Coupled with a TRX40 chipset, you get 16 GB/s of throughput between the processor and the chipset thanks to eight PCIe 4.0 lanes. Intel, in case you are wondering, supports 4 GB/s of throughput over its DMI link through the PCIe 3.0 interface.

AMD’s Threadripper 3990X packs Zen 2 microarchitecture but the company is expected to launch new HEDT CPUs based on a new architecture soon. The 3990X is best suited for workloads such as rendering, VFX, compilation, and more. Unless you are dealing with heavy rendering tasks or VFX tasks that take hours to render, it might be best to pick up either the Threadripper 3970X or 3960X. The Threadripper 3970X will cost you significantly less money but you’ll also be giving up as much as 32-cores. There’s definitely a need for a 48-core chip to bridge the gap between the two, and we hope to see some new CPU to fill that void.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Threadripper 3990X processor. It offers competitive per-core pricing and excellent performance in a selection of workloads to blow the competition out of the water. It’s also overclockable and supports 64 lanes of PCIe 4.0 to provide twice the throughput per lane of the PCIe 3.0 interface on competing chips from Intel. It goes without saying that this is an expensive processor that also demands equally powerful and expensive supporting components to yield the best results.

    The AMD Threadripper 3990X is one of the most powerful workstation CPUs out there on the market right now.

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Alternate best workstation CPU: AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX

AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX retail box

AMD’s Threaripper 3000 series processors absolute dominate Intel’s HEDT lineup. As if the Threadripper 3990X wasn’t enough to wreak havoc, AMD decided to go ahead and launch the Threadripper Pro 3995WX processor to make things more obvious. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX is slightly more expensive but it brings a couple of improvements to the table, making it a solid alternative. As such, this one’s also our pick for the best overall workstation CPU you can buy on the market in 2022.

While the Threadripper 3000 processors got a lot of things in the performance department. they did fall short in one key area — they didn’t enable all eight memory channels or the full set of PCIe lanes. Well, the Threadripper Pro fixes that and how. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX is the cream of the crop in the TP series with as many as 64-cores and 128 threads. The lineup extends all the way down to the 12-core processors too, so there’s something for all. The Threadripper Pro processors were exclusive to Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620 workstations at launch but AMD has since launched a few of them in retail for consumers to buy.

As far as the specs are concerned, the Threadripper Pro 3995WX comes with a bunch of bells and whistles to earn the powerful workstation CPU on the market. We’re looking at 64-cores that handily beats the 28-core chips from Intel in the HEDT space. In fact, threaded workloads, the Threadripper Pro 3995WX is known to outperform even some of the dual-socket Intel workstation CPUs that sports up to 56-cores. The 3995WX also brings eight DDR4-3200 memory channels to the table, thereby providing an increased memory throughput over its own quad-channel CPUs in this space. It also goes without saying that they leave Intel’s six-channel Xeon W models behind in this regard too.

Additionally, AMD also bumped the memory capacity to 2TB for a system that supports two DIMMs per channel. This is a huge leap from 256GB supported models in its Threadripper consumer lineup. Intel’s competing Xeon W chips also only have a 1TB limit, so we’re looking at double the memory support. AMD also increased the PCIe 4.0 support from 72 lanes with the vanilla Threadripper models to 128 in the Pro series. This is yet another significant upgrade that leaves Intel chips behind with just 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX is just a no-brainer for those who are looking to take advantage of the fastest high-performance storage and networking components.

As is the case with other Threadripper processors, it’s worth pointing out that the Threadripper Pro series is aimed at professionals dealing with heavily-threaded workloads. We’re talking designers, VFX artists, data scientists, and more. These Threadripper processors have received rave reviews from the get-go, and they’re currently the best options for those who are looking to build a high-performance computer for some resource-intensive applications.

    The AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX is slightly more powerful than the Threadripper 3990X that offers better performance and more features.

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Best value workstation CPU: AMD Threadripper 3970X

AMD Threadripper 3970X inside its black-colored retail box

While there are better performing Threadripper processors on the market right now, there’s no denying that the Threadripper 3970X was once the crème de la crème of the high-end desktop market. This was the go-to option for those who needed as many as 32-cores and 64-threads for resource-intensive programs. This particular chip excels in both single as well as multi-threaded workloads to come out as a worthy successor to the Threadripper 2970WX. It’s not the best most powerful Threadripper out there right now, but it certainly is one of the best value workstation CPUs that you get your hands on.

In terms of specification, the AMD Threadripper 3970X comes with 32-cores and 64-threads running at a 3.7GHz base clock and a 4.5GHz boost clock. Just to put things into perspective, its predecessor, the Threadripper 2990WX, had a 3GHz base and a 4.2GHz boost. The Threadripper 3970X also features 144MB of L2/L3 cache, and it demands up to 280W of power to offer the best performance. This particular drops in the new TRX40 chipset motherboards with an sTRX4 socket. This new setup allows as much as four times the amount of bandwidth to flow between the CPU and the chip.

Additionally, there are some other differences in the way it handles the PCIe lanes. This is one of the first Threadripper CPUs to support PCIe 4.0. It came out around the same time PCIe 4.0 debuted with the X570 chipset for the mainstream Ryzen parts. This is a significant upgrade over the Intel chips that can only handle PCIe 3.0 lanes. The third-generation Threadripper moves up to 56 direct PCI Express 4.0 lanes and 16 PCI Express 4.0 lanes for devices. This sort of setup is ideal for those who are running, say, a system with multiple GPUs and maxed-out PCI Express storage.

All the differences aside, the third-generation Threadripper 3970X does share some similarities with the previous Threadripper processors like the 2990WX. For instance, the core count remains the same. We’re looking at the same 32-core chip with support for up to 64-threads. The new chips also support only support quad-core memory channels, which is similar to what we saw in the generation before that. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX that we saw earlier is perhaps the best choice for those who want more memory throughput.

That being said, the new Threadripper 3970X offers a lot of upgrades over the previous-gen Threadripper parts. The upgrades, however, carry an eye-watering price tag of $1,999. Add the additional cost of the compatible components including new TRX40 motherboards, a high-end cooler, more memory sticks, etc., and you’re easily looking at an expensive PC build. The Theadripper 3970X is more suited for those who want slightly more raw performance than AMD or Intel’s mainstream parts. 32-cores are still a lot more than anything an average mainstream processor offers, even in 2022, so keep that in mind. More advanced users can always consider checking out the more powerful Threadripper Pro 3995WX with as many as 64-cores.

    The AMD Threadripper 3970X is a mid-range workstation CPU that offers a good set of features and performance at a relatively affordable price.

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Best Intel workstation CPU: Intel Xeon W-3365 (OEM)

Intel Xeon W-3365 processor

The Intel Xeon W-3365 is a part of the Xeon W-3000 family that’s outlined by the ever-so-popular Xeon W-3175X processor based on the Skylake family. Intel followed the original W-3100 family with 3200 series with more PCIe lanes and increased frequencies, but the latest W-3300 family offers a sizeable gen-on-gen bump performance improvement against the older Intel chips on the market. The Xeon W-3365 isn’t the most powerful chip in the series, but it comes close to the W-3375 in almost every metric. It manages to do so for a significantly less price, which is why we think it’s worth considering if you’re looking to buy an Intel-based workstation system. As such, this is our pick for the best overall Intel workstation CPU on the market right now.

In terms of specifications, the Intel Xeon W-3365 offers as many as 32-cores and 64-threads with a base frequency of 2.7GHz and a turbo boost frequency of up to 4.0GHz. For to put things into perspective, the top-of-the-line chip in the W-3300 family offers 38-cores and 76-threads with a base frequency of 2.5Ghz and a boost frequency of 4,0GHz. We’re looking at the same 270W TDP for both the chips, yet a price difference of over $1,000.

The Intel Xeon W-3365 processor supports 64 lanes of PCIe 4.0, eight-channel DDR4-3200 memory with 256 GB LRDIMMs up to 4 TB per socket. All chips in the W-3365 also get 1.5 MB of L3 cache per core. These chips all use the same LGA4189 socket as the mainline Xeon Scalable platform but they require the new generation of C621A chipset for select features like WiFi 6E and Thunderbolt 4 expansion on the motherboard. In terms of performance, the Xeon W-3365 comes close to the general performance of the AMD Threadripper Pro 3975WX.

Without getting into many details, it’s safe to say that this is one of the best options from Intel in the workstation space. You also step up t the more powerful W-3375 processor, although that’ll cost you an additional $1,000 for a slither of more performance on the table. It’s also worth pointing out that the Xeon W-3365 pushes ahead of the general performance of the Skylake W-3175X processor in most of the tests. We’re not looking at a huge difference but it’s convincing enough to put the new chip under the spotlight for those looking to shop for Intel chips in the workstation space.

Intel is yet to make any new announcements in the HEDT space. We’re expecting the company to launch some new processors soon, so we suggest you keep an eye on this list for more info. In the meantime, if you’re looking to build a new workstation-grade PC, then we recommend checking out the Tghreadripper options from AMD as they’re bound to offer better performance and more features. Alternatively, you can also consider buying the Xeon W-3175X, which is yet another fantastic unlocked processor that can be overclocked to achieve more performance.

Alternate best Intel workstation CPU: Intel Xeon W-3175X

Intel Xeon W-3175X processor inside its retail box

While AMD has superior workstation CPUs on the market, Intel has a couple of options that are worth a mention in this collection. Intel is expected to make some new announcements in the HEDT space, so we highly suggest for the new chips come out. But if you’re hellbent on checking out the available options right now, then we think the Intel Xeon W-3175X is the one to look for. This may not be as powerful as a lot of other Threadripper chips on the market, but we think it still packs enough punch to keep up with some of the competing chips from AMD.

The Intel Xeon W-3175 offers a couple of interesting features including support for ECC memory, Intel’s vPro management suite, and advanced RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability). It also has an unlocked multiplier which means you can overclock this particular chip, just like you would overclock a mainstream part. In terms of specification, the Xeon W-3175X has 28-cores with support for Hyper-threading technology. This allows this particular chip to operate on 56 threads at any given point in time.

Another interesting thing about the Intel Xeon W-3175 is that it features a familiar Skylake-SP microarchitecture, Mesh Topology, support for AVX-512, and more too. We’re also looking at a six-channel memory controller that supports up to 512GB of DDR4-2666 memory. This is also available in both ECC and non-ECC flavors, so that’s good. AMD’s second-generation Threadripper platform supports up to 1TB memory but it’s limited to a quad-channel memory controller, which is no match to the Hexa-channel controller on the W-3175X.

The Threadripper processors, however, have an advantage when it comes to the PCIe lanes, though. While AMD Threadripper exposes 60 native PCIe lanes, Intel fires back with just 52 native PCIe 3.0 lanes. Out of them, four are dedicated to the DMI 3.0 connection between its PCH and CPU, so you’re essentially getting access to around 48 native lanes. The Intel Xeon W-3175X has a TDP rating of 255W, which is the main reason why it has a higher base and turbo frequency when compared with some other chips like the 205W Platinum 8180. The higher core clocks should yield better results in different workloads.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Intel Xeon W-3175X processor. Intel has launched a few new workstation CPUs after the W-3175X, but this one continues to remain one of the top chips in this category. The Xeon W-3175X is one of the best chips in the Xeon W family, and we think it’s here to stay on this collection, at least until Intel brings some new workstation CPUs to the market. That being said, AMD’s Thgreadripper processors, especially some of the new ones offer far better performance and feature-set compared to this particular chip. So unless you are hellbent on buying an Intel chip for your new workstation PC, then we recommend checking some of the Threadripper options out there.

    The Intel Xeon W-3175X offers decent performance in both lightly threaded as well as multi-threaded applications.

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Best high-performance value CPU: AMD Ryzen 5950X

Retail box of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X CPU

There’s no doubt that all the HEDT (high-end desktop) processors — like the ones we’ve mentioned above — offer incredible performance. However, they’re often way more expensive than a mainstream part. You get the ultimate performance with the workstation processors as long as you are ready to pay the price. In addition to the processor cost, you also have to consider buying compatible high-performance components including motherboards, more memory sticks, a high-end cooler, and more. All these components add up to further increase the overall cost of the build. This is where we think some of the mainstream parts like the Ryzen 9 5950X enter the scene.

The Ryzen 9 5950X enters the fray with as many as 16 cores and 32 threads to offer similar performance as some entry-level workstation CPUs. It’s safe to say that it brings HEDT-like performance to the mainstream motherboards, thereby reducing the overall entry cost. The Ryzen 9 5950X is already a part of a lot of our best CPUs collection articles. This is, without a doubt, one of the best AMD chips on the market right now.

The Ryzen 9 5950X, as we just mentioned, carries16-cores and 32-threads. We’re looking at a base frequency of 3.4GHz and a Turbo max frequency of 4.9GHz. The 5950X brings 64MB of L3 cache and 8MB of L2 cache. It’s rated for a default TDP of 105W but this particular CPU is known to burst above the 105W mark to pump out more performance. It goes without saying this is also an unlocked CPU which means you can overclock the 5950X as long as it stays under the 90-degree mark.

Another advantage of the Ryzen 9 5950X is that it continues to remain one of the most accessible mainstream chips, unlike the new Alder Lake processors. It uses DDR4 RAM and it also drops right into the older 500-series or even 400-series mainboards. This essentially eliminates the need to invest in new and expensive components including motherboards, DDR5 RAM kits, and more. That’s perfect because we’re recommending the Ryzen 9 5950X as an alternative to the high-end workstation CPUs to keep the overall entry-cost low.

While AMD’s Threadripper processors are significantly better in terms of general performance, we think the Ryzen 9 5950X will serve enough performance for most users out there. Not to mention, it will also save you a lot of money in comparison to, say, a workstation CPU from both Intel and AMD. The Ryzen 5950X’s $799 pricing places it a tier above Intel’s current mainstream halo parts. We’re expecting AMD to add more processors to the mix by the end of 2022, so we suggest you keep an eye on this list. We’ll update it with new and more powerful processors when they’re ready to ship to the consumers. But in the meantime, we think the Ryzen 9 5950X is also a solid processor that has a lot of potential to keep up with many other powerful processors on the market.

    The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is the flagship product of 5000-series. It brings a HEDT-class performance to mainstream motherboards.

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Best workstation CPUs: Final Thoughts

That brings us to the conclusion of this particular list of the best workstation CPUs you can check out in 2022. A lot of the processors mentioned in this collection may not readily available on the market for the consumers. The availability of some of these workstation CPUs is also limited to just partner OEMs, so keep that in mind. That being said, we think the AMD Threadripper 3990X is one of the best workstation CPUs around in 2022. The AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX is also a great option, but it cost you significantly more money, thereby increasing the overall cost of the final build.

The list, as you can see, is also heavily crowded with AMD options with very limited processors from Team Blue. We’re expecting Intel to come up with new HEDT chips soon, so keep an eye for any additions to this list in the future. Workstation processors, unlike the mainstream parts, don’t get upgraded as often. The options are also fairly limited in the workstation space. If you are looking to build a new PC, then we suggest you check out some of our other collection articles including the best CPUs and the best motherboards list. And if you are on the lookout for more Intel chips, then be sure to stop by our collection of the best Intel CPUs page to see what Intel’s been cooking in the mainstream category.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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