Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Threadripper: Core blimey!

21 Nov 2023

AMD has launched their new HEDT hi-core-count Threadripper CPUs to resounding applause from all the online reviewers.

These CPUs do represent the pinnacle of desktop computing power but they come at a huge price, with the 7980 64-core part costing an eye-watering US$5,000.

Of course along with the CPU you'll need a matching motherboard and RAM so the actual cost of a workstation based on this part will be beyond the reach of most regular users.

However, when you can't get by with anything but the fastest workstation or when you can justify the cost by way of productivity gains, I guess these Threadripper CPUs do have a place.

However, there must surely be a cheaper way to get 64 cores of computing power?

Yes there is!

The new Raspberry Pi 5 SBC has just four cores but the 4GB version comes in at around US$60.

Okay, the Pi only clocks at 2.4GHz out of the box (some have been overclocked to quite a bit more) and the ARM-based cores are not as grunty as those in the Threadrippers but just do the math.

The per-core cost for an RPi 5 is US$15. The per-core cost for the threadripper 7980 is an eye-watering $78.

So maybe, if you really want 64 cores of CPU power, a cluster of 16 RPi 5 boards would be a lot cheaper and perhaps even more fun.

Would it be as fast?

Hell no, at least not unless you were running some bespoke software that was perfectly suited to running on a cluster rather than a single CPU.

However, that RPi cluster would also have 64GB of RAM, something you'd have to pay extra for with a Threadripper. The Threadripper would also require one of those expensive motherboards whereby the Pi cluster would only need a US$100 network hub and some cables to become a unified computing resource.

The cost of building a 64-core RPi cluster will drop even further when the RPi 5 compute module is released. These compute modules are cheaper because they don't have all the I/O of the full board and they can be easily fitted to a backplane. This not only eliminates the need for an ethernet switch but also allows for much faster inter-board communications, thus boosting performance significantly.

There have already been quite a number of RPi cluster projects built with high degrees of success and clustering components are readily available from places such as Ali Express.

Best of all, clusters can be expanded as/when needed to increase their power over time. Start with a cluster of two and just keep going if you need to.

So, if you want to boast that your computer has more cores than a thread-ripper you will be able to do so for as little as US$1K on a box full of Raspberry Pi 5 SBCs and a network switch and make fun of those who've spent five times as much for their CPU alone.

Carpe Diem folks!

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



The EZ Battery Reconditioning scam

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

Retro-gaming... nah
For the past few days I've been playing with retro-gaming...

The big battery problem
Apparently EV manufacturers have a problem...

Threadripper: Core blimey!
AMD has launched their new HEDT hi-core-count Threadripper CPUs to resounding applause from all the online reviewers...

An interesting week
For those who haven't been keeping up with the issues I've been having...

Why older cars may become super-valuable
Everyone would like to own and drive a brand new car...

What if AI develops psychosis?
One of the biggest users of supercomputers are weather forecasters...

Only six weeks to go
Where does the time go?...

Dis/misinformation is?
How have we allowed governments to get so out of control?...

Blue collar for the win
For as long as I can remember, blue collar workers have been considered "second tier" citizens...

It's only a matter of time (AI)
As the world scrambles to regulate AI, for fear it will end us all, I have a bold prediction...

How much computer?
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales almost upon us I dare say some folk will be planning to upgrade their computer hardware...