AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT on August 10, 2017

If you have been thinking about buying/building a new desktop development/testing machine that has enough resources to run multiple concurrent large virtual machines or a large SQL Server workload, you might want to consider an AMD Ryzen Threadripper-based machine.

AMD is doing a hard launch of this processor family on August 10, 2017. The two high-end models in the lineup (the 16-core Threadripper 1950X and the 12-core Threadripper 1920X) will be available immediately, while the lower-end Threadripper 1900X will be available on August 31, 2017.

Unlike Intel, all of these Threadripper processor SKUs are going to be able to access all of the resources of the new AMD X399 chipset-based motherboards, such as eight DDR4 memory slots, multiple M.2 slots, and 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes (although four are reserved for the chipset).

These processors are also significantly less expensive than similar core count Intel Skylake-X HEDT processors. Their single-threaded performance is probably not as good as Intel, but the gap is not that large. Figures 1 and 2 have some more details.


Figure 1: AMD Ryzen Threadripper Lineup



Figure 2: AMD Ryzen Threadripper Comparison to Intel Skylake-X

Upgrading to SQL Server 2016

Many organizations are running older and possibly out of support versions of SQL Server, running on older versions of Windows Server, on old, slower, out of warranty hardware and storage.

SQL Server 2005 fell out of extended support on April 12, 2016. SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 fell out of mainstream support on July 8, 2014, while SQL Server 2012 fell out of mainstream support on July 11, 2017. SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 is due to be released in September, so you should be planning on testing and deploying that when it becomes available.

Besides being out of support, these old versions of SQL Server are missing many very useful new features that can benefit your organization, and make your life as a DBA much easier. In my experience, you need to take the lead, and push your organization to start upgrading, making the business and technical case to justify the effort. I have done a lot of work and research to help you with this undertaking.

My latest Pluralsight course, SQL Server: Upgrading and Migrating to SQL Server 2016 has just been published. This is my eleventh course for Pluralsight, but the complete list of my courses is here. Speaking of Pluralsight courses, the team at SQLskills has 52 courses that we have developed and published. The complete list, along with guidance about what courses you should take depending on your interests and job role are here.

Building on this online course is a new three day class, IEUpgrade: Immersion Event on Upgrading SQL Server, taught by myself and Tim Radney. The first round of this course will be taught in Chicago from October 11-13, 2017.

In August, I will be doing a daily blog series about upgrading to SQL Server 2016/2017. Finally, I will be presenting a half-day session called Migrating to SQL Server 2017 at the PASS Summit 2017 in Seattle, WA from October 31- November 3, 2017.

CPU-Z 1.80 is Available

CPU-Z 1.80 was released on July 10, 2017. It adds support for the new Intel Skylake-X and Kabylake-X high-end desktop processors (HEDT). It also adds information about your preferred core(s) in the Clocks dialog on the About tab.

In case you are wondering what that means, some of the latest Intel processors have a new feature called Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 that can automatically direct single-threaded workloads to the fastest core available on a processor. It requires a supported processor, BIOS support, and a special Intel driver, along with operating system support.

One processor that has this feature is the Intel Core i9-7900X processor.


Figure 1: CPU Tab of CPU-Z 1.80


If you want to investigate whether you have this feature and what it is doing, you can click on the Clocks button on the About tab, and see the preferred core information for your processor.


Figure 2: About Tab of CPU-Z 1.80



Figure 3: Clocks Dialog

My old Core i7-3770K processor does NOT have this new feature!