Perhaps as a sign that AMD has made some serious ground against Intel in recent years, particularly on the high end, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has announced that for the first time in 15 years he is using an AMD processor in his main computer.
Over on his blog, he describes the upgrade, shifting his system over to an AMD Threadripper 3970x:
“In fact, the biggest excitement this week for me was just that I upgraded my main machine, and for the first time in about 15 years, my desktop isn’t Intel-based. No, I didn’t switch to ARM yet, but I’m now rocking an AMD Threadripper 3970x. My ‘allmodconfig’ test builds are now three times faster than they used to be, which doesn’t matter so much right now during the calming down period, but I will most definitely notice the upgrade during the next merge window.”
We don’t know other details about his system, like what cooling solution he was using, what RAM, Motherboard, hard drive or GPU this is partnered with, or if he has any blinking LED lights, but even so that performance boost is impressive. We don’t know what processor that three times improvement is compared with, but I think most people would be happy with a 3x boost in real-world performance.
The AMD Threadripper 3970x is obviously not a mass-market processor, and it’s not targeting a typical user. It’s a top-end processor for extremely processor-intensive tasks, such as building Linux kernels. It’s one of the fastest processors in the world, especially for multi-threaded tasks. It gives us a good taste of what the future might hold for AMD processors targeting the mass market and general users.