HEDT is short for High-End Desktop. An HEDT CPU is the CPU that powers the high-end desktop. Note that there are many different uses for the high-end desktop computer.
How Do HEDT CPU Differ from the Rest?
One of the simplest ways to tell the difference is to count the cores. The Cascade Lake-X HEDT processors had 10 to 18 cores. This product line was outdone by the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X. This AMD processor starts with 24 cores. Their high end Threadripper 3990X has 64 cores. The average HEDT platform has twice as many cores as a standard CPU. Because of the additional cores, they also have many more “threads”.
The HEDT processors often have a different lithography. For example, AMD’s HEDT processors have 7 nm nodes. However, Intel is still managing to make HEDT CPU with 14 nm nodes. It is possible that Intel’s 14 nanometer manufacturing process is reading the end of its scalability, though they’ve been pushing clock speeds in a bid to improve performance.
That has its limit. And it suggests the company can’t make another leap forward until they have a new 10 nm node and new microarchitecture based on it. The smaller circuit paths allow for denser circuits and greater processing power. It also makes the chips less power consuming.
This doesn’t mean Intel isn’t working on the next generation of chips. What is less clear is what architecture is being used for the Sapphire Rapids and W790 lineup. But leaked photos show that the next generation HEDT platform is in the works. It is expected to be launched in the middle of 2022.
Sapphire Rapids will replace the Glacier Falls HEDT family that was eventually outcompeted by AMD. Supposedly, this unit supports the W790 chipset instead of the X series chip. This is a continuation of other Intel decisions.
For example, the Skylake-X CPU supports a non-X chipset. This results in chips that work equally well for an HEDT and workstation system. The Sapphire Rapids chips also increase the number of cores. Reportedly, they will feature up to 56 cores. And they will use provide LGA 4677 compatibility.
Clock speeds don’t differ significantly between generations of HEDT CPU by the same manufacturer. Nor does the max cache. Yet they do evolve regarding memory capability.
Intel’s early dominance of the HEDT CPU market has had some interesting effects. Computer programs expect CPUs to follow the Intel instruction set, because they literally set the standard for the industry. This is why AMD follows Intel’s instruction set.
How Are HEDT Computers Used?
A HEDT CPU powers the high-end computers necessary for extreme performance gamers. It is also essential for content creators. You don’t need it to modify an image. You may need it to stitch together thousands of images to create a single wrap-around virtual reality simulation.
They are useful for high end animation, too. Those who are putting together music videos on their personal computer may find it useful, especially if you’re splicing, editing and adding modified vocals. Generating synthesizer sounds and echo effects are taxing for lesser CPUs. Furthermore, they can be used for mining cryptocurrencies.
If you’re going data analysis or other tasks that can slow your computer to a crawl, upgrading to an HEDT CPU may be worth it simply to improve your efficiency. Then you aren’t waiting hours for code to compile. Yes, HEDT CPU are often used for those working in software development.
They’re also popular if you’re doing live-streaming and music editing. You certainly won’t be tempted to scale down the resolution or cut frames to speed things up, if you are working with video. In sound production, losing a frame is a disaster because creates a “pop” in the sound. That distracts from the music.
Who Makes HEDT CPU?
Intel and AMD make a large number of HEDT CPU. The AMD Ryzen line is a good example. The AMD Ryzen 5 is relatively inexpensive and has an integrated graphic processor. That makes it a good choice for a multi-purpose PC. The Ryzen 9 is even faster. It rivals the Intel Core i9-10900K. The Ryzen 7 5800X has a Zen 3 architecture.
The two top of the line CPUs in this category are the Intel Core i9-10980XE extreme edition and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X. You will pay dearly for the performance. The Intel Core X-series replaced the HEDT chips that fit into their LGA2066 socket.
Should I Upgrade My Computer or Build a New One If I Want Superior Performance?
The modern world tends to think that everything can be solved via a software update. In reality, the software is limited by the hardware. We just don’t realize this if we’re relying on software applications and apps hosted in the cloud.
Whether you’re editing multimedia presentations or gaming, nearly everything is running locally. Thus your ability to upgrade the CPU is determined by the architecture, the socket and the compatibility of the motherboard in the computer with the CPU.
If you need to swap out the motherboard to get something compatible with the more powerful processor, you might as well build your own PC. That is because you’ll already have to partially if not complete disassemble the computer to make the upgrade work. And you may have to replace other parts in the process.
What about In-Place Upgrades?
An in-place upgrade is when you upgrade the CPU in the computer with one that works with the existing socket. This has limited benefits. Most chip sockets and chipsets are only compatible for one to two generations of the CPU. This means that after two to three years, you can’t use the latest and greatest CPU in your computer.
What Does It Mean if I Upgrade the CPU and Still Have Problems?
A faster CPU won’t make up for a slow internet connection during online gaming or livestreaming. An upgraded CPU won’t solve problems with glitchy software or software so old it isn’t compatible with the CPU.