The long-awaited AMD Ryzen processors are finally in stock. We tested the top R7 1800X model against Intel's finest processors. We were really curious about how they compared to the expensive Intel Core i7-6900K. What were the results? You can find out in our detailed test results (review) below!
Hungry for more? We are also preparing a similar test for the AMD Ryzen 5 series.
|Model||Ryzen R7 1700||Ryzen R7 1700X||Ryzen R7 1800X|
|CPU Base Clock||3GHz||3.4GHz||3.6GHz|
|CPU Max Boost Clock||3.7GHz||3.8GHz||4GHz|
It took some time, but it's finally here. It has been a few years since AMD released its last range of processors. In the meantime, we did not have many choices to choose from, so we had to settle with Intel. Needless to say, Intel processors did not lack in performance but without any real competition, there was no need push the boundaries. The evolving generations did not make huge advancements in performance and were only improved by mere percentages , which didn't make such a great investment. The most common reasons for you to upgrade are either because the old processor can't keep up with the graphics card, the processor happens to have a great deal in terms of price, or you just want to have the top-of-the-line processor beating in the heart of your computer. Some people might be still using the old second-generation Intel Sandy Bridge processors, but with the emergence of new and more powerful graphics cards, most have upgraded to the 6th and 7th generation quad-core Intel processors. For those that long for greater computing power, there was no other choice than to get the X99 platform that supports 10-core processors with 20 threads, but that also came with a high price tag.
But that's all about to change. After a long wait, AMD has released its Ryzen processors built with “Zen” core architecture that aims to interest Intel enthusiasts, professionals and gaming markets.
I would like to start off by saying that I am pleasantly surprised by what AMD has achieved when regarding its past. At first, I did not believe it, but boy was I wrong. I won't bother you with what has happened over the years, and how AMD has (not) been able to make its mark on the market. I was really curious about what the test results, and I think you are too. Today's review is about Ryzen 7, which are eight-core processors with sixteen threads. There are three models to choose from.
In this review, we will take a closer look at the most powerful and the highest-rated 1800X model. Let me explain what the X represents and what the difference is between Ryzen 7 1700 and 1700X. The X stands for XFR (eXtended Frequency Range technology), which increases the processor voltage and clock speed beyond the maximum Precision Boost when sufficient cooling is available.
The base clock rate of Ryzen 1800X is 3.6GHz, but with the right air cooling (Noctua NHD-15), it automatically operates at 3.7GHz due to the XFR. If you would use a more powerful water cooling system, the XFR increases the frequency even more. In order to keep the testing conditions the same, I used the same air cooling system with all three tested platforms.
The boost frequency of the Ryzen 1800X when enabled by the XFR is 4.0GHz. Be prepared to set it manually since the XFR doesn't do so automatically. But do not worry, this isn't difficult. Under the basic settings, the processor can achieve a 4.0GHz frequency, however only sparsely and under a light load. If you want to keep a set frequency while gaming or working, you need to tinker with the settings a bit. The Ryzen also benefits from faster RAM memory modules that also require manual tuning. Most motherboards have already pre-configured UEFI profiles that only need to be activated, so you'll be able to get the maximum performance out of your processor. The competing and much more expensive Broadwell-E i7 6900K performs quite similarly. The motherboard determines which kernel to Turbo Boost to 4.0GHz.
In this chapter, we will show you how the new AMD Ryzen7 1800X processor operate in games. Every game functions differently, runs on a different engine and uses the processor in various ways. Some games can (and will) use multiple cores and threads, some cannot. There are some games that only use one core. Certain games' performance also depends on the memory frequency. There are also so-called CPU bound games that are more dependent on the processor rather than the graphics card.
In order to stay objective and get accurate results, very specific measurement procedures must be followed. When comparing the performance of multiple processors in games, we need to set the conditions and environment for each platform in a certain manner for fair results. We have kept testing conditions, apart from the obvious processor and motherboard, the same when testing the i7 7700K, i7 6900K and Ryzen 7 1800X. That includes the same graphics card, SSD disk, power source, and preferably the same memory. Regarding the software, it's important to keep the updated operating system the same. In regards to the software, operating system updates should be freshly installed according to the disk format, and the same graphics card drivers should be used, among a few other things, for accurate game testing results.
We measure games using the Fraps tool and frame rates, which records how long it takes a graphics card to draw one frame after another. With the MSI Afterburner, we record several other values, such as graphics card load, CPU usage, temperature, frequency, and more. Logs from both programs synchronise in the final stage and are then ready for a snapshot analysis.
The most important part of the whole process is to keep the testing measurements identical in the games. Choosing the right scene that is consistent and can draw identical results also comes into play. If we were to measure scenes that vary greatly, we would never achieve accurate results. That's why it isn't ideal to use a multiplayer environment for testing. When we have chosen the scene we want to measure, we have to determine how long the scene lasts to keep the frame time identical. In most games, the scenes need to be repeated. During the first cycle, shaders are being compiled and textures are loading (among other things). For these reasons, we usually take only the second or third (and later) cycle into account.
To compare the three platforms, we selected five games and tested each platform separately at the default setting, without any adjustments in UEFI. For the second measurement, we used the Boost Overclock settings. Bear in mind that overclocking creates a free performance boost, so I always recommend to overclock as much as possible. In both system settings, we used two resolutions, namely 1280×720 and 1920×1080px. Surely you are asking: Why is use such a low resolution that no one has been using for years? Well, the lower the resolution, the more processor performance is required by the game. It is a simulated measurement given the times we live in; however, it helps us to evaluate the processor performance in the gaming environment. But let me not burden you with theoretics and without further ado, let's get to it!
This chart compares the Ryzen 7 1800X and i7 6900K processors. It's a simulated test with 1280×720px resolution that tests two things - when the processor and the operating memory are in the default setting, and when they're overclocked. As you can see, the X99 platform with the i7 6900K processor fares a bit better in this game, but for better insight, let's look at the next chart.
You may have noticed that we have something extra here. The previous chart compared two eight-core processors that operate with sixteen threads in total. That was the so-called clock to clock comparison. Maybe you're wondering if the new Kaby Lake i7 7700K is more powerful, since it's similarly priced as the new Ryzen processors, rather than the i7 6900K processor, which is still very expensive. You can see for yourself with the results in the The Witcher 3.
Now we move to a more standard setting - FullHD resolution at 1920×1080px. It's currently the most commonly used resolution. As you can see on the chart, when comparing the same number of cores with the clock to clock, the differences in the frame rate are minimal (the “spread” of the data set can be described as a measurement error). It is interesting to see that all the platforms performed better under the default settings, which might seem unlikely. But here in Alza, we don't manipulate results and bend the truth. That is not, unfortunately, not always common everywhere else. Remember: Don't always believe everything you see on the internet.
You might be wondering why the high-performing i7 7700K with the new Kaby Lake architecture came short in this benchmark test. This wonderful game just needs something different. You probably already know who the winner is, but let me it nevertheless. The winner in the Witcher 3 benchmark is the new AMD Ryzen! For the cost of the i7 6900K, you can get the new Ryzen processor with all the other PC components, including a powerful graphics card, motherboard and everything that you need for a solid gaming setup. So, if you're planning on buying a new PC or want to upgrade your current rig, and the Witcher 3 is your cup of tea, I recommend grabbing the new Ryzen 7 1700. Just don't forget to overclock it to 4.0GHz, get a solid memory, and sacrifice the rest of your budget for a good graphics card.
Do you like doing whatever you want? Well, who doesn't! The Grand Theft Auto 5 is a perfect game for that. As you can see in the first chart, the Broadwell-E eight-core completely crushes the new AMD Ryzen, even with the same number of cores. Keep in mind that this is a simulated test run under 1280×720px resolution, so let's wait and see what happens when we increase the resolution.
We once again welcome the i7 7700K to the party as it belongs to the same price range as the new Ryzen processor. The number of cores is different as well as the maximum available frequency, but in the end what truly matters is what you'll be using the processor for. Kaby Lake loves high frequencies, especially fast memory modules, and when that's combined with a lower resolution, it has a huge impact on the results.
The Ryzen's performance in higher resolution once again shows its true strength. While running the GTA 5 benchmark, we have discovered an interesting phenomenon. Each of these processors can handle a specific game situation differently. Let's investigate this.
On this chart, you can see the frame rate progress over time. We are using the fourth scene from the GTA 5 benchmark. If you've played it before, you probably already know where 6900K came short. It's the part where a fighter jet is nearing the city. For some reason, Ryzen handles this part better and surpasses the much more expensive Broadwell-E. It's a draw from that point on.
Have I already mentioned what a beast the i7 7700K is? It's great, but only with your help. I would personally reach for the quad-core Intel processor, but there are still a few "buts". As you probably know, not every Intel processor can deliver a 5GHz frequency, but every single one heats up so drastically that it needs delidding - the process of detaching the heat spreader and replacing the thermal material between it and the die with a different thermal material that better conducts heat. This can be quite challenging and even dangerous. You also need a really fast memory, which can be quite expensive. After evaluating the pros and cons, I would choose the new AMD Ryzen and invest the rest of the money to a high-performing graphics card.
Fallout is a cult classic. I grew up playing the prequels, and despite its older engine, I have plenty of other reasons why I had to play the fourth instalment. I'm already looking forward to the next one! The Fallout 4 is one of the most CPU bound games, where both CPU and memory frequencies show their top performance. This also makes it a great benchmark tool for processor frequency scaling.
And yet again, the latest quad-core Intel processor steals the show. However, keep in mind that the resulting frame rate is rather indicative and synthetic. Let's take a look at in FullHD.
We're back to reality where the end in the duel between two eight-core processors (where the Ryzen 7 1700 is less expensive than than the other) happens to be only a few frames per second difference.
And we are at the end of this post-apocalyptic story, which doesn't end with playing with G.E.C.K, but rather with a revelation that you should get the i7 7700K if you want to play Fallout with ultra settings. The AMD Ryzen won't let you down either. Almost 100FPS for OC is more than enough, and you'll be able to smoothly enjoy the game.
Crysis 3 is the perfect game to fairly test performance. Despite it being an older game, the CryEngine is timeless and can still squeeze out the maximum from the processor. We can see that Ryzen's performance is slightly weaker in this setting. But let's take a look at the quad-core Kaby Lake i7 7700K processor.
There's no doubt that Kaby Lake is a generation ahead, and therefore it succeeds in almost all areas. However, the question remains if the 13 frames per second are worth missing the extra four cores.
Well, there's no more room to doubt when we look at the FullHD results. The performance is the same, and you get Ryzen's four extra cores. I'm not saying that I'm a math expert, but here I am sure that 1+1 is not 2, but 7- Ryzen 7.
No comment. You don't always have to be first. Vin Diesel would say a "winning is winning," but AMD Ryzen does exceptionally well in this test. The Intel Kaby Lake i7 7700K is slightly ahead, but the differences are so small that you have to consider if it's worth missing the four extra cores and eight threads.
Last but not least, we'll take a look at Battlefield 1. I would like to mention that the results of the test, although repeated several times, seemed strange. I decided to include the results due to the popularity of the game. We will go through both resolutions and reflect on the results at the end.
Here you can see that not even the i7 7700K could keep up. Battlefield 1 seems to like to use a lot of threads. The difference of nearly 30FPS in OC is huge, but I still don't have a reason to start doubting. Why? I'll explain in a moment. Again, you can see that reality-based testing is much more pleasant than the simulated ones, but we'll give the i7 7700K another chance.
Let me note that all graphs for each game come from the same data collection (logs), and here you can see the final results. This graph shows the measurements of the three platforms throughout five different game benchmarks. You might wonder why I included the simulated test with 1280×720px. I found it to be rather important - since I really want the review to be objective, I had to go deeper and show you what an average user might not be able to see but could feel in a game such as Fallout 4.
Let me get back to the Battlefield 1 benchmark and add that it will be a matter of time to find out more about performance results.
Particularly with Battlefield 1, the GPU load should be at almost 100 percent. The slumps you can see at the beginning probably mean that the processor did not feed the graphics card the way it should, so it's highly possible that it wasn't working properly. Why am I analysing this? I would like to outline how important it is to think objectively when it comes to the hardware performance - very few people and even less testers, editorial staff, magazines and users do so nowadays. Another pitfall of today is that few hardware items get a chance to show performance as they mature. Ryzen was just created, and I think that it will get gradually better. There are probably still quite a few software imperfections, and when the system and graphics card driver update, the performance might increase. Personally, I will give the AMD Ryzen a chance to improve, and I think you should do the same.
At the end of the game section, let's take a look at the performance differences of the individual processors in 3D benchmarks. These are more or less simulated tests that give us an insight into how processors work under lab conditions where everything is optimal for testing purposes. In some cases, these tests are far from the actual gaming conditions. However, sometimes they can get very close to reality that shines truthfully. In addition, the so-called benchmarking is very popular among overclockers, as well as regular users who compare the performance of their rigs with others. These benchmarks are a great tool if you want to fine-tune your setup, want an overview of what you are doing and want to find out whether it makes sense.
FireStrike is a benchmark from Futuremark that consists of several testing scenes of varying intensity, which also includes a CPU physics test. Ryzen is slightly losing here, but the software optimisation might be the issue. The real problem could be in the benchmark itself or in the graphics drivers. The following tests are therefore only indicative. Time will eventually tell where the truth lies.
In this next chart, you can already see a change. The Ryzen 1800X has been overtaken by Kaby Lake i7 7700K. The difference between FireStrike (1920×1080px) and FireStrike Extreme (2560×1440 px) is primarily in the resolution, and it is safe to say that in a real environment where users use a higher than FullHD resolution, Ryzen performs beautifully. Honestly, the difference is just over 200 points. That is not much in a simulated test, and given the price of the new AMD processors, it's clear what processor to choose.
TimeSpy is a benchmark from Futuremark that uses DirectX 12 and runs at a resolution of 2560×1440px. Again, taking the price into consideration, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is a clear winner here.
Unigine Heaven is a very demanding benchmark and is suitable for testing the stability of a graphics card. The i7 7700K is the winner here because the benchmark does not use as many processor threads as Futuremark benchmarks. Therefore the higher frequency is king in this test.
In this chapter, we will show you how the processors perform in so-called 2D tests, which are situations where the PC setup does not use a graphics card. These include image rendering, working with data, video encoding, unpacking .rar files, and so on. But first, let's take a look at the operating characteristics, which is the power consumption.
This chart shows the power consumption in watts. The power consumption of the whole PC setup is measured. I measured the IDLE status, which is a state where the PC has no program running except the operating system, and the computer is on standby. There are two settings of the PC displayed in the charts. In the first case, all three PC setups are in the default setting and in the other, all three are overclocked. Surprisingly, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, which has four more cores, has only 10W more power consumption than the i7 7700K, which only has four cores. This is fantastic. By contrast, the Intel i7 6900K takes a lot more out of the power socket, especially when the system is overclocked. It should be noted that all three sets have high-performance power mode enabled in the operating system. The reason is that this makes a faster response of the whole system, which is exactly how it has been set for all the game benchmarks as well.
The previous chart has shown us how much power the setup consumes when we're not on the PC and not using it at all. Frankly, most people let their computers run 24/7/365, and that makes a difference over a year. On this graph, we see the maximum possible consumption when the processor is being used. That's why I tested the consumption in a well-known stress test, Prime 95. Again, it confirms what the previous graph showed us, just on a larger scale. The consumption of the new AMD Ryzen processors is absolutely brilliant.
Now we'll look at temperatures in the same situations with regular consumption while the data was also collected. However, I must point out that classic monitoring programs such as CoreTemp and RealTemp do not monitor the temperature of the processor. So, I watched the temperatures using AMD Ryzen Master, a tool made for overclocking these new processors.
Cinebench R15 is one of the most popular and most commonly used tests for testing processor power in 2D environments. The application renders a very detailed image and uses all available CPU threads. This makes me happy because here you can see the true Ryzen's performance and getting a few points in Cinebench can be quite difficult.
The earlier version of Cinebench R11.5 confirms the previous result and solidifies the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X's victory over Intel i7 6900K.
GeekBench 3 is a comprehensive benchmark that consists of several different tests based on real-life scenarios that a processor can experience. It also takes into account the performance of the operating memories. We can see, after taking the clock to clock into consideration, that Ryzen is ahead in both default and overclocked settings.
wPrime is a benchmark that uses complex mathematical functions to count a large quantity of data. You can set a fixed number of threads that will be used in the test for calculations ( i7 6900K and Ryzen 7 1800X - 16, and i7 7700K - 8). This test is suited more for Broadwell-E i7 6900K, but 1800X's performance isn't bad either. However, the result shows us that Ryzen needs to boost more operating memory frequency when compared to the i7 6900K.
FireStrike Physics is a standalone physics test from the 3D benchmark by Futuremark, which we introduced in the game benchmark test section. It's perfect for testing the processor and memory, where it successfully shows the efficiency of the operating memory. Again, it confirms that Ryzen needs high memory frequency more than competing Broadwell-E.
As the second to last test, we will show you the video encoding in H265 at 4K resolution. The AMD Ryzen is slightly weaker in this test when compared to the competing 8-core Intel processor. The most impressive is the Kaby Lake i7 7700K processor, and its qualities in these types of tests are well known.
And finally, the RealBench test in the HWBOT version, which uses a single thread, and tests video encoding and multitasking. We can yet again see the strengths of the latest quad-core Intel processor, which really shines when working with video.
From my point of view, we are witnessing a real comeback from AMD. We all know that AMD has struggled in recent years, and only few believed that the company will ever recover. Everyone was expecting a performance comparable to the second generation Intel processors. But Ryzen has taken us by a storm and surpassed everyone's expectations. And not only by its price, but also by its stellar performance. The ability to release such a powerful processor that can take on the competing Intel products, while costing only a fraction of i7's price (depending on the model) is something that only a few anticipated. We are more than happy because Ryzen gives us the freedom to choose from a number of options. In today's world, there is nothing more important than having a chance to make your own decision, which wasn't possible before.
To be honest, I've always had an Intel heart beating inside my chest. Not that I dislike AMD, as some people so commonly do, but the results of Ryzen have overwhelmed me in a positive way. If you want to know my personal recommendation, go for Ryzen - not only to support AMD, but mainly because Ryzen is really worth the money. And like I already said before, I cannot get rid of the feeling that AMD's new processors will gradually get better. The more they mature, the better and more powerful they will become. In the near future, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 will join the market and you can look forward to further performance tests, which I will devote my time to just as much the Ryzen 7.
This review is not as extensive as I would have liked it to be, but there wasn't much time. You surely wouldn't have wanted to wait longer for the results. I will definitely come back to Ryzen and I'll show you how to clock it. Maybe I'll even take some liquid nitrogen to help me show you another series of tests.
My name is Michal Mikle. I'm an overclocker and I enjoy testing performance. Where there is the possibility of squeezing the last drop of power from the hardware, that's where I'll be. I love adrenaline and pushing the limits of the components and myself. I mainly use liquid nitrogen and compressor methods, but I also like to play with water (sometimes under-cooled) and air cooling systems.
We award the AMD Ryzen 1800X the Silver Award for its high performance, excellent operational properties and progress in its development.