The Ryzen line of processors is the newest generation developed by AMD and they mostly came out as a direct response to Intel`s Kaby Lake line. The R7 line is available in three different variations, from the 1800X to the 1700X and the 1700, with the 1800X currently being AMD`s most powerful processor on the market. But how good are the new processors really? And can they hold up against Intel? Let`s take a look.
All R7s boasts 8 powerful cores each clocked at 3.6 Ghz, which can be boosted up to 4 Ghz. Each core can also handle 2 threads simultaneously, meaning that the R7 line can effectively handle 16 threads at once. The processors come with a 16 MB L3 cache and are all based off of AMD`s Zen technology, which is a new micro-architecture design developed by the company. Zen also allows for simultaneous multi-threading, which is a first for AMD and is basically equivalent to Intel`s Hyper-Threading tech. That is what allows each core to process 2 threads at once, effectively allowing these 8 core chips to function as if they had 16 physical cores at once.
AMD vs Intel
But what about the new R7s performance against Intel`s 6900K and 7700K powerhouses? Using Cinebench as a testing tool, which is basically the best tool to use in measuring CPU performance because it tests the units by rendering graphics heavy 3D environments purely through processing power, the R7 1800X beat Intel in 2 tests out of 4. Intel proved more mighty in Cinebench`s two single thread tests, but that is no surprise, since the 7700K is clocked by default at a whopping 4.6 Ghz. In the multi thread test the 1800X slighly tops the 6900K and overpowers the 7700K by far. Also, the Ryzen R7 chips beat Intel`s line in power consumption tests, both under load and on idle, effectively making AMD the better choice in this regard.
Games are a totally different matter. Games nowadays don`t really use CPU power, unless we are talking about games that have a lot of opponents or A.I. units on the screen at the same time. So for most games, a powerful GPU is more important then a CPU powerhouse, but there are exceptions. The first gaming test was The Witcher 3, a game that almost completely uses only the GPU for rendering, and usually only uses a single core of a processor, regardless of how many cores it has. Pitting the R7 1800X against Intel`s i7-6900K on both 1080p and 1440p resolutions in the game, both processors offered almost the same performance, with the R7 loosing slightly by a very small margin.
But when tested on huge multiplayer games like Battlefield 1 and Ashes of the Singularity, the R7 lost both test by a pretty huge margin. This can be either because the Ryzen R7 chips are very new and games are not really optimized for them, or just because Intel`s Kaby Lake processors are just better. We will just have to wait and see, as new games come out and developers start to cater to AMD`s new processors as well.
Ryzen chips are very easy to overclock. You can do it directly through a program called Ryzen Master Utility which comes by default on the installation disk. All you have to do is increase the CPU voltage and speed through a user interface, without the need to do it through BIOS. 4 Ghz clock speeds are achievable with standard air cooling, and maybe about 200 Mhz more power can be added with more advanced cooling systems, like water cooling. Naturally, power consumption rises as well if the chip is overclocked, but not by a huge percentage. The difference is about roughly 10 watts idle or under load.
Almost same performance for the half of the price
Coming in at 399$ for the 1700X and up to 499$ for the 1800X, the new Ryzen R7 chips are worth a buy depending on what you want to use them for. While beating Intel at multi-thread tests, it is still clear that it will take a while until games will start getting optimized for the the new R7s, so they are not really recommended for gaming at the moment. So if you primarily game, wait a while and wait for a price drop, if you are building a new system and will be using it for CPU heavy multi-tasking, then definitely check out AMD new Ryzen processors.
They definitely have the potential to top Intel`s Kaby Lake series, and it would mean a huge comeback for AMD, after mainly sitting the shadow of Intel for the last ten years and always trying to catch up but never really topping anything Intel had to offer.