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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X reviewed

Question asked by kingfish on Mar 2, 2017
Latest reply on Mar 2, 2017 by kingfish

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X reviewed: Zen is an amazing workstation chip with a 1080p gaming Achilles heel - ExtremeTech


"After years of waiting, AMD’s Ryzen has finally arrived. The company has spent years in the proverbial desert, struggling with Bulldozer improvements while simultaneously designing its new Zen architecture. It’s no exaggeration to say AMD’s future as a PC company literally depends on Ryzen’s success.

AMD has positioned Ryzen aggressively with price points that match extremely favorably with Intel’s Core i7 family and HEDT desktop parts, but there have always been questions about how well Ryzen would perform. It’s been years since AMD fielded a high performance CPU design and the company doesn’t have the same market share it once commanded. If the company is serious about pushing Ryzen into workstations, consumer PCs, and servers, it’s got a very high bar to clear.

Today’s review will focus on the Ryzen 7 1800X‘s performance, rather than rehashing Ryzen’s design or architecture. Anyone with questions is invited to peruse those articles or ask in comments below. Before discussing Ryzen’s performance, however, we need to talk about its launch. Normally, a manufacturer gives us 7-10 days at minimum; the more significant the product, the longer the review window. AMD bucked this trend by launching Ryzen less than a week after we received our hardware kits. Because I’d previously committed to attend Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti launch at GDC, I only had 60 hours to test the Ryzen 7 1800X."


"Results like these are guaranteed to raise questions, and we’ve spoken to AMD extensively over the past few days to explore the issue. According to AMD, there are three issues collectively contributing to these problems. First, Ryzen’s SenseMi technology and Precision Boost are extremely fine-grained controls that offer significantly finer granularity than any previous AMD solution, which means BIOS implementations of these features are new and not necessarily working at 100% efficiency yet. Second, AMD has been out of the high-performance market for so long, virtually no software is written explicitly for or optimized to perform well on AMD CPUs. Ryzen puts AMD on a far better footing, but software patches don’t arrive overnight. Third, there are some games that are far more sensitive to the differences between AMD and Intel CPUs than others. We happened to pick a test suite that had more of these slowdowns in it than others, and even we don’t see it every test (Vulkan, for example, runs quite well).

The other reason AMD missed it is because they chose 1440p for a minimum resolution, figuring that no one with a $500 CPU would still be gaming in 1080p. I can understand that argument even if I don’t normally find it persuasive (I prefer to keep a lower resolution to allow CPU performance to shine through). According to AMD, the difference in performance between itself and Intel is much reduced at 1440p and completely eliminated in 4K. I haven’t had the opportunity to verify those figures yet, but it does make sense — as resolution rises, the bottleneck in the system moves from the CPU to the GPU. If you game at 1440p or above, these results may not have much bearing on your experience.

I had a number of conversations with AMD on the game performance question as well as discussions of board stability in general. Having tested a second motherboard, I think many of my stability and performance concerns were driven, at least in part, by faulty hardware. That said, Ryzen’s relative weakness in gaming while being such a vast improvement over the FX-9590 and offering extremely strong application/workstation performance is a bit odd. It’s possible that AMD’s heavy reliance on multi-threading, while effective in non-gaming tests, made it take a whack in game tests. This last, however, is merely speculation on my part."

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