So by now even most of the gamers and geeks that I know that don’t even follow hardware launches have been talking about AMDs RYZEN launch. It’s an almost unprecedented launch and there are a few reasons for it. While Intel has been chugging away with their yearly CPU launches on their mainstream chips, the every two year release of new CPU sockets. AMD has been running on various revisions of their Bulldozer microarchitecture and the AM3+ platform for the past 6 years. For a lot of the younger enthusiasts, this actually goes back to before they could afford to build a custom PC. Add to all of that the recent dominance by Intel in the higher end market and you have a lot of people foaming at the mouth to pick up something from AMD that can compete. Well after months of hype, today is the day that we can finally sit down and check out the new CPUs and the new AM4 platform. AMD sent over all three of the newly launched CPUs, the flagship 1800X, the 1700X, and the 1700. Before you run out and pick one up, check out how it performed for us and make a point to check out a few other independent sources as well so make sure it is what you were hoping.

Product Name: AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs

Review Sample Provided by: AMD

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Link: HERE

AM4 Testbench also supported by: Corsair, Asus, and Noctua

 

Ryzen

The Zen architecture development started 4 years with the goal to bring AMD back into the high-end CPU market. They have been holding their own in the middle and low end of the market with incremental gains, improvements in the onboard GPUs in their APUs, and competitive pricing. But for me and a lot of other people, none of that mattered without the higher end enthusiast CPUs that gamers prefer. So last week they officially announce the Ryzen 7 series of CPUs, they are all 8 core 16 thread options that cover a range of price points designed to compete with the Intel i7-7700K, i7-6800K, and i7-6900K. While that still leaves the i7-6950X, but with a lower clock speed and a price that is actually about the same as the other three Intel CPUs together, it's rarely even an option. All three of the new Ryzen CPUs are coming in below the comparable Intel SKUs as well.

Company

AMD

Intel

AMD

Intel

AMD

Intel

Model

R7 1800X

I7-6900K

R7 1700X

I7-6800K

R7 1700

I7-7700K

Base Frequency

3.6 GHz

3.2 GHz

3.4

3.4 GHz

3.0

4.2 GHz

Boost Frequency

4 GHz

3.7 GHz

3.8

3.6 GHz

3.7

4.5 GHz

Physical Cores

8

8

8

6

8

4

Logical Cores

16

16

16

12

16

8

Cache

20MB

20MB

20MB

15MB

20MB

8MB

TDP

95W

140W

95W

140W

65W

91W

PCIe 3.0 Lanes

24

40

24

28

24

16

Memory Channels

2

4

2

4

2

2

Manufacture Process

14nm

14nm

14nm

14nm

14nm

14nm

Price

$499.99

$1049.99

$399.99

424.99

$349.99

349.99

What is interesting to me is the overall TDPs. After years of dealing with ultra hot AMD CPUs competing with Intel getting more and more efficient, AMD seems to be jumping into the market with extremely power efficient CPUs. This might mean there is a little headroom still left in the platform. They have introduced what they are calling XFR (extended frequency range) is similar to Turbo Boost and it promises a little more on the clock speeds prior to overclocking assuming the cooling is there. Lower TDPs also mean lower power usage, lower temperatures, and smaller build options when you aren’t forced to run a 240mm radiator or a huge cooler.

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Speaking of coolers, AMD is also introducing redesigned coolers. The recently introduced Wraith cooler is still about the same but it now has RGB and the lower end coolers have been changed completely to a circular design with one being a little taller with RGB as well.

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AMD is so excited about this launch that the review kits they put together are interesting all on their own. Typically when I get things in ahead of launch I’m lucky if they come in a cardboard box or a plastic container with bubble wrap around them. The Ryzen kit though came shipped in a walnut box with Ryzen etched into the top. They even made sure to get it from Woodchuck, a sustainable company that replants everything they use.

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The kit came with the 1800X in it up on top and a card asking if you are ready for Ryzen.

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The packaging for the Ryzen CPUs is simple, it is a medium gray with the Ryzen logo in the middle and the 7 down in the corner to show what series CPU it is. The actual model number is up on top on the label along with the serial number. The CPU itself comes in a plastic tray with a Ryzen case sticker and it slides down the side of the box so the CPU itself is visible.

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Also inside the box was a set of Corsair Vengeance LPX memory clocked at 3000 MHz.

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I pulled the CPU out to take a look and I grabbed the FX-9590 for comparison. The new CPU has the same footprint but the top now has the Ryzen logo on the heatspreader. The pin design on the underside has a tighter arrangement with shorter pins and there is a square gap in the middle, leaving room for expansion in the future on the platform.

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The kit also came with one of three motherboards and they were random. The kits could come with a Gigabyte, MSI, or Asus board and ours had the MSI X370 Gaming Titanium. Later on, I received another package with the Asus Crosshair VI Hero. I will be taking a look at both later to see what they are all about.

Then AMD also included a Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4. The ironic thing is this is the cooler I always use on our test benches and I even reached out to Noctua last month and got an extra cooler in as well as a few extra AM4 kits specifically for this launch. This kit, however, did have a weird sticker on it mentioning it is an AMD AM4 Press Kit Edition. Inside I found that the fan had been swapped out to a black iPPC fan that also has the bumpers swapped to black. This is the same fan I have in our Crush project build, all blacked out as well.

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I put together the whole setup before getting it on our testbench and I have to admit it looks really good. The Noctua coolers always look better with their iPPC fans on them and it all matches the Titanium board from MSI.

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Test Rig and Procedures

AM4 Test System

Motherboard

Asus Crosshair VI Hero

Live Pricing

Cooling

Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Live Pricing

Live Pricing

Memory

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2x8 16GB 3000MHz

Live Pricing

Storage

Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD

Live Pricing

Video Card

AMD RX480

Live Pricing

Power Supply

Thermaltake 850w

Live Pricing

Case

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Live Pricing

OS

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Live Pricing

CPU Testing Procedures

Hitman 2016

1080p – Ultra Setting – DX12 – Vsync Turned off using built-in benchmark

Ashes of the Singularity

1080p – Standard quality setting, DX12, built in benchmark on the CPU-focused setting

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

1080p – Ultra Setting – DX11 – Vsync Turned off using built-in benchmark

Dolphin 5.0 Benchmark

For information on configuration, view this thread

3DMark Fire Strike

Physics Score – Performance benchmark

7-Zip

Built-in benchmark set to 32MB, run 4 passes

Google Octane 2.0

http://chromium.github.io/octane/

Jetstream

http://browserbench.org/JetStream/

wPrime

1024M

X264 HD Benchmark

Pass 1 and Pass 2

Cinebench R15

CPU and CPU (Single Core results)

Passmark 8

CPU Mark Score

PCMark 8

Home test is run both with and without OpenCL

Power Usage

Idle and load testing using a Kill-A-Watt and wPrime to put the CPU under load

Temps

Prime95 to load, motherboard software to read temperature

 


CPU Performance

So for the last few days I’ve been testing, retesting, and working on our Ryzen coverage but at the last possible minute, I did run into a problem with our R7 1700 CPU that required a new CPU to be sent out to me. So I will have to follow up with the performance numbers with that CPU, so right now we are just taking a look at the Ryzen R7 1800X and the R7 1700X. With the 1800X, AMD is suggesting it is comparable to the i7-6900K and the 1700X is comparable to the i7-6800K. It just happens Asus sent over an i7-6900K for our Crush Project Build so I was able to bust it out to get comparison numbers as well. Our test suite has changed a little from last year, you can spot the new tests or tests that the new RX480 for the graphics card effected all have fewer results but I did keep around what I could of the tests that go back a lot farther. I suspect a lot of the people looking at Ryzen have been holding off their upgrade for a very long time, so I wanted some of you to be able to at least get an idea of how it will compare.

I should also point out that prior to and during my testing I spent a lot of time toying with memory settings. With AM4 being completely new there seems to be a few bugs with memory handshakes. This lead to memory compatibility issues with our normal Kingston ram and later I also had a few issues when I turned the XMP on with our Corsair kit as well. Most of the issues weren’t crashing, but there were issues with performance dropping when going higher on the clock speeds. Setting to 3000MHz or above would put it into an Overclocking mode and XFR would turn off causing my numbers to drop. To be safe I ran all of the tests at 2666MHz, not the 3000MHz of our Corsair kit for this reason.

I jumped into my testing with a few tests to check out encoding and rendering performance. I started off with our slightly old, but still reliable X264 HD Benchmark where we see the encoding performance of the two CPUs while encoding a video to x264. This is a test that typically likes clock speeds a lot more than cores, so I wasn’t surprised at all that the two Ryzen processors came in a little farther down the chart. The last few generations of Intel still came out ahead, with the 7700K topping the chart, even above the 6900K.

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I then moved on to my favorite test in our whole test suite. Some of you may have been looking into this test given that a lot of AMDs released numbers were based on this test. I like this one though because it is the one benchmark where we can take a look at overall performance of the CPU while rendering and then drop down to one core and test it again. This helps compare the differences between high core count CPUs like the 1800X and 1700X and then check out the architecture performance, even if there are fewer cores. So in the multi-core test, the 1800X jumped right out into the lead, above the always impressive 6900K. The 1700X, with its lower clock speeds, was also close but slightly behind. The 7700K, on the other hand, came in WELL below those three because it has half the threads. In the single core test though the 7700K was able to spread its legs a little and pull out ahead. In fact, even the older 6700K has some performance on the new Ryzen CPUs on a per core level. The 1800X did still come in close behind the 6900K though.

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wPrime is another oldie but a goodie that I like to check out. This is just a basic prime calculations test and the lower the number in this one the better. The 16 thread 1800X and 1700X both performed really well here. The 6900K was still slightly faster, but I was impressed with how they compared to the 5960X and the 7700K with the test taking over a minute longer on Intel’s Flagship mainstream CPU. I also took a look at 7-Zip, this is a new test for me but it has been around for a very long time as well. I just wanted to see how well Ryzen would compare in decompressing and compressing zipped files and not surprisingly the high core count really helped here with them both coming in ahead of the 6900K and 7700K.

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Also new are a few tests I like to use when testing phones and I thought they would be a good fit here as well. Google Octane and Jetstream both test in a wide range of ways to test how a computer will perform in different web environments, especially in Java. No one likes slowdowns when you get on a demanding website, so I included these to get a look at web browsing performance. In Google Octane, both Ryzen processors fell behind, but they did make it up in Jetstream. The higher single core speeds of the 7700K still dominated, but they all performed well.

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For overall benchmarks that look at all aspects of a computer's performance I turned to Passmark and Futuremark. Passmarks Performance Test has always been great to us and I included both Performance Test 8 and 9 results to keep our past results available for comparison while transitioning to the newer program. In both, I focused just on the CPU scores and both tests favor higher core/thread counts over per core performance so the 1800X and 1700X both performed well. The 6900K was still a lot faster though in both tests. Then in PCMark 8, I went for the whole test. It tests storage performance and real world productivity tests along with a little gaming. In this test, both the 7700K and 6900K came in ahead of both Ryzen CPUs. The memory limitations I ran into may have played a part in this one, I hope to be able to test more later on as memory handshake issues smooth out.

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Next, I wanted to start toying around with gaming related tests so I started with 3DMark Fire Strike using the performance setting. I only kept track of the physics score as it is the only score specific to the CPU performance and as you can see both CPUs did well, with the 6900K besting them by a small margin. I also added a new benchmark, the Dolphin 5.0 Benchmark. This tests the performance when running the Dolphin Wii emulator, an ultra-demanding emulator. It doesn’t care much for high core counts though and with that the better single core efficiency on the 6900K and 7700K allowed the test to complete faster, the scores below are the number of seconds it took to finish.

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For my last few tests, I took a look at in game performance. I refreshed the games that we test with recently, but they are all still setup to focus the performance more on the CPU performance than overall performance. This is because I’m testing the CPUs, not the RX480. So I stuck with 1080p, turned down the detail in the ultra-demanding Ashes of the Singularity and I even used the CPU-focused benchmark in Ashes as well. What I found wasn’t exactly what I had hoped to find. In all of our other tests the 1800X and 1700X were right next to the 7700K and 6900K but here I did see more of a drop in performance. In Hitman they were within a few FPS and the same in Deus Ex, but the CPU-focused test in Ashes of the Singularity gave concerning results. I suspect there is a little more going on here with optimizations and I reached out to AMD with my concern and apparently I wasn’t the only one asking because they sent over a list of games that should perform better at 1080p I didn’t have time at the last minute to do a lot of retesting across all of the platforms though. They also address it with a few statements from game developers including Oxide who developed Ashes of the Singularity, but I will touch on that more in the final verdict section.  Either way, I will be testing this more in the future with a wider range of games. Our CPU test suite isn’t specifically focused on gaming so the three games tested aren’t enough to draw complete conclusions with but It does seem there is room for improvement in the near future in the gaming performance.

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Cooling and Power

If I’m being completely honest, in the past this would be one of those sections where you would go in expecting to see high numbers. I mean with the FX-9590 AMD actually sold the CPU exclusively with a water cooling kit because that’s what it took to keep that monster cool and forget the power usage. But with the introduction of Ryzen, even the high-end processors that I’m looking at today both have 95-watt TDPs. That is amazing, especially when you consider they are positioned to compete against the 2011 socket CPUs from Intel like the i7-6900K and i7-6800K. Both have a TDP of 140 watts, so going into my testing I was really expecting to see Ryzen perform better in this area.

I started off with power usage testing. In this test, I ran the CPUs with all 16 threads maxed using wPrime and then documented the total power draw of our test system. So this does include the idle power draw from the dedicated GPU, SSD, and motherboard. The 1800X came in at 159 watts and the 1700X came in just below at 154 watts. That put them up in the mid to high range on the charts, but more importantly, this was well below the 204 watts that the i7-6900K pulled. Now the lower TDP of the mainstream i7-7700 was better, but not as far off as you would expect. In fact, I’m really interested in seeing how the 65-watt TDP R7 1700 performs against it when I get that testing finished up.

Idle power draw is just as important, in fact, this is closer to what most PCs draw most of the time they are on. Here the 1800X and 1700X both were even more impressive. They pulled 57.5 and 57.1 respectfully and this was only two watts above the 7700K and WELL below the 89.9 watts of the i7-6900K. I may have used the 6900K to lower our power usage in our Crush project build, but that was only because I was coming from the dual CPU power hungry Fridge build, anything could improve on that, clearly there is still room to drop our power usage while staying in a similar performance range. 

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For temperatures, I jumped up to prime95 to really put the CPUs under load. This is what I would consider to be a worst case situation as prime95 runs hotter than most other programs. That said, the old FX CPUs are still towering above the other CPUs, but the 140-watt TDP of the i7-6900K helped push it way up there as well. The two Ryzen CPUs though came in at the same temperatures and even came in matching the i7-7700K as well, with them all heating up to 57 degrees after looping prime95 over and over. This result really impressed me as Intel has been pushing for lower temps and lower power usage but AMD came out and matched that with twice the cores.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Man, there is just so much to take in with this launch. I’ve gone through the testing and even though I have to follow up (hopefully) later on today when our 1700 comes in with its performance. I can say that testing Ryzen as a whole has been a roller-coaster of emotions. My review kit came in 4 days later than I expected so I have been scrambling to get everything done and in that time I spent an entire day tracking down a blue screen issue that ended up being because I was installing an older version of Windows 10. Once I got up and running I was blown away by some of the numbers I was seeing, especially in things like wPrime and Cinebench but then I also noticed big swings in performance depending on memory speeds. There ended up being some memory handshake issues that everyone seems to still be working on, but do keep that in mind and keep your BIOS up to date if you build an early Ryzen rig.

Then I really dug into the performance numbers. As it turns out the 1800X and the 1700X both performed way above their weight class in almost every benchmark I tested. The power usage was great from the 95 Watt CPUs, especially when they are competing with 140 watt CPUs from Intel and with that, I saw the first low temperatures I’ve seen in years on an AMD CPU that wasn’t an entry level CPU. It wasn’t until I got into In-Game testing that I really saw anything that had me bummed out. The performance in our small sample of tests showed both CPUs behind in performance. I reached out to AMD to see if maybe I was doing something wrong and apparently I wasn’t the only one who had done this because they later sent over a few statements. It seems that Ryzen benefits a lot from a little more optimization on the game side. That makes the recently introduced Bethesda partnership really important.

Here are the two quotes they sent over, one is from Oxide, the creators of Ashes of the Singularity that gave me the lowest numbers so that is very promising.

“Oxide games is incredibly excited with what we are seeing from the Ryzen CPU. Using our Nitrous game engine, we are working to scale our existing and future game title performance to take full advantage of Ryzen and its 8-core, 16-thread architecture, and the results thus far are impressive. These optimizations are not yet available for Ryzen benchmarking. However, expect updates soon to enhance the performance of games like Ashes of the Singularity on Ryzen CPUs, as well as our future game releases.”

-Brad Wardell, CEO Stardock and Oxide

“Creative Assembly is committed to reviewing and optimizing its games on the all-new Ryzen CPU. While current third-party testing doesn’t reflect this yet, our joint optimization program with AMD means that we are looking at options to deliver performance optimization updates in the future to provide better performance on Ryzen CPUs moving forward. "

-Creative Assembly, Developers of the Multi-award Winning Total War Series

The in game performance and the memory issues are both important issues, but I suspect that we are seeing the platform a little immature. AMD has been known for their video card drivers improving over time and this looks like a similar situation where early adopters might have a little more of a struggle getting things configured and seem non-optimal results but the rest of the performance benchmarks seem to indicate that the performance is there it just needs some tuning.

I know it’s hard to touch on this completely without the Ryzen 1700, but even just considering the 1700X and 1800X the new processors do seem to open up new opportunities. The prices of both compete really well with what Intel has going on. The $499 price point of the 1800X blows away the 6900K and let’s be honest, who was even thinking about 6800K builds before AMD compared the 1700X to it. AMD has a few things going for it with the AM4 platform as a whole. For one, Intel has split their enthusiast focused CPUs onto the X99 platform and the mainstream CPUs into Z270. This means people who buy a cheap CPU now can only upgrade up to the i7-7700K where if you build on a lower end AM4 CPU (that aren’t out yet of course), you could upgrade all the way up to the enthusiast SKUs without a platform change. The other half of this is cost. The reason people aren’t really looking at 6800K builds is because the X99 platform as a whole is expensive, building on it normally is reserved for crazy off the wall builds with CPUs like the 6900K and the 6950X. I mean hell, you can build a whole AM4 PC for the price of either of those CPUs.

So am I saying to run out and buy Ryzen? Unless you need a PC right now, I would still take your time. There is still some work to be done with AM4 and Ryzen, but I think for anyone not rushing out today the few downsides we did see will be going away in no time. Especially with games pushing more towards highly multi-threaded performance. Streamers and people who multi-task will also benefit a lot from AMDs focus on 8 cores and 16 threads. I do stand behind Ryzen though, so much so in fact that I’m planning a Ryzen build for my wife this spring. Trust me, I would never build a PC for her that I didn’t think wouldn’t be rock solid. I can handle a few issues or restarts, but I could never handle what would happen to me if she had to deal with those things! I’m just waiting on X300boards to come available so I can stuff an 1800x into an ITX build for her.

Of the two CPUs, the 1700X does seem to be the better buy. The performance gap between them isn’t that big and you could save yourself $100 and just bump up the overclock a little on the 1700X. At $399 it is still a little on the high side for most builds, so all eyes should be on the performance numbers from the 1700 that I should hopefully have up late tonight.

fv51800xvalue

Live Pricing: HERE

 

fv51700xvalue

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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