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.
Live Pricing: HERE
Live Pricing: HERE