AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU Review

Ashes of the Singularity & Battlefield 4

A Note On Testing

As mentioned, we encountered lower-than-expected results in many of our game benchmarks. Concerned that the explanation could be related to Windows' handling of P-states, we ran tests on Ryzen under the High Performance and Balanced power profiles as a diagnostic measure. The former is denoted with an HP in our charts. Intel's chips are tested using Windows' Balanced profile, representing the way most of us configure our desktops.

The Zen architecture is AMD's first with simultaneous multi-threading, so we also tested the Ryzen 7 1800X with SMT disabled to flesh out any performance deltas attributable to this feature. Indeed, we observed higher performance with SMT turned off in some titles.

Finally, we normalized the clock rates of our test samples to compare per-clock performance. Game engines and DX11 do not always scale linearly, so our 3.8 GHz numbers merely serve as a reference.

In light of the unexpected results we do present, we have to warn you that some of our data could be attributable to factors like motherboard firmware or early microcode. Then again, these are products AMD and its partners are selling, so that's a risk early adopters assume. In the meantime, we continue running tests and asking questions. Expect a follow-up soon.

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity scales well with additional cores and frequency. This rewards the Core i7-6900K and its broadside of eight cores and 16 threads.

Surprisingly, Ryzen 7 1800X does not reap the same benefits. We expected much higher performance in this CPU-intensive title from the 1800X due to its similar core configuration and higher clock rates. In the end, Core i7-6900K outperforms the stock Ryzen setup, despite AMD's seemingly favorable specs.

We disabled the 1800X's SMT feature and its average frame rate increased to 70.9 FPS. By comparison, we disabled Hyper-Threading (Intel's equivalent technology) and re-tested the -6900K, yielding a 7 FPS performance loss.

Surprisingly, even the 4C/8T Core i7-7700K outpaced AMD's Ryzen 7 1800X by a significant margin (and that was after trying to provide the 1800X with the most favorable settings possible). We also noted minimal uplift from overclocking the 1800X to an all-core 3.8 GHz. Due to the automatic XFR function, and the fact that we couldn't disable XFR without losing all Precision Boost capabilities, we couldn't test at AMD's base 3.6 GHz.

AMD provided its own benchmark numbers at 4K, creating a graphics-bound situation. We tested at 2560x1440 to reduce this bottleneck, exposing more difference between CPUs. The same strangeness happens at QHD too though, and 1800X trails the field by a quantifiable margin. The 1800X's behavior suggests the game isn't optimized for Zen at this point; Oxide Games released this statement:

“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 eight-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

Battlefield 4

We traipse into graphics-bound territory during our 1920x1080-based Battlefield 4 testing. Ryzen 7 1800X in its stock configuration (with the Balanced power profile) is the only modern processor that doesn't average 160 FPS or more. It fares better with the High Performance profile activated, pulling in with the rest of the field if you're willing to leave Windows in this mode.

The FX-8350 trails at its 3.8 GHz setting, though that's a down-clock compared to its 4 GHz base frequency. The similarly-clocked Ryzen 7 1800X provides a notable speed-up compared to the old -8350.

The Ryzen 7 1800X provides the same performance as Intel's Core i7-6900K, pushing the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE into graphics-bound territory. If your favorite titles tend to be GPU-limited, you can save $500 on an eight-core processor that offers a lot of heft in more heavily-threaded applications (or save an additional $175 on a quad-core chip that games really well).

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  • vrumor
    Well, at the very least, it is competition. Competition drives innovation and lower costs. Well done AMD.
  • kiniku
    Why did I feel AMD was hiding something? Understandably the "gamer market" is comparatively small. But couldn't AMD have designed a CPU that worked well in gaming/desktops and in data centers? Disappointing.
    (But I have a 5820K. The best Ryzen in the world would not have had me switch anyway.)
  • xryanx123
    Bias review as always. Most of your information is obviously screwed up. How do you get 4.0ghz at 1.45v. When that's not even an overclock for the chip (not really at least compared to stock) yet you're already pushing 1.45v? You're tailoring your articles for the uneducated. Duck off toms
  • captaincharisma
    in the end the best anyone can hope from AMD is that it spooked intel enough to lower its prices
  • ssdpro
    In a hurry to compare various site's gaming results, it appears differing sites are finding the same thing: gaming performance is acceptable but below 4c/8t Intel offerings. If you spend your day encoding or multi-thread benching this is a monster bargain.

    With the good and bad, I think we can all agree the good here is competition. There is some now.
  • Pompompaihn
    All along AMD was claiming to equal/beat Broadwell-E in comparative tasks at half the price, and from another review that included Broadwell-E, it's done that. I don't recall ANY AMD press saying it was going to beat the 7700K in straight up gaming. So, target set, and hit. That's a win in my book. But now, need to see what they can do with the smaller core count chips and if they can scale frequency to be competitive in the gaming sector.
  • Dionisiatis
    Maybe i missed it but i would love to see a perf/dollar ratio comparison. Im sure Ryzen would occupy the top position, and it would also make it clear that AMD achieved extraordinary results in bringing such high performance to the average consumer that cant 700+ dollars for a CPU.
  • jackspeed
    @Dionisiatis the 7700K is cheaper then the 1800X so for gamers it currently is the best CPU. now games have yet to optimize for the new AMD architecture, so maybe soon it will be a different story.
  • Aspiring techie
    Your "Heating up AMD Ryzen" video on the Power and Temperatures tab is still private. I can't watch it.
  • Fails in gaming, and for multitasking stuff i got Xeon 14/28 who is doing all that encoding and other stuff for $300 on eBay.

    In my opinion AMD failed and they really pulled BS by fooling people into pre ordering but it turns out that in gaming sucks..
  • cabose369
    Well, well, well... What a surprise.... AMD makes tons of grandiose claims (such as it will beat the i7-6900K), and then can't back it up. Same old AMD. Just wait for when they hype up Vega and it ends up not being able to beat NVIDIA. Oh dear AMD.
  • cabose369
    @Pompompaihn They claimed the 1700 (not X model) would easily defeat the Core I7-7700K in their slides from last week. It's kind of bad though when their top model (1800K) can't even beat the 7700K...
  • thegentlewoman
    Lower "its" prices .. yes indeed INTEL MAKES ITS PRICES. I will never buy such technology (of Intel) it's dirty of blood not just of monopoly, but it's deeply unethic, just like Apple after the death of its Human Guide. Now I say thanks to AMD, and keep up... we want a Multiple players competition not just polarization (masses love it) and duopoles.
    Thanks again!
  • bnolsen
    So how are these compiled? Our HTPC application needs to run on lots of systems so we pretty much have support for i7 nehalem as our compile target as customers have sandy, ivy, haswell based xeon systems. Might be a 40core amd around there somewhere too. So mostly SSE2 and 64bit. AVX, etc aren't even on our radar.
  • SteelCity1981
    im not surprised by the gaming results. the vast majority of modern games dont take advantage of more than 4 cores right now so a fast clocked quad core will beat out a slower clocked hexa or octo core every time.
  • Brian_R170
    AMD did a good job at matching Broadwell-E, and that's obviously why all of the leaks and official marketing showed those comparisons, but what is disappointing is that AMD continually stated that their intentions to supporting the gaming community and I expected a no-excuses gaming chip out of the gate. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the quad-core offerings are like.
  • wh3resmycar
    damn. at the end of the ryzen presentation, Lisa Su said that she was confident the 1800x IS THE FASTED 8c/16t chip out there and we have this? man oh man oh man.
  • cloudonsky
    AMD didn't optimize HEVC encoding. THG review is incomplete once again
  • chaosmassive
    Dear Tom's Hardware Mods/Admin/Programmer

    please fix your images on your pages, I cant see anything beside of your wall of texts

    Regards,

    Lowly Reader
  • Pompompaihn
    @cabose369

    Their slides showed it beating it in Cinebench, in which it absolutely crushes the 6900k. Ask Intel why they don't have any gaming 8 core chips. This is a productivity chip that is GOOD at gaming and will be BETTER at gaming as more multi-threaded games are released and DirectX12 is implemented. There's no single chip on the market that's best at everything, Ryzen eats the quad core I7s for lunch in rendering, and the faster lower core count i7s beat Ryzen in most gaming. They also beat Broadwell-E in gaming. I think you're missing reality here.
  • Marlin1975
    So what did intel ask and/or tell you to do when they contacted Purch/Toms about the AMD Zen/Ryzen reviews?
    Did you do as they asked or told them no like other sites have reported?
  • Yandex63
    Having been a lurker for a long time, I've always noticed that this site is firmly in the Intel camp, and anything related to AMD always seems to be down played, and many times, openly discredited. I've taken the time to read ALL the various reviews posted on these CPUs, and this site is the only one that lends a tone of open disdain for these products. I find that somewhat suspicious. Personally, as a consumer, I've never been a "fanboy" of either Intel or AMD....but have always looked for the best value in CPUs as they apply to me and my uses. That being said, I have always thought Intel gouges consumers for their products. From that standpoint alone, I am happy to see Ryzen CPUs on the market. Hopefully it will create competition, which can only be a good thing for the consumer. As has been mentioned by others, these are the first iterations, so once all the bugs are ironed out with the ecosystem for these parts, I would expect nothing but improvement.
  • Wilkie
    In the past, Tom's benchmarked many CPUs with FineReader 11 in the "Productivity" category. Could you please benchmark Ryzen with FineReader 11, too? Thanks very much.
  • jimmysmitty
    328379 said:
    All along AMD was claiming to equal/beat Broadwell-E in comparative tasks at half the price, and from another review that included Broadwell-E, it's done that. I don't recall ANY AMD press saying it was going to beat the 7700K in straight up gaming. So, target set, and hit. That's a win in my book. But now, need to see what they can do with the smaller core count chips and if they can scale frequency to be competitive in the gaming sector.


    AMDs marketing was better this time, their BD marketing was bad. Cherry picking every situation based on what it won.

    Still what I wonder is if it is just matching Broadwell-E then what when Intel drops Skylake-E? Does AMD have plans to keep up with Intel in CPU refreshes and releases? If not then they might fall into the same spot they were with BD, although BDs issues were a lot to do with a bad uArch. Still if they can't keep up or Intel is able to launch say 10nm fast enough and get good clocks out of it, will Ryzen answer the call or just become the budget friendly option again?

    2410822 said:
    Maybe i missed it but i would love to see a perf/dollar ratio comparison. Im sure Ryzen would occupy the top position, and it would also make it clear that AMD achieved extraordinary results in bringing such high performance to the average consumer that cant 700+ dollars for a CPU.


    Intel could have but without the competition there was no need. And most games still do not benefit from more cores even with DX12 becoming more common.

    522860 said:
    @Dionisiatis the 7700K is cheaper then the 1800X so for gamers it currently is the best CPU. now games have yet to optimize for the new AMD architecture, so maybe soon it will be a different story.


    There wont be much CPU optimization unless AMD has a new SIMD instruction set to work with. The only benefit would be optimizing for multiple cores which Intel will also benefit from.

    I guess time will tell but it looks like an OK CPU. Their SMT implementation is more reminescent of Pentium 4 W/HT than Core i, Intels early SMT implementations also performed worse when compared to turning SMT off.

    I am more worried about the server market for AMD though. Sure getting some consumer market will help but the real gold is the server market where these $500 dollar CPUs can be jacked up by a metric ton. Profit margins in the server market are just insane.