Ryzen Versus Core i7 In 11 Popular Games

Performance Power Profiles and Test Platforms

Game Testing Particulars

Due to time constraints, our original review only included five games and the Ryzen 7 1800X. This time around, we're expanding to include 11 games and all three Ryzen 7 processors. At launch time, AMD gave us a list of titles that respond favorably to its new architecture, including Sniper Elite 4 (DX12), Battlefield 1 (DX12), The Division, Star Wars: Battlefront, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Battlefield Hardline, Overwatch, Witcher 3, and Dead Rising. We added Battlefield 1 and The Division to our line-up for this round of testing.

AMD recommends disabling the HPET (High Precision Event Timer) and using Windows' "High performance" power profile to improve gaming results. We can confirm that both adjustments do confer gains. The High performance profile, in particular, offers the biggest boost. AMD adds:

  1. Core Parking Off: Idle CPU cores are instantaneously available for thread scheduling. In contrast, the Balanced plan aggressively places idle CPU cores into low power states. This can cause additional latency when un-parking cores to accommodate varying loads.
  2. Fast frequency change: The AMD Ryzen processor can alter its voltage and frequency states in the 1ms intervals natively supported by the “Zen” architecture. In contrast, the Balanced plan may take longer for voltage and frequency (V/f) changes due to software participation in power state changes

AMD also announced that it will provide an update in the April time frame that adjusts parameters for the Balanced profile to increase performance.

In an effort to give Ryzen the most favorable conditions possible, we test AMD and Intel CPUs alike using the High performance power plan, and with the HPET disabled. We tested the CPUs with the stock clock settings. In our original coverage, we included numbers with SMT disabled. This time around, however, it's turned on. Enthusiasts should not be expected to toggle back and forth depending on the application they're running.

Test Platforms

We're using the same hardware you saw in our Ryzen 7 1800X review, except that we switched over to MSI's X370 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard. The rapidly-evolving nature of the Ryzen ecosystem (and by that we mean incessant firmware updates) means that our gaming results are only representative of today's test environment; it may change in the future.

Systems
AMD 1
Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, 1700
MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium
2x Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666

AMD 2
AMD FX-8350
MSI 970 Gaming
2x Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133

Intel 1
Intel Core i7-7700K
MSI Z270 Gaming M7
2x Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666

Intel 2
Core i7-6900K
ASRock X99 Extreme4
4x Crucial DDR4 2400

All

1TB Samsung PM863
SilverStone ST1500, 1500W
Windows 10 Pro (All Updates) Version 1607
GPU
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE
Cooling
Corsair H100iv2
Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4
Arctic MX-4

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: How Well Do Workstation Graphics Cards Play Games?

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  • mitch074
    To be expected - most current games are developed to make use of 4 threads on Intel CPUs, no more no less, once compiled on PC.

    As for "it should have been finalized before release", yeah right - even consoles need firmware updates once out to fix non-optimal settings. And if the situation under Linux is any indication, even Intel isn't exempt - they had to rewrite a whole new power management scheme to make use of Sandy Bridge, and even then you may end up with a frozen system now and again if you don't disable power management. We're talking SERVERS here, people! the kind of machine that runs 24/7 and thus working power management means real MONEY!

    So to me, a grounds up brand new CPU architecture (something Intel hasn't done in more than 5 years) that works reliably out of the box and can beat the established champion in several benchmarks and real-world tasks for half the price is a GREAT accomplishment. And if Deus Ex and Shadow of Mordor are any indication, Ryzen can indeed kick Kaby Lake in the butt when properly used.

    What can be understood from this article is that, CURRENTLY, AMD's Ryzen isn't the best gamer CPU out there as games aren't geared towards it yet. You can game properly with it though, and it more than likely will get faster with time. If you need to build a gaming rig today, go Kaby Lake; if you're building a workstation, go Ryzen - knowing you can game on it too. If you can wait a few months though, all bets are off.

    As for AMD's performance in the GPU market, look at how many GameWorks games are out there, and how fast AMD's performance climbs up after game release (from a couple of weeks to a few months) - while it took almost a full year for Nvidia to catch up on DX12 performance!
  • Rookie_MIB
    Well, what I gather from this round up is that Ryzen 7 series is a workstation CPU which can game decently well. So - if you use your computer for productivity (video processing, VMs, compiling etc) in addition to gaming, it's the processor to buy. It's vastly less expensive that Broadwell-E, and performs as well (if not better) in some regards.

    If your computer is used for gaming first with some secondary workstation uses, you're better off with Kaby Lake. The almost 5ghz clock speeds rule for gaming where it's not highly optimized for higher thread counts.

    My Ryzen 7 1700 arrives today BTW. :D :D :D

    I am definitely curious to see how the APU's which are coming fare. An actual decent x86 architecture with a really good IGP? If they could stick a 2GB hunk of HBM on it.... lordy that would be fast.
  • Sakkura
    Most of these performance differences are not that relevant. I mean if you have a 60Hz monitor, practically all these tests max that out.

    So Ryzen is definitely better value for money than Broadwell-E even for gaming. Neither of those can currently match Kaby Lake, but they're not supposed to anyway. Ryzen 3/5 will compete with Kaby Lake by being cheaper and presumably only a little slower, and thus better value for money.
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    Overall good CPU but compared to Intel it sucks. You are better with Kaby Lake. AMD CPU needs this, that or that...same story as with their video cards. Wait for performance increase which happens but by that time competitor has newer generation product. Look at difference between Nvidia and AMD high end offering.

    Almost forgot...to me a real upgrade is going to be Intel 2066 socket.
  • Loxosceles19
    Were all the test cpus at stock clocks?
  • Sakkura
    Most of these performance differences are not that relevant. I mean if you have a 60Hz monitor, practically all these tests max that out.

    So Ryzen is definitely better value for money than Broadwell-E even for gaming. Neither of those can currently match Kaby Lake, but they're not supposed to anyway. Ryzen 3/5 will compete with Kaby Lake by being cheaper and presumably only a little slower, and thus better value for money.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    Were all the test cpus at stock clocks?


    Yes, we tested at stock clocks.
  • prince_13
    i hope this review is not paid by Intel .!
  • prince_13
    how much intel paid u ? XD
  • COLGeek
    Intel does not pay for our reviews. Thank you.
  • Rookie_MIB
    Well, what I gather from this round up is that Ryzen 7 series is a workstation CPU which can game decently well. So - if you use your computer for productivity (video processing, VMs, compiling etc) in addition to gaming, it's the processor to buy. It's vastly less expensive that Broadwell-E, and performs as well (if not better) in some regards.

    If your computer is used for gaming first with some secondary workstation uses, you're better off with Kaby Lake. The almost 5ghz clock speeds rule for gaming where it's not highly optimized for higher thread counts.

    My Ryzen 7 1700 arrives today BTW. :D :D :D

    I am definitely curious to see how the APU's which are coming fare. An actual decent x86 architecture with a really good IGP? If they could stick a 2GB hunk of HBM on it.... lordy that would be fast.
  • BulkZerker
    Anyone remember when disabling hyperthreading got you an fps boost in video games (ffs that was an issue in battlefield 3)? Its that, all over again.
  • mitch074
    To be expected - most current games are developed to make use of 4 threads on Intel CPUs, no more no less, once compiled on PC.

    As for "it should have been finalized before release", yeah right - even consoles need firmware updates once out to fix non-optimal settings. And if the situation under Linux is any indication, even Intel isn't exempt - they had to rewrite a whole new power management scheme to make use of Sandy Bridge, and even then you may end up with a frozen system now and again if you don't disable power management. We're talking SERVERS here, people! the kind of machine that runs 24/7 and thus working power management means real MONEY!

    So to me, a grounds up brand new CPU architecture (something Intel hasn't done in more than 5 years) that works reliably out of the box and can beat the established champion in several benchmarks and real-world tasks for half the price is a GREAT accomplishment. And if Deus Ex and Shadow of Mordor are any indication, Ryzen can indeed kick Kaby Lake in the butt when properly used.

    What can be understood from this article is that, CURRENTLY, AMD's Ryzen isn't the best gamer CPU out there as games aren't geared towards it yet. You can game properly with it though, and it more than likely will get faster with time. If you need to build a gaming rig today, go Kaby Lake; if you're building a workstation, go Ryzen - knowing you can game on it too. If you can wait a few months though, all bets are off.

    As for AMD's performance in the GPU market, look at how many GameWorks games are out there, and how fast AMD's performance climbs up after game release (from a couple of weeks to a few months) - while it took almost a full year for Nvidia to catch up on DX12 performance!
  • AdmiralDonut
    Really looking forward to the R5 series, especially the mid range 6-core chips. Once those hit my wife and I will be making the move away from out current Ivy Bridge Z77 set-ups. It'll be my first "current gen" CPU in about ten years :D
  • kiniku
    How large is the workstation market compared to "gaming enthusiasts"? AMD offers a compelling alternative to those that can use multi-core threading to their advantage and to me that's where the first and best profits are. I just don't see AMD's first Ryzen launch focusing on their Ryzen 5, 4 core systems, for gamers. My point is I have a feeling Ryzen 5 or even 6, could be a very competitive CPU for gamers up against Kaby Lake. Give it time :)
  • prince_13
    Anonymous said:
    Intel does not pay for our reviews. Thank you.


    nice defense XD
  • Marco Mitic
    Looks like most of the games where Ryzen flops also have i7 6900K performing worse/similar to i5. It's clear that the fault lies in bad multi-threading code, not Ryzen performance, at least in those games. Hopefully more games will perform like Deus Ex in future.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Personally I would love to know how binaries from Intel's C/C++ compiler run on Ryzen. Does anyone have any comparable performance figures for any non-trivial code that's been compiled on Clang, GCC, MSVC and Intel's C++ Compiler? (OK, fine, ANY code, non-trivial or otherwise, single or multithreaded.)
  • Anonymous
    I am not sure why would 4 and 6 core Ryzen do better in gaming when they run same clock speed as 8 core counterparts. You people have messed up logic. It is not going to be like Ryzen 4/8 will run 4.8Ghz stock.
  • Anonymous
    Kaby Lake as workstation CPU is fine too.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Also:
    It's been a long time since I cared if Intel's compilers played nicely with anyone else's CPUs. Have they still been "go[ing] out of their way to deoptimize code on non-Intel CPUs?" Eight years is a long time to slowly start sneaking code back into their codebase - not that they've needed to, of course, given how, er, "delightfully performant" AMD CPUs have been performing relative to Intel CPUs. (OK, I'll take my corporate conspiracy-theory hat off now.)
  • COLGeek
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Intel does not pay for our reviews. Thank you.


    nice defense XD

    Not a defense. Rather, it is a fact. Have a good day.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Anonymous said:
    Kaby Lake as workstation CPU is fine too.
    I'm running a 4C8T Xeon E5620 from 2010 in the box on my desk. It's practically ANCIENT but it still works fine for what I need it to do. (I just need more RAM and a big SSD!)