Ryzen Versus Core i7 In 11 Popular Games

Civilization VI AI & Graphics Test, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, GTA V

Civilization VI AI Test

Civilization VI's AI benchmark measures the amount of computational horsepower available to the game engine during the workload.

The Core i5-7600K takes a minor lead over the i7-7700K, though that outcome is really too close to call definitively. Perhaps Hyper-Threading is hurting the Core i7 in this case, which wouldn't bode well for AMD's implementation of SMT. Sure enough, the Ryzen processors show behind Intel's hardware, neatly falling in order of 1800X, 1700X, and 1700.

We also recorded frame rate through the AI test's first 60 seconds, yielding another look at how the faster CPUs drive this turn-based metric at a quicker pace.  

Civilization VI Graphics Test

Shifting over to Civilization VI's graphics test shows the Core i7-6900K taking a lead with its eight cores, though it's trailed closely by the higher-clocked Core i7-7700K. The Core i5-7600K's four physical cores don't hold up as well to the 8C/16T Ryzen chips, so it lands just under AMD's two fastest models. We also notice more variation between the 1700 and 1700X than we recorded in other tests.

Bumping the resolution up a notch doesn't change the finishing order. However, we see the Core i7-6900K average a slightly higher frame rate. The game is obviously CPU bound, so 2560x1440 doesn't give us anything new to report.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided responds well to the Ryzen family; all three models manage to beat Intel's fastest contenders. You'd better believe we're looking for a plausible technical explanation.

There's a distinct drop-off between AMD's Ryzen CPUs and the Intel chips. The Core i7-6900K trails Ryzen 7 1800X by 7.2 FPS on average, which is a comparatively large win. Our "frame rate over benchmark run" chart shows how both processor vendors segment out into tight groupings.

The same pattern emerges at 2560x1440, though with lower frame rates across the board. Ryzen 7 1800X leads the Core i7-6900K by 3.7 FPS, shrinking the gap (this time to Intel's benefit) as resolution goes up.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V flips the performance story around again. We dialed the graphics settings up as high as they'd go in an effort to mimic a real-world experience on a GeForce GTX 1080.

The Core i7-7700K lands in first place by averaging 91.1 FPS, while Ryzen 7 1800X achieves 75.0 FPS (a 17% difference). Separately, the Ryzen processors scale better in GTA than they do in our other game tests. A 7% delta exists in moving from Ryzen 7 1700 to 1800X.

Intel's Core i5-7600K beats the Ryzen line-up at 2560x1440 as well, boasting a surprisingly good 58 FPS minimum frame rate. But it's the Core i7-7700K that outperforms everything else. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • 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
    19423857 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!