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Gaming And Streaming: Which CPU Is Best For Both?

AMD Threadripper & Intel Skylake-X i9

You expect the best when you drop $1000+ on a CPU for gaming and streaming simultaneously. So, we shifted to the "fast" setting for this round of tests.

Battlefield 1

AMD didn’t design Threadripper for "just" gaming, particularly at lower resolutions. But an intense streaming workload might expose more of the architecture's benefits.

Threadripper does have several configurable modes to tailor to its response to various tasks, as we outlined in our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Game Mode, Benchmarked article. Game Mode and Creator Mode both impact various titles differently, and we expect those same trends to carry over to our streaming benchmark. As such, we tested the Threadripper 1950X both ways.

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The Threadripper 1950X pulls into range of Intel's Skylake-X models during our baseline tests. Creator Mode (CM) exposes all 32 of the 1950X's available threads, yielding more potential horsepower than Game Mode (GM). The 1950X's Creator Mode also makes it possible to encode 100% of the test run's frames, while Game Mode drops 1.6% of them. That isn't a huge sacrifice, but Game Mode also causes Threadripper to average 26 FPS fewer. That means it isn't encoding as many frames, either. We would have expected higher frame rates from a lighter encoding workload, but disabling half of the 1950X's threads in pursuit of higher game performance doesn't always work well when you're streaming, too.

The 18C/36T Core i9-7980XE doesn't perform as well as the 10C/20T Core i9-7900X during the streaming tests. Rather, the -7980XE stumbles in the smoothness department as its 99th percentile frame rates fall below the Threadripper 1950X, despite a lead in average frame rates.

Aside from Threadripper 1950X in Game Mode, all of these processors encode 100% of the frames.

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The Core i9-7980XE's game performance is higher than the Threadripper models during our streaming test after bumping up clock rates. It also delivers a much better 99th percentile measurement.

AMD's Threadripper configurations fare better after tuning, too. Both encode 99.9% of the frames we send their way, which is adequate for a quality stream.

Grand Theft Auto V

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Grand Theft Auto V's in-game performance goes Intel's way during the baseline benchmarks. Moreover, Core i9-7980XE redeems itself when it comes time to stream. That chip does command quite a premium though, so its advantage doesn't necessarily represent the best value.

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Again, Threadripper's Game Mode just doesn't appear to be ideal for streaming. Game Mode provides better baseline frame rates in this title, but it falls to the bottom of our chart once we start encoding video.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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Once again, Intel's processors offer the best in-game and streaming performance. This isn't entirely surprising; Threadripper may even be overkill for this type of enthusiast workload. We'd expect the architecture to handle workstation-class production workflows more adeptly.

Core i9-7900X does encounter a hiccup as its 99th percentile scores fall below Threadripper 1950X's during the streaming workload. The 1950X in Creator Mode also experiences some variance, with 20.38% of its frames falling below the 16.667ms threshold.

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Even after a bit of tuning, Core i9-7900X provides a higher average frame rate than the 1950X in Creator Mode during our streaming benchmark, but can't match AMD's 99th percentile performance.

The Threadripper 1950X's difficulty in Creator Mode while streaming Middle-earth is even more pronounced. Some aspect of OBS doesn't agree with Creator Mode and this one game. We ran the tests several times to ensure it was a repeatable phenomenon.


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  • SonnyNXiong
    Core i7 7700k is the best, can't get any better than that except for a high OC speed and high core clock speed on that core i7 7700k.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    This benchmark will need a do-over once the patch for Intel's critical ring-0 exploit comes out and slows all of Intel's CPUs from the past ~10 years by 5-30%.
    Reply
  • mcconkeymike
    Sonny, I disagree. I personally run the 7700k at 4.9ghz, but the 8700k 6 core/12 thread is a badass and does what the 7700k does and better. Please do a little research on this topic otherwise you'll end up looking foolish.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    20553340 said:
    This benchmark will need a do-over once the patch for Intel's critical ring-0 exploit comes out and slows all of Intel's CPUs from the past ~10 years by 5-30%.
    Yeah. It'll be interesting to see the impact on Windows. Phoronix ( https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux-415-x86pti&num=2 ) shows a heavy hit in Linux for some tasks, but apparently almost no hit in gaming ( https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=x86-PTI-Initial-Gaming-Tests )

    Although gaming in Linux, seriously?! C'mon! ;-)
    Reply
  • ArchitSahu
    20553303 said:
    Core i7 7700k is the best, can't get any better than that except for a high OC speed and high core clock speed on that core i7 7700k.

    What about the 8700k? i9? 7820X?
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    What a great article. It really highlights the advantage of having more cores. If you're strictly into gaming without streaming, then Kaby Lake (and Skylake by extension) is still an awesome choice. It was really interesting to see it fall apart when streaming was added to the formula. I wasn't expecting it to do so poorly even in an overclocked setting.
    Reply
  • Soda-88
    A couple of complaints:
    1) the article is 10 months late
    2) the game choice is poor, you should've picked titles that are popular on twitch

    Viewer count at present moment:
    BF1: ~1.300
    GTA V: ~17.000
    ME - SoW: ~600

    Personally, I'd like to see Overwatch over BF1 and PUBG over ME: SoW.
    GTA V is fine since it's rather popular, despite being notoriously Intel favoured.

    Other than that, a great article with solid methodology.
    Reply
  • guadalajara296
    I do a lot of video encoding / rendering in Adobe cc premier pro
    It takes 2 hours to render a video on Skylake cpu. would a Ryzen multi core improve that by 50% ?
    Reply
  • salgado18
    20553388 said:
    20553303 said:
    Core i7 7700k is the best, can't get any better than that except for a high OC speed and high core clock speed on that core i7 7700k.

    What about the 8700k? i9? 7820X?

    Please, don't feed the trolls. Thanks.
    Reply
  • lsatenstein
    To be able to respond to Paul's opening comment about reputability testing, the rule is to have at least 19 test runs. The 19 runs will provide a 5 percent confidence interval. That means or could be understood to be 19/20 the results will be within 5 percent of the mean, which is about 1 standard deviation.
    Reply