3DMark, Ashes of the Singularity, Battlefield 1 & 4
We don't consider synthetic benchmarks to be a good measure of real-world gaming performance, but 3DMark's DX11 physics and DX12 CPU tests provide useful metrics that quantify the amount of processing power available to the game engine.
The stock Ryzen 7 1800X comes close to unseating Intel's Core i7-6900K during the DX12 CPU test. AMD's 1700X trails its faster counterpart by 383 points. However, overclocking both chips to 3.9 GHz shrinks the gap to 72 points...in favor of the 1700X.
Futuremark's DX11 Fire Strike benchmark runs 32 parallel soft and rigid body physics simulations that tax the processor specifically. We notice a similar trend during the DX11 physics test; both Ryzen processors lag the i7-6900K at stock settings, but overtake Intel when overclocked. Rest assured that we're planning a follow-up that has each of these unlocked CPUs tuned up to show how they ultimately fall in relation to each other.
The Ryzen processors offer better single-threaded DX11 performance when we overclock them, yet curiously turn in worse results in the threaded DX11 test compared to the stock settings. We repeated this test multiple times just to be sure. In spite of the odd outcome, both AMD CPUs beat the Core i7-6900K in 3DMark's DX11 single-threaded test, regardless of clock rate.
Ryzen 7 demonstrates a tremendous DX11 single-thread deficit compared to the Core i7-7700K and i5-7600K, which helps explain Intel's commanding lead in titles that are primarily sensitive to single-threaded performance. The 3DMark DX12 API overhead test reveals a large gap between the stock Ryzens and Core i7-6900K. Even overclocking can't make up the difference.
Ashes of the Singularity
Ashes of the Singularity is notoriously CPU-bound, but it responds well to higher core counts and clock rate, which makes it particularly well suited for examining the impact of increased processing performance on CPU-intensive titles. Unfortunately, the game engine doesn't play well with AMD's new architecture, which is a punishing reality considering its hefty 16-thread SMT implementation. Oxide Games has voiced its intention to optimize for Ryzen, but the timing specifics remain unclear.
Ryzen 7 CPUs lag behind the Intel competition (even its Core i5) by a considerable margin.
At stock clock rates, the 1800X outpaces AMD's 1700X by 2.1 FPS on average. However, the overclocked Ryzen 7 1700X roughly matches the higher-end model. Given the frequency boost and correspondingly small speed-up, something other than clock rate is holding Ryzen back.
Fortunately, all of the processors except AMD's FX-8350 provide smooth-enough frame rates at 1920x1080.
We dialed Battlefield 1 up to Ultra preset and trudged across the landscape in O La Vittoria. The game flirts with a graphics bottleneck, even at 1920x1080, so there isn't as much performance variation between host processors.
While both overclocked Ryzen 7 CPUs trump the stock configurations, average frame rates in Battlefield 1 are so close that there's little reason to compare performance. Only the FX-8350 stands out as a notably slower CPU unworthy of your high-end graphics hardware.
Battlefield 4 behaves similarly, also emphasizing graphics performance (even at 1920x1080). As a result, the Ryzen 7 CPUs are right there in the mix with Intel's fastest desktop processors.
The stock Ryzen 7 1700X trails the field slightly, but bumping it to 3.9 GHz adds a few FPS, edging out the stock 1800X. Meanwhile, the FX-8350 is our only real loser.