Anirudh RegidiMar 03, 2017 13:32:30 IST
It’s been an impatient few days, but AMD Ryzen 7 reviews are finally in and they’ve answered my biggest question: Has AMD finally beaten Intel? The answer to that, as it turns out, is a bit complicated.
Before I dive into the details of the reviews, you might want to brush up on a couple of things: For a quick refresher on what Ryzen is, head here. For a very basic outline on how processors work, head here.
So, now that you know what Ryzen is, you also know why I’m excited for it. Intel has been ruling the CPU market for a decade now and all AMD has managed to do so far, is struggle to keep its head above the water. Intel, taking advantage of this, simply monopolised the market and did what any monopoly would do, it kept prices high.
Now I’m not against anything that Intel has done, it’s done a stellar job with its CPU design over the years and filled a gap that AMD was simply incapable of filling. While Intel may have completely ruined AMD’s future with shady marketing tactics in AMD’s Athlon 64 days, Intel’s Core architecture and Sandy Bridge in particular, took CPUs to another level of performance.
That said, Intel didn’t did extract a high price for this GigaHertz goodness and I owe the company no loyalty. AMD, for its part, should also have done better. And now it has, finally.
Ryzen 7 compute performance
As expected, Ryzen 7 thrashes Intel in just about every benchmark that benefits from a high core count. This includes 3D rendering, number crunching, video editing, etc. At the same time, Ryzen 7’s clock speeds are lower than Intel’s and its IPC (instructions per clock) is also lower. This lower’s gaming performance as modern games, even today, don’t need 8 cores. Intel’s integer operations performance is also higher, resulting in better gaming performance.
As ArsTechnica found in its review, the Ryzen 1800X beats the Intel i7 6950X – which is more than double the price – in tests like Cinebench and video encoding. Tests which focus on integer performance, like 3DMark, definitely appear to favour Intel. Again, integer performance is essential for gaming.
To get a bit technical, AMD’s Ryzen will benefit tasks that require a large number of floating point operations, such as raw math tasks and rendering. Just about everything else will need integer performance, which Intel can offer thanks to its AVX 2 (advanced vector extensions) instruction sets.
The bottom line is this, in pure computational tasks, AMD is either way better or just a tad slower than Intel. In terms of value for money, Ryzen is phenomenal as it does this at half the price of Intel’s best offering.
Even if Intel’s architecture is better, it’s just priced too high.
Ryzen 7 gaming performance
This is what we’ve been waiting for, isn’t it? Sadly, there is bad news on this front.
As mentioned earlier, a higher core count doesn’t affect games. A higher clock speed and a higher IPC does.
Benchmarks on various sites show that AMD’s Ryzen 7 is slower than even Intel’s quad-core i7 7700K, which is cheaper than the 1800X, by the way. The difference in performance in games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ashes of the Singularity, Hitman, etc., ranges from 4 percent to almost 30 percent.
This is very significant to a gamer, especially if you’re building a high-end gaming rig.
For those who stream their games live on Twitch and the like, there is still no good news. Apparently, AMD Ryzen doesn’t suffer as much of a performance drop as Intel when streaming games, but despite that, the overall performance of the flagship Ryzen 7 1800X is lower than that of the Intel's 7700K.
For gaming, nothing beats Intel, yet.
I’m building a new PC, should I buy Ryzen?
AMD’s Ryzen 5 and 3 haven’t yet been announced, so I can’t comment on the lower end of the spectrum. If you’re building a high-end rig, however, the choice is clear.
If you’re building a high-end workstation for real work, i.e., 3D rendering, video encoding, etc., AI research, etc., AMD Ryzen 7 just offers too much value for money. Taking a Ryzen 7 for this is literally a no-brainer.
If you’re building a PC for gaming, however, the Intel i7 7700K is still the way to go. The performance difference is simply too great. It’s also cheaper than the 1800X.
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