Despite releasing Bulldozer and Piledriver for its desktop consumer line, AMD has been on on the losing end of a decade-long battle for a comeback against Intel and with no successful product released during that time period, Intel has been grossly neglectful of advancing its technology that it has followed the same trait as most phone manufacturers follow and that it rehashes the same design year-in, year-out with minor efficiency and feature upgrades. Despite the criticism we throw at Intel, they’re still at the forefront of the CPU industry and they can, if they feel like it, shake things up. But it is only when AMD sends shockwaves throughout the industry with news of its new RYZEN processor that Intel seems to be reconsidering its stategy.
With Ryzen being released a good two months now, there’s been plenty of analysis and discussion that has been made regarding the product particularly its performance offering and thermals. We’ve intentionally delayed this review until today for many reasons including lack of support from AMD as well as some recurring issues amongst board partners as well as optimization and adoption of the RYZEN platform with developers and benchmark software.
Today we take a look at the flagship AMD RYZEN CPU, the Ryzen 7 1800X. We have the entire Ryzen lineup from both the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 series but we’ll start off with a head-to-head showdown of the flagship 8-core Ryzen 7 1800X against Intel’s own refined former flagship in the Core i7-6900K. Let’s get it on!
The Ryzen 7 Family
There are currently three SKUs in the Ryzen 7 family, all of which are 8-core parts with 16 threads. The one we have for review today, the Ryzen 7 1800X, sits on the top of the stack with a $499 price tag and has TDP of 95W and it goes head to head with the $1000 Intel Core i7-6900K, also an 8-core/16-thread part with 140w TDP. The Ryzen 7 1700X is positioned against the 6-core i7-6800K and the Ryzen 1700 goes against the mainstream Intel flagship for consumer desktop, Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K. Its easy to see that AMD is targeting the upper mainstream and lower extreme/professional market with the Ryzen 7.
In this review we’ll be focusing on benchmarks first and we’ll be releasing more articles throughout the next few weeks including CPU scaling, Crossfire performance, temperature performance on various cooling solutions, etc. For now let’s focus on pure performance.
The Greatest Unboxing Ever
Processor: AMD RYZEN 7 1800X
Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VI Hero
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 16GB Kit
Graphics Card: ZOTAC GTX 1080 AMP! Edition
Power Supply: Seasonic P1000
Storage: WD Blue SSD 1TB
Monitor: ViewSonic VX2475SMHL-4K
Cooler: Noctua NH U12S SE-AM4
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For this test we’ll focus on the gaming performance both our processors. Do note that we have specially selected benchmark runs for CPU testing vs. GPU testing so these vary from our GPU benchmark results. To see more details about the benchmark sequences, please see our game benchmark method guide.
Frame rates and frame times of a 60-second game play were recorded using FRAPS v3.5.99. The test results are the average of 3 benchmark runs. Since this is a GPU review, we benchmarked the area of the games that put heavy load on the GPU.
All our test runs are repeatable, click the links below for area and details. Read our benchmarking methodology.
- Crysis 3 – Post Human
- Grand Theft Auto V – Palomino Highlands
- The Witcher 3 – Woesong Bridge
- Rise of the Tomb Raider – Valley Farmstead
- DOTA2 – Shanghai Major Finals, Game 2, Team Secret vs Team Liquid (23:45 – 24:45)
See our Youtube playlist for benchmark sequences.
The games and corresponding image quality settings used are shown in their respective tabs.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as we pick-up from the last game. Featuring upgraded graphics, DX12 support and new image quality improvements, this game challenges new hardware with its graphical offering.
Very High settings
Ambient Occlusion: On
Pure Hair: On
Vignette Blur: Off
Motion Blur: Off
Screen Space Reflections: On
Lens Flares: On
Film Grain: Off
The Witcher 3
CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.
Frame Rate: Unlimited
Nvidia HairWorks: Off
Motion Blur: Off
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Depth of Field: On
Chromatic Aberration: Off
Light Shafts: On
The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source 2 engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress most systems especially with Reborn update. This is a game where frame times matter as responsiveness is very important in high-stakes competition.
Best-Looking slider setting (Ultra)
Grand Theft Auto V
The fifth and most successful installment to date in the highly controversial Grand Theft Auto series brings a graphical overhaul to the PC version of GTA V which many have lauded as a superior approach in porting a console game to PC. Featuring large areas and detailing, GTA V is a highly challenging application in terms of scene complexity.
Very High settings
Anisotropic Filtering: 16x
Motion Blur disabled
Advanced Graphics enabled
The most visually intense game to have ever been made during its time. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the exquisite particle and water rendering of the engine capable of still giving modern GPUs a workout to this day.
Texture Resolution: Very High
Anti-aliasing: SMAA 2Tx
System Spec: Very High
Anisotropic Filtering: 16x
Motion Blur: Disabled
Temperature and Power
Analyzing the temperature of AMD RYZEN processors is a bit difficult provided the previous issues brought up and immediately responded to by AMD. The 20c offset for the 1800X and 1700X were in place to level the fan speeds on these processors but initial reaction to the reportedly high temps were resoundingly negative. After a statement and hardware / BIOS updates, AMD’s temps are now reportedly more acceptable.
This still presents us with more trouble as AMD does not have a stock cooler for its R7 1800X and cooling will still vary between users. We wanted a more conventional cooling setup that many buyers on this price range will have and that’s an AIO 240mm cooler. The DeepCool Captain 240 EX is one the first AM4 compatible coolers right now so we’re using that for this test.
As we can see in the image above we see an idle temp of around 35*C on an ambient 25*C room. This will vary and we really don’t put much stock on idle temps much now and focus more on peak readings. On AIO, we get around peak 70*C and a die reading of 75*C which is quite acceptable for an 8-core processor. We’ll compile a thermal analysis of Ryzen processors in a complementary article but you can see our review of the 120mm SilverStone Tundra TD03-E for an idea how it performs with a smaller cooler.
AMD’s RYZEN 7 launch has been marred by immature speculation from the rumor mill and this has hurt AMD in many ways by building it up to be a true rival in terms of gaming against Intel. Given this, we decided to wait out the launch and let both software and the BIOS mature for the platform. Knowing the strengths of the CPU beforehand also helps us rule out any misconceptions towards the product, showing its true purpose and benefits.
We’ll jump right into it and say it now, in terms of price to performance, the Ryzen 7 1800X totally beats the Intel 6900K in multi-threaded benchmarks. AMD has adjusted its marketing to reflect its target and given the growing market for enthusiast content creators and professionals looking for a more accessible platform for their professional use, the 8-core Ryzen 1800X definitely shows its got the muscle to contend with Intel. With the latest compilers and software updates rolling out to implement optimization for use with AMD RYZEN, the top-end Ryzen 7 1800X sits on a very good spot at $500.
As a gaming CPU, AMD’s RYZEN chips are simply outmatched by the clock deficit and in some cases development advantage of Intel. Still, we’re working on analysis to show the multi-tasking capabilities of AMD’s RYZEN as we demonstrate the performance hit of encoding videos WHILE playing games which is something that most content creators usually allot some time for.
There’s still plenty to discuss about the RYZEN 7 1800X and the entire RYZEN family which we’ll lookout throughout the comings week. For now, if you are looking to build a PC purely intended for gaming we suggest you look other CPUs but if you want to dabble in content creation, streaming, etc. while being able to play games, the AMD RYZEN 7 1800X is the best value CPU that offers competitive performance for half the price of Intel’s top-end processors.
We give the AMD RYZEN 7 1800X our B2G Recommended Award!