AMD Ryzen Benchmarks Compared to Rivals
After a decade of fruitless attempts at challenging Intel's CPU prowess, AMD finally unveiled its Ryzen chips this year, reigniting the long-running rivalry between the two tech giants.
The most consequential processors in the new AMD processor family are the Ryzen 7 chips, which boast eight unlocked cores, support for 16 thread execution, and price points that remarkably undercut Intel's comparable Extreme Edition CPUs. Here, we have the $500, 3.6GHz - 4GHz Ryzen 7 1800X, the $390, 3.4GHz - 3.8GHz Ryzen 7 1700X, and the $330, 3GHz - 3.7GHz Ryzen 7 1700.
Both the 1800X and the 1700X have a TDP of 95W, while the 1700 registers a much lower 65W TDP, which is remarkable, considering the processing power the multi-threaded chips offer at full throttle. In comparison, Intel's Core i7-6900K – the Ryzen 7 chips' chief rival – is rated at 140W TDP.
Despite their relatively friendly price tags, the Ryzen 7 chips are still rather costly, especially if you're building a mid-tier gaming PC. Luckily, AMD has the budget PC scene covered as well, with the more affordable Ryzen 5 series.
Here, the top chip is the $249 Ryzen 5 1600X, a 6-core and 12-thread processor that, like the premium Ryzen 7 1800X, maxes out at 4GHz. Next is the 6-core, 12-thread $219 Ryzen 5 1600 that tops out at 3.6GHz, followed by several quad-core, 8-thread chips, including the $189 3.7GHz Ryzen 5 1500X and the $169 3.2GHz Ryzen 5 1400.
AMD is also set to unveil the entry-level Ryzen 3 processors later this year, which will rival Intel's Core i3 series. The two chips already announced are the Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300.
AMD Ryzen performance benchmarks
Both the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors perform outstandingly against their respective Intel rivals. The Ryzen 7 1800X, in particular, holds up pretty well when thrown in the ring with formidable competitors like the $1,000 pro-grade Intel Core i7-6900K and the consumer-oriented $350 Intel Core i7-7700K.
Rendering tests typically push multithreading to the limit, and the more cores a chip has, the higher it scores.
The Cinebench R15 test, which is based on Maxon's Cinema4D rendering engine, is arguably the most popular rendering benchmark. As expected, the 8-core Ryzen 7 1800X cruises past the quad-core Core i7-7700K.
What's astonishing, however, is that the equally threaded Core i7-6900K processor doesn't offer enough multi-core power to match the 1800X, despite costing twice as much. Even more insane is that the $330 Ryzen 7 1700X also comes pretty close to besting Intel's high-end chip.
That said, Cinebench R15 single-threaded test results tell a different story, as the Core i7-7700K emerges the winner, thanks to its higher base clock speed of 4.2GHz. Nevertheless, the Ryzen 7 1800X and 1700X still manage impressive scores. The results of the 8-core AMD FX-8370 here shows just how big a leap AMD has made with the new Ryzen chips.
The POV-Ray Raytracer, an open-source benchmark for performance in rendering, shows similar results to the Cinebench R15. Presenting scores in pixels rendered per second, the test shows the Ryzen 7 1800X again setting the fastest multi-core pace, followed by the Intel Core i7-6900K, the Ryzen 7 1700, and the Core i7-7700K in that order.
The Core i7-7700K again registers the highest single-threaded score, with the lower-clocked Ryzen 7 1700 coming in last among the four chips.
Admittedly, single-core processing seems better with the Broadwell-E chips. In truth, however, you'll always be running the processor in multithreaded mode when rendering.
Video encoding is another useful tool for gauging processor performance.
A 30GB 1080p MKV file converted with Handbrake using the Android preset yields the following results.
It's the Ryzen 7 1800X that triumphs over its rivals, taking the shortest time to complete the render. Note, however, that turning on integrated graphics in your system's BIOS to enable QuickSync would unequivocally place the Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700K in front.
AMD may have outdone Intel in 3D rendering and video encoding, but when it comes to gaming, the benchmarks paint a different image.
The age-old 3DMark test is the one-stop shop for a comprehensive look at gaming performance. Looking at the overall score in 3DMark FireStrike, the Intel Core i7-6900K takes the lead, followed by the Core i7-7700K. The Ryzen 7 1800X puts up a fight but only manages a close third.
In 3DMark's Physics sub-test, which emphasizes on core count, the 8-core chips unsurprisingly go ahead by a good margin. The Intel Core i7-6900K again bests the Ryzen 7 chips, but they're not that far behind.
3DMark also includes a DX12 multithreaded test, where the CPU is tasked with issuing draw calls under DirectX 12. The Intel chips end up at the top, with both the 8-core Core i7-6900K and the 6-core Core i7 6800K far outdoing the Ryzen processors.
So, as far as 3DMark tests go, the Ryzen chips are quite the gaming giants we expected. AMD has come out to address the issue, promising better game optimizations and updates. With more game developers taking advantage of Ryzen architecture and its multiple threads, the benchmarks will only get better.
All in all, AMD Ryzen is the boldest CPU we've seen in awhile, especially for multithreaded use. Intel's premium-range processors may still be a few steps ahead, but given that the price of an Intel Core i7-6900K can buy you a Ryzen 7 1800X and a GeForce GTX 1080, the choice is undoubtedly a no-brainer.
As Ryzen processors continue find their way into high-end gaming machines, PCs are bound to get significantly cheaper down the road. Thumbs up to AMD for bringing powerful multi-core CPUs within reach to all.