There are many times in the past decade where the options for gamers (or even normal computer users) are either the I brand, or the I brand, or the I brand. Sometimes an enterprising person would recommend AMD, but this is usually because there was no other options on the table. Today however AMD is back with a new processor – and the processor is something one can look forward to for proper gaming and daily computing use.
It is called Ryzen.
Your Next Gaming Rig’s Beating Heart?
The Ryzen series is AMD’s latest processor family that just launched globally, which means gamers and enthusiasts finally have an option other than Intel when it comes to selecting a CPU for their next rig. Ryzen is expected to feature processors for all range of prices and performance needs, but for now we are treated to the high-end range. The best thing about the new processors however are the value for money it represents to the end users.
Ryzen 7 series will come in several SKUs, which includes:
- Ryzen 7 1800X (3.60GHz, 20MB L2+L3 cache) – RM 2599
- Ryzen 7 1700X (3.40GHz, 20MB L2+L3 cache) – RM 1899
- Ryzen 7 1700 (3.0GHz, 20MB L2+L3 cache) – RM 1599
There will also be Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 series – but those chips are expected to arrive only sometime in the middle of the year – so stay tuned with us as we will bring more news on the mid-rangers for the more budget conscious users.
If you notice, the top tier Ryzen 1800X (which we are reviewing here) is priced at RM 2599 – kind of pricy before you take account that the processor is said to go against the Intel 6950X processor – which has a retail price of around RM7500. Does it live up to expectations? We have to wait and see.
What’s Up Zen?
The Zen architecture is the latest technology that AMD has opted in the Ryzen series of chips. The three chips stated previously are based on AMD’s all-new 14nm Zen CPU architecture and lithography. This means that AMD has reached parity with its rival in fabrication, and this means better power to performance ratio when needed.
Out of the box, all Ryzen processors are unlocked and can be overclocked. Yes, all of the chips from now on will be overclockable by the end users. Apart from that, AMD also features a new collection of technologies baked into the Zen architecture itself called SenseMI (Sense+M+I, not SenseMe). The system comprises of five sensors and adaptive prediction technologies, as well as the Extended Frequency Range feature, or simply XFR.
On the 1800X, the chip uses the standard Pin Grid Array (PGA) layout that has been in use by AMD since several generations ago, as opposed as the Land Grid Array (LGA) that is favoured by Intel. The chip has a default clockspeed of 3.6GHz, and a boost of up to 4.1GHz. The new chip delivers more than 52% improvement in delivering more Instructions per Clock (IPC), which exceeded their previous generation as well as their forecasted target (they aimed an increase of only 40% when compared to the last generation).
Ryzen also features support for simultaneous multithreading (SMT) – which is basically hyper-threading in Intel’s world. What it means is that a physical core can work as it is actually two logical cores – and for an eight-core processor like the 1800X, this means you get 16 logical cores in a single die. Pretty cool. It also a bigger 8MB L3 cache that drives the on-board CPU Complex (CCX).
More Power for Less
Power is something of an achilles heel for previous AMD chips – but if the new range is an indication, it is no longer the case. Case in point is the 1800X we have here. It runs with a TDP of only 95 Watts. When the nearest apple-to-apple performance comparison processor runs with a TDP of at least 25% more, this means that this chip is very power efficient – helped by the new 14nm Zen architecture no doubt.
Thanks to AMD, we managed to get our hands on the processor to test out, and they have provided us with the necessary kit to see how the processor runs in our labs. Our test rig comprises of the following:
- MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium
- 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengence LPX DDR4 RAM
- MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GB
- Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 Cooler
- Western Digital Blue SSD 1TB
We also set the processor against the Intel Core i7 7700K just to see how it is like against the competition.
Some of the benchmarks we ran were:
- Cinebench R15
Alongside a couple of game titles to see how it fairs:
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
Just as a note – we ran the rig on stock speeds, as well as coaxing the processor to reach its max boost of 4.1GHz (which we found was easy). There are many other outlets out there who are overclocking the processor, so we will stick with stock speeds for now.
All of the games here was running at 1080p, with DirectX 12 enabled when it is available.
You are getting a lot more than what you are paying with the new Ryzen CPUs. Throughout the test period, the rig has been stable and rock solid – playing back just about every game under the sun. This ranges from FPS, strategy and even MMOs.
As a side note, we did try to overclock the CPU to gain more speed, but we were stymied by the 4.1GHz barrier. However the board is new, and we may see this feature be implemented better soon.
We may return to this review in the future to see what else can we have the new Ryzen range of CPU do, but as it is – for RM 2599, the AMD Ryzen 1800X is a worthy consideration to be the heart of your next high end gaming rig.