MD’s new high-end
Ryzen 7 processors kick ass, going toe-to-toe with Intel’s cheapest 8-core
chips in productivity tasks at a whopping 50 percent cost savings—or more if you
opt anything but the flagship
Ryzen 7 1800X.
No, Ryzen chips don’t offer the same raw gaming performance as Intel’s quad-core
chips. That’s indisputable. But neither do the high-end Intel Extreme Edition
processors that are Ryzen’s true peers. While
Ryzen against Intel quad-cores
illuminating for potential upgraders focused solely on gaming, it’s not quite
apples-to-apples. A more realistic way to look at it: Intel’s quad-core Core i5
and Core i7 chips are excellent gaming chips with decent productivity chops,
while Ryzen and Intel’s Extreme Edition CPUs are killer productivity and
content-creation processors that are decent in gaming.
Ryzen’s damned affordable pricing, however, goes a long way toward bridging the
The mammoth price difference between the $1,050
processors leave you a lot of budgetary wiggle room to splurge on a GPU. In
fact, for the same price as the Core i7-6900K, you could pick up a
Ryzen 7 1700 CPU
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
and still have
$20 left over for a large pizza.
Yes, you read that right. For the same price as Intel’s cheapest 8-core
processor, you can pick up a competitive 8-core AMD chip
most powerful graphics card ever released.
In response to criticism over Ryzen’s gaming performance, AMD noted that the
performance gap shrinks when your pair the processor with a potent graphics card
and game at 4K resolution. That’s true! While doing so doesn’t reflect the pure
gaming potential of a CPU (which is why in our Ryzen review we tested at 1080p),
strenuous 4K gaming shifts the system bottleneck from the processor to the
graphics card instead, which can even out the real-world playing field between
CPUs of varying gaming-performance chops.
With a Ryzen chip and Nvidia’s monster graphics card in hand, it’s time to put
that theory to the test. Here are some brief benchmarks showing how the dynamic
duo fares in a handful of games at 4K and 1440p resolutions—for less than the
cost of Intel’s cheapest 8-core chip
Testing the Ryzen 7 1700 and GTX 1080 Ti
All about the Benjamins
Pushing performance tomorrow
Pushing performance today
Testing the Ryzen 7 1700 and GTX 1080 Ti
First, a quick refresher on the hardware we’re using, followed by some test
results, before finishing with caveats and
The $330 Ryzen 7 1700 is AMD’s most affordable high-end Ryzen chip, but it still
packs 8 cores and 16 threads of power, with a 3GHz base clock speed and 3.7GHz
maximum boost clock speed out of the box. You can see its performance in
Ryzen review. Nvidia’s $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, on the other hand, is the
most ferocious graphics card ever, with even more performance than the
$1,200 Titan X.
The rest of the system is identical to my ultimate
AMD gaming PC build. I just swapped out the processor and graphics card.
Since I’m trying to keep this as close to an out-of-the-box experience as
possible, I haven’t tinkered with RAM speeds or done any of the other tricks AMD
suggests to improve gaming performance. (More on that later.) I am
the latest stable BIOS, however, and switched Windows from its default
Balanced power plan to High Performance to allow Ryzen’s on-CPU management
technology to operate correctly.
Illustrating how the Ryzen 7 1700 and GTX 1080 Ti perform in tandem at 4K
resolution games is the main goal of this article. That said, for reference I’m
also going to include GTX 1080 Ti performance results from PCWorld’s Intel Core
in these charts.
It’s not quite the controlled apples-to-apples comparison you’d find in a formal
review, but the 5960X is also an 8-core, 16-thread part, and the Core i7-6900K’s
direct predecessor. It’s also paired with 16GB of DDR4 memory, just like the
As always, I benchmarked every game using the default graphics settings unless
otherwise noted, with all vendor-specific special features—such as Nvidia’s
GameWorks effects, AMD’s TressFX, and FreeSync/G-Sync—as well as VSync and
frame-rate caps disabled. These four games are among the ones we regularly use
for GPU benchmarking,
specifically picked to highlight Ryzen strong points. Each was tested until
Ryzen’s weaker-than-Intel-CPU gaming performance was revealed.
Got it? Good. Let’s start with The
, a game that AMD highlighted to the press as having solid
performance with Ryzen chips.
The Ryzen and Intel systems go neck-and-neck at 4K resolution. The gap widens a
bit at 1440p, giving the Intel system a slight 7 percent performance advantage,
but AMD’s chip still delivers a damned fine gaming experience overall in both
average frame rates and overall smoothness.
Next up: Far
Again, Ryzen competes flawlessly with the 5960X-based system at 4K, but Ryzen’s
performance deficit definitely shows at 1440p—though you still can’t knock those
damned playable frame rates.
Finally, let’s take a peek at Rise
of the Tomb Raider
of the Singularity
tested in both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 modes.
The frame rates are still nothing to sneeze at here. These games hit 60fps or
more on Ryzen at 4K resolution! Yet even with the brute force of Nvidia’s
monster, Intel’s older 8-core Haswell-based chip clearly delivers more.