After four years in the making, the AMD Ryzen processors have finally made their way to consumers earlier this month. Leading Ryzen’s arrival into the market is the most powerful member of its family: the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor.
Offering a base clock of 3.6 GHz and the ability to run at a maximum clock speed of 4.1 GHz with the help of XFR, the chip features 8 computing cores and 16 computing threads. This puts the new processor directly against one of Intel’s best, the Core i7-6900K.
Prior to their official roll-out into the market, AMD claimed that Ryzen chips are able to deliver high performance computing at a fraction of the price that its competitor – Intel – currently demands. That is the sole reason why many enthusiasts have been eagerly waiting for the Ryzen. The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X fits the picture very well with its RM2,599 price tag which makes it surprisingly affordable – especially considering that it is almost half the price of Intel’s Core i7-6900K which is currently going for almost RM5,000 in Malaysia.
The biggest question is, of course, does the Ryzen processor live up to the hype? Based on our experience, the answer is mainly yes – although it might not be straight forward in certain areas.
Lowyat.NET Test System
Display used in this review is the 28-inch Acer Predator XB281HK 4K Gaming Monitor.
If you have been following our social media channels, we shot a time-lapse video of us building the test system before this. We’d like to point out a minor difference between the video and our final build: we switched to a Plextor M6S solid state drive so that we can have a fresh drive to install Windows 10.
Before we go further…
Unfortunately, we don’t have an equivalent Intel-based test system to go against our new AMD-based test system at this moment. Hence, this review is written as a stand-alone review of the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X rather than a comparison-based review.
Nevertheless, we understand that there is a need to do comparisons in some manner. This is why the results from this review are compared with the internal reference figures that AMD used in its presentations. Here are the specifications of AMD’s internal test systems, as listed during the presentation by CEO and President of AMD, Dr. Lisa Su at Ryzen 7 Tech Day few weeks ago:
However, this comparison can only be applied to tests that have similar workloads or settings to our own review. These include Cinebench, PCMark 8, Blender, and POV-Ray. We will return to this review for comparisons as we are in the midst of securing an equivalent Intel-based test system.
For starters, we put the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X through Cinebench R15, which seems to be one of AMD’s favorite benchmarks to show the power of Ryzen. The result from the benchmark’s multi-core tests that we achieve is rather interesting since it actually surpassed the figure that Dr Lisa Su showed during her presentation at Ryzen 7 Tech Day.
We also put the processor through PCMark 8 Creative and Home workloads, tested the processor’s video conversion capability via Handbrake, 3D rendering through Blender, and ray tracing using the built-in benchmark within POV-Ray. In general, the Ryzen 7 1800X processor performs flawlessly in each of these tests without any issues.
As our gaming tests were done on 4K and 1440p resolutions on high graphics settings, these results are nothing out of the rdinary. In general, they mainly showed that the Ryzen 7 1800X has enough muscle to deliver the necessary firepower needed to run game at those settings. This is especially so when paired with a high-end graphics card such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in our test system.
That being said, we have been hearing that the quad-core Core i7-7700K outperforms the chip especially in 1080p resolution. One of the likely reasons behind this is optimisation issues. This is something that we will check again once our Intel-based test system is ready for action. Furthermore, AMD has already started working with developers to help optimise their games for Ryzen.
Even if our own tests in the future reflects the same outcome, it still doesn’t mean that the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is bad at gaming. It is just that the processor might not be the best option in the market for those who want to use it purely for gaming. Given its multi-thread capability though, the Ryzen 7 1800X could be something that game streamers might want to consider.
The release of Ryzen also marked the debut of AMD’s new overclocking tool called Ryzen Master. Adapted from the WattMan overclocking tool that the company created for its Radeon graphics cards, it replaces the AMD Overdrive overclocking tool which is no longer compatible for AM4-based processors.
Aside from a new tool, another interesting thing about overclocking the Ryzen processors is that the Precision Boost and XFR features within them would be deactivated during overclock. With the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, the task is already quite challenging in the first place as we are talking about pushing the frequency clock of 8 processing cores at once.
For this particular Ryzen 7 1800X processor from our review kit, we were able to achieve stable frequencies of 3.9GHz on all of the processor’s 8 processing cores using Ryzen Master at default voltage setting. To ensure the stability of the overclock setting, the frequency is tested using the CPU Linpack test inside the famed OCCT stability check software.
Given the minuscule frequency gain, we are not surprised to see that there were not much improvements in terms of performance through our simple overclock effort:
While the overclocking capability of every single processor is different from one another (not to mention the outcome also depends on so many variables), we reckon that additional voltage and memory tweaking as well as better cooling solutions should be able to push the processor further. However, potential future owners of the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X must take note that AMD has recommended users to run the processor at less than 1.45V to not affect the chip’s longevity.
Thermal and Power Consumption
*Figures outside the brackets are based on AMD’s recent announcement on the Ryzen 7 temperature offset, while the numbers in brackets are the figures reported by HWiNFO.
We were actually quite surprised to see that the operating temperatures of the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X are rather high until AMD released a statement recently that there is some offset needed to be done on figures that are reported by temperature monitoring software. Once the offset is applied to the measurements, it appears the processor doesn’t even reach 80°C at full load – even though we are using a rather simple Noctua air cooling solution.
In terms of power consumption, it is without a doubt that users need to have a capable power supply for the Ryzen 7 1800X processor. Even at stock speed, our system power consumptions were already heading towards 200W, and it goes beyond that line once we overclocked the chip. As the tasks above are all CPU-intensive tasks, the power consumption could be higher for applications that are taxing on both the CPU and GPU.
AMD is not hiding the fact that its Ryzen 7 1800X is meant to go head to head against the Intel Core i7-6900K especially since both processors have the same amount of computing cores and threads. Also thrown into the mix is the Intel Core i7-7700K which is the highest end K-series processor in the Kaby Lake family at the moment (even though it has less computing cores and threads).
Not to forget, Intel also has several other high-end desktop processors in its stable. Here’s a quick summary of what each processor has to offer:
When it comes to performance against the Intel Core i7-6900K and Core i7-7700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is generally able to hold its ground well. Although the chip still falls behind Intel’s offerings in certain cases, the gap is not too big. The tables below show how competitive the Ryzen 7 1800X really is:
After hearing for so long from AMD on how great its Ryzen processor would be, we were finally able to experience it ourselves. True enough, the company appears to have fulfilled its promise on delivering high performance computing on its new flagship desktop processor, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X.
While there are certain tasks that the processor trails behind its direct competitor, the Intel Core i7-6900K, the gap between them are not far from each other. When one considers the fact that this is coming from a chip that retails at almost half the price of the Core i7-6900K, it can be considered to be quite an impressive feat.
On the other hand, users who are planning to use it purely for gaming should take a little bit more time to consider their decision. The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is still a capable processor for gaming; it’s just not the best option at the moment in terms of performance-price ratio. The chip also seems to require additional effort to be overclocked but then again, you might have heard about its world record attempt which pretty much describes its overclocking potential.
All in all, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X shines the most when it is asked to perform CPU-intensive, multi-thread friendly tasks that can take advantage of its 8-core/16-threads structure. It took a while, but AMD finally has a very potent processor in its hands – complete with an alluring price point.
As far as the high-end desktop market is concerned, it is no longer one-horse race anymore.