For the past few years, Intel has created a monopoly in the CPU business, with AMD’s aging AM3+ and FM2+ platforms making for sub-par, outdated processors that could only compete on the budget end of $50-$100. But, after a tumultuous development, AMD Ryzen (or Zen, as it was originally called) is finally here. But is it a good value, and why should you buy one?
Let’s start out with the on-paper specs. Each Ryzen 7 CPU features 8 cores with SMT (a similar process to Hyperthreading on Intel CPUs, which essentially makes it a 16-core CPU), and a power draw between only 65W to 95W. These are bold choices by AMD to position the Ryzen lineup squarely at the Intel Core i7 6800K and 6900K, and it may actually pay off.
And, speaking of pay, the Ryzen 7 lineup comes in at an incredible price. The highest-end model, the 1800X, costs $499, while the lowest end, the 1700, costs $329 (a similar price to the Intel Core i7 7700K). With the 1800X (which I will be focusing most of this overview on), it looks like it can legitimately trade blows with Intel’s top dog 6900K. In a CineBench R15 benchmark run by Linus Tech Tips, the 1800X way able to barely beat out the 6900K in multi-threaded performance. On top of that, while the 1800K couldn’t keep up with the 6900K in their CPUMark test, it was still able to beat out the i7 6800K. And, to top it off, the 1800X defeated the 6900K and 6800K in their PCMark Creative benchmark.
So, all of those scores are great and all, but what about gaming? Well, when paired with a Titan XP, the 1800X did quite well. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was able to pull in 39.1 FPS on Ultra graphics at 4K, but seeing as how Mankind Divided is a horribly optimized game, this score isn’t as bad as it sounds. Take a better optimized game like, say, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, and you can expect 68.8 FPS on 4K Ultra. Crysis 3 (an older, but incredibly demanding title) got 54.1 FPS on 4K Very High, and on Ashes Of The Singularity, the 1800X can spit out 37.5 FPS at 4K on the “Crazy” graphics preset.
Now, as a consumer, you may be wondering why you’d ever buy an 1800X over an offering from Intel. But here’s where it gets interesting. The 6800K, the processor with 2 less physical cores and 4 less virtual cores than the 1800X, and not to mention was beaten out by it at almost every turn, cost only $60 less than the 1800X. And, the 6900X, a $1050 processor, was even beaten by the 1800X in some tests,, which costs less than half the price of it. Do the math, and you’ll realize what a great value the 1800X is.
So, should you buy a Ryzen 7 CPU? I’d say yes. Not only has AMD come back swinging with processors that are obliterating Intel’s grasp on the high-end, their Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 lineups will be coming out later this year (with Ryzen 5 coming out on April 11th), at even cheaper prices with even better performance-per-dollar ratios. If you’re a video editor, 3D-modeler, or even just a gamer, these CPUs are seriously worth a look, and are proof that AMD has finally risen. Or should I say Ryzen?