With 3rd generation Ryzen coming to the market very soon, we are preparing for this launch by reviewing some of the fierce CPU battles of recent years that may offer more context to the current owners of these processors.
Today's shootout takes place between the Ryzen 7 1800X and the Core i7-7700K. But before we go into that, some disclaimers. We test the 1800X and not the cheaper 1700, also because we wanted to make it a one-to-one test and the time was critical so we could only choose one Ryzen 7 processor. The 95-watt TDP 1800X is a better representative of Ryzen 7 if we could only choose one.
When released, the 1800X had a MSRP of $ 500, which at $ 340 made it significantly more expensive than the Core i7-7700K. This made the Ryzen 7 1700 a more direct competitor as it only cost $ 330. However, it wasn't long before AMD made some price cuts and the 1800X fell to roughly match the Core i7 processor.
To be precise, the 1800X dropped to just $ 320 the same year it was released, and has since dropped to $ 220. As part of our test, we also overclock Core i7 and Ryzen 7 processors. The R7 1700 normally reaches 4 GHz and should therefore deliver exactly the same overclocked performance that you will see from the 1800X today.
On the memory side, we discussed the use of the expensive Samsung B-Die material with low latency internally and chose the G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 CL14 memory for several reasons: These are not budget processors, so a bit of money Spend additional space is out of the question, and secondly, we test the CPU gaming performance with an RTX 2080 Ti to eliminate the CPU bottleneck. Why should we do that and then limit performance by using slower system memory?
That was our consideration and shouldn't bother you too much in one way or another as long as both CPUs were tested with exactly the same memory. We tested 9 games with two resolutions, standard and overclocked, along with some application benchmarks. Let's go into that.
At the beginning of this session, we have Cinebench R20, which has always been good at showing Ryzen's two stories. Here we have the multithreaded performance and despite a fairly large clock speed deficit, we see that Ryzen has no problems running across the entire Core i7 processor. The 8-core processor is immediately an impressive 55% faster, but of course it has the advantage that the number of cores doubles. At full load it is clear that the 7700K cannot keep up with the 1800X.
Here's the other side of the story: single-core performance. The Core i7-7700K is instant and 22% faster when overclocking. This gives the Intel CPU a significant advantage in low threading workloads.
WinRAR is more about memory bandwidth and latency than cores. As a result, the 7700K is ~ 8% faster in this particular workload. Not much of a difference, but after the Cinebench R20 multicore test, this is not the result you expected.
We have a benchmark that is particularly important for developers and video editors. I use Premiere Pro almost every day, so I refer to it directly. Note that a lower value is better here as we look at the time it takes to encode a hardware unboxed video into 4K H.264 format. The R7 1800X is 43% faster in this test and takes 508 seconds. For content creators, the 8-core CPU is the obvious choice.
The 1800X was also greeted with open arms by 3D modeling professionals. Here we see that when using the latest version of V-Ray, the 1800X is 57% faster than the 7700K and 50% when both CPUs are overclocked.
We see a similar story with Corona: The 1800X was instantly 57% faster and did the job in just 131 seconds.
The last application benchmark we're looking at is Blender. Here the 1800X was 62% faster and 60% faster when overclocking, a huge advantage for Ryzen.
When we ran our Blender workload, we also measured total system consumption. Here the Ryzen 7 1800X increased the power consumption by 26%, which is a positive result for a performance increase of around 60%. Overclocking, however, throws Ryzen's efficiency out of the window, and frankly, the 32% increase in system power consumption isn't worth the slight increase in performance.
Time for a couple of games. First, we have Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, where the 7700K was 5% faster on average and 8% faster for the 1% low result. These margins stayed pretty much the same after overclocking. As expected, the margin drops to 1440p because the GPU becomes a bit more limited and both CPUs were able to use the RTX 2080 Ti to the maximum after overclocking. It's worth noting that in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, we don't use the highest quality settings either. It is therefore possible to bind the game to the GPU without increasing the resolution.
The Battlefield V results are interesting, here the 7700K is at its maximum and although it is much better than the 7600K, we can see that the 1% lower performance is lower on the 1800X, which offers a lot more breathing space. In this case, the average frame rate can be misleading as the 1800X offers a smoother experience.
Even at 1440p, the 7700K is still fully utilized and as such offers a much worse experience than the 1800X. The game is still very playable on the 7700K, but given the choice of these two processors for BFV, we are confident that most players would choose the 1800X.
Here we see that the 7700K performs well in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and this is solely due to the support of Hyper-Threading. Previously, the 7600K had major problems testing this title and was significantly slower than the R5 1600. In this case, both the 7700K and 1800X delivered smooth playable performance, but overall the Core i7 processor was faster and with a reasonable head start 11%.
A jump to 1440p reduces this margin, but the 7700K was still 6% faster compared to the average frame rate.
Division 2 is another title that the 7600K struggled with, but with the help of hyper-threading, the 7700K does well and is significantly faster than the 1800X compared to 1% less performance.
The 1800X is making a comeback to the rather GPU-restricted 1440p resolution, and yet the 7700K managed a comfortable 11% advantage when comparing the 1% low results.
Once again we see that Far Cry is a title that Ryzen CPUs tend to have problems with. Here the 7700K was a whopping 24% faster and 31% faster after overclocking. Ryzen 7 could keep the frame rate above 60 fps, but the 7700K was just a lot better overall.
Even at 1440p, we see that the 7700K for games with high refresh rates in Far Cry New Dawn is just a much better processor for this job. Overclocked this time, it was 35% faster and that's a huge difference for the CPU at 1440p, even with an RTX 2080 Ti.
The Ryzen 7 processor also loses in World War II, but this time the loss is less significant since both CPUs enabled the RTX 2080 Ti to render above 130 fps at any time.
Of course, the margins are reduced at 1440p and here the 7700K was up to 8% faster. Needless to say, both CPUs made for an excellent gaming experience.
Rage 2 is not a CPU demanding title and in this title both CPUs delivered the same average frame rate. The higher clocked 7700K achieved a 1% lower result and offered around 12% more performance.
This margin is kept to a minimum at 1440p, and it's fair to say that both CPUs offer the same gaming experience.
First generation Ryzen does not do well in Hitman 2 and you will notice a significant improvement in performance, especially at 1% lows, if you switch to a second generation Ryzen part like the 2700X. The 1800X allows for playable, fluid performance, but the 7700K does it with around 18 to 20% more frames.
Even at 1440p, we still seem to be CPU-bound, and as a result, the 7700K offers a slightly better gaming experience.
The last game on our list is Total War: Three Kingdoms, in which both CPUs achieve a similar average frame rate, but the higher number of cores in the 1800X offers a significantly better performance of 1%.
This can also be seen at 1440p when you compare the out-of-the-box performance. However, we see that the 4.8 GHz all-core overclocking gets the 7700K going.
What did we miss?
For modern games, the Core i7-7700K and the Ryzen 7 1800X are evenly matched overall. There are light threading games where the 7700K offers a significant advantage in frame rate, but with all of these titles, the 1800X still offers silky smooth performance. The 7700K reaches its limits in the more demanding titles. When the CPU was fully utilized, the 1% low performance suffered in particular.
Honestly, this situation is not so different from what we saw in our first review two years ago. It's just a little more pronounced now. Here's a direct quote from our two-year-old Ryzen 7 review:
One thing we noticed is that all of the games we've looked at so far have been running smoothly on the Ryzen processors. GTA 5, for example, plays very well on the Core i7-7700K, but there is a little bit of a jerk every now and then, while the 1800X runs as smooth as silk without stuttering, which we observed.
We found a similar situation when testing Battlefield 1. The performance of the Ryzen processors was smooth, while the quad-core 7700K had a little hiccup from time to time. These were rare, but we didn't notice them when using the 1800X and 1700X. As smooth as the experience was, it doesn't change the fact that players using a monitor with a high refresh rate may be better served by a higher clocked Core i7-6700K or 7700K.
Although the game results may not be as strong as we hoped, they are extremely competitive, and this should be especially true for the Ryzen 5 and 3 series. It's also worth noting that we're testing extreme gaming performance here with the Titan XP at 1080p. Ryzen looks more competitive at 1440p, in combination with a GTX 1070 or Fury X.
For the most part, we would say the conclusion is true to this day, although we wouldn't recommend the Ryzen 7 part to the 7700K 2019, even if they were sold at the same price.
The 7700K also left us with a bad taste in the mouth after being launched in early 2017 for $ 340 for the LGA1151 socket. He was practically dead the same year. To stay competitive, Intel tackled two additional cores and released the 8700K for $ 360 in late 2017 with the same, yet completely incompatible, LGA1151 socket.
We have mentioned the platform compatibility card many times, but for good reason. This broken upgrade path left nowhere for those who had invested in the 7700K before October 2017, while Ryzen owners can still upgrade today.
But without trying to take anything away from Intel, the Core i7-7700K is still a very powerful gaming processor, but as a quad core in 2019, it stalls. On the other hand, we expect first generation Ryzen processors to gradually improve over the coming years as games continue to use more cores.