AMD Ryzen 5000 IPC Efficiency Examined

Today we're taking a look at Zen 3's IPC performance. IPC stands for "Instructions Per Cycle" and can be a good indicator of a processor's architectural efficiency. Now, of course, we've already tested all the new Ryzen 5000 CPUs and found that the increase in performance over Zen 2 is significant. However, we are still keen to see how the Zen 3's IPC compares to the Intel 10's. Gen Core series and see how AMD has made progress with Ryzen over the past three years.

We have done this in the past. For example, following the release of Zen 2, we examined AMD's claim of a 15% IPC improvement and found that the performance improvements were not overdone. With equal cores and clock rates, the R7 3800X improved by 18% in the Cinebench multi-core test compared to the 2700X and by 13% in the single-core test. Then we saw a 13% improvement in V-Ray and Corona, while gaming performance improved by 13% on average.

Given the small steps Intel has taken over the past 6 or 7 generations, a 15% jump from Zen + to Zen 2 was big news, and with Zen 3 we were really hoping to see more double-digit gains. AMD attributes new improvements to cache prefetching, execution engine, branch predictor, micro-op cache, front-end, and load / save improvements.

AMD used a wide range of applications and games to achieve the 19% requirement over Zen 2, using 8 core processors with a fixed clock speed of 4 GHz. This is exactly how we have tested IPC profits in the past. So we will stick to this method. On the memory side, all test configurations used four 8 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 memory modules. All CPUs were cooled with the iCUE H150i AIO from Corsair and paired with the GeForce RTX 3090 from Nvidia. This is brand new data. We haven't recycled anything from our previous tests. So let's get to the graphics.


As usual, Cinebench R20 comes first, where we found an IPC improvement of 11% for the 5800X compared to the 3800X (Zen 3 vs. Zen 2). Not quite 19%, but keep in mind that this was the average. We will probably make bigger profits elsewhere.

It is noteworthy that AMD has achieved a 35% performance increase for Clock over the original Zen architecture in 3 years. It's also crazy to see they lead Intel by almost 30% for the same clock speed.

The single-core performance is similar, Zen 3 is 11% faster than Zen 2 and 24% faster than Intel's 10th generation.

When we switch to 7-Zip compression performance, we see an 18% increase in performance for the 5800X over the 3800X, which means it was 24% faster than the 10700K. We're also seeing a completely insane IPC improvement of 58% from Zen to Zen 3.

The improvements for the decompression test are less impressive, although we're still talking about double-digit gains as Zen 3 was 11% faster than Zen 2. In addition, the 10700K lagged far behind, outperforming it by 35%, AMD's SMT technology is far more powerful than Intel, and we see that here.

As we've found in our reviews, the performance gains on Blender are small, and here we can see why. Only a 5% IPC improvement in this test when comparing the 5800X to the 3800X. Even so, Zen 3 is 16% faster than Intel's Comet Lake architecture when it is adjusted clock by clock.

Despite the weak growth in Blender, we were able to determine significant performance improvements in the V-Ray benchmark. Here the 5800X is 16% faster than the 3800X and 26% faster than the 10700K. We're also seeing a 35% improvement over the original Zen architecture.

The performance improvements in the Corona benchmark are very strong. The 5800X is 15% faster than the 3800X and 17% faster than the 10700K. Compared to the 1800X, the original Zen architecture, we see an IPC improvement of 34%.

The gains in DaVinci Resolve Studio 16 are much lower than in most other applications. We're talking about an IPC improvement of ~ 7% compared to the previous generation.

Premiere Pro is another video editing application that isn't seeing particularly strong IPC gains for Zen 3. This time there is an improvement of 6% over Zen 2. The 5800x is 14% faster than the 10700K, which is a reasonable increase for the same clock speed.

The massively improved single-core performance of Zen 3 for latency-sensitive workloads is evident when tested with Adobe Photoshop. Here the 5800X was 21% faster than the 3800X and shockingly still 18% faster than the 10700K. We are really seeing a new generation of CPUs here.

When testing with Adobe After Effects, we noticed a similar situation, although the gains of Zen 3 over Zen 2 are not quite as high and offer a 16% increase in performance. Compared to Intel, AMD does better, beating the 10700K by 23%.

power consumption

Before we move on to the gaming benchmarks, here's a quick look at the total system power consumption. While we only saw a 5% IPC improvement over Zen 2 over Zen 3 in Blender for Zen 3 over Zen 2, it is important to note that this performance improvement was accompanied by a slight energy saving as system usage decreased by 3%. Given that both architectures use the same TSMC 7nm process, this is an impressive result.

What's even more impressive is that the 5800X was 16% faster than the 10700K and used 15% less power. Intel has seen better days in terms of performance per watt.

Gaming benchmarks

Time for the main game performance tests, starting with Far Cry New Dawn. We expect an IPC increase of 13% for the 5800X over the 3800X and a 33% increase over the first generation Ryzen. Compared to Intel, AMD now seems to be on par with at least Far Cry, a title AMD has struggled with in the past.

The IPC improvements in Rainbow Six Siege are far more impressive. Here the 5800X was 24% faster than the 3800X at the same clock rate. We're also seeing a 9% improvement over Intel and an incredible 54% improvement over Zen, the first generation architecture.

Watch Dogs: Legion shows an 18% IPC improvement for Zen 3 over Zen 2 and a nearly 40% increase over Zen, while AMD's latest version also outperforms Intel's Comet Lake by 8%. Some great wins for Zen 3 on guard dogs.

Moving on to F1 2020, we see that the 5800X is 6% faster than the 10700K, so clock-to-clock AMD is finally beating Intel in games. This corresponds to a 21% improvement in IPC at AMD and a 45% improvement since Ryzen was introduced.

AMD narrowly beat Intel in Horizon Zero Dawn, offering 3% higher IPC performance and a 16% improvement over Zen 2. We're also seeing a 33% improvement over the original Zen architecture.

As can be seen from our Ryzen 5000 product reviews, the Zen 3 architecture shines in Death Stranding. Here we see a 29% increase in IPC with the 5800X versus the 3800X. Equally impressive was the 10% margin the 5800X achieved over the 10700K.

We're also seeing solid wins in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This time the 5800X was 24% faster than the 3800X and 9% faster than the 10700K. We're also seeing a nearly 50% improvement over the first generation Ryzen.

Finally, we have Hitman 2 where the 5800X was 23% faster than the 3800X, another massive increase explained by architectural improvements. It also managed to outperform the 10700K by a slim 5% lead, meaning AMD didn't lose a single gaming benchmark at the same clock speed.

Average gaming performance

If we average the 8 gaming tests, we find that the Ryzen 7 5800X averaged a 22% increase in IPC over the 3800X and a 7% increase over the 10700K. We also see a 44% improvement over Zen and 40% over Zen +.

Here's a look at cache and memory latency performance using a full random access pattern. The 5800X reduces cache and memory latency by 37% compared to the 3800X, which means it is 60% faster. We also expect an 8% improvement over the Comet Lake architecture represented by the Core i7-10700K.

Another big improvement has been made to core-to-core communication. Here the small 7 nm Zen 3-core complex chip with a single 8-core CCX blows the much larger 10700K chip out of the water and reduces core latency by up to 44%.

We also see an improvement of about 45% on the 3800X, which includes two CCXs with 4 cores each in a single CCD. Compared to first generation Ryzen, core-to-core communication latency has been reduced by 66%.

What we learned

AMD has clearly taken another big step forward with Zen 3. On average, games show an average IPC improvement of 22% and in applications a more modest jump of 12%. Depending on the application, we saw performance increases of up to 21% in Adobe Photoshop, but only 5% in Blender.

Taken together all of our application and gaming data tests, we found that Zen 3 averaged an IPC improvement of 16%, which is not far from AMD's 19% claim – where they admittedly used more applications and games – but the increase is definitely there.

Compared to the Core i7-10700K, we found that the Zen 3 was ~ 7% faster in the gaming benchmarks, and in applications we see an average IPC improvement of 21% that doesn't account for the notable efficiency improvements. Intel really has a lot to do at this point, mostly with AMD aggressively pushing for more profits with Zen 4. On the other hand, we'd like to see Intel push back with better products soon.

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