The Ryzen 7 1700, AMD's first generation favorite, seems to have aged fairly well. In a recent test, we compared it to its direct competition at that time, the Core i7-7700K. The 8-core 16-thread Ryzen processor has seen significant performance gains in almost all of the applications tested, often outperforming the Intel processor by almost 40%, while Intel has been a leader in some areas and the margin in those areas was closer to 10%.
The situation has improved in the gaming sector, but the Ryzen processor largely follows the old Intel Quad-Core. On the other hand, the 7700K was ~ 20% faster playing than the R7 1700 three years ago, while today this margin has dropped significantly to ~ 5%. As games have become more demanding, it has definitely helped AMD to have more cores.
Either way, although interesting to look at, this comparison can be somewhat irrelevant today. Budget PC manufacturers can currently choose from a number of new processors. For around $ 130, you have the option to buy a new Ryzen 3 3300X. But wait, you can get a used Ryzen 7 1700 for that kind of money. This question made us pause to think about the options. The 3300X is a 4-core / 8-thread processor that takes advantage of the numerous performance and efficiency advantages of the Zen 2 architecture, while the R7 1700 is an 8-core / 16-thread processor that runs on the original and slower one Zen based.
Side note: We are working on a new test comparing Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and 9 CPUs to see how performance scales as the price increases – coming soon.
The R7 1700 may have twice as many cores and therefore seems to be the more obvious choice at the same price, but the cores are a bit slower.
For some productivity data, the R7 1700 is at best at the level of the Ryzen 5 3600 with 6 cores and 12 threads and was slower in some cases and not even overclocking can completely close the gap. However, the 3300X isn't as fast as the R5 3600, and gaming performance is harder to predict depending on the GPU you want to use.
In today's GPU scaling test, these two processors will compete against each other, 8 old cores against 4 new cores that play with a GeForce GTX 1650 Super, RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Super, and RTX 2080 Ti using a number of visual quality presets. The test system is completed by the Gigabyte X570 Aorus master motherboard, 32 GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 CL14 memory and the Corsair H115i Pro AIO cooler.
Starting with one of the worst titles for Ryzen processors, especially first generation Ryzen, we have Far Cry New Dawn. When using the default medium quality, which is marked as "normal", we are strongly tied to the CPU if we use not only the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, but also the RTX 2070 Super and even the RTX 2060.
The Ryzen 3 3300X is up to 26% faster at average frame rates and 17% faster at 1% lows. This is considerable leeway and means that the Ryzen 7 1700 severely limits gaming performance as it is faster than an entry-level GPU like the GTX 1650 Super.
Far Cry New Dawn is admittedly a worst-case scenario for first-generation Ryzen, and certainly doesn't require more than a quad-core SMT-capable processor. In fact, the 3300X only peaked at 65%, with 55% being the average, and that meant the R7 1700 only peaked at 40%, but was typically around 30%. Even with the ultra quality settings enabled, the GTX 1650 Super is as fast as possible with the 1700 before becoming the primary performance-limiting component.
Rainbow Six Siege is a much more forgiving title for the first generation Ryzen. Here we see the 1700 stick with the 3300X using the GTX 1650 Super, but also the RTX 2060 and even even the RTX 2070 Super for the most part when using medium quality settings at 1080p. The R7 1700 caused a serious CPU bottleneck on the RTX 2080 Ti, and here the 3300X was up to 34% faster.
This is another big margin, though we have to wonder how relevant it is when the old Ryzen CPU ensures that at least 240 fps has been rendered during our test.
Maximizing the quality preset doesn't change much since we hardly see a difference between the 1700 and 3300X with the GeForce RTX 2070 Super. Overall, this is a good result, and Rainbow Six Siege makes good use of the 8-core processor with a CPU usage of around 60% and peak values of up to 80% when using the RTX 2080 Ti. This compares to a peak of 90% on the 3300X and an average load of 75%.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is another title that uses 6 and 8 core processors. So it was no surprise that the 3300X peak was 97% with an average load of 90% during our tests with the highest quality settings. The Ryzen 7 1700 has slightly more headroom, but still peaked at 80% and an average of 70%, which makes sense since it is usually somewhere between 3300X and 3600 for productivity performance.
The main finding is that in another CPU-demanding game, we see a close performance between 3300X and 1700. With the quality settings down, the 3300X was up to 9% faster when using the RTX 2080 Ti, 7% faster with the RTX 2070 Super and comparable performance with the RTX 2060 and GTX 1650 Super.
Increasing the quality preset increases CPU usage, and now the older 8-core Ryzen processor is starting to gain an edge given the important 1% low performance. Here the 1700 is up to 7% faster and maintains this lead with the RTX 2070 Super.
Gears Tactics is another game where first generation Ryzen performs poorly, at least compared to the Intel Core series and AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors. We see over 90 fps at all times with averages well over 100 fps. That's more than enough for this type of game, but it's crazy to see the 3300X up to 43% faster with the RTX 2080 Ti and even up to 37% faster with the RTX 2060.
This game is simply not well suited to the original Zen architecture. When using the Ultra quality preset with a peak of 50%, an average CPU usage of 25% was found. The 3300%, on the other hand, averaged 45% with a peak load of 80%, so this higher clocked modern quad core is the better chip here.
If we increase the graphics quality to Ultra, the 1700 can match the 3300X with the GTX 1650 Super if the game is GPU-bound. This wasn't the case with the RTX 2060, although we're pretty close here.
Next we have World War II, and starting with the 1080p media data, we see that the Ryzen 7 1700 is again struggling with the faster super-GPUs RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2070 and is lagging behind the 3300X by up to 23%. This is another title where the R7 1700 will only match the 3300X if we severely limit the frame rate performance with the GTX 1650 Super.
This is explained by the fact that World War II cannot use the 8-core processor, as we saw an average CPU usage of only 30% with a peak of 45%. The 3300X, on the other hand, had an average load factor of 60% with peak values of up to 80%.
Increasing visual quality revealed a GPU bottleneck when using the RTX 2060, which allowed the 1700 to achieve the same level of performance. Not so with faster GPUs.
Borderlands 3, the last game in today's test suite, is another title that doesn't take full advantage of the Ryzen 7 1700 – not even nearby. In our test, we found an average load of 30% with a peak of only 35%. Admittedly, this is not a CPU-demanding title, but we noticed a much higher load on the 3300X, which was 55% with an average of 45%.
The R7 1700 slides back with the RTX 2070 Super and 2080 Ti, but this time it can make maximum use of the RTX 2060 and thus the GTX 1650 Super. It's also worth noting that we saw well over 130 fps with the high-end GPUs at all times. By increasing the graphics quality to Ultra, the 1700 to 2070 Super could keep up with the 3300X, while it was only 7% slower with the 2080 Ti.
Here's a look at the average performance of all games tested. We have to say that this gives a poor picture for the Ryzen 7 1700 as it was up to 9% slower than the 3300X even with the RTX 2060 and the edge rises to 22% with the RTX 2080 Ti.
The highest quality results look a lot better and it's just the 2080 Ti configuration where the 1700 lags behind with a significant lead. It's pretty clear that the 3300X is, at least for now, the superior player.
What we have learned
It's time to draw a few conclusions, starting with the key question that brought this comparison together: if you have to spend around $ 120 on a CPU, you should buy a new Ryzen 3 3300X (assuming you can find one) or instead snap a used Ryzen 7 1700 with more cores?
Based on the data, we have to recommend the Ryzen 3 3300X for gamers, more specifically for gamers who only want to run gaming. It's difficult to select the R7 1700 versus the 3300X for gaming only when there were multiple CPU-limited scenarios in which the Ryzen 3 processor was 20, 30, and even up to 40% faster.
In the case of a more demanding title like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which can use multiple cores better, we saw a very high load on the 3300X and temporarily gave the 1700 a better performance of 1%. So if we get a game that increases the load by about 20% and at the same time distributes the load across all cores, this could greatly increase the performance of the older 8-core processors.
It's also worth noting that for the most part, you won't notice the difference between these two CPUs if you're using a graphics card like the GeForce RTX 2060, the Radeon RX 5700, or a slower GPU. especially if you want to increase the visual quality settings.
For PC makers and potential Ryzen buyers, you should do a new comparison of the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5, 7, and 9 CPUs later this week to see how performance scales and which processor suits your needs is most suitable.