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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Review

It’s been a long time coming — seriously, how long have we all waited on this moment? The moment that AMD would release a performance series processor with increased IPC that can match up and battle with that blue colored company. Well, the wait is over and we’ll be using some proverbial wording today. It is March 2nd and, yes, it is a hard launch thus Ryzen 7 is available starting today. The eagle has landed and we’re very happy to present you guys with our first Ryzen review. Zen was initially the development codename for the new architecture, and as such we should probably drop that name immediately and move to Ryzen. Well, actually I need to elaborate even a little more — to make matters a little more complicated, the codename for today’s released 8-cores (16 threads) processor is in fact “Summit Ridge”.

AMD Ryzen 7 8-Core Processor Die
As you guys have learned over the past few months, the 8-core Summit Ridge processor series from AMD is also the first Ryzen based product series released to the desktop consumer market. The architecture has been fabbed at a more efficient and optimized 14 nanometer FinFET process, rather than the 32 nm and 28 nm processes of previous AMD FX CPUs and AMD APUs, respectively. AMD’s processors and APUs over the years have run their course really, for the gamer and more mainstream PC aficionado the older FX and APU series simply lack in raw processor performance compared to what the competition has been offering. We discussed it many times in the reviews, but if you compared an Intel processor core and an AMD processor core and clocked them at the very same frequency, Intel was almost half faster. The effect of that phenomenon showed in the less optimized and threaded applications, many games are a good example here. Today’s tested product is to deliver, per CPU core, more than 40 percent improvement in instructions per clock cycle over the previous generation cores and will come to market first in an 8-cores, 16-threads system-on-chip for desktops, and that my friends is Summit Ridge. The new “Summit Ridge” Zen family will use the unified AM4 socket. Ryzen, and in particular today “Summit Ridge” is the high-end desktop (HEDT) product.

We have seen a lot of info go viral over the past few weeks, but I stated it many times, the initial product launch will entail only this 8-core part, followed in Q2 2017 by six and four core processors. Much like the competition AMD will be selling Ryzen in product stacks, low-end, mid-range and high-end much like Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 series. Earlier on referred to as SR7, SR5 and SR3, matching up with Summit Ridge (SR) and thus a performance segment denominator. But then Summit Ridge from the new Zen architecture was named Ryzen, and hence one more change in naming has now been made. You will see Ryzen series 3, 5 and 7 processors. It’s plain and simple, and as always that works out the best to understand product positioning, we’ll go into more detail on the next few pages, of course.


The Ryzen series 7 processors are spicy, eight core processors at very attractive pricing combined with an IPC increase of roughly 52%. They come with four integer units, two address generation units and four floating point units, the decoder can decode four instructions per clock cycle. L1 data cache size is 32 KiB and 64 KiB for instructions, the L2 cache size is a whopping 512 KiB per core. Two of the floating point units are adders, two are multipliers. One unit that holds four processors is a CCX (core complex). Ryzen 7 is an 8-core processor series and thus that means 2 CCXs x 8 MB (L3) + 8 x 512 KB (L2) = 20 MB in total for L2 and L3 caches. These numbers sound familiar, eh (Intel)? Today is obviously not just about the processors, au contraire Mon ami, you are going to need a new motherboard as well of course.

Product Showcase

Alright, it’s time for some photos. We received a Ryzen 7 1800X processor. As you can see, these are retail samples and thus not vanilla picked ones, retail versions. Once you have one in your hand you realize these are a little heavy. They should be with eight properly functioning and fast cores.

The Ryzen 7 1800X processor clocks in at a base-clock of 3.6 GHz, yet can Turbo to 4.0 GHz depending on load levels versus active threads; this eight core processor will be threaded to sixteen threads. Given it’s an 8-core architecture, AMD is really nicely managing that clock frequency.

It’s a powerful puppy, I’ll give you that. The final sales price is just as powerful at just under 499 USD per flagship processor. Let me also remind you that the Ryzen 7 1700 costs only 349 USD and the 1700X 399 USD.

Yep, that really is a Noctua cooler with a black fan 😉

It Takes Two: The Chipset(s)

AMD sold its chipset division I think two years ago already, a new processor series will need a new chipset as the motherboard needs an infrastructure as well. This has been outsourced and at launch you will see multiple product stacked motherboard chipsets. For Ryzen, you probably want a high-end / enthusiast class chipset with lots of features and tweaking options, this will be the X370 chipset that goes along with the launch of the processor series release. At launch there should be at least a dozen or so choices available. X370 will give home to the new socket AM4 and will provide high-frequency DDR4 memory support (as well as all other modern usual suspects like USB 3.1 gen 2, SATA Express, as well as NVMe protocol based M.2 support and surely PCI-Express Gen 3.0). At launch, over 82 motherboards will be released by several partners. Bear in mind that there will be multiple chipsets, for Socket AM4 namely the X370, B350, A320, X300 and A300.

RYZEN Processor Series

We’ll start off first with the naming. You all know the upcoming AMD processor as ZEN. That is a codename for the new architecture, and as such AMD figured they need a proper final name for the product series. However with ZEN pretty much sticking in everybody’s mind, AMD made the rather sensible decision to name Zen to something similar sounding? Yes, the Zen and thus Summit Ridge product series officially will be named AMD RYZEN, kind of extrapolated from “risen” I guess.

Today we start off with the 8-core RYZEN processors. We’ve seen engineering samples at work, we have been testing ever since a few days ago and yes… it is looks good and probably could be as good as what Intel has to offer. In fact, let me call it impressive even. Compared to an 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K processor the RYZEN engineering sample is pretty darn fast alright. Ryzen will launch with three primary 8-core models with others like 6 and 4 cores to follow. When time passes there will be three tiers with the Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 denominators comparable to Core i3, i5 and i7 for the Ryzen product range. AMD in the first phase will launch with three SKUs, the AMD Ryzen R7 1700, AMD Ryzen R7 1700X and AMD Ryzen R7 1800X. You guys have already seen the models being announced, and we explained the numbers and prices as well. Let me first make clear that ALL Ryzen processor are unlocked, that’s Ryzen 3, 5 and 7. The motherboards need a chipset that is unlocked as well though, but the B250 and X370 series are covering all of that.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X – 499 USD

AMD Ryzen R7 1800X is the flagship processor and it has 8 cores with 16 threads, in fact all Ryzen processors have this core/thread ratio. The Ryzen 7 1800X processor will get an impressive boost frequency of 4.00 GHz, the base-clock is 3.6 GHz base clock. Depending on your choice in cooling, XFR will kick in and bring it to 4.1 GHz, maybe even higher on a single thread. XFR (extended frequency range) by the way is a technology that uses hundreds of sensors inside the processor. If the registers on thermals and such are within certain thresholds it can further boost the turbo frequency above the default spec available. So it’ll give you a performance boost based on proper cooling. We’ll talk a little more about it later on in the article though. The X in the Ryzen 7 1800X refers to a better yielded processor (could tweak better), a higher base and boost frequency and yeah, simply is a binned processor (thus tested and selected from good to great). This processor has a terrifically rated 95 Watt TDP. A similar 8-core Intel CPU would cost you about 1,200 USD, the price for this flagship Ryzen R7 1800X processor is 499 USD/Euro ex VAT. This is an unlocked (multiplier) processor, in fact all Ryzen processors are unlocked.

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X – 399 USD

The next AMD Ryzen in line would be the R7 1700X, this dawg once again gets 8 cores and 16 threads but this time the turbo and base clock sit 200 MHz lower compared to the 1800X. But that means a turbo frequency of 3.80 GHz. Yes, this is pretty much the same processor, just with a lower base at 3.4 GHz and turbo frequency and yes, a lower price as you just shaved off 100 bucks.

AMD Ryzen 7 1700 – 329 USD

The lowest SKU AMD R7 is the Ryzen 1700, and actually I am the most excited about this product as it would be a terrific processor for gamers at a shocking price of just 329 USD. Again, you’ll receive an 8 core and 16 threads processor. This time at a turbo frequency of 3.70 GHz and a base clock frequency set at 3.0 GHz. That lower base clock helps you with your energy consumption as a very notable attribute is that this processor is rated at a 65W TDP whereas the other two would be 95 Watt parts. Again, eight cores / 16 threads boosting to 3.7 GHz at 65 Watts for 329 USD. This might become one of the most popular processors ever.

So the above three processors will launch initially. All these processors will fit Socket AM4 and thus you can use the same motherboard. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700 will be bundled with a Wraith Spire 95W cooler. The other two are not bundled with a cooler. We’d recommend you to look at a nice LCS kit or some sort of cooling from Noctua, as a little extra cooling performance can do magic to your boost frequency.

Ryzen 5 Processors

There is more in the pipeline. In the second half of 2017 AMD is going to introduce four core Ryzen 3 processors. However, in the 2ndquarter of 2017 you will already see six-core / twelve thread parts. These will initially launch as the Ryzen 5 series. The Ryzen 5 1600X will thus be 6c/12t, yet it is going to be a spicy processor as we have been able to confirm the base and boost clock frequency already. That boost is 4.0 GHz with a seriously proper 3.6 GHz base clock frequency. The prices have not been confirmed just yet but we expect this SKU to hover in the 260 USD space. Another six core 12-threaded part will be the Ryzen 5 1500X. This processor will occupy the sub 250 USD space, again with pretty impressive clock frequencies, 3.5 GHz for the base clock and still a really proper 3.7 GHz boost clock. Again, the 6-core SKUs will be released in the second quarter of this year. Below I’ve compiled a chart overview of the processors that have been or are to be released. The greyed out ones are unconfirmed, yet an indication of what is to be released.

Processor model

Cores/Threads

L3 Cache

TDP

Base

Turbo

Unlocked

Price

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X 8/16 16 MB 95 W 3.6 GHz 4.0 GHz Yes $499
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 8/16 16 MB 95 W 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz Yes $399
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 8/16 16 MB 65 W 3.0 GHz 3.7 GHz Yes $349
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 6/12 Release Q2 16 MB 95 W 3.6 GHz 4.0 GHz Yes $259
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 6/12 Release Q2 16 MB 65 W 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz Yes $229
AMD Ryzen 5 1400X 4/8 8 MB 65 W 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz Yes $199
AMD Ryzen 5 1300 4/8 8 MB 65 W 3.2 GHz 3.5 GHz Yes $175
AMD Ryzen 3 1200X 4/4 8 MB 65 W 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz Yes $149
AMD Ryzen 3 1100 4/4 8 MB 65 W 3.2 GHz 3.5 GHz Yes $129

In the above table you can see the launch SKUs as well as an overview of what to expect in the coming months processor wise, it is going to be a busy year with AMD processor reviews alright.

You will have noticed that some models end with an X, while others do not. It remains simple, the X models are a little more special in the sense that they will have a higher base and boost clock frequency as well as an increased XFR range. We’ll talk a little more about XFR (Extended Frequency Range) on the next page but basically look at it as a bit of an extra on top of the boost. Also, all X model processors are binned. This means that the processors are tested on ASIC quality and then sorted from good to better and often will clock higher on the XFR range and yes, X models could be / should be more easy to tweak as well.

20 MB L2+L3 Cache

The RYZEN caches, we already spilled the beans on that one but initially all we got was the number which is 20 MB (for an 8-core processor) for the L2 and L3 cache, and that matches what we have discussed numerous times.


The 8-core part with two four core CCU units aka Summit Ridge aka RYZEN in the end get a L1 data cache size of 32 KiB, a L1 instruction cache size of 64 KiB and then a L2 cache size of 512 KiB per core.

  • L1 8 x 32 Kb Data
  • L1 8 x 64 Kb Instruction
  • L2 8 x 512 Kbytes
  • L3 2 x 8 Mbytes L3

So that is 8 x 512 KB (L2) + 2 x 8 MB (L3) = 20 MB in total for caches, again one clustered Core Complex Unit holds four processor cores. The L2 and L3 caches are similar in size compared to the Intel Core i7-6900K. The processor has dual channel DDR4 support (up-to 3200MHz), AVX2, AES, FMA3, AMD-V SSE 4.1 and 4.2 instruction sets etc. The bus frequency is 100 MHz multiplied by whatever the processor fires off at it. Ryzen is built with a 14nm FinFET fab node, this greatly helps where AMD is with the performance and power consumption. For the transistor aficionados, the number is 4.90 Billion of them.

That is the money shot right there, eh?

CPU-Z Screenshots & System

And here we have CPU-Z screenshots of the Ryzen 7 processor seated, armed, ready and waiting in the motherboard, let’s have a look. So, that’s all looking alright. If interested, you can download CPU-Z here.

Power Consumption

In an IDLE state, a PC (motherboard / processor / GTX 1080 / memory / SSD) consumes roughly 50 Watts. This number depends and will vary per motherboard (added ICs / controllers / wifi / bluetooth) and PSU (efficiency). Keep in mind that we measure the ENTIRE PC, not just the processor’s power consumption. Your average PC can differ from our numbers if you add optical drives, HDDs, soundcards etc.

 

 

I want to make it very clear that power consumption measurements will differ per PC and setup. Your attached components use power but your motherboard can also have additional ICs installed like an audio controller, 3rd party chips, network controllers, extra SATA controllers, extra USB controllers, and so on. These parts all consume power, so these results are a subjective indication. Next to that, we stress all CPU cores 100% and thus show peak power consumption. Unless you transcode video with the right software your average power consumption will be much lower.

Overall stress/load temperatures are very nice with temps at the ~70 C marker peaks (with a simple heat-pipe based Noctua U12S SE AM4 cooler). These, of course, are default results and not tweaked. The processor idles at roughly 45 to 50 Degrees C. Again, we used the AMD review kit supplied Noctua cooler here for cooling. We also received a liquid cooling kit (Predator 240 from EK) which we will use in the overclocking segment. That unit keeps the cores chilled at roughly 65 Degrees C under stress and being tweaked. Overall we are very happy with the temperature results here.

Overclocking

With so many cores in the system we cannot resist overclocking. We’re keeping things relatively simple. We need to take a couple of steps if we want to overclock. First tip, always invest in good hardware by the way (MOBO/PSU/Memory/Cooling), the cheaper motherboards often are not well tuned for enthusiast overclocking. Also get yourself a good power supply and proper processor cooling. Overclocking with any 8 or more core processor (doesn’t matter if that is Intel or AMD) is far more difficult than you expect it to be. Both brands end in the 4.2, maybe 4.3 range, again that is similar with Intel processors as well.

A bit of a mess, but that’s what an overclocking table should look like 😉 We use the new Ryzen compatatible EK Predator 240 here.

Overclocking 8-cores on a high clock frequency is a tough job, but can be managed relatively easily from the BIOS. You can also use AMD’s software tool of course. The Ryzen 7 1800X has a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a boost frequency of 4.0 GHz. During our measurements by trial and error we found that at 1.375~1.425 Volts you will end up at roughly 4.1~4.2 GHz (that is on all eight cores!). And yes, that is not a lot over the default Turbo, but again this is 8-cores!

BIOS Overclocking

The Guru3D reader-base overclocks mostly from the BIOS to try and find the maximum stable limit. The generic overclock procedure for multiplier based overclocking is as follows:

  • Leave base clock (bus) for what it is right now (100 MHz)
  • Set the per core multiplier at a maximum of your liking:
  • Example 1: 100MHz x 42 = 4200 MHz
  • Example 2: 125MHz x 33 = 4125 MHz
  • Increase CPU voltage; though setting AUTO should work fine. Start at 1.350 volts and work your way upwards into a state of equilibrium in perf and cooling temps.
  • Make sure your processor is properly cooled as adding voltage = more heat
  • Save and Exit BIOS / uEFI


Now, with the ASUS motherboards you’ll have tweaked options available at the press of a button. To set the processor to 4 GHz (all 8-cores) just go to the Extreme Tweaker menu and select your profile. You can now hit save and exit and you are done. Basically this just sets the multiplier at 40 and disables XFR etc. This setting was 100% stable.


Ryzen likes memory bandwidth, so with this dual-channel setup we really can recommend higher frequency memory like the 3000 MHz kit used. Most motherboard partners will label this as XMP, but since that is an Intel branded name for pre-defined SPD memory profiles just go to the Ai overclock tuner and select a D.O.C.P stage. Standard will activate the memory tweak at close to 3000 MHz.

Once you’ve applied this your DIMM voltage should have increased to 1.35 Volts (if not set it manually as we really can recommend that as stable voltage). You can also find the recommended DDR4 voltage on the sticker of your DIMM modules alongside all optimal timings.

Also in DRAM timing control you will notice the most important memory timings preconfigured. If your memory should not be compatible, you can of course simply enter them manually as well and not use the D.O.C.P profile.

Now… have a peek at the screenshot below:


Here is an example at 4125 MHz

With the limited time available we tried some overclocking. We can boot into Windows and run a simple test at 4200 MHz just fine. Yet we need additional tweaking to be 100% stable and to be able to benchmark intensively. We dropped to 4.1 GHz on all eight cores. With the ASUS board we can advise you to leave CPU voltage at AUTO. With the EK PRedator 240 Liquid cooling kit we hover in the 65 Degrees C range under full load.

Our ease of overclocking tip: in our findings the more widespread, stable and acceptable overclock is 4.1 GHz on all 8 cores with voltage set to auto. This does apply to the ASUS HERO motherboard we used. That number seems to be the sweet spot that I’d like to recommend to you. Overclocking however always varies per system, PC, ASIC quality, cooling and sure… a bit of luck as well.

Power Consumption

Back to that tweak; adding that some extra voltage on the CPU for the OC also has an adverse effect on the overall energy consumption. Under stress and overclocked we all of a sudden use roughly 200 Watts under full processor load. That is power consumption for the whole PC measured at the wall socket side including a GeForce GTX 1080 in idle and the Predator 240 liquid cooling kit (yes pumps and fans eat power as well). All characteristics we observe, measure and see look pretty similar to the 8-core 6900K in terms of heat, power consumption and clock frequency wise.

The Final Words

It’s been a long time coming for AMD. The past year or four have been pretty dramatic for the company. They have been unable to keep up with market milking Intel in terms of per core performance, and then the economy collapsed as well. Ryzen, however, brings AMD back to the table, and they have a strong hand to deal. The introduced processors have been nothing short of impressive looking at them from any perspective. That will bring much needed competition back into the game. Even today at launch, AMD will introduce a processor that can compete with Intel’s 8-core 6900K processor for less than half the price of what Intel is asking. Not just that, Intel is charging an arm and a leg for their motherboard chipsets hence the artificially inflated high prices. There’s where AMD will make a difference as well. It’s all more fair. So thanks to AMD, that means 8-core is going mainstream, and that opens up a plethora of possibilities for developers and game designers if the market slowly moves to more cores that are properly fast as well. Thing is though, Intel remains the top dawg in this arena, they can answer to anything that AMD has to offer and they do have a little more flexibility in terms of clock frequencies. None the less, with the Ryzen series processors AMD offers close to equal raw processor performance and sometimes even faster performance, for far better prices.

Get AMD Ryzen 7 1800X From Amazon

Source: AMD, guru3d

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