Power Consumption and Conclusions

The measured idle power consumption of our ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard and the Ryzen R7 1800X is amazingly low, beating out even the Intel Kaby Lake parts by about 10 watts. While that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, considering the SYSmark 2014 SE power consumption results, Ryzen might find a home in many-user businesses because of it. Under a full load, in this case Cinebench R15, the 1800X requires 33 watts more power to get the job done when compared to the 7700K system. In fact, despite the 95 watt TDP, the Ryzen CPU uses about the same power as the 140 watt Broadwell-E processors. We have already discussed the logic behind this difference, but now you can see it in practice. This also proves that having cooling above and beyond the “base” level for AMD Ryzen TDP levels is going to be a positive.


Mea cupla time here: I just didn’t have time to test our Ryzen 7 1800X for overclocking purposes yet. Between travel and other projects, it just wasn’t in the cards. And to be honest, after leaving the AMD Ryzen tech day I got the distinct impression that basic air and water cooled overclocking wasn’t going to be a big part of the Ryzen story line. I’ll wait and see what other sane reviewers come up with, but all indications that getting all eight cores to anything over 4.0 GHz was going to be a stretch.

It is worth noting here for interested overclockers that the way the systems work today, you can only overclock ALL cores or do no overclocking at all. Adjusting the multiplier sets all cores to that speed and you have ability (currently) to set different numbers of cores to different speeds. With the Intel platform, you can essentially manually create the Turbo Boost states – AMD is not offering the flexibility today. That partly explains the limitation to the usefulness of overclocking on Ryzen.

Pricing and Availability

With preorders starting on February 22nd, availability is well understood. AMD has made a lot of Ryzen processors but I am curious how well they keep up production and availability. With the stated goal of gaining market share, the executive team understand that means have parts to sell to as many people as want to buy them. Delays are killer.

Clearly AMD has the margin in terms of cost. Though the gap between the Ryzen 7 1700X and 1700 competitors is small, the gap between the Core i7-6900K and the 1800X is enormous. And as I said on a couple of phone calls this week, a lot of users are going to be willing to overlook some single threaded performance missteps for a $500 savings on those multi-threaded workloads they might care about.

VR Performance

I didn't have time before launch to get into the complex world of VR performance testing before the launch window, but my buddy Kyle at HardOCP definitely did. His testing showed that while the Ryzen 1700X processor did well enough in the average frame rates in all seven of the tested VR games, it was consistently behind the Intel Core i7-7700K. Frame time consistency was better though with both the 8-core 6900K and the Ryzen 1700X, pointing to solid utilization of all cores in VR gaming. Be sure to check out his story for the full view on VR gaming with Ryzen and we are planning some follow ups in that regard as well.

Closing Thoughts

It’s been a long time coming, but AMD Ryzen is here and it looks impressive. Though we only have the Ryzen 7 1800X in our results today I am eager to get back home and get to testing the 1700X and 1700 models and see if they offer as compelling of an alternative to Intel’s dominance as the 1800X does. For $499 I foresee quite a few enthusiasts plopping down the dough to get an 8-core/16-thread beast of a processor in their rig.

Even better, with the new chipsets and motherboards from ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte and others, going with an AMD platform doesn’t automatically put you behind the 8-ball when it comes to storage and connectivity! Platforms with NVMe slots, USB 3.1, Type-C and more are widely available and starting at $100 going to $300 depending on the number of goodies you desire.

We still have questions and not everything is perfect. The single threaded performance between the Ryzen 7 1800X and the Core i7-7700K leans in Intel’s favor across the board, with that advantage moving from mid-single digits to 25%+ depending on the application. Gaming results are particularly concerning as AMD has been pushing Ryzen as a gamers and enthusiasts dream solution, combining “good enough” gaming ability with amazing multi-threaded capability.

It’s hard to argue with what we see today though and I’ll be awarding the Ryzen 7 1800X with our Gold Award, offering the performance of a Core i7-6900K for half the price!

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