AMD's Ryzen 7 1800X in review


AMD's problems began in 2011 with the launch and at best mixed tests of its bulldozer architecture. In the years that followed, AMD tried to stop the descent with Piledriver, Steamroller and – but it is safe to say that the manufacturer Excavator never shone again in the glory of the glorious old days.

Meanwhile, Intel dominated the mobile, desktop, and server markets with the seemingly indomitable performance of its excellent Sandy Bridge design and a steady cadence of incremental improvements.

Unfortunately, however, the increase in performance was lower with each new generation; new, disruptive technologies shone through absence. The cancellation of Intel's tick-tock cycle also signals that the days of "simple" performance gains are over.

In direct comparison, AMD was far behind; I don't think anyone will seriously dispute that. But that would of course make a comeback even more impressive, wouldn't it? Because, optimistically, the backlog simply means much more room for significant improvement.

Last year, AMD lured with initial details about its Zen microarchitecture, claiming that the late reaction to Intel's near-monopoly was accompanied by incredible performance gains compared to its predecessors, and that Intel on many fronts was used to achieve incredible performance gains. or even outperform the old competitors.

Zen also promises to breathe new life into aging platforms with the AM4 socket, new core logic, and advanced features – and AMD claims to have a clear direction in mind for future Zen generations.

AMD seems to be on the warpath: Ryzen is about to shake up the market and end "incrementalism" – and given its pricing, the manufacturer certainly wants to make this announcement come true: the ryzen processor's flagship offers the same Number of cores such as Intel's Broadwell E flagship Core i7-6900K, but costs only half.

The combination of price and hype, along with a few carefully selected AMD benchmarks, caused pre-orders for the processors to explode, even though – until now – there were no neutral test reports.

Now it's time for Ryzen to stand on his own two feet and show us what it's all about in the real world. According to AMDs, the glory days of the competitive CPU market are back – and now we have the hardware in our global labs to make that claim. We have already identified a number of areas for further investigation and will update our reporting if new information emerges. But we still decided to publish this launch article (after all, the processors are available from today) so that interesting people can make reasonably informed decisions.

Find Zen

It all starts with the core. Four years ago, AMD began working on the Zen core – the first new architecture since Bulldozer. AMD's first goal was to move from 28 nm process technology to GlobalFoundrie's 14 nm FinFET process, which allows for improved density and performance with comparable energy uptake.

AMD also set itself the ambitious goal of increasing IPC performance (Instructions Per Clock) by a whopping 40 percent compared to Excavators through a series of architectural design decisions that are expected to significantly increase performance. Once again, AMD has simultaneously implemented a new microarchitecture and a new lithography process, which is a huge task.

The Zen core acts as a fundamental building block for Ryzen and all future AMD CPUs, thus covering applications from notebooks to supercomputers. Ryzen processors integrate two 4-core Zen CCX' (CPU Complex) with a total of 4.8 billion transistors. AMD's new Infinity Fabric connects these core complexes. AMD has also donated SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading) to the Zen core, providing every physical one with a virtual core – known in Intel's parlance as hyper-threading. Ryzen is AMD's first SMT-enabled processor.

In addition to many other architectural enhancements, the company has also integrated a micro-op cache to bypass the L1 and L2 caches for commonly used microoperations. AMD also wants to improve the Branch Prediction Engine, increase the Instruction Scheduler window by 1.75 times, and increase L1 and L2 cache performance nearly 2 x.

In the end result, AMD even wants to exceed its target of 40 percent IPC performance growth and now officially gives a whopping 52 percent. Apparently, the new microarchitecture allows for a decent power boost – according to AMD, under certain circumstances, an additional output of up to 76 percent is included.

But at this point, it's worth remembering that this information refers to AMD's previous generations, not Intel's latest processors.

The Ryzen 7 portfolio

AMD divides Ryzen into the R7 (eight cores), R5 (six cores) and R3 families (four cores). Currently, AMD only delivers the R7 family, but you don't need a diploma to see that AMD is already targeting Intel's Core i7, i5, and i3 model series by name. However, AMD's new processors offer more cores and lower prices through the bank. The Kaby Lake family's dual and quad-core CPUs are cheaper, but have only half as many cores.

AMD also has a proprietary SenseMI suite with a number of features that we'll discuss here. XFR (eXtended Frequency Range) is certainly the most notable feature because it is not enabled on all Ryzen processors. XFR automatically increases performance beyond the predefined base and Precision Boost clock frequency (analogous to Intel's Turbo Boost) by giving the processor more thermal leeway with an aggressive cooling solution. However, XFR only boosts a single core. The XFR feature is enabled on all "X" models.

  Ryzen 7 1800X
Ryzen 7 1700X
Ryzen 7 1700
AM4, 1331 Pins AM4, 1331 Pins AM4, 1331 Pins
14 nm GloFo 14 nm GloFo 14 nm GloFo
Cores / Threads
8 / 16 8 / 16 8 / 16
95 watts 95 watts 65 watts
Base clock
3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz 3 GHz
Precision Boost (all cores)
3.7 GHz ? ?
Precision Boost (Dual Core)
4 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz
XFR (Dual Core) 4.1 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz
Cache (L2 + L3)
20 MByte 20 MByte 20 MByte
DDR4 Support
Varies Varies Varies
Storage Controller
Dual Channel Dual Channel Dual Channel
Open multiplier
Yes Yes Yes
PCIe Lanes
16 Lanes Gen3 16 Lanes Gen3 16 Lanes Gen3

AMD's current flagship models do not bring a GPU, although it will be integrated with various future processors. Instead, AMD decided to use the extra silicon for the cores. All three current Ryzen R7 processors —1800X, 1700X, and 1700—need the AM4 platform (more on that soon), have eight cores, and can handle 16 threads in parallel. In addition, there is a total of 20 megabytes of cache (4 MByte L2 and 16 MByte L3). All Ryzen chips come with unlocked multiplier, but you need a board with X370, B350 or X300 chipset to use.

The Ryzen 7 1800X offers 3.6 GHz base and 4.0 GHz precision boost clocks– both more than the corresponding clock speeds of Intel's Core i7-6900K (3.2 and 3.2 GHz respectively). 3.7 GHz). If you use a proper cooler, the clock frequencies of the 1800X even increase to 3.7 or 4.1 GHz. Surprisingly, the 1800X also has a TDP of only 95 watts – significantly less than the 140 watt TDP of the i7-6900K.

And if that's not impressive enough, the price should make every enthusiast sabby. AMD is positioning its high-end chip against Intel's 1050-dollar 8-core Core i7-6900K processor – but the 1800X is on sale at a list price of 499 dollars. Half the price of a comparable Broadwell-E is quite an announcement. The cost benefits for the rest of the Ryzen family aren't quite as extreme, but they do exist.

The Ryzen 7 1700X (95 watt TDP) also has eight cores and 16 threads as well as the same cache, but clocks "only" with 3.4 and 3.4 respectively. 3.8 GHz. These clock frequencies look very competitive compared to the Core i7-6800K (140 watt TDP) with its 3.4 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost clocks – but the Ryzen processor has two cores more on board than the Intel competitor. The Intel i7-6800K has 15 megabytes of cache and is listed at 450 dollars, while the R7 1700X with 20 megabytes of cache costs 399 dollars.

The Ryzen 7 1700 has a 65 watt TDP, making it the 8-core processor with the lowest TDP on the market, as AMD points out. It clocks at 3.0 GHz or 3.7 GHz (base/boost). AMD positions it against Intel's i7-7700K with a price point of 329 dollars – almost the same price point, but twice the number of cores. The Core i7-7700K (91 watt TDP) comes with eight megabytes of cache and 4.2 and 4.5 GHz base/turbo clock.

AMD Ryzen: Memory Support

The Ryzen 5 family (6 cores/12 threads) is expected to launch with at least two models in the second quarter of 2017. The 1600X is 3.6 and 4.0 and the 1500X 3.5 and 3.7 GHz base/boost clock. AmD has so far kept itself covered for the cache. The Ryzen 3 processors are also on the line, but they won't be ready until the second half of the year.

AMD has aligned its pricing model to address the broad mass of the market. According to AMD, 99 percent of buyers use a processor under 500 dollars. High-end tacting is exciting, and if AMD's performance promises come true, it sets the stage for an exciting reordering in the popular middle and entry classes.

But let's see if AMD gets the start well. 

MORE: Intel Kaby Lake: Core i7-7700K, i7-7700, i5-7600K and i5-7600 in review

MORE: Broadwell-E review: Intel Core i7-6950X, -6900K, -6850K & -6800K

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About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

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