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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU Review


Cinebench is an application which renders a photorealistic 3D scene to benchmark a computer’s rendering performance, on one CPU core, all CPU cores or using the GPU. We run the test using the all-core CPU and single-thread CPU modes.

Talk about fast off the start line!

Cinebench is first up in our test suite and AMD’s Ryzen 7 1800X doesn’t simply enter itself onto the enthusiast consumer processor scene, it kicks the front door down. The 8C16T Ryzen 7 1800X is over 16% faster than Intel’s 8C16T Haswell-E based flagship from not-so-long ago.

Keeping focus on stock frequencies, at which the Ryzen 7 1800X sees all cores pushing to 3.7GHz, the <£500 AMD chip is only around 12% slower than Intel’s 10C20T Broadwell-E Core i7-6950X… which costs more than three times as much (~£1,650). A 12% performance loss for a 70% price reduction doesn’t seem like too bad a deal.

Equally impressive is the Ryzen 7 1800X’s ability to maintain its positive performance when overclocked. The gap between itself and the stock-clocked 10C20T 6950X is reduced to around 3%, while the 300MHz higher-clocked Haswell-E Core i7-5960X can’t quite catch the 4.1GHz Ryzen 7 1800X.

Shifting focus to a price competitor, the ~£400 6C12T Broadwell-E i7-6800K is nearly 500 points (30%) slower in the Cinebench multi-core test. Only when overclocked to 4.8GHz can the 4C8T Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K manage to get within 600 points (~35%) of the performance of stock-clocked Ryzen 7 1800X.

Single-thread performance from Ryzen 7 1800X is better-than-anticipated. A 160 point Cinebench score puts it above Haswell-E single core performance from the 3.5GHz i7-5960X and places it roughly a little faster than Broadwell-E in terms of single-core numbers. Ryzen 7 1800X is helped by its boost speed of up to 4.0GHz when a low core count is active, which increases to 4.1GHz XFR for the Cinebench single-thread test.

Handbrake Conversion

Handbrake is a free and open-source video transcoding tool that can be used to convert video files between different codecs, formats and resolutions. We measured the average frame rate achieved for a task of converting a 6.27GB 4K video using the Normal Profile setting and MP4 container. The test stresses all CPU cores to 100% and shows an affinity for memory bandwidth.

Handbrake conversion of an x264 video paints a similar picture to Cinebench rendering. This time, however, memory bandwidth has more influence on the result and the stock-clocked Core i7-5960X is able to more-or-less match the stock Ryzen 7 1800X performance. Handbrake gives an insight into the value of high bandwidth from quad-channel memory on Intel’s HEDT platform, as opposed to Ryzen’s dual-channel approach.

When both chips are overclocked, Ryzen 7 1800X cannot keep pace with the 300MHz faster 8C16T 5960X and its quad-channel 3200MHz C14 DDR4. The performance deficit for OC Ryzen 7 1800X vs OC Haswell-E i7-5960X is around 13% (around 7% of which could be put down to a 300MHz slower clock speed, if Handbrake scaled linearly with CPU frequency). Still, that’s not a bad amount of performance for Ryzen 7 1800X to give up in return for a ~£500 saving versus the 8C16T Intel part.

Looking at the £400 i7-6800K against £490 Ryzen 7 1800X, the AMD chip is 28% faster than Intel’s latest six-core at stock clocks and its quad-channel DDR4-3200 memory. With both CPUs overclocked, Ryzen 7 1800X is 18% faster, thanks in large to its 33% (two) extra cores. Compared to the popular 4C8T, Skylake Core i7-6700K, Ryzen 7 1800X is over 20 FPS (46%) faster.

If you’re a media aficionado with a large Bluray collection ready to rip and convert onto a home media server, the eight-core Ryzen 7 1800X looks like a superb bang-for-buck option.

x265 Encoding

x265 Encoding tests system performance by encoding a 1080p test file using the x265/HEVC format.

The x265 benchmark is slightly different to Cinebench and Handbrake as it does not saturate the full set of threads on eight- or ten-core chips unless an overclock is thrown into the equation. The data has to be sent fast enough for it to be split and divided up to keep all eight or ten cores fully active, and that’s where clock speed has value.

This is exactly what the chart shows. Stock-clocked Ryzen 7 1800X is faster than the 5960X thanks to its 200MHz higher all-core boost frequency. Overclock Ryzen 7 1800X to 4.1GHz and you have 6950X-matching performance. The catch here is that Intel’s chips will generally overclock to higher frequencies than Ryzen 7. As such, the 4.4GHz 5960X is able to take second place behind the overclocked 10-core 6950X.

Compared to the 6C12T 6800K, Ryzen 7 1800X is one third faster at stock clocks and 27% quicker when overclocked. It’s also around 22% more expensive than the 6800K, though.

CPU-related testing overview:

The 8C12T Ryzen 7 1800X processor makes an extremely promising start in our CPU-heavy rendering and video conversion benchmarks. Sixteen threads pinned at 3.7GHz all-core boost frequency give AMD’s latest-and-greatest CPU i7-5960X-beating performance. Even when the 8C16T 5960X is clocked 300MHz higher, the Ryzen 7 chip still puts up a solid fight.

Don’t fancy overclocking a £1,650 Core i7-6950X due to its extreme cost? If that’s the case, you’ll get better performance from a 4.1GHz Ryzen 7 1800X chip for certain x265 encoding workloads and will be almost level with the 10-core part for rendering, as suggested by Cinebench.

Single-core performance is also strong, though it certainly isn’t Skylake-level strong. Decent single-threaded performance is good to see as this has been AMD’s Achilles heel for past high-core-count chips such as those based on the Bulldozer and Piledriver architecture.

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