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Intel still beats Ryzen at games, but how much does it matter?
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-03-17 22:48:39

Realistically, nobody should have expected Ryzen to be king of the hill when it comes to gaming. We know that Broadwell isn't, after all; Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake parts both beat Broadwell in a wide range of games. This is the case even though Skylake and Kaby Lake are limited to four cores and eight threads; for many or most games, high IPC and high clock speeds are the key to top performance, and that's precisely what Kaby Lake delivers.

In spite of this, reading the various reviews around the Web - and comment threads, tweets, and reddit posts - one gets the feeling that many were hoping or expecting Ryzen to somehow beat Intel across the board, and there's a prevailing narrative that Ryzen is in some sense a bad gaming chip. But this argument is often paired with the claim that some kind of non-specific "optimization" is going to salvage the processor's performance, that AMD fans just need to keep the faith for a few months, and that soon Ryzen's full power will be revealed.

Both parts of this reaction are more than a little flawed.

I'm just glad there's finally competition in the desktop processor space again. Intel started to charge some outrageous prices these past few years, but if you wanted the best performance, you really didn't have much of a choice.

With Ryzen, AMD is showing the world it's back on track. It might not be there yet in every aspect, but it's an amazingly promising start.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-25
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RE: I have a $700.00 budget Ryzen vs Intel
By ahferroin7 on 2017-03-20 12:23:14
It really depends on what you're doing. For me right now, the choice boils down to:
1. Is this a mobile system (laptop or similar)? If yes, go with Intel, their computing power per watt of power consumption is still better than AMD's right now.
2. Does it need to run large numbers of things in parallel? If yes, go with AMD. Note that this is where I would categorize development that doesn't fall under point 1, 3, or 4 (for 3 and 4, try to match your target system).
3. Is it just going to be used for gaming? If yes, go with Intel (aside from the optimization issues, most games don't really get all that much benefit from parallelization beyond about 4 threads of execution, but do benefit from some of the areas Intel excels at like cache performance).
4. Is it going to be only Light desktop usage? If yes, then go with an inexpensive mid-range Intel (i3 or i5) and invest more in a SSD and faster RAM so that the system overall runs smoother.
5. Is it a server system that doesn't need insane (multi-hundred gigabytes) amounts of RAM? If yes, go with AMD (but wait for the Naples chips to come out if possible).
6. Is it a server system that needs insane amounts of RAM? If yes, get a recent Intel Xeon and wait out the full release of Intel's Optane SSD's.

That covers 95% of what most people would be doing, and if you don't fall into one of those categories, you probably have a very specific use case and should do a real TCO analysis to determine what to get.
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RE: A rant!
By ahferroin7 on 2017-03-20 12:51:49
Agreed. On this note, I hate to admit that I just recently bought a 1500 USD (about 1400 EUR) laptop (i7-7700HQ, 16G of DDR4-2400 RAM and a GTX 1060 with 3G of GDDR5) partly so I could get better performance in games (the other reason was to get a decent system with DDR4 and 8 threads, I run Gentoo when I'm not gaming, and it's nice to be able to finish updates in a reasonable amount of time), but it's an excellent example of this. I can get 120 FPS easily in most games I play on the highest quality settings at 1920x1080 (and some I can even get upside of 400 if nothing is happening), but unless I turn on vertical sync, the image is almost constantly tearing because the framerate is so much higher than the 60 Hz refresh rate on my display. On top of that though, the framerate is literally bandwidth limited by how fast the CPu can push data to the GPU, not how fast the GPU is. The moment I start something in the background that uses more than 1-2% of the CPU, the framerate drops proportionate to the load on the CPU. Buying the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 version of this system would have resulted in near zero actual improvement except for single-tasking despite costing an extra 1500 or 500 USD respectively, unless I opted for upgrades elsewhere in the system (which in turn would have cost even more), since both issues would still be the case. The same goes for the 4K display version of the system, which was close to 1000 USD more than what I payed (partly because it required getting the GTX 1080).
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RE[3]: I have a $700.00 budget Ryzen vs Intel
By lsatenstein on 2017-03-20 16:02:40
The Version 4.9 of Linux will have corrections in it for single and multi-processor management. That is the reason the AMDs were shown to be slightly slower than the more expensive Intel cpus. I am not going to argue about which is better performing in seconds to complete a job. My testing of AMD vs Intel in most cases until now was a result of waiting for diskio to complete. Dollar for dollar, AMD won hands down. The games that I play will still work, only better than my existing system.

The new Ryzen chips that I am considering are coming to market at 65watts tdc versus Intel's 90watts. The I5s and I7s are toasters. I am not after a toaster that is a few percent faster. I have set my budget to $700, where I will reuse my case, power supply, DVD and SATA disks. I am after a mother board, cpu, graphics card and 16gigs of ddr4ram. I think my budget is reasonable.
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RE[2]: I have a $700.00 budget Ryzen vs Intel
By lsatenstein on 2017-03-20 19:38:00
Even though my current system is fast enough for my needs, it does not have usb3 support or sata3 support and is short of memory (by todays standards).

Considering that it will cost me more money to get ddr2 memory for my system, in lieu of DDR4 and as well, a faster wireless connection, I am staying with my decision to upgrade.

My current system has new power supply (old one failed) and fan replacements (also failures). I'm sure that it's ok as a backup system. I actually hope to turn it into a 'Headless server' for a home network and for my retirement hobby.
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RE[3]: I have a $700.00 budget Ryzen vs Intel
By Alfman on 2017-03-20 20:58:57
Isatenstein,

You are right, the cost of DDR2 really went up. It seems manufacturers stopped making it and now it's worth a premium compared to newer ram.

I upgraded my computer from 4 to 8GB ram because I wanted to run more VMs and it kept running out. I also had to get a new monitor since the old one died, but now I can't play videos full screen because evidently my system struggles with the resolution. I'm not sure if a video card upgrade is in order or if should just ditch the whole rig for something new.

For better or worse, I upgrade my servers far more than my own PC, haha.


You're from Montreal, eh? Is that where you are retiring? Years ago I applied to matrox out there (remember them?), Montreal is probably where I'd be now if I had got the job.
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