AMD R7 1800X early reviews: Ryzen star or another false dawn?

AMD Ryzen CPUs

AMD’s Ryzen 7 1800X has finally been released, chucking eight cores and sixteen threads of processing power down the throats of a ravenous hardware crowd. The early reviews are in and… for us gamers the numbers do not look good.

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To be honest I’m feeling rather impotent at the moment. I’m sat 5,337.24 miles away from my test rig where a pair of brand new AMD Ryzen R7 CPUs, a couple of new AM4 motherboards and a box-fresh Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti are all waiting for me to plug into our setup and benchmark to within an inch of their lives.

A classic AMD fudge in shipping the Ryzen samples meant the R7 1800X didn’t arrive in the office in time for me to test before I shipped out to GDC and Nvidia’sTitan X-killer GPU launch. Which is also why I had to co-opt a pair of lovely assistants to look after the Ryzen unboxing for me.

It’s been a similar situation across Europe with most reviewers only given a few days to test the brand new platform before the launch. But even then, with the initial reviews going live today, the results are a mixed bag at best.

There’s something depressingly familiar about these early reviews: a decent processor for the price. It looks like while the octa-core chip is capable of some impressive feats of rendering – comparable with Intel’s top chips – it falls well short when it comes to gaming. From talking to some of my peers out here at GDC the reports are it’s around 20% off the pace in some titles and the paltry overclocking performance disappointing to say the least.

Intel vs AMD

It looks like Ryzen then is going to follow the classic AMD pattern of being the budget choice while anyone looking for the absolute best processors will stick with team Intel.

But this is a brand new platform, with new motherboards, chipsets and early BIOSes. There’s also the fact it’s only really today that AMD are starting to brief developers about how to actually optimise their games and engines for Ryzen. Right now everything is more likely to be geared towards the Intel hegemony of CPU architectures.

So even if the Ryzen performance numbers are looking pretty underwhelming at launch by the time the real gaming chips, the quad-core R5s, arrive in Q2 the platform might well have matured enough that the performance gap closes. A little. Maybe.

C’mon. I’m trying to remain at least a little positive here people…

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