Gaming Performance Showdown AMD Ryzen 1700x vs Intel i7-7700K
We have been reading and seeing a lot of performance and testing done on the latest AMD CPU, the Ryzen 7 1700X. After it was released, people were quick to find that there was a significant difference in performance between running the system in a Balanced power plan vs High Performance power plan; the trade off is the amount of power they consume and the High Performance plan keeping the system in a full speed state. Recently AMD released the fix to the Windows plan, allowing users to run the AMD Ryzen process in a Balanced power mode without sacrificing performance.
took a quick look at the new AMD Ryzen Balanced
plan a couple weeks ago, and we did see a performance increase in a couple of games. We decided to expand the testing to fourteen games and 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme putting the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X against the Intel Core i7-7700k.
The AMD Ryzen is based on the new "Zen" microarchitecture design meant to be used for high performance gaming, while still supporting content creation. AMD has plans to stick with the Zen design for several years, as they are already discussing the next generation Zen 2 and Zen 3 products. The initial release of the Ryzen processors features the Ryzen 7 1700, Ryzen 7 1700X, and Ryzen 7 1800X. All of these are nearly identical with a few differences. Each of them has 8 cores, and supports up to 16 threads. The biggest difference comes in the clock speeds with the Ryzen 7 1700 having a base clock of 3.0GHz with a 3.7GHz Boost, Ryzen 7 1700X has 3.4GHz with a 3.8GHz Boost, and Ryzen 7 1800X features 3.6MHz with a 4.0GHz Boost. The Ryzen 7 1700 also includes the AMD Wraith Spire cooler, while the others do not as AMD assumes people would prefer to use third party CPU coolers or liquid coolers. The final difference is the inclusion of AMD XFR (Extended Frequency Range) on the -X processor models. XFR allows the CPU to boost the processor dynamically in 25MHz steps getting the highest possible clock speed for a specific task.
The Intel Core i7-7700k was the first flagship processor from Intel based on their Kaby Lake architecture. The initial release of the Kaby Lake i7 processors, Intel released three models for different purposes, one for mobile, power users, and then an enthusiast class. The Core i7-7700k is the enthusiast class and has the highest clock speeds and overclocking capabilities. The Core i7 processor features 4 cores, with 8 threads and has a base clock speed of 4.2GHz with a 4.5GHz.
Let's take a quick look at the two new test systems we will use in this round of testing.
AMD & Intel Test Systems
As we begin testing the system, we will allow both systems a 24-hour burn-in. In order to keep the test systems as similar as possible, the same hardware will be used on both systems where possible. The only differences will come in the form of the processor, motherboard and drivers. The Intel i7-7700k test system will use the built-in Windows 10 Balanced power plan, while the AMD Ryzen 1700x system will utilize the new AMD Ryzen Balanced plan.
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AMD Ryzen 1700x Test System[/caption]
The HyperX Predator DDR4 memory kit has some incompatibilities on the Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard. We attempted to use the various UEFI updates provided by Gigabyte including several unreleased revisions. This memory kit is capable of running 3200MHz with the XMP 1 profile, unfortunately we were not able to boot the system running XMP 1. Using the XMP 2 profile, we were able to run at 2933MHz. Attempting to manually configure the memory to run at anything above 2933MHz, the system was unusable. While the HyperX Predator DDR4 memory kit is capable of running 3200MHz, we will be using the XMP 2 profile for all testing. We ended up using the F3N UEFI as that was the most stable at the time for the memory.
In addition, while we would normally use a liquid cooler for testing the AMD Ryzen system, currently the Corsair H105 is incompatible with Ryzen, until Corsair
gets the brackets in for release. While we won't be looking at the temperatures during this evaluation, we will keep an eye on them to make sure the AMD Ryzen doesn't get over 70C.
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Intel Core i7-7700k Test System[/caption]
We have selected 14 popular games for our testing. Some of these games have integrated benchmarks, which we will use as it provides the best possible comparison. Others do not include an integrated benchmark, so we will use FRAPS or AMD OCAT where necessary. In addition, while DirectX 11 is the most commonly used API, DirectX 12 is starting to gain traction. In addition, there is the OpenGL and Vulkan API's which we will take a look at as well.
Let's get started by taking a look at some DirectX 11 gaming performance between these two processors.
DirectX 11 Gaming - 5 Titles
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, is the sixth game in the series where you take on the role of a pirate in the Caribbean. As the lead character you can explore many different locations. One of the main cities is Havana, which is where we will perform our testing. Here there is a large amount of NPC's roaming around, we will perform the same run from one location to the docks three times and average the results. In the settings, we selected to run it at Very High quality, with MSAA 8x.
Assassin's Creed IV
if we take a look at the numbers we saw AMD Ryzen 1700x take a lead with around a 2.5% difference in performance at 1080p. That decreased to closer to 9% once we moved up to the 4K resolution scale; of course, I doubt anybody would play a game with Very High quality settings and be happy with 14FPS.
Batman Arkham Knight
Batman Arkham Knight is another action-adventure game, similar to Assassin's Creed. Here you take on the lead role of Batman fighting villians around Gotham. You get the opportunity to fly, glide, drive the batmobile and other methods of transportation. Batman Arkham Knight has a built-in benchmark which we will use for our testing. The graphics settings will be set to Normal with V-Sync off, and maximum FPS set to the maximum possible.
Batman Arkham Knight
we saw a closer race with the AMD Ryzen 1700x still showing a 4% advantage over the Intel Core i7-7700K at 1080p resolutions. As the resolution increased, at 2560x1440 the Ryzen test system had a 6% lead, while at 4K that increased to close to 17%.
The Battlefield series has been around for an extremely long time; Battlefield 4 for example was released back in 2013 but is still a very popular game. Battlefield 4 is a first person shooter in a modern setting taking place in a combat zone. There is no built-in benchmark, so we will choose one of the first battlefields and run through the environment three times so we can average the results. Each run we will attempt to do the same path, and cause the same type of destruction. The settings will be set to Auto, which gets moved to Medium settings with AA and V-Sync disabled.
shows a similar pattern with a varying degree of scores, keeping the AMD Ryzen 1700x in the lead. For 1080p we saw a small 2% difference in performance, with closer to 5% as we increased the resolution to 2560x1440 and a 16% difference in performance at 4K.
Crysis 3 is another older game, originally released at the start of 2013. It is another first person shooter, where you are a soldier that uses nanomites to control a super suit that gives you super abilities such as invisibility. We all know the saying, "Will it run Crysis?". That comes from the fact that the Crysis series is known to be well ahead of it's time for system requirements. While there is a bit of randomness from the NPC's there is a set pattern to their movement. Like other games without an integrated benchmark, we will run the same pattern three times, and average the results. To make sure the game is playable on any resolution, we will run it at Medium graphics with V-Sync off, and Anisotropic Filtering set to 16x (which is part of the Medium graphics setting).
there was no clear advantage to either processor; with a small 1% difference in performance between them at any resolution.
Dirt Rally is the latest in the popular Dirt racing series where you can drive a wide range of street legal vehicles in various environments, not just on a circuit track. Dirt Rally includes a benchmark that takes a vehicle through a forest on a dirt track. For this benchmark, we selected the Medium graphics settings, adjusted the Multisampling setting to 8x MSAA and turned off V-Sync.
we start to see a change in the performance numbers with the Intel i7-7700K taking the lead with a 4% lead at 1080p, 1% at 2560x1440, and around 2% at 4K.
DirectX 11 Gaming - 4 More Titles
FarCry 4 is the latest entry in the open world action-adventure franchise that started in 2004 by Crytek (the developers of Crysis 3). In it, you play the hero who gets caught up in a civil war between the people and a the Royal Army, which is controlled by a tyrant. Being an open world game, there is a lot of randomness to the gameplay, and without an integrated benchmark, we will run through one of the towns, and spend some time driving a jeep through the jungle in order to get a good average framerate. Each of the runs will be done three times, and with all the runs being averaged. We will use the preset High quality with V-Sync turned off to gauge the performance.
, starts out with the Intel i7 leading off with a 24% performance lead over the AMD 1700X. That changes quickly as the resolution increases, with the Ryzen 1700X taking a 2% performance lead. Ryzen continues to expand it's lead when we increase the resolution to 4K, with a 5% performance lead.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V was released in 2015, and is still one of the hottest games available and has won numerous awards. Set in a modern fictional city of Los Santos, you play a criminal working to pull off various crimes. Within GTA V there are a wide range of graphic options available, allowing you to tailor your gameplay to your particular system. There are no preset configurations, so we manually set all of the quality options to Normal, set Anisotropic Filtering to 8x and turn off V-Sync.
Grand Theft Auto V
provides the Intel i7 with a 2% performance lead at 1080p. At 256x1440, that lead shrinks to around 0.5% in Intel's favor. Switching to 4K, the AMD 1700X makes a large jump in performance, overtaking the Intel i7-7700K by 2FPS.
The Crew places you in the driver seat of various vehicles, which you drive in an open and persistent scaled down version of the United States. You take on various missions to gain notariaty, money and ultimately more vehicles. The game itself is frame locked to a maximum of 60FPS, so we will use the Ultra graphics preset with V-Sync turned off for our testing. Like the other open world games, there is a wide range of randomness to The Crew, so we will run the same path within the game three times and average the results.
presented an interesting set of results, at 1080p both systems hit the 60FPS limit imposed by Ubisoft. Increasing the resolution to 2560x1440, the Intel i7 test system again hit the 60FPS limit, while the AMD Ryzen 1700x test system was close to 3FPS slower, which is around a 4.5% difference between the two. At 4k, the results became a little more normal with less than 1FPS difference in performance between the two systems.
Thief is the fourth game in the series which takes place in an city which is inspired by the Victorian age, Gothic elements and even some Steampunk thrown in. As a master thief you take on missions where your main goal is to acquire wealth by stealing from the rich. We configured the settings using the preset Normal model, and turned off V-Sync; we then used the integrated benchmark to test performance.
showed very little performance difference regardless of the resolution. At 1080p and 2560x1440 the Intel i7 had a 0.5% performance lead. At 4K, the tables turned and the AMD 1700x pulled ahead of the Intel i7 by 1%.
DirectX 12 Gaming - 4 Titles
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex is an action role-playing game, where you continue the adventure from the previous game. Set in a future cyperpunk world, where you take on the role of an agent set out to take down a technologically augmented terrorist group. It is a fairly new game, and supports both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12. Deus Ex includes an integrated benchmark, all we have to do is select the settings and it'll provide us accurate results; we selected the DirectX 12 API, using the High quality preset.
During our testing of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, we saw a little more than 1FPS difference at 1080P, which comes to just over 1% difference in AMD Ryzen's favor. As the resolution increased, the AMD 1700X took over, the lead by a very narrow margin with only 1FPS difference at the 4K level.
Hitman is another game that has a long legacy of popular games, it is the sixth major Hitman game since the original was released in 2000. In this third-person game, you play a genetically enhanced assassin traveling the world completing various contracts. It includes DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 support. With an integrated benchmark, we will use the DirectX 12 API, detail set to Medium, Anti-Aliasing set to FXAA and V-Sync turned off.
The Hitman benchmark showed that both systems were pretty equal in performance at 1080p. Once the resolution increased to 2560x1440, the AMD 1700X took a 5FPS lead resulting in a 5.5% performance gap. At 4K, the AMD 1700X maintained it's 5FPS lead over the Intel i7-7700K, but with lower FPS, that 5FPS lead increased to close to a 12% performance gap.
Sniper Elite 4
Sniper Elite 4 takes place in 1943 Italy, you play a British sniper on a mission to destroy the latest Nazi super weapon. It utilizes an open world environment, which means a good amount of random NPC movement. We have mapped out a path that takes us through the first map, which we will run three different times without killing any of the enemies. After we complete all three tests, we will average the results. Sniper Elite 4 provides four preset quality levels, we will use the Medium setting, as well as disabling V-Sync. Finally, Sniper Elite 4 is another game that provides the choice between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12; which we selected to use DirectX 12.
At Medium quality settings, both the AMD 1700x and Intel i7-7700K were able to run Sniper Elite 4 smoothly regardless of the resolution. At all three resolutions, the AMD 1700X received between 1% and 8% better scores. Even with the 8% difference in performance at 4K, that comes from a 3FPS difference.
Total War: Warhammer
Total War: Warhammer, is the first Total War game that is not based in a historical setting. Warhammer takes it's environment from the fantasy world. We will use the integrated benchmark and the Medium graphic settings to gauge performance. In addition, as it includes both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12, we will select DirectX 12 for the API.
In Total War: Warhammer, the Intel i7-7700K took a quick lead in performance over the AMD based system with just under 1FPS. The AMD 1700X system, made a comeback at the higher resolutions with between a 2FPS and 3FPS difference, which is a 3% difference in performance.
Vulkan and OpenGL Gaming - 1 Title
Doom (2016) was originally known as Doom 4, however it was rebranded as Doom to be a reboot of the famous series. Taking place on Mars which has been taken over by demons from Hell. These demons are of course experimented on and corrupted even further by the scientists before the demons overpower them. As the hero Demon Slayer, you are tasks with stopping the invasion at all costs. With no integrated benchmark, we will run a path three times and average the results. We selected to run a path outside in the Martian environment ignoring the demons. Doom includes both OpenGL 4.5 and Vulkan API's. We want to see if there is a difference between the two, so we will run both scenarios. Settings will be configured to Medium with Anti-Aliasing set to TSSAA 8TX.
Doom Vulkan API
Both API's on Doom showed similar results, with a difference in performance between 1% and 5% across the board. One thing I noticed though, is that while the Intel i7 system performed very similar to the AMD 1700x, the Intel Core i7 test was very choppy and didn't seem to be able to keep up in gameplay; lowering the graphics quality the gameplay was smooth.
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
Futuremark's 3DMark suite of benchmarks has been a long time standard. It has benchmarks that will evaluate nearly any device. We will be taking a look at the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark that is designed for high end gaming PC's.
The way 3DMark breaks down the scores shows something interesting. For the most part, at either of the three resolutions tested, the Graphics and Combined scores are pretty even. However, if we take a closer look at the Physics score, we can see that the AMD Ryzen 1700X has a major advantage over the Intel Core i7-7700K providing between 24% and 26% boost in the Physics score.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
In this article, we focused entirely on gaming using the new AMD Balanced power plan. Of the 14 games we tested, many of the tests the AMD Ryzen 1700X was able to hold it's own against the Intel Core i7-7700K. There were times where the AMD Ryzen fell behind the Intel i7 by as much as 10%. However, the inverse is also true, sometimes the AMD Ryzen 1700X took the lead over the Intel i7.
On average there was between 1FPS and 5FPS difference between the two test systems across most of the games we took a look at. The one outlier was FarCry 4, where at 1080P where the Intel i7-7700k had a commanding lead with 24FPS! That's a huge difference, just to verify that difference, we actually tested that game a few extra times. Likewise, in this round of testing, Grand Theft Auto V received nearly even results between the two test systems, again we tested this extra times. In both cases, the results were the same no matter how many times we tested it. If you run at 2560x1440 or higher, the difference between the two systems are negligable between the two systems.
The AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan looks to be a good optimization released by AMD. If AMD can keep up these types of improvements while working with game developers, then it's very possible that AMD has made a successful return to the high-end processor market and will provide some good competition to Intel.
A couple of things to keep in mind when looking at either test system. The Intel Core i7 system is pretty stable as it has been around for a while and built on familiar architecture. The AMD Ryzen system is based on very new architecture and there are some things to overcome. AMD and Gigabyte are both working hard to resolve those issues quickly.
The next consideration is pricing. The Intel Core i7-7700K can be purchased for $339.99
with free shipping, while the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X costs a little more at $384.00
with free shipping. Pricing for motherboards will range in price, the two that we included here is the ASUS STRIX Z270G Gaming that runs $199.99
with free shipping, which is pretty close in price to the Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard found online for $195.99
with free shipping. Both use dual-channel DDR4 memory kits and the rest of the system build would be priced the same.
Legit Bottom Line:
If gaming is the main reason you are looking at building a new system, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X stands up to the Intel i7-7700K in nearly every game we tested. This shows that either processor will work great in a gaming system. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700X though, has the added bonus of the extra cores/threads allowing you to do more multitasking while gaming, especially when it comes to doing things that can take advantage of the extra cores and threads.