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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 Processor Review

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Category: CPU's
Price: 1800X $499, 1700X $399, 1700 $329
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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 Processor Introduction:

If you have been following AMD over the past 17 years, you have seen the fortunes of the company ebb and flow like the tides. AMD presented the alternative to Intel processors and have had both successes and what many feel are failures. The last time AMD held a dominant performance advantage was during the K8 days and the hey day of the Athlon 64 chips. Intel dropped its Core architecture and AMD has been playing catch up ever since.

For quite a while now, AMD had been the laughing stock of the CPU world when it comes to high performance computing. When AMD's Bulldozer architecture was launched back in 2011, all the promises and hype failed to materialize for the most part. When you looked at multi-threaded performance it was not all that bad, but when you looked at the single core/thread performance, the wheels came off the bus. Through successive generations and iterations that pushed clock speed to try and drive performance, it came with power penalties that made the architecture one that could deliver some performance, but at a huge cost in both power consumption and thermal load.

I was on hand for the FX series launch of the FX-8150 and witnessed first hand the raw clock speed the processor could run at when subjected to sub zero temperatures. By the end of the day, we saw a world record 8.429GHz. Pretty stout when you get down to it. From that point on, AMD had been on a dim pathway that did not look to have a happy ending. Don't get me wrong here, you could get a CPU at a much lower cost than an Intel chip and still see decent gaming performance across the board. Not everyone had the coin to step up and buy into the Intel machine.

After going back to the drawing board, AMD effectively had to get its house in order. At this point, AMD had to step back and go the full clean slate route to build its next generation architecture. In doing so, it spent over two million man hours to come up with the "Zen" architecture targetting a 40% IPC improvement. It was something drastically needed to compete on an even playing field; a field that offers the consumer choice!

Today, we get to see the results of that work with the introduction of the Ryzen 7 line of processors for the gamer and prosumer. The R5 and R3 lines will follow at a later date. Over the past week, you would have to have been living under a rock to not know what Ryzen is with all the leaks and targeted informational releases. AMD has gone full press, flooding the market with tidbits and performance metrics about the newest architecture "Ryzen." The Ryzen 7 line will include a trio of 8-core, 16 thread processors with clock speeds ranging from Ryzen 7 1700 sporting a 3.0GHz base frequency with a 3.7GHz boost clock, to the Ryzen 7 1800X with a 3.6GHz base clock and 4.0GHz boost clock. From just the flood of information about Ryzen, it is hard not to get excited for this launch.

When you look at the performance metric and then get a load of the pricing, we see that AMD is not just pussyfooting around here. It's going for the jugular. Pricing on the low man on the totem pole, the 1700, starts at $329; the mid level 1700X hits the $399 price point; and then the big kahuna 1800X sits at $499. If you make the direct cost comparisons to Intel's offerings, AMD drew blood! To get the best out of this line up, AMD has put together its new AM4 platform with several varieties for a wide swath of the user base. Let's take a look at this trio of processors that look ready to shake up the high performance computing world.

 

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 Processor Closer Look:

You can tell that AMD was proud of its new baby when it showed up in a custom made walnut box. The front of the container had the AMD and Ryzen logos cut out for added effect! Inside were the contents of the review kit that included the Summit Ridge R7 1800X, Noctua NH-U12S cooler with AM4 mounting hardware, a 16GB kit of 3000MHz CAS 15 Corsair Vengeance memory, and an X370 chipset motherboard motherboard from Gigabyte to be that solid base to build off of.

 

 

In all, we received all three SKU's in the R7 line up. The R7 1800X, the R7 1700X, and the R7 1700. This covers the breadth of the R7 Ryzen lineup that looks to compete with Intel's latest chips. These retail boxes are what you should expect to see when your processor shows up. Depending on which SKU you purchase, there are several options as to which cooling system the processor comes with. The Wraith cooler with an RGB coloring is an available option. This package will definitely stand out in the display case at your local brick and mortar retailer. This launch targets the R7 line up, but you can see by the slide below that AMD's Ryzen processor lineup is much more than just the enthusiast and prosumer level parts. Later this year, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 parts will make their appearance.

 

 

The three processor we have today are the Ryzen 7 1800X, Ryzen 7 1700X, and Ryzen 7 1700 for use in socket 1331 AM4 motherboards. One of the things pointed out over and again are that Summit Ridge R7 chips are all 8-core, 16 thread beasts that come fully unlocked from the 95W to the 65W parts. Packed with 4.8 billion transistors and over two kilometers of signalling wire, there is a lot going on under the hood of these 14nm FinFET processors. Each of these SKU's have a 4MB L2 cache with a 16MB L3 cache.

First up is the Ryzen 7 1800X. This little gem comes with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock speed of 4GHz. As an "X" processor, the R7 1800X gets the benifit of XFR (Extended Frequency Range) that boosts the clock speed up another 100MHz when you have additional thermal headroom. The R7 1700X is clocked a bit lower at 3.4GHz with a boost clock speed of 3.8GHz and XFR boost up to 3.9GHz when you have the thermal head room. Both of the "X" processors in the product stack have a 95W TDP. The R7 1700 is the 65W TDP part and has correspondingly lower clock speeds of 3.0GHz with a 3.7GHz boost clock frequency. Even though it is not an "X" part, the R7 1700 sees an XFR boost of up to 50MHz when, again, you have the thermal headroom. Kind of a recurring theme. This lets you know that by attaching the best cooling solution you can buy will, in most circumstances, improve your boost frequency and CPU performance without overclocking.

All three processors are identical as far as pin count and the bottom of the CPU. Each of the processor heat shields are laser etched with the Ryzen logo and SKU specific information, as seen on the Ryzen 7 1700 below.     

 

 

 

New for this launch is AMD's AM4 platform that consists of a bifurcated 1331 pin socket that is a combination of the AM3+ and FM2 socket. Therefore we see a slightly higher pin count and spacing between the cooling solution mounting screws and clip style brackets. Five new chipsets with varying capabilities are available for Ryzen processors. The X370 chipset is one of two fully unlocked parts that are built for the enthusiast and mainstream markets. I will be using an X370 board to test these unlocked processors. As the form factor drops, you can see that the capabilities and hardware availability shrink up to allow that smaller form factor.

 

 

All of the major partners will have boards available for the enthusiast using the X370 chipset. The X370 Gaming 5 Aorus was supplied with this press kit, so it draws first blood on the test bench. This board is at the top of the Gigabyte 5 series product stack and offers a bunch of gaming centric features. Equally capable are the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero and MSI X370 Gaming XPower. In the past, ASUS ROG Crosshair boards have proven to be the best at getting the most from AMD hardware. It should prove interesting to see if that holds true with this round of hardware, as all three look loaded for bear.

 

 

 

If all the press and rumors pan out, this should be an interesting test! Let's see if AMD has truly delivered on its goals!




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