​Which CPU is best: Intel or AMD Ryzen?

Which processor is better in 2017? Intel's Core i7 vs AMD’s Ryzen? Which is the best gaming processor and which CPU should you buy right now?

AMD's Ryzen is an impressive entry into the processor market. But is it the CPU to buy?

AMD's Ryzen is an impressive entry into the processor market. But is it the CPU to buy?

3D Mark Ryzen results

In 3D Mark the 1800X Ryzen processor scored consistently higher than Intel’s 7700K. However, the score is made up of three parts: two graphics tests and a CPU test. Both graphics tests were actually very similar: 37fps and 32.5fps which isn’t surprising due to both systems relying on the same Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card. However, 3D Mark appears to make good use of the extra cores on offer with Ryzen and it scored 26fps versus Intel's 18.5fps.

The superior 3D Mark score from the AMD Ryzen 1800X (bottom) compared to the Intel Core i7 7700K (top) was likely due to CPU performance relating to the number of cores.
The superior 3D Mark score from the AMD Ryzen 1800X (bottom) compared to the Intel Core i7 7700K (top) was likely due to CPU performance relating to the number of cores.

While these are all airy fairy numbers it does tell us that when used as a general gaming system both platforms are comparable in performance. But it also reflects the fact (regardless of what really goes into creating these scores) that if a game (or game benchmark) is optimised to use more than four cores, it will perform better with AMD Ryzen. So it’s worth checking how your favourite game supports more-than-four cores. So far we understand that Battlefield 1 and Civ can benefit in this way.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench renders a 3D scene and is useful in that it maximises all cores and threads when it runs. It’s in tasks like this (and movie encoding) where an eight-core processor like Ryzen should destroy a four-core processor like the Kaby Lake 7700K... and it did. At stock speed it scored 1,604 compared to the 7700K’s 995. When overclocked to 3.8GHz the Ryzen managed 1637.

It’s this test which really shows how AMD’s platform excels. Usually, you’d use an Intel Core i7 6900K (which scored 1,560) to perform extensive rendering and encoding tasks but those cost $1500. That the Ryzen can beat that performance when it costs less than half the price is truly outstanding.

Which CPU should you buy right now?

Most buyers will be better off buying an Intel 7th Generation processor like the Core i7 7700K as it costs $200 less than Ryzen’s best 1800X processor and for most, general-usage tasks, works faster. It also doesn’t require having your PC set up for Maximum Performance which is not healthy for power bills. However, things can dramatically change if you regularly perform the following uncommon tasks:-

  • 3D Rendering or video encoding
  • Playing a game where performance is boosted by multiple cores
  • Enthusiast-grade overclocking
  • Streaming your games online without using a separate computer

In these instances, Ryzen will be worth paying the premium for as it won’t just enhance your enjoyment but save you a lot of time and potentially money.

[Related: Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen motherboard review]
[Related: RyzenMaster and HPET can make your Ryzen computer run slower]

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