AMD launched their new Ryzen CPUs back in March, starting with their “high-end Ryzen 7” line up, featuring the Ryzen 1800x, Ryzen 1700x and the Ryzen 1700. These CPUs come equipped with 8 cores and 16 threads, offering tremendous performance in applications, which utilise a big number of cores and threads. The 1800x came at an MSRP of 499$, the 1700x at 329$ and 1700 at 329$, launching at almost half the price of their Intel x99 6900k counterpart, making it a really affordable workstation CPU for people who need those cores and threads.
One month later, on April 11, AMD launched their Ryzen 5 line up of CPUs the Ryzen 1600x, Ryzen 1600, Ryzen 1500x and Ryzen 1400. The 1600x and 1600 features 6 cores and 12 threads, at a very affordable price point of 249$ and 219$ MSRP respectively. The 1500x and 1400 have
4 cores and 8 threads at the price of 189$ and 169$ each.
On July 27th, AMD will launch their Ryzen 3cpus which will feature 4 cores and 4 threads with the Ryzen 3 1100 and 1200x and the 4 cores/8 threads 1300 aimed towards the mainstream users. Pricing has not been confirmed yet for the Ryzen 3 lineup, so I will not speculate on possibly inaccurate rumours. Sure thing is that they will be cheaper than the Ryzen 5 CPUs, which inevitably means cheaper than 169$.
Now that I have given you an overview of AMD’s latest offering in the CPU market, let us get back to the actual purpose of this post:
If you are mainly a gamer and want to spend your money on a Ryzen processor, what is the best AMD gaming processor to buy?
The fact that that Ryzen processors are excellent at workstation applications, like Cinebench 15 or Handbrake is great news, but how is Ryzen performing in games?
Gaming Performance of Ryzen
The launch of Ryzen 7 back in March was received very well by the community. People praised the fact that the 1700, 1700x and 1800x performed extremely well at workload applications, which make use of all the cores and threads these CPUs campus could offer.
However, gaming performance was not so well received. Many reviewers and consumers complained about the fact that Ryzen’s single core performance was very weak compared to Intel’s flagship gaming CPU, the i7 7700k, which single score performance hovers around 195 in Cinebench 15, while even the overclocked and more expensive 1800x could only score around 150-160 points on the same application.
AMD stated that this was a matter of BIOS updates and that in the following months Ryzen’s gaming performance would increase rapidly, as motherboard manufacturers have time to work on this brand new Cpu platform and optimise the X370 and B350 motherboards for better gaming performance. If you want to read more about X370 and B350 motherboards, click here.
Indeed, Ryzen has come a long way in regards to its gaming performance and has narrowed the gap by almost 30% in a period of 3 months. Ryzen is a great platform for gaming, as it offers almost identical performance to Intel at a very good price. Intel’s i7 7700k, however, is still the king when it comes to gaming, although the cost is 350$ for a 4cores/8 threads cpu, while a Ryzen 7 1700 can be bought for the same price, offering great gaming performance, while featuring 8 cores and 16 threads. You get more for the same money when going with Ryzen.
It is important to point out that all Ryzen chips are overclockable. What that means is that you can overclock a Ryzen 1700 to 4 GHz with proper cooling and get the same performance as the 1800x, while spending 150$ less. Combine that, with a 100-120$ good quality B350 motherboard and you have a very capable system of handling both workload applications and games.
Ryzen’s gaming performance was also crippled by RAM compatibility issues, with the motherboards at launch only being compatible with RAM speeds up to 2666 Mhz. This was an important issue, which was solved by future BIOS updates and it turned out that Ryzen CPUs benefit from higher DDR4 memory speeds. Once 3200Mhz was compatible with Ryzen, performance increased dramatically.
Best AMD Gaming Processor
Now, onto the actual question, what is the best AMD processor, when it comes to gaming?
Given the fact that Ryzen 3 has not officially launched yet, your best bet would be
buying a Ryzen R5 1600.
Why go with the Ryzen 1600 and not with the 1500x or 1400, then?
The Ryzen 1600 outperforms the 1500x in games by 5-7 fps. While this is not a big difference, it is actually pretty impressive that a 6 cores and 12 threads processor can outperform 4 core and 8 threads one in gaming scenarios, because games nowadays rely pretty much on single core performance and rarely on many cores and threads. That is why Intel has been stuck to the same 4 cores/4-8 threads formula for many years now as well as the fact that Intel had no serious competition for almost a decade, offering more than 4 cores only to consumers who have the money to spend on an X99 board, which costs at minimum 200$ and a 6 cores and 12 threads 6800k which costs around 440$. The 6900k, which has 8 cores and 16 threads is even more expensive at 1000$.
As of today, with the introduction of Ryzen, more cores and threads are available at a much more appealing and affordable price point, which will eventually change the way games are being produced. As more and more people are going to buy CPUs which have more than 4 cores, game manufacturers may actually change the way they produce their games and make future games optimised for Ryzen and therefore multi-core optimised.
I would not be surprised if future games see a massive increase in performance when being played with a 6 or even 8 core CPU. In this case, a 4c/4t core even a 4c/8t CPU would be insufficient and could potentially even bottleneck your gaming experience.
That is why I recommend getting a 6 cores/ 12 threads Ryzen 5 1600. It can be overclocked to 3,9-4 GHz (depending on the chip you get) and can easily match the performance of the Ryzen 5 1600x. Moreover, you get a proper AMD wraith cooler, which helps you cool your Cpu without having to rely on aftermarket cooling. The Ryzen 1600 also has almost identical performance in games to its bigger brother the Ryzen 7 1700, while being 100$ cheaper. The 6 cores and 12 threads will ensure that you have a proper gaming experience, and you will be good to go for many years.
The Ryzen 1600 can be paired with any GPU even the Gtx 1080ti without any problems. It is also a great CPU when it comes to streaming, as you will experience less stuttering and FPS drops during your gaming sessions. The Ryzen 1600 is a great Cpu and you will not have to worry about changing your Cpu for many years. You may even experience better gaming performance as time goes by because games will eventually be optimised for more cores and threads and will not rely so much on single core performance.
I hope that you enjoyed my review. If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment, please do that in the comment section below, and I will make sure to answer as soon as possible.