Intel’s domination days in the CPU market are over
Intel had been the only company for the past ten years to release worthwhile processors. While AMD was still producing CPUs they could not keep up with Intel and failed to deliver promising and competitive products. For a decade, Intel had the monopoly in the CPU section and stopped being competitive after realizing that they had no one to compete against but themselves. This led them to release products tied to a strict timeline with small, incremental updates for each generation of processors. Their products, although good, were considered anti-consumer because customers did not see the reason upgrading their CPUs anymore and Intel processors were over-priced due to the lack of competition.
Intel’s monopoly did come to an end after the promising release of Ryzen, AMD’s newest CPU architecture in 2017. AMD was back on the competition map and caused Intel a huge headache who saw their unique market share being devoured by Ryzen. Not only were Ryzen CPUs price-friendly but they also delivered in terms of performance, temperatures, and longevity due to the fact that AMD promised to maintain the same chipset until 2020 meaning that if you bought a motherboard in 2017, this board will still be compatible in 2020 when we anticipate the release of Ryzen 2.
Ryzen vs Intel in 2018
2018 is definitely an even better year for AMD than 2017 was. On 19th of April, AMD released their new lineup of CPUs, called Ryzen+ building and improving on the already great Ryzen platform. Based on a 12nm architecture, Ryzen+ is essentially what Ryzen ought to be in the first place. All Ryzen+ CPUs are still unlocked meaning you can overclock them on any B350, X370 or the newly released X470 boards. Overclocking potential has also improved due to better power delivery and XFR 2, which lets the CPU boost all its cores to the maximum available frequency and not only one core as it was the case with Ryzen.
X470 boards were released along with Ryzen+, although we have still not gotten our hands on the B450 motherboards which should be available in a couple of months, probably around summertime.
Ryzen+ consists of the following processors:
An 8 core/16 thread processor with a base clock of 3,7 GHz and a boost clock of 4,3Ghz. This CPU is a multitasking beast and is the top of the line CPU by AMD, who decided not to release a Ryzen 7 2800x as someone would expect after the initial Ryzen 7 1800x. The Ryzen 7 2700x outmatches the 1800x easily and completely destroys the i7 8700k, Intel’s high-end 6 core/12 thread Coffee Lake processor, in multitasked scenarios, something to be expected as it features 2 more cores and 4 more threads.
While the i7 8700k is still the king when it comes to gaming, AMD managed to improve their Instructions Per Clock (IPC) performance by 10%, closing the gap with its competitor in 1080p gaming, while the difference in 1440p and 4k is negligible. For anyone gaming on 1440p, the Ryzen 7 2700x is a no-brainer offering similar gaming performance, while vastly outperforming the i7 8700k in multitasking like video editing and streaming.
The next CPU in the lineup, the Ryzen 7 2700 is again an 8c/16t CPU just like its bigger brother. The main differences are the clock speeds and TDP. It comes with a base clock of 3,2 GHz and a boost clock of 4,1 GHz and a much lower TDP of 65W compared to the 105W of the Ryzen 7 2700x.
If you want a processor that can handle games as good as the Ryzen 7 2700x, deliver the same overclocking performance with high clock speeds but you do not need 8 cores, the Ryzen 7 2600x should be the processor to consider. It is a 6c/12t CPU with a base clock of 3,6 GHz and a boost clock of 4,2 GHz with a TDP of 95W. The Ryzen 5 2600x goes neck in neck with the i5 8600k in gaming and the only way the i5 8600k can catch the Ryzen 5 2600x performance in multitasking is when it is overclocked to 5 GHz. Absolutely stunning performance on the Ryzen processor and a huge improvement over the Ryzen 5 1600x of the previous generation.
Keep in mind that the i5 8600k is 6 core/6t processor compared to a 6c/12t CPU. Multithreading is disabled on the i5 8600k, so the fairest comparison would be between the Ryzen 5 2600x and the i7 8700k in which case the i7 8700k is, without a doubt, the better option both in multitasking and gaming applications. The Ryzen 7 2700x has no competition from Intel yet, who only confirmed that an 8c/16t processor actually existed shortly after the release of Ryzen+ ( I am not sure how much of an accident it actually was).
Equipped with a lower base and boost clock of 3,4 GHz and 3,9 GHz respectively, the Ryzen 5 2600 comes also with a lower 65W TDP matching the Ryzen 7 2700 in terms of power consumption. If you want to save yourself a few dollars or do not care about overclocking at all but still want a capable 6 core processor, look no further than the Ryzen 5 2600.
Ryzen+ pricing is the reason why you should opt for the “X” chips
As far as pricing is concerned, each processor has a 30$ MSRP price difference compared to the next tier. Pricing starts at 199$ for the Ryzen 5 2600 and ends with 329$ for the Ryzen 7 2700x. Note that these prices are the ones the manufacturer wants their products to be sold at and can differ in accordance with demand and availability. A 30$ difference between the Ryzen 7 2700 and the Ryzen 7 2700x (299$ vs 329$) is definitely worth it not only because of higher clock speeds which lead to less voltage when attempting to overclock those CPUs but even if you do not consider overclocking at all, those 30$ give you better gaming performance because most games still favor clock speeds and Insturctions Per Clock over cores and threads.
All Ryzen+ processors come with an integrated cooler
Another reason why the 30$ extra is a wise investment is that all Ryzen+ processors come with an integrated CPU cooler out of the box. In the previous generation, the “X” chips required an aftermarket cooling solution as no cooler was included in the package. This changed with Ryzen+, with AMD providing three different coolers, one for each processor, as follows:
Ryzen 5 2600: Wraith Stealth Cooler
Ryzen 5 2600x: Wraith Spire Cooler
Ryzen 7 2700: Wraith Spire Cooler with RGB support
Ryzen 7 2700x: Wraith Prism with RGB support
The wraith prism cooler, for example, is way better than the wraith spire cooler providing you extra longevity for your processor if you go for the Ryzen 7 2700x instead of the Ryzen 7 2700 due to better heat dissipation and lower temperatures leading to a longer CPU lifespan.
Ryzen+ overclocking potential
When it comes to overclocking there is really no comparison between Coffee Lake and Ryzen and this has not changed after the release of Ryzen+. Coffee Lake’s unlocked chips such as the i7 8700k and i5 8600k can overclock even past 5 GHz, however, they require expensive aftermarket cooling and premium motherboards to achieve stable results. Nevertheless, the overclocking potential is clearly there for anyone wanting to take advantage of it.
On the flipside, Ryzen is a fairly new platform still in need of optimization. Ryzen had an overclocking limit of 4,1 GHz no matter what CPU you chose to buy. Most processors would crash at 4 GHz and even that clock speed required a ton of voltage in order to be stable. 4,1 GHz was clearly a silicon lottery win although 1,45 was typically required to be stable at this frequency.
Ryzen+ shows a significant improvement in overclocking potential with most CPUs being able to hit the 4,3 GHz threshold, which is, ultimately, the turbo boost of the Ryzen 7 2700x. Do not expect any Ryzen+ CPU to be able to sustain 4,4 GHz or overclock above the turbo boost like the Intel chips. The optimization and tweaking are just not there yet. Most CPUs should be able to achieve 4,2 GHz with a fair amount of voltage and all will surpass the previous 4,1 GHz threshold.
Ryzen has much-unused power under its hood
Considering how many years it took Intel to let their processors overclock to 5 GHz, AMD has done a great job optimizing and tweaking Ryzen to be able to achieve higher clock speeds. The 4,3 GHz overclocking potential, better power delivery and improved IPC gave Ryzen+ a 10% boost in single threaded performance, allowing it to close the gap with Intel.
Imagine what performance levels Ryzen could achieve if it could compete with Intel head to head in terms of clock speed. Intel would be in deep trouble if a 5 GHz overclock would be a possibility on the Ryzen processors. The only field where Intel takes the lead is gaming and that is mainly due to higher clock speeds. It is certain that Intel is aware of Ryzen’s capabilities and that AMD is to be taken seriously, something that Intel proved to be true after the introduction of 6 core processors into the mainstream market. The jump from the 4c/8t i7 7700k to the 6c/12t i7 8700k was huge and we all have to thank Ryzen for that.
Final Verdict and Recommendations
AMD did not fail to deliver a new and improved line up of CPUs in 2018 keeping the Ryzen vs Intel competition more relevant than ever. Ryzen+ managed to improve on every aspect: performance, optimization, pricing and overclocking. Maintaining the lead in multitasking as expected, Ryzen+ managed to close the gap in gaming scenarios. 1080p high-refresh gaming improved a lot on the Ryzen chips while there is practically no difference in 1440p and 4k. Intel still comes out on top with its gaming beast, the i7 8700k, although, there is no denying that the Ryzen 7 2700x is a great choice for anyone who cares about successfully combining gaming and multitasking. To be honest, there is no reason to go for the i7 8700k anymore, unless you are gaming on a 1080p 144Hz with a Gtx 1080ti, which is overkill anyway. Take the Gtx 1080ti out of the equation and replace it with a Gtx 1060 or Gtx 1070 and the performance difference becomes negligible which is more likely to be a true scenario for most gamers.
AMD has definitely hit the sweet spot with Ryzen+ by delivering a series of capable and affordable processors appealing to both gamers and content creators. It will be interesting to observe Intel’s reaction to this release. Moreover, we are eager to see what AMD will come up with in 2020 when they promised to release Ryzen 2 on a 7nm chipset. The competition in the CPU market is back and promises to stay for many years thanks to AMD’s great comeback.
In case you want to buy any of the new chips, I have listed them all below. Simply click on the processor you are interested in and you will be redirected to Amazon where you can take a look at prices and reviews.
Feel free to share your opinion on the new Ryzen processors in the comment section below. Do you think that it is a good launch? What do you expect Intel’s response will be?