Ryzen employs a thoroughly modern architecture whose focus is on massive multi-thread performance made possible by running eight cores and 16 threads in tandem.
Before today, AMD had a difficult time convincing the enthusiast that it was worth going down its CPU route for their next build. Intel held sway through a combination of superior performance emanating from superior architectures.
Today, however, the status quo in the premium consumer PC space has been turned on its head through the introduction of the Zen-based Ryzen CPU. Built from the ground up after the previous generation Bulldozer, to put it politely, failed to live up to expectation, Ryzen has carried the burden of responsibility for the best part of five years.
Ryzen employs a thoroughly modern architecture whose focus is on massive multi-thread performance made possible by running eight cores and 16 threads in tandem. There's significant similarity to the way Intel designs its latest big chips, but that's clearly no bad thing.
AMD's engineering task was to ensure that Ryzen could compete with the best Intel processors of the present day. It certainly does so in applications that take advantage of lots of threads, easily matching the expensive chips from Intel, though single-threaded performance and SMT-enabled gaming lags a little behind.
We'd argue that Intel still has the all-important IPC lead, yet the business case favours AMD hugely. Aggressive pricing means that Ryzen is able to deliver class-leading multi-thread performance at half the price, or less, paving the way for prosumers to build powerful machines at fundamentally lower price points.
And this is the crux. The arrival of Ryzen should force Intel to move on price, benefitting the consumer. Gamers don't need an eight-core chip just yet - a phalanx of Intel ones do just fine - though it'd be nice if Ryzen ensured honest-to-goodness value was pushed into all segments of the PC market, and not just at the very low end as has historically been the case.
We come away with the feeling that AMD desperately needed to be in the high-performance conversation with Ryzen and subsequent Zen-based architectures that build upon it. It achieves that aim, handsomely in some scenarios, and the disruptive technology breathes much-needed new life back into an environment that was previously wholly dominated by Intel.
Bottom line: building a high-performance PC in the coming months? There are, once again, compelling reasons to consider an AMD CPU.
Massive multi-core performance
Smart calls on architecture
Energy efficient design
Gives users honest choice
Significant ecosystem support
Limited overclocking potential
Single-thread not as good as Intel
Gaming optimisations still needed
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is available to purchase from Scan Computers.
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