The Definitive AMD Ryzen 7 Real-World Gaming Guide

With our AMD Ryzen 7 overclocked to 4GHz we find out if this is a competitive real-world gaming CPU or not. We compare it with two overclocked Intel 7700K and 2600K systems across six different video card configurations at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p to find out which CPU provides the best gameplay experience using playable game settings.

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Game Setup

Naturally, we need the games to test performance between the CPUs. We have picked out ten games that fill a wide selection of GPU oriented, and CPU oriented gaming. We want to know if an AMD Ryzen CPU is going to make an impact in real-world gaming compared to Intel. We also wanted to make sure a few DX12 games are tested as well with Async Compute.

The game list is as follows: Watch Dogs 2 DX11, DOOM Vulkan, Fallout 4 DX11, Mass Effect: Andromeda DX11, Sniper Elite 4 DX12, Witcher 3 DX11, BF1 Multiplayer DX11, Tom Clancy’s The Division DX12, Grand Theft Auto V DX11, Gears of War 4 DX12.

We overclocked our systems as our readers would. We used our 2600K system to find our "baseline" game graphics IQ settings however our procedure has changed a bit as outlined below.

To find the highest playable settings on each game we used the Intel i7-2600K system at 4.5GHz to find the highest playable settings on each video card. We then matched these settings on the other two systems so all graphics settings in games are at apples-to-apples comparable settings. This means our "baseline" playable performance is with the 2600K system. We also targeted 60 FPS Average for what we determine as "playable performance" in each game. We generally do NOT focus on 60fps, as we generally try to GPU-load our systems for GPU reviews.

For our test systems the games were downloaded fresh and clean on each system. We also ensured the same patch versions were being used across systems.

Windows Setup

The OS is a big part of our performance testing as well. With the recent debate about proper power profiles for AMD Ryzen we wanted to get it right. Firstly, our Windows 10 x64 installations were done clean and formatted on each and every system, fresh. Then we updated Windows 10 to the latest Windows 10 Creators Update version with all the latest Windows Updates. This brings Windows 10 up to version 1703. We also disabled a host of background processes like Windows Defender, Windows apps, etc.

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For all three systems we manually selected the "High Performance" power profile. Therefore this negates the need for the updated "Balanced" profile AMD is providing in its latest chipset drivers. However, we did also install AMD’s latest chipset drivers as well. Using the "High Performance" power profile we bypass any issues related to power profile issues recently brought up in regards to AMD Ryzen performance in Windows.

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New to the Windows 10 Creators Update is the new "Game Mode" feature. This feature is supposed to allow Windows to lower resources for background processes so games can utilize more resources and run faster. However, this is more suited for systems with low amounts of RAM or slower CPUs. And also keep in mind that we manually have these OS running "mean and lean" already.

Just in case we ran a series of video card tests prior to testing with Game Mode on versus off, forcing the option to be enabled in each game as well. We found our performance actually got worse (by a couple frames) with Game Mode enabled and forced on in games. Since the feature is so new, and not thoroughly tested yet, and the fact we got slower performance, we decided to turn it off for all three systems.

AMD Software

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For our AMD Ryzen system take note that we specifically used the latest possible chipset drivers available at the time of testing. As you can see above that is 17.10rcp22 dated April 27th. You can find them here.

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The complete software versions for AMD software components is shown above.

We also utilized the latest Intel chipset drivers and motherboard drivers for all three systems.

Drivers

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We needed to keep the GPU drivers the same for all cards and systems. We used the latest GPU drivers at the time of testing and kept them the same throughout all testing. For NVIDIA this is GeForce 381.65 driver and for AMD this is Crimson Relive driver 17.4.2. There was one instance we needed to use a newer driver, for Mass Effect: Andromeda to run CrossFire we had to use the later 17.5.1 driver.

CPUz Screenshots

Below you can see the CPUz screenshots for the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU and Intel i7 7700K CPU.

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While we failed to capture a CPUz screenshot of the 2600K system while we had it up and running, it is same system that we used in our Kaby Lake 7700K vs Sandy Bridge 2600K IPC Review at 4.5GHz with 2133MHz RAM.