When Ryzen rumors started surfacing ahead of the March 2nd launch there was a lot of emphasis placed on how the CPU was expected to perform. Given that our Ryzen 1700 CPU has eight physical cores many enthusiasts assumed it would be taking on the LGA 2011 workstation market however, once motherboards started appearing it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen.
The Ryzen line of CPUs supports dual channel DDR4 and comes equipped with 24 integrated PCI Express 3.0 lanes and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller. Lower-end editions of this CPU will exchange four physical cores for an onboard video controller making it a perfect accessory for the office and any low powered system that doesn’t require high-end graphics. Of course to help extend the performance reach the Ryzen 1700 features Simultaneous MultiThreading allowing each core to do two things at once. Intel calls this HyperThreading and is a great technology for getting the most from your CPU.
Of course the question still remains. Is Ryzen good for me? What makes this CPU so special? and Why should I care?
Is Ryzen good for me: The real power of AMD has always been a great price to performance ratio as they have always been the less expensive option. “Before” Ryzen that wasn’t always the case given that most motherboards on the market were rather dated. Gigabyte tried to remedy this by releasing the 990FX Gaming and 970FX Gaming refresh boards however, the damage had been done and many AMD loyalists were waiting for Ryzen anyway.
What makes this CPU so special: As we have seen Ryzen isn’t the fastest CPU on the market but it has potential. In fact what it lacks in per core speed it makes up in multithreaded performance. Sure it might take eight physical cores to match a Core i7 but, the Ryzen 1700 has a TDP of 65w with twice the core count making it a much more thermally efficient CPU. This means quieter cooling and better power efficiency.
On top of that in situations where you need multithreaded performance you can get 16 threads with the Ryzen 1700 for $300 USD where it might cost you almost $1000 USD with an Intel CPU.
Why should you care: As hardware enthusiasts I am often suggesting you build systems where money is no object. That isn’t to say you should ignore cost but rather buy what you need within reason. (Eg, don’t by 10 SSDs for a RAID when you really only need 2). With Ryzen it may not be the most powerful CPU but, it is pretty darn close and responds well to performance add-ons. You can also build a complete Ryzen system for less money which might be enough to offset the cost on a high-end GPU or the deciding factor on going nuts with RGB LEDs or adding more fans to your case.
Bottom line: it is a great platform that finally brings some competition back to the enthusiast PC world and gives the companies a reason to make their systems faster instead of simply adding a new feature which requires an entirely new system to take advantage.