When AMD launched its Ryzen 7 family, it delivered a chip that exceeded our expectations in just about every category, but fell down somewhat in gaming. Exactly how much of a problem this is depends on whether you tune your testing for CPU-centric or GPU-centric results, and to some extent, what GPU you use. But there was a clear gap at 1080p in both our Ryzen 7 review and our GTX 1080 Ti testing.
AMD’s explanation for this phenomena was to claim that games required substantial optimization to work effectively with Ryzen. This was met with a raised eyebrow from much of the enthusiast community. It’s not that these claims are always unfounded — we’ve long known that game updates could improve performance on specific CPU architectures — but that the performance hit AMD took in gaming in our CPU review occurred across a wide range of titles. Promises that the situation could be fixed by optimization are not the same as saying that the situation will be fixed by optimization, after all. Given AMD’s relatively limited finances for fixing dozens of older titles, it wasn’t clear we’d see much interest from developers.
At least one game has been updated with better Ryzen support, however. Ashes of the Singularity, from Oxide, initially showed significant performance differences between itself and Intel. This gap persisted even when we used the GPU-centric test for the game at Crazy detail, as opposed to the Very High settings we used for our CPU-centric testing. A graph from our GTX 1080 Ti review is presented below:
According to PC World, tests they’ve run in Ashes of the Singularity demonstrate a considerable performance gain for AMD. Their results aren’t directly comparable with ours; they’ve tested low detail while our CPU review used Very High and our 1080 Ti review used Crazy at the 1080p resolution.
PC World reports that their Ryzen 7 1800X tests show a 1.27x performance improvement in the GPU-focused test and a more modest 12% boost in the CPU-focused test. Still, these improvements are just the beginning according to Oxide developer Dan Baker.
“Every processor is different on how you tune it, and Ryzen gave us some new data points on optimization,” Oxide’s Dan Baker told PCWorld. “We’ve invested thousands of hours tuning Intel CPUs to get every last bit of performance out of them, but comparatively little time so far on Ryzen.”
Bethesda has also pledged to work with AMD to improve game performance in future titles, but it’s not clear which already-shipping titles will be retroactively updated to improve CPU support. Then again, Ryzen is typically still much faster than Piledriver, and we’ve seen no evidence yet of a title that falls down to the point that a CPU optimization patch is critically required.