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  • Gich - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Looking forward for R5.
    I hope losing 2 cores makes it overclock better.
  • MrSpadge - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    The R5 look like very good value, but don't expect any miracles in OC. They're going to be the same dies, and R7 OC is not limited by voltage or temperature, but by the chip itself. So making the chip run a bit cooler by having 2 cores less will help a little bit but that's it. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    Pretty much most chips are topping out at only 4ghz. Normally there would be some big variance with the silicon lottery, but we aren't seeing it with Ryzen. Reply
  • hanselltc - Sunday, April 02, 2017 - link

    I'd say if it has 2 less operating core it's less hot, thus a less beefy cooler is needed to reach 4.0, rarely 4.1. But you are surely correct in the variance's absence. The 1800x is nearly dead to overclock players since 1700 and 1800x both bars dead hard at around 4.0Ghz, no point in spending that extra. Guess it'd be the same case with 1600x and 1600.
    By the way, should we call this a good fabrication process or a bad one lol not sure. It is great for us snagging top performance with cheaper parts, but not so good for AMD.
  • Drumsticks - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Man, it feels good to have AMD in the list and justify it by more than just price. Welcome back! Reply
  • bji - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I agree with this. CPUs have just become interesting again in a way that they haven't been for many years. Are we entering a new golden era of AMD vs. Intel like we had in the old Athlon days? One can only hope ... and one can hope that this time, Intel doesn't play dirty tricks that require DOJ intervention! Reply
  • ddriver - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    WTF is "memory workstation"? Before you answer, the question was rhetoric. Way to go, finding a place to squeeze intel's inferior offerings. Why not simply add a "throwing money away" category while at it, just to recommend the 6950x, and also "low resolution gaming" where AMD evidently sucks big time. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    The butt hurt is strong in this one. Reply
  • close - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Anybody building a lab for virtualization might want more than 64GB of RAM. For example testing any hyperconverged virtualization solutions, data analysis and statistical software, ETL, GIS really pushes the limits even with 64GB. Plenty of scenarios require a lot more RAM than that. It's cheaper to buy a more expensive Intel workstation with 128GB of RAM than 2 workstations with 64GB of RAM. Some might even go for dual socket and even more RAM. Because it's not only the investment you make upfront. More workstations, more noise, more heat, more space.

    This use case might appeal to a lot more people that the "throwing money away" or "low resolution gaming".
  • ddriver - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Yeah, because lots of memory goes hand in hand with puny hexacore chips. Then there is this thing called multisocket server paltform.

    "cheaper to buy a more expensive Intel workstation with 128GB of RAM than 2 workstations with 64GB of RAM" - especially if you plan to do nothing with that ram, and just have it for the sake of having. But then again, your statement isn't exactly correct , in many/most cases buying 2 separate systems offers both better value and performance.

    Last, but most certainly not least, i7 Es do not support ECC, which is pretty much a must if you actually do something important with that system. Cramming lots of memory into such a system and using it is just inviting trouble. Lack of ECC for a system that plays games, movies and does office work is not a big deal, but I personally have experienced how unreliable non-ECC ram is when dealing with lots of data.
  • Smudgeous - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    When I think "memory workstation", I think something more akin to an octuple-socket system with Xeon E7-8890 v4, for a combined 192 cores, 384 threads, and 24TB of ECC. Not a bad deal on the chips, either, being just north of $57k. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    I always wonder how long it would take to write to all that memory then read it out again. Must take a while! Reply
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    Wouldn't a server chip be better for that scenario? While Naples isn't out yet, I'm sure there's lots of value in that for your scenario Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    Well the Intel HEDT chips are rebadged Xeons, aren't they? Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    Not without ECC they aren't. As poor value as the E series is, it is still better value than xeons, therefore the obligatory artificial crippling so they don't eat into the xeon profits. Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    Although "memory workstation" as a whole category is perhaps a stretch, there are a bunch of scenarios in scientific/engineering computing where you have this big mesh model with 100 million nodes and you just want the software to work without crashing or paging to disk. Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - link

    But for those working in those scenarios, I would say "price is no object' would apply and the proper appropriate enterprise/server/Xeon kit kit would be purchased. A 'workstation' would not be the best choice. Reply
  • bji - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I love AMD as much as the next guy, but I feel like recommendations for Ryzen are a little premature only because the motherboard and memory issues appear to be real and numerous. In other words, it's a fantastic CPU but the infrastructure surrounding it is weak enough that it's hard to imagine telling everyone that their best bet is to go out and buy one, when you know that they're likely to experience the numerous teething issues that have appeared after Ryzen's launch. Reply
  • arayoflight - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I've been following RyZen launch very closely and after the latest(1-2 days ago) BIOS updates, basically any board allows for 2933MHz memory, with most motherboards allowing for 3200MHz for Samsung B-die modules. Support is still lacking for micron modules, but that should be fixed soon.

    Just go with Corsair LPX or G-skill tridentZ/ripjaws and you will be good to run at 3200 MHz just fine.
  • bji - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I understand that there is significant wisdom that has been accumulated by the enthusiast community, such as the recommendations that you give, but again ... recommending a processor that requires that a) you are up-to-date on the latest knowledge gathered by the enthusiast community to make it work well and b) requires purchasing a very specific memory module (and probably motherboard too, although you didn't mention that), just seems premature to me. If you're targeting enthusiasts who live and breathe this stuff, then sure ... if you're targeting "everybody", then recommending the Ryzen just seems premature to me. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    It used to be that you had to go by the specific, vendor supplied list of "good RAM" for your motherboard in order to get anything working. And when it comes to HEDT CPUs, anyone willing to fork out at least 500USD for the whole package should be assumed to have half any idea of what he is getting into. Or at least be able to use a PC to get the information he needs. Like from a comment section under a buyers guide and a quick copy-paste to Google.
    Even Ryzen R5 will not be "everybody", that should be R3 and the APUs.
  • bji - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Knowing the specs of your CPU and what it is supposed to be compatible with (according to those specs) *IS* having "half any idea of what he is getting into." Having to know specific details of what problems to expect with the motherboard/memory combo you are also going to buy is the other half, and I still think it's not a good recommended buy in general if it requires this kind of expertise.

    I wouldn't recommend a new car that requires specific workarounds and fixes to get it to work properly, even if those are "well known" in the sense of being posted in auto enthusiast forums online. Just wouldn't do it, it's a degree of hassle well beyond what most people should be expected to put up with. I'd make the same determination for Ryzen CPUs at this point.

    If you're an enthusiast who is savvy enough to read and understand technical forums about motherboards and memory, then you don't really need an Anandtech article telling you what CPU you should buy. If you are just looking for guidance from a tech site like Anandtech, then that guidance should not come with the caveat that "you really should become an expert in the infrastructure surrounding this processor before you buy it".

    That's obviously my personal opinion. Anandtech clearly differs in their feelings on this as do you, which is cool too.
  • Holliday75 - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    If we are talking about people building their own computers then these issues are not that big of a deal. Sure there will be a few out there that don't bother reading, but overall its not a big deal.

    As to recommending it for the average user I do not see an issue. I doubt a system integrator will be pushing units out the door before they make sure they actually work.

    I don't care for the car analogy here as those are pre-build just like what Dell, HP and the like do and they will make sure they have the right RAM before shipping them. Non-issue.
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    If you're building your own rig, you should KNOW to get the BIOS flashed. Especially if the entire platform is new - the processors, the chipsets, the boards. If you ALSO are seeking to maximize performance on a new platform you're unfamiliar with, you should KNOW to seek guidance on memory and overclocking.

    If you're buying a prebuilt system, THAT is more akin to the "buying a new car" analogy.
  • BurntMyBacon - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    The average consumer or "everybody" target group doesn't generally build their own system to begin with. They are going to buy a prebuilt machine from an OEM like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus, et. al. These OEMs will be more than capable of sourcing memory modules to work with their mainboards and it will not take a lot of effort to write a BIOS to work at the desired speed with a very limited set of supported memory prior to release of the system.

    For those of us that build our own system, best practices suggest that you look at the mainboard's memory support list before procuring your memory. Some may come with a BIOS revision caveat. I would not consider a BIOS update procedure to be esoteric knowledge to a system builder. Likewise, failure to do due diligence on parts is likely to cause problems with more than just memory e.g. heatsinks that interfere with memory slots, VRM heatsinks, or don't mount to the socket, memory modules that run at a voltage not supported by the board/processor, video cards that require power connectors your power supply doesn't have.

    It is a negative that AMD's new platform didn't work with the existing supply of memory immediately out of the box. However, the situation is being resolved quickly and the solution should not be a significant impedance to system builders (the people this mainly affects). If you as a system builder do not know how to consult a memory support list or update a BIOS, then this is a perfect excuse to learn. Neither present a formidable challenge and both are skills that system builders should have.
  • fanofanand - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    My understanding is that the RAM issues are related to overclocking, which the 'average' consumer won't do. So no, selecting Ryzen for the masses was not a mistake. Reply
  • arayoflight - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I think just like the 1700, the 1600 will be better than 1600x since it will probably OC just as well and comes at a lower price with a wraith spire cooler included.

    6 cores 12 threads for $210 is going to blow the socks off the 7600k or any CPU in that range.
  • zepi - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Ryzens certainly look appealing for OEM machines, because the current Intels they have are much lower clocks than 7700K and don't overclock. Similarly prized Ryzen offers more cores and is much closer to per-thread perfomance parity vs. i5-7400 or i5-7500 than 7700K.

    7700K still has upper hand in many benchmarks, but the way Intel has limited their mainstream processors makes AMD quite competitive.
  • silverblue - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    The Athlon X4 860K is a Steamroller-based CPU; the closest Excavator model is the 845, isn't it? Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Yup, that's correct! The 860K is a pretty unexciting processor. As late as summer of last year, I was running one in a desktop paired up with a Geforce GT 730 1GB GDDR5 GPU. With such a low end graphics card, I was surprised to find I was CPU-limited in a few games like From the Depths (though I think it was built on Unity 4 and depended heavily on single threaded performance where the 860K is very weak) and GTA4 (when it could be bothered to run around the awful DRM Rockstar slapped on the PC version). For comparison, a Core i3-2120 and a Core2 Quad Q6600 were both GPU limited using the same graphics card. The 860K was actually supposed to be an upgrade to replace the Q6600, but the performance difference was pretty small, only slightly favoring the 860K. I was sort of disappointed.

    Don't get me wrong, we're talking about the difference between a $800 CPU in 2008 (~estimates...don't really remember the exact price or when I bought it) and a $70 CPU in 2016. You're getting a fair bit of performance for the cost if you get the 860K, but I think there are better deals to be had in spelunking for used Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chips in retired business desktops if you have the technical knowledge to cobble together something second-hand around one.
  • fanofanand - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    I bought my Q6600 for $330, the Q6700 was $500 and the big daddy QX6800 (or was it 6850?) was in the $800 range. You and I bought the far more pedestrian, and far less expensive model. I did wait for the C0 stepping to make sure I could OC it well, but I might have even paid $299 or something. Either way it definitely wasn't $800. :) Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    That's probably right. I just have no idea so I peeked at the pricing chart on and took an off the wall stab at its initial release price. I guess that speaks to the accuracy of those price charts anyhow. Thanks! Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    @ fanofanand

    I had a Q6600 'C0' too!

    I had been using DTR forever, and I skipped the dual-cores, having a single-core with HT at the time my C0 arrived - and I was simply blown away by how 'smooth' the computing experience was from a quad core. And whislt people raved (bragged?) about how dual-cores were faster / better, I couldn't help but wonder if they had ever tried a quad... I was willing to lose 3fps to have the fluid Windows experience on a quad core.

    But you are right - it was expensive, especially after the Danish customs got their hands on it. Something like $500+ for me....
  • kwerboom - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Ya, the 845 is newer, but I've seen one AnandTech review that shows that the 845's 2 MB L2 cache vs the 860K's 4 MB L2 cache affects the 845 negatively in gaming. ( Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Yeah, I read that one; I'm not sure why AMD halved the L2, unless they wanted to see how 512KB per core would affect the design, though to be fair it would've reduced power somewhat. Reply
  • LeoL - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    What is the best CPU if you need virtualization? Last time I purchased a 2600K and neglected to realize that it didn't support VT direct IO. Using VMware Workstation I couldn't make use of much of my hardware in the virtual machines. I never see this mentioned and yet it can be really important. Reply
  • Jhlot - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Almost everything from Intel Skylake+ has vt-D, check Intel Ark to be sure. Ryzen has equivalent tech in it but I did see some reports of people having a few issues with Ryzen equivalent. It is probably just bios/software that needs to mature since it is a brand new platform but if you can confirm it working for what you need it certainly is a nicer on the wallet for some workstation configs. Reply
  • fanofanand - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    This is an excellent list, and the first list in a decade that required actual thought. Well done Ian, hard to disagree with any of your opinions here. Reply
  • ToTTenTranz - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    The A10-7890K does have a decent iGPU, but it does NOT offer a performance close to a RX 460.
    At best, it offers a similar performance to a low-clocked R7 450 (Cape Verde at 1GHz). Bristol Ridge's A12 9800 is probably the only part that will achieve R7 450 performance, as long as it's paired with very fast DDR4 in theory.

    It's somewhat misleading to claim any APU nowadays can reach a performance anywhere near a RX 460.
    Desktop Raven Ridge with 16 Vega CUs may be getting there, but that's something for much later this year (assuming it doesn't slip to 2018).
  • aryonoco - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Hard to disagree with anything here.

    Good job Ian.
  • Swoonie - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    I also found this very detailed tech-spec comparison of the top Intel 1151 Socket CPUs:
    It's worth checking out if you are comparing models.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    This is basically just clock rates, prices, and official market segments. Not actually having any interesting details like virtualization or enterprise admin that I'd expect in a "very detailed" comparison. Not worth clicking, may be spam. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - link

    I looked up RX460 performance elsewhere (ahem), and it does 55 fps in Full HD at high settings in GTA V. So I'd suggest saying that APUs (anyone's) provide comparable performance is a bit disingenuous. Reply
  • hanselltc - Sunday, April 02, 2017 - link

    I am not sure about the i3-7100 part. Now that g4560 is here rocking, I don't really see this being a good choice. I'd say just leave that a blank. Don't know about that AMD part though, the only AMD CPU I got the chance to play around with is the Ryzen 7 1700. Somehow I couldn't get it over 3.8 lol. Reply
  • chatsubobar - Monday, April 24, 2017 - link

    Why is the G4600 not in the eSports category? It has decent enough integrated graphics, and could probably at least compete with an A10. Reply

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