Buying an 8-core processor was a wallet ripping affair prior to the arrival of Ryzen. In absence of competition, the Intel Broadwell-E Core i7-6900K was ridiculously overpriced at $1,050. Intel has had to make changes to its HEDT platform by releasing the Core i7-7820X in response to the 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 1700.
However, I'm not quite sure Intel understands how competition works. Whereas AMD's solution launched with an MSRP of $330 and can be readily purchased online for as little as $290 today, Intel is still asking $600 for the i7-7820X. Worse still, the cheaper Ryzen 7 1700 can be happily paired with a $100 motherboard, while the pricier Core i7-7820X requires one that costs $220+.
Although it's clear that the R7 1700 is considerably cheaper than the Core i7-7820X, we've been wondering just how much faster Intel's solution is considering both chips have 8 cores and 16 threads. Granted, we've already run plenty of Ryzen and Core-X benchmarks here at TechSpot, so we have a pretty good idea of how these CPUs compare.
Initially this article was going to be one of those "for science" type deals where the information would have been pointless for the average consumer, but looked into something most other benchmarks don't. I wanted to see how the Skylake-X-based Core i7-7820X fared against the Broadwell-E 6900K clock-for-clock at 4GHz using the same DDR4-2666 memory.
Figuring you guys would want to see Ryzen 7 in the mix, however, I also tested the 1700 at two configurations: running at 4GHz using DDR4-2666 as well as DDR4-3200 memory. For the fullest picture possible, I then went back and re-tested the 7820X at 4.5GHz with a 3GHz mesh overclock and DDR4-3200 memory.
By this point I was heavily sleep deprived and moved on to write the half-coherent introduction you just read. Looking back, I admit things got away from me a bit here, but the good news is we have 19 graphs and 6 CPU configurations to check out, so the real fun is just about to begin.
Ryzen System Specs
Skylake-X System Specs
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Broadwell-E System Specs
Rather than start with productivity benchmarks (see page 3) we're going to skip the appetizers and head straight for the dessert on this one with gaming results, but first let me explain what's going on with all these yellow bars.
The three yellow bars at the bottom represent the Ryzen 7 1700, Core i7-6900K and Core i7-7820X all clocked at 4GHz using DDR4-2666 memory with the same primary timings. The two sets of blue bars compare the R7 1700 and i7-7820X, again at 4GHz but this time with DDR4-3200 memory. Then the golden bars at the top are showing the i7-7820X in all of it's glory at 4.5GHz using DDR4-3200 memory with the mesh interconnect overclocked to 3GHz. Each configuration was tested with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
Looking at the apples to apples results (the yellow bars) for Battlefield 1, we see that the 6900K is a few percent faster than the new 7820X in this title when all things are even, while the 7820X is 13% faster than the 1700.
What's interesting is that once we increase the R7 1700's memory speed it can roughly match the 7820X (we also saw this in our 30 game benchmark when comparing the Ryzen 5 1600 and Core i7-7800X). In fact, the increased memory speed does nothing for the Intel CPU in this game, as the 7820X is now just 2% faster when comparing minimum frame rates. Winding up Intel's 8-core CPU to 4.5GHz didn't help that much with the 7820X being only 3% faster than the humble R7 1700.
Civilization VI is a game where Ryzen has looked quite poor in the past next to Intel's quad-core offerings such as the 7700K and it's a little sluggish even to this day. That said, throw Core-X into the mix and Ryzen looks fine.
Clock-for-clock with the slower 2666 memory, Ryzen was 11% faster than the 7820X though shockingly 14% slower than the 6900K. Increasing the memory frequency to 3200 boosted the 7820X performance by a whopping 17%, though less whopping when compared to the R7 1700's almost 30% performance increase. We're only seeing a 20% boost in memory frequency here so the 2666 speed must have been imposing a serious bottleneck for Ryzen.
Overclocking the 7820X to 4.5GHz helped to extract a further 11% performance but even to it still trailed the 4GHz R7 1700 by a 9% margin. Looking back at our 30 game benchmark, Civilization VI provided the 7800X with one of its worst results against the R5 1600, so let's move on to see how things go in F1 2016.
Performance is much more competitive here. Looking at the DDR4-2666 numbers, the 6900K was actually faster the 7820X when matched clock-for-clock, and the 7820X was only 6% faster than the R7 1700 when looking at the minimum frame rate.
Upping the memory speed to 3200 once again does little to nothing for the 7820X. The gains for Ryzen weren't huge here either but it was enough for the R7 1700 to roughly match Intel's new 8-core CPU. Nonetheless, our maximum overclock on the 7820X did place it firmly in the lead at around 6% faster than the 1700.