AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Preview: Initial Thoughts with Preliminary Tests
The Ryzen Experience
Not all experiences are able to be measured. Much of that could be due to the fact that a process was never figured out, but sometimes things just feel like they’re going right, even when you can’t put your finger on a precise reason. I noticed this with the Ryzen 7 1800X when I was building the system and setting up Windows 10.
For starters, everything had a very good quality feel to it. AMD CPUs have always been a bit beefier than Intel ones, but that disparity has become more noticeable the thinner the PCB gets on newer i7s. This is a perfect example of what I mentioned earlier. A thicker, heavier CPU doesn’t mean anything, but it feels like something right is happening. Even the motherboard had a sturdier feel to it. This could be entirely coincidence, but if AMD is focusing on making their hardware affordable for their manufacturing partners, as well as consumers, then their partners may take the opportunity to add extra quality to their boards.
The PGA socket design has certainly received its fair share of praise for being the sturdier design, but I still feel like socket quality depends on both the CPU and motherboard manufacturer. Case in point, I had an AM3+ motherboard where traces would easily crack from too much cooler pressure and Intel has had plenty of LGA designs hold up just fine. That said, the AM4 socket in the Aorus felt great. It seemed a bit sturdier, but it was when I installed the Noctua NH-U12S that I felt improvements where made all around. The lid on the 1800X seemed to make perfect contact to the base of the cooler. It’s a minor detail, but one I appreciated none the less.
The BIOS was nothing short of fantastic for the X370 chipset. You might be thinking that I’m talking about the Aorus board and Gigabyte has done a great job with their BIOS design, but I’m more referring to how streamlined the settings are. It’s possible this is related to how fresh the release is, but I think it has more to do with the fact that AMD put effort into simplifying the CPU settings. As I was going through my Z270 review, I realized that there are about 8 different C-states to toggle on or off. The X370 only had a few obvious power saving features, while still lending plenty of options to control voltage in overclocking. It’s just a guess on my part since I don’t have the mind of their engineers, but I believe Ryzen is designed to sense far more settings on it’s own in order to make it easier for builders to customize the system to their particular needs, while still keeping the kind of settings hardcore enthusiast would be looking for.
Finally, installing Windows 10 was the easiest it’s ever been for me since trying to master UEFI boot. I set the OS setting to Windows 10, completely disabled the CSM setting, and merely sat back as the USB drive loaded without a hitch. I had Windows installed in around 10 minutes, which is incredible since I was using an old 500 GB 7200 RPM drive as a temporary solution before I move the system to my SSD. Once my initial setup was finished, the OS felt surprisingly smooth. Certain programs would run a bit rough, which shows that there’s bound to be some rough spots until the software world has properly adjusted to the X370 chipset, but Windows already felt most of the way there.
There’s a bit of an overview of the experience. This could mean AMD has done some great things in their CPUs and it could mean I’m imagining a bunch of stuff. Either way, it’s worth sharing and certain points will get more detailed treatment in the completed review. Let’s move on to some initial benchmarks, then we’ll wrap this impression up.