After comparing Intel's new Core i7-7800X and AMD's Ryzen 5 1600 in productivity workloads, we're back by popular request to learn whether Intel still takes the cake when it comes to high-end gaming.

This wouldn't be a proper showdown without at least two dozen games so we've included 30 for good measure, all of which were played on the GTX 1080 Ti at 1080p. Being that there's no point in using GPU-limited scenarios to gaming performance of CPUs, we didn't feel the need to gather results for 1440p or 4K.

Both the i7-7800X and R5 1600 systems were configured with DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, however, the Intel system was equipped with 32GB whereas the Ryzen system only had 16GB. Please note that this shouldn't impact the results and for whatever it's worth, there's a reason why I've done this: I don't have a 32GB 3200MHz kit yet that works with Ryzen.

As we proceed, it's worth keeping in mind that the 7800X currently costs $415 (but has an MSRP of $390) while the 1600 is retailing for just $215, so almost half the price, not to mention that the AM4 platform also costs significantly less than Intel's LGA2066.

Ryzen System Specs
  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2 - 3.6 GHz)
  • Asrock X370 Taichi
  • 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 2TB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Skylake-X System Specs
  • Intel Core i7-7800X (3.5 - 4.0 GHz)
  • Asrock X299 Taichi
  • 32GB DDR4-3200 RAM
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 2TB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
 
Kaby Lake System Specs

World of Tanks isn’t a particularly demanding title but the idea here is to include a wide range of games. Be aware that this game is limited to 120fps and while it's possible to circumvent that cap it’s not something most people are going to bother doing or really need to do. Here the Ryzen 5 1600 had no trouble pushing the GTX 1080 Ti to the frame cap and it was even a few frames faster than the 7800X.

Grand Theft Auto V is a game that has never played well with the Ryzen CPUs. Being an older title from 2015, it pre-dates Ryzen by a few years, but the title is nonetheless demanding enough on system resources to keep in our queue of benchmarks. The overclocked R5 1600 was just 6% slower than the 7800X and that's pretty impressive given that it's also clocked 15% lower. It's also a massive improvement over the 20% margin separating the Ryzen CPU from the 7700K.

I previously benchmarked PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds at the starting area where everyone runs around waiting for the game to begin. This was a mistake for a few reasons. First, it's extremely difficult to gather reliable data here and second it's significantly more demanding than the actual gameplay because you don't typically experience this many players in such a small area when playing. I'm now testing within the game, dropping into the same location each time and then following the same path over 60 seconds for an average of three runs.

As you can see, the R5 1600 performs well in this title. It's worth noting that this release is capped at 144fps and I’m not sure if there is a work around to remove it. That said, 144fps is plenty and I can't imagine many players will be able to take advantage of more frames than that in this title. Although the game's frame rate is capped, the R5 1600 was consistently quicker than the 7800X by a small margin, delivering around 7% more frames when looking at the minimum.

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt plays well on both the 7800X and R5 1600, that said the Intel CPU was faster. This game isn't frame capped, so if the GTX 1080 Ti could deliver over 200fps using the ultra quality settings we would likely see that with a CPU such as the 7700K. Anyway the R5 1600 was 15% slower than the 7800X out of the box, however once both CPUs are overclocked that margin is reduced to just 6%, so while still slower an impressive result nonetheless for the Ryzen CPU.

Tomb Raider, Ashes of the Singularity, Far Cry, The Division

When testing with Rise of the Tomb Raider, the R5 1600 is 12% slower than the 7800X. I'm looking at the average frame rate since the minimums are identical. However, once overclocked the R5 1600 was just 1.5% slower on average but 12% faster for the minimum, so that's an interesting result indeed. Again these figures are based on a three run average and the Ryzen CPU was consistently faster for the minimum.

I have continued to test Ashes of the Singularity Escalation using the crazy preset which pretty much GPU-bottlnecked the Intel CPUs. That said, the same isn't true for the Ryzen 5 1600 as it struggled to get the most out of the GTX 1080 Ti. Overclocking certainly helped but it was still a frame or two off maxing out the GeForce graphics card.

Far Cry Primal is a funny game and it was one of the few titles that really baffled us when testing Ryzen for the first time. The performance was just so much lower than expected when compared to the 7700K and yet we found the exact same thing with the 7800X. In fact, the 7800X and R5 1600 deliver similar numbers in this title and overall their performance was decent, frame rates never dipped below 60fps so it was a smooth experience at all times.

The Division is a GPU-limited title and while the R5 1600 is slightly down on the 7800X and 7700K for the average frame, it does roughly match the minimum result. At well over 100fps, you have to wonder if the margins matter at this point -- they don't if you plan on running a graphics card equal to or slower than say a GeForce GTX 1070, anyway.

Hitman, Quantum Break, Overwatch, Doom

Hitman is a game that features a huge number of NPCs and this can be quite taxing on the CPU, which is certainly what we've seen in the past with this title. This was another instance where the 7800X fell way behind the 7700K and the same is also true for the R5 1600. That said, whereas the 1600 was 15% slower than the 7800X at the stock clock speeds, overclocking both processors reduced the margin to 0, as both allowed no less than 61fps to be rendered.

I have confession to make: I completely botched the Quantum Break benchmark results in the previous 7800X vs. 7700K coverage. I'm not sure what went wrong but for some reason I was frame capped at 53fps. I wasn't testing with v-sync enabled and to fix the game I had to delete all the config files and start over. So some strange bug there, anyway the results are now fixed and I've triple checked everything.

Here we see that at the stock clock speeds the minimum frame rate for the R5 1600 is down on the 7800X by a 13% margin. However as we have seen numerous times already, overclocking the 1600 really helps to close up the margin and now the 1600 is just 4% slower.

To test Overwatch I used my standard bot match, which is quite CPU intensive. Nonetheless, the Ryzen 5 1600 stood strong and even edged ahead of the 7800X once both CPUs were overclocked.

Doom has an obvious 200 fps frame cap and unlike the 7800X the R5 1600 had no trouble reaching in at the stock clock speeds. Not much else to say here really so let’s move on.

Warhammer, Mirror's Edge, F1 2016, Deus Ex

Total War: Warhammer has been tested out of interest sake using both the DirectX 12 and DirectX 11, the focus will be on the more modern DX12 API but as I said the DX11 results have been included purely out of interest sake. Here the R5 1600 easily beats the 7800X and when overclocked the minimum frame rate was 16% greater, the Ryzen CPU did still trail the 7700K by a decent margin as Intel’s quad-core proves to be quite the beast in this game.

Using the older DX11 API, the R5 1600 is now 22% faster than the 7800X once overclocked, the margin has opened up thanks to the GTX 1080 Ti's ability to render more frames when using DX11.

Out of the box, the Ryzen processor gets a little trampled in Mirror's Edge Catalyst as it was a rather massive 22% slower than the 7800X when comparing the minimum frame rate. Yet once overclocked, the 1600 was just 7% slower. Again though, with well over 100fps (in fact 120fps at all times), you have to wonder how important these margins really are. Nonetheless this is a win for the blue team so let's move on to see what F1 2016 has for us.

Here the R5 1600 was 19% slower than the 7800X when comparing the out of the box performance. That's a pretty big win for Intel but yet again we find that AMD is able to make up some serious ground through overclocking. At 4GHz the 1600 is now just 6% slower than the 7800X which is of course clocked at 4.7GHz.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a poor title for Ryzen, at least when paired with a GeForce graphics card. Something about the way the Nvidia drivers handle the DX12 API just doesn't agree with Ryzen.

Even once overclocked, the R5 1600 was still 19% slower than the 7800X, so this isn't a great title for the red team. The performance is hardly poor from an end-user's perspective, it's just a lot weaker when compared to the competition.

Showing you what I mean about Ryzen doing poorly with the GeForce card using DX12 in Deus Ex, I've retested using DX11. As you can see a radically different picture here and the R5 1600 is now able to match the 7800X in this title.

Battlefield 1, Mafia III, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2

Battlefield 1 is probably one of the more important titles in this list and here the R5 1600 was able to match the 7800X out of the box. We find much the same once both CPUs are overclocked as they allowed the GTX 1080 Ti to spit out no less than 160fps. So while the 7700K might be a little faster, the 1600 is certainly suitable for 144Hz gamers in this title.

Mafia III is a bit of a dodgy title and I might end up dropping it soon depending on how many of you are keen to see it remain. Initially Ryzen looked great in this title, however with each patch Ryzen's performance seems to go backwards while Intel's improves, so I'm not sure what’s up with that. At one point Ryzen was actually beating the 7700K in this title at the stock clock speeds, now it trails by a 32% margin when looking at the minimum frame rate.

Overclocked the 1600 recovers quite a bit and is now just 7% slower than the 7800X, but still those stock results are concerning and I'm a little bit suspicious as to what's going on here. Anyway, Mafia III is a poorly optimized title and there will no doubt be some better built games released soon that I can replace it with.

Gears of War 4 is another title like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that just doesn't play well with Ryzen when using a GeForce graphics card. This is a DX12 only title as well so until AMD releases a high-end GPU, this is how things are going to look. Gears of War 4 is a pretty well put-together game, but I'd love to drop it personally so I don’t have to deal with the rubbish Windows store. This is the only game I test with from the Windows store and unless there is some incredible game released in the future it will be the last game I ever buy on this horrid platform.

Titanfall 2 plays well on just about anything and as a result it doesn't actually provide us with any interesting data. That said, it's nice to see the more affordable Ryzen 6-core hanging with the more expensive CPUs in this title.

Civilization VI, Dishonored 2, Resident Evil 7

Civilization VI is a DirectX 12 title but it plays well with the Ryzen/GeForce combo and even stock they are able to clean up the Core i7-7800X. Overclocked the R5 1600 is 14% faster than the 7800X, though it is still 10% slower than the 7700K.

Dishonored 2 provides more interesting results, though they do reflect what we have seen from most of the titles tested so far. Stock the R5 1600 is 7% slower than the 7800X while quite shockingly it pulled ahead by a 9% margin once overclocked, an incredible result for the red team here.

Please note that I previously tested the 7700K and 7800X in Resident Evil 7 with a little bit of upscaling. For this test I have adjusted that scaling to 100% and now we are truly reflecting 1080p performance. For the first time we are seeing the R5 1600 fall further behind the 7800X once both CPUs are overclocked, stock the Ryzen CPU was 4% slower while overclocked it’s 6% slower. These aren't huge margins by any means but this is the first time we have seen this.

For Honor, Ghost Recon, Mass Effect, Dawn of War III

Although For Honor is mostly a GPU-bound game and all three CPUs are able to deliver around the same average frame rate, there is some variance when looking at the minimum. What's really interesting here is that the R5 1600 actually beats not just the 7800X but also the 7700K, when stock and overclocked. This is a curious result indeed, especially in a title where the CPU isn't that heavily taxed.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is another GPU-limited game for the most part. The R5 1600 and 7800X delivered similar performance and here we see that the 7700K isn't a great deal faster.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game that's played well with Ryzen since day one and that's still true after many updates. Overclocked, the R5 1600 is able to get the most out of the GTX 1080 Ti and here it matched the 7800X and 7700K.

Dawn of War III was patched sometime in July and the hotfix update completely crippled performance in this title, reducing the 1080 Ti to around 50fps. I've had to use the previous version of the game to add the Ryzen 5 results -- please don't ask how I managed to do that. The R5 1600 is able to match the 7800X in Dawn of War III, so some very competitive performance here indeed.

Watch Dogs 2, Prey, Dirt 4

It all goes a bit south for AMD when testing with Watch Dogs 2 and this title has never really been kind to the Ryzen CPUs. Here the R5 1600 was 24% slower at the stock clock speeds though that rather large margin is reduced to just 9% once both CPUs are overclocked.

Moving on, Prey isn't particularly CPU-demanding. Here the 7700K, 7800X and R5 1600 all deliver similar performance, especially once they are overclocked.

Wrapping up our 30 game shootout is Dirt 4, which runs well on the Ryzen 5 1600. At stock, the AMD processor was able to maintain more frames than the 7800X and once overclocked it was out right faster, even matching the 7700K for the minimum frame rate, so a stellar result for AMD here.

Power Consumption & The Verdict

I have to admit, this just seems wrong. I still can't get used to seeing AMD CPUs consuming less power than their Intel counterpart. It feels unnatural. Those power-hungry FX chips sat atop our power charts for so long and I'm glad we can finally move on from them.

For what seemed like a similar level of performance (we'll get to that in a moment), the R5 1600 consumed quite a lot less power compared to the 7800X. With both chips overclocked, the Ryzen system consumed 15% less power and 18% less before we did any overclocking -- a definitive win for AMD. Who predicted this at the beginning of the year? I'll admit it certainly wasn't me.

We tried to get to the point quickly on this one but there's no easy way to do that when benchmarking 30 PC games. Overall, we're impressed with the performance displayed by the Ryzen 5 1600. Granted, it was a good chip from day one but it seems like the few months of optimizations have made it even better.

Before we get to our great graph of averages, it's worth noting that after spending an extra two days confirming these results (mostly re-testing and comparing the Core i7-7700K and Ryzen 5 1600), we can say that while these chips are strangely close in performance, our figures are accurate.

Out of the box the R5 1600 is 13% slower than the more expensive 7700K. Keep in mind, there were a few GPU-limited games and even worse, a few that were frame-capped, they weren't limited to 60fps. Many had 120fps+ limits, so the Ryzen CPU was still pushing the GTX 1080 Ti hard.

Once overclocked, the $215 R5 1600 was just 9% slower than the 7700K, while it matched the $415 7800X. I'm sure you're itching to see what the overall picture looks like so we won't wait any longer.

Just looking at the 7800X and R5 1600, here are the overclocked results when comparing the minimum frame rates. As we just saw, both averaged a minimum of 103fps across the 30 games tested. We can clearly see where the R5 1600 enjoyed some wins and suffered through a few loses.

Some readers will undoubtedly declare that I'm biased towards a certain company, but if that was the case, there's no way you would see Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Gears of War 4 in this list. Meanwhile, if I were biased towards Intel, I'd drop Total War: Warhammer and Civilization IV.

It's worth noting that the number of titles won and lost are equal, and even if we were to remove some of the worst performing games for either platform, it would only skew the results slightly toward either camp, which is the beauty of testing with such a massive sample of games.

For example, if we remove AMD's worst performing title, Gears of War 4, the R5 1600 would become just 1% faster than the 7800X. Remove AMD's second worst title, Deus Ex Mankind Divided using DX12, and the R5 1600 is still just 1% faster on average.

Please note that because there was a large difference in performance between running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with DX11 and DX12 with the Ryzen CPU, I included both the results in this graph. However, I only included DX12 results for Total War: Warhammer and not the DX11 results since the R5 1600 was much faster in both tests. I favored DX12 as it's the newer API.

If you care at all about value, the Ryzen 5 1600 is clearly the way to go. This is why we recently named it the best value performance desktop CPU. It was unlikely that the Core i7-7800X was going to change that, but we hoped the performance would at least be a compelling reason to buy Intel's new six-core processor.

Ryzen will hit 4GHz with the box cooler but it will be a more mild experience with a $20 aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master 212, so keep that in mind. The 7800X on the other hand cannot be overclocked to 4.7GHz using a 240mm AIO closed loop solution. Instead, it required a $380 custom loop setup to achieve that result.

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Compared to the 7800X, the R5 1600 deliveres a similar experience once overclocked and even at stock it was just 4% slower throughout our benchmarks. It also consumes less power, costs considerably less, and comes with a better cooler out of the box. The Ryzen 5 1600 is the obvious choice for gamers.