PCGamer Ryzen Review Review

Lots of words but underwhelming objectiveness from PCGamer Ryzen review

Disclaimer: I have about 15 AMD and about 15 Intel CPUs. I like every one of them. The last 2 CPUs that I bought are both Intels. I already have a motherboard waiting for another Intel CPU for one of my computers.

Open letter to one of the Ryzen CPU reviewers. (And a rant about the stupidity of some gaming hardware reviews.)

Jarred, what's the problem? I mean what's your real problem with AMD?

When AMD finally released their Ryzen CPUs I went to search for some independent reviews. I read anandtech, arstechnica, 3dguru, extremetech and some others and I got a feeling that Ryzen was an excellent, very powerful CPU with OK gaming performance. Then I came across the PCGamer review. WTF?? I was stunned by the fact how negative the review was. There is something seriously wrong and it's not the Ryzen. I heard that Intel contacted the reviewers before publishing their reviews but I don't think that you were persuaded by them to make Ryzen look bad. Actually I don't believe that story much.

If I remember correctly, the initial title of the review was "Good, but not for gamers", it was very quickly changed to another one, still quite negative. So the title meant that Ryzen CPU did not run games? Or that the games were slow? Because that is not true. Ryzen CPUs run games very very fast, usually more than 2x the maximum frequency that a standard (i.e. 60 Hz) monitor can display. That is more than an average gamer needs by a large margin.

But there is obviously a new rule - that games must run at min. 200 FPS or something like that. I will get to the exact number later. The sheer stupidity of this requirement bothers me. What is the benefit of rendering frames that are discarded by the graphics subsystem because they cannot be displayed instead of using the CPU+GPU power to render more details so the graphics is closer to photorealism? Why are those CPUs that produce only 80 redundant frames per second not suitable for gaming but the CPUs producing 90 redundant frames are good for gaming? Neither the 80, nor the 90 frames will ever be sent to the monitor. This has no logic. There is no real benefit. Measuring differences at the levels like 100 FPS is just an artificial, abolutely useless benchmark, yet it seems to decide which CPUs are good for gaming and which are not. Human brain starts to see a sequence of images as a continual motion already at 24 FPS (movies). Yes, I know, 666+ Hz monitors. Give me a break. The higher above 60 Hz, the more miracle Monster Cables bullshit it is. But that's another dicussion about the stupidity of game hardware reviews and pissing contests of gamers.

Back to the Ryzen "problem" problem. It seems to me, that you expected Ryzen to fail and you are now interpreting every result as a failure. The fact is that Ryzen CPU gets high FPS on every game that you throw at it. There is no problem with its gaming performance. Actually, the only problem is, that you deliberately change what "high FPS" and "good gaming performance" means so that AMD never reaches to it in your review. If Ryzen is not good for gaming, so are all Intel i5 CPUs? Are all the new XBoxes and Playstations "not for gamers"? Because their overall gaming performance is worse than Ryzen's. There is absolutely no problem using Ryzen as a gaming CPU. There are just some CPU's that can do higher FPS (to be sent to nowhere) in certain games for less money. No problem - just for the fun of it I installed and finished DOOM 2016 at 1080p on AMD Phenom II X4 at Ultra settings. Strong GPU did all the work as it should do, smooth, excellent gameplay (good work id!). Why literally waste $329 for a new CPU?

What did you expect? What do you want? Let's face it - when AMD in cooperation with the game studios gets the game performance of Ryzen to exacly the Intel level, I guess that you will write another negative review citing Ryzen's higher price. Not for gamers again. Never will. Honestly, I think that you will never give AMD CPU a positive review.

What is underwhelming performance? What is a good performance? What is a bad performance? Can you give us some numbers? Let me guess: Not-underwhelming performance is always 3 FPS above what the current top AMD CPU does, isn't it?

And that's the point. You are just creating artificial requirements set in a way that AMD narrowly cannot satisfy. "Sorry, 752 FPS at 8K is not good for gaming. If it would be 761 FPS, because i15 888000K does 765 FPS, I'd say Ryzen 15 is a good CPU, but maybe next time! Good luck!".

Two more questions: Did you cherry pick the game benchmarks? Because on other sites I saw other games tested and Ryzen got some of them equally fast and some even faster than Intels. At 1080p. None of them in your review. Why the review does not report CPU load? In the other reviews it can be clearly seen that the CPU is underutilized, i. e. the game engine is unable to use the CPU's power.

AMD did a wonderful job. They set out to close the IPC gap and they did it. 52% IPC increase in one CPU generation, that's just crazy. That was a major problem with AMD vs. Intel CPUs. AMD solved it. They also got rid of the bad cache system and repaired the scheduler. Now they will just push the frequency up. I am not going to repeat all the stuff about comfortable Intel not advancing, high prices and lack of competition.

You pointed one of the guys puzzled by your WTF review to an older review of Broadwell-E sayng that you consider the Broadwell-E gaming performance very underwhelming and the review was negative too and ironically asked him if you should change it to a more favourable. Yes, please soften hard judgements like "Ultimately, Broadwell-E ends up being a bit of an all-in-one solution for high performance 'enthusiast' systems. If you're looking for a killer gaming system, it will more than suffice, and it will also allow you to run complex tasks like video encoding without breaking a sweat." Wow. Now that's harsh.

So are the future reviews of Intel CPUs going to be titled "Good, but in games you pay for useless computations" with a subtitle "If you buy Ryzen 5 and spend the rest on more powerful GPU you'll do much better"? Let me guess: No.

Thank you for your review, Jarred. My personal opinion is, that the quality of your review is quite underwhelming and that you are preaching to the choir of desperate gamers who recently bought overpriced Intel CPUs. You can, but I cannot ignore the huge raw power that Ryzen offers and in my case, going with 7700K that you value so high would be just plain stupid. I will buy Ryzen and I will play games on it. Sorry.


03/2017 This text is in the public domain.