The Wind Ryzens

I wanted to make some comments about some things I’ve been reading about AMD’s latest “game changer”, the Ryzen CPUs. I also wanted to provide some of my own profound insight.

Looks like another flop, the gaming performance is sub-par

One can’t argue with facts, and the fact is, you can get an Intel CPU that will outperform Ryzen currently for less money currently. Okay, what do the two bolded currently’s mean? Many reviewers were surprised by the fact that Ryzen underperformed in gaming because Ryzen performance in benchmarking applications was stellar. So why the big gap? My understanding indicates that this gap is due to a decade of games being tuned specifically to run on Intel processors. I have no cause to disagree with that conclusion. For the second currently, I will talk about that later.

AMD asked reviewers to benchmark games at 4K?

Seems like some pretty shady crap dude, doesn’t it? Yep, it does. But wait, what exactly does this mean anyway? Simply put, at 4K resolutions, the GPU will most likely cause the bottlenecking, not the CPU. So, to benchmark a CPU at such a high resolution doesn’t indicate anything about the CPU, but the GPU. In essence, this means the test results are largely worthless. Also, leading up to Ryzen’s release, there was the infamous review blackout, where reviews couldn’t legally be released until after the launch of Ryzen. Normally this indicates some defective product. So, what’s the deal with all that? I think most people in the world are, and this is unleashing the inner narcissist in me, not very intelligent and also short-sighted. I myself am often short-sighted. Instead of anticipating, and planning for the future, people tend to only live in the now. I think AMD knew full well that if their potential customers became aware of the current issues Ryzen is facing, they would lose out on a lot of business. So, AMD decided to hide the downfalls of Ryzen, which in my opinion was a bad decision on AMD’s part. It may have increased sales, but I don’t think there is anything as important as company credibility. Of course, this is coming from someone who takes great pride in their work, and I don’t have my own company with a board of directors screaming at me to get stock prices up and so on. Also, I don’t think the “poor” gaming performance of Ryzen makes it a lemon, because as it turns out, it’s performance is acceptable, and the only time people would use the term “poor” to describe its gaming potential is in comparing it to the best gaming processors Intel has to offer. To state what have been alluding clearly, I believe the decision to not get a Ryzen due to it’s current “lackluster” gaming performance is short-sighted. So, let’s talk about that.

Why is a Ryzen still worth the money for gaming?

  1. With DirectX 12, I believe it will be easier for developers to make games that are more efficient with making use of multiple CPU cores. Even if they aren’t, multi-threaded applications are the future. You won’t see a CPU clocked much higher than, say 5GHz anytime in the near future. So, if video games can’t figure out how to make better use of multiple CPU cores, then they’re going to face quite the CPU bottleneck.

  2. AMD has managed to get several major developers on board with optimizing their games for Ryzen. The biggest one that comes to mind is Bethesda. With widespread developer support, I truly believe that Ryzen’s first week will be it’s worst week, and frankly, that first week wasn’t so bad in my opinion.

  3. With Intel CPUs, you either get a great production CPU or a great gaming CPU, but not both. Ryzen is on par with the best production CPU Intel has to offer. In gaming, the difference is significant, but not overwhelming, like it was with bulldozer. To be frank, I’m shocked that the chief criticism of Ryzen seems to be, “We don’t like it because it’s not the best at everything.” Granted, I think most reviews are tailored specifically to gamers. So their only concern is gaming performance, and they couldn’t care less about production.

So, why do I think you should get a Ryzen? I think you should do your research and get whatever it is you want to get. I will tell you why I myself went with Ryzen. DirectX 12 will make games more multi-core friendly. AMD has the support of key developers. Intel CPUs are only good at either production or gaming, and I desired a CPU that excelled at both. Furthermore, I support AMD because they are not Intel. Wait what?

Intel dropped their prices, so looks like AMD is boned

This is the section where things take a pure business turn. One of the primary arguments for capitalism is that the best products will triumph. This is fundamentally false in a truly free market. Before I continue, I want to state for the record that I am not saying capitalism is evil and so on. I am simply making educated observations. So, let’s say we’re talking about the bread market. Somebody 20 years ago started making some excellent bread, and after a time, turned it into a very profitable business, especially with no real competition. If you wanted good bread, you go to these people, end of story. Then, 20 years later, another company sprouts up that offers even BETTER bread. Realizing that two bread companies mean less profit, the original bread makers decide something must be done. Having slightly less than 20 years of profitable bread making lining their bank accounts, bread company one has many options of things they could do. For example, they could simply give their bread away for free, and simply eat the loss. I mean, the second bread company’s bread is better, but free is free. After taking a year or two of terrible losses, the second bread company is simply out of money, and goes under. At which point it’s business as usual for the original bread company, or perhaps they will inflate their prices a little to make up for the lost revenue. That, to me, is the reality of capitalism. Particularly in American society, having a fat bank account is not only freedom, but it’s power as well.

Unrelated, but something that has been on my mind

A YouTube channel I like to watch, called H3H3 productions, is being sued by someone, the reason behind it is unimportant. The important thing is, one of the channel’s creators, Ethan, said something along the lines that due to the overwhelming cost of the procedure, he couldn’t imagine how ordinary people could possibly stand a chance in the American justice system. And I wholeheartedly believe that. Unfortunately, the reality is many lawsuits boil down to whichever side runs out of money first, loses. I’m not talking criminal procedures here or what have you. I’m talking the really abstract crap like, such and such a person said this, which caused me emotional damage. Since the very nature of the case is totally subjective, neither side can really prove anything. Sometimes, these apparently trivial cases can have dire consequences. In the legal system, setting any kind of precedent paves the way for cases of a similar sort. Which, being a computer scientist, not an attorney, is somewhat baffling to me. My best guess is that judges must all be lazy, and not wanting to think for themselves would rather rely on the conclusions somebody else came up with. If I were a judge and an attorney presented a past case that was similar, I would say something along the lines of, that was a great story, but last I checked, this is not that case. I couldn’t care less what some other bone head decided to do, as a being capable of reasoning, I will come to my own conclusions.

Okay so hold up. What does ANY of this have to do with AMD and Intel? My point is, I think Intel with their larger bank account could have their way with AMD if they wanted to. I’m sure there are legal restrictions in place (anyone who believes American capitalism is a truly laissez-faire free market is an idiot. If it were, you would have the Bell telephone company, and that’s it. And Rockefeller Standard oil, and that’s it. And so on and so forth.), but Intel can afford to lose a lot of money. AMD can’t. Which means, AMD is on precarious grounds, even if Ryzen proved to be a huge success. Hence, right before the release of Ryzen, Intel dropped prices on their latest and greatest CPUs. Some have attributed this to the pending release of Intel’s latest line of processors, but I don’t buy it. I believe it was a direct response to Ryzen. Therefore, to people like me, getting a Ryzen is more than simply getting a great CPU. It’s about controlling the price of processors so that Intel is the only manufacturer of desktop CPUs which means they can charge us however much they legally can.

Okay hold the freak up. Isn’t all of this an over-simplification and exaggeration of how all this stuff works? First off, I never exaggerate. But when I do, it’s to make a simple point without diving down rabbit holes. As I have said, the reality of the so-called “free-market” is complicated. I only have a superficial understanding of it. But, as far as I am aware, what I said seems logical to me. If you are aware of information to the contrary, by all means, leave me a comment. But, I should give you full disclosure now and let you know that I am never wrong. The only time people have been confused by what I say is when I occasionally present, shall we call them alternative facts?

What do I think about Ryzen?

My bottom line is, I think Ryzen is amazing. I think that it is a huge step forward for AMD, and they’ve created something that has a future, not the stillborn child that was bulldozer. And frankly, I could hardly be more optimistic for Ryzen. From what I have gathered, it seems like most people tend to agree with me.

03/08 UPDATE: Final Thoughts

I wanted to point out that apparently the only people who anticipated that Ryzen was going to sell like gangbusters was AMD themselves. Ironically enough, the major challenge for most people is getting the peripherals needed to support the CPU itself. I am lucky enough to have my motherboard arrive today. My cooling bracket on the other hand, will arrive at an unknown date. Most likely I’ll just zip-tie the stupid thing down and call it good. Hopefully this doesn’t significantly impact the reception of Ryzen.

03/09 UPDATE: …

Well, my motherboard arrived yesterday. I zip-tied the cooler to the CPU just to try the system out. Unfortunately, I get the dreaded 00 code on Dr. Debug. So, I believe either my CPU was DOA or my motherboard was DOA. To add to my Ryzen debacle, it looks like I get the distinct privilege of having to RMA something. Not looking forward to that. Oh and, it looks like I won’t be getting this thing put together before spring break but oh well. Corsair so far have been the slowest people to get their act together. Still no word on when the cooling bracket will ship. I’ve heard they will ship at the end of this week, but we’ll see. I have to admit, I’d be a little peeved if I were AMD. So far, the only thing that shines about Ryzen’s launch is Ryzen itself. There are no motherboards to actually stick the things in. The necessary cooling brackets are MIA, and Windows 10 doesn’t work very well with Ryzen. Recall that Microsoft is practically forcing everyone to upgrade to 10. Oddly enough, Ryzen doesn’t have scheduling issues on Windows 7.

All in all, I think this has been a rocky launch for Ryzen. The funny thing is, it seems like rocky launches are becoming the norm for just about everything in the technology industry. I remember when FFXIV launched and no one could log in. The excuse? The launch was bigger than expected. When No Man’s Sky launched? Same excuse, wow this was bigger than we thought. Ryzen motherboard manufacturers? Wow, this was bigger than expected. Same excuse for the cooling brackets. Not sure what Microsoft’s excuse is for their scheduler issues. For that matter, I recall fondly the days of Destiny and thinking, “I honestly am not sure if any of the Destiny devs even turned the game on before launch”. Destiny’s issues were so glaring that they were almost equivalent to, “Whoops this car was supposed to be red, but it’s blue.” Like, did you not even look at the flipping thing?? We’re not talking code buried 10 feet deep somewhere. It seems like they should have been prepared. I can’t help but imagine what Tesla would have said if they released their cars in a barely tested state. “Whoops, it turns out we really didn’t test our auto-pilot software, so we’re really sorry for the 10 or so deaths we’ve caused!” (To my knowledge only one person has died).

Anyway, I guess the point of the rambling is I don’t understand why the concept of having a smooth launch seems to be a thing of the past.

8/25/2017 Update

Having had the Ryzen for about half a year, the only thing I wish to add is that I’ve had the wonkiest time overclocking that thing. I can get it up to 4.0Ghz, but it makes my system act nuts. Like, when I shut it down it resets. Also, I haven’t been able to overclock my RAM to anything above 2400Mhz, even though it is rated for 3000Mhz. I really don’t mind too much though, this thing is great!

Also, between the shenanigans going on with the Vega GPUs and the imminent release of the 8th generation Intel processors, I’d say the future of AMD is looking dicey. Perhaps if worst comes to worst and AMD tanks, we can sue Intel for anti-trust violations or something.