The first AMD Ryzen gaming performance patch is here… for a title almost no-one plays

AMD's Ryzen gets its first gaming performance boost

AMD, Stardock and Oxide have today announced a new patch for Ashes of the Singularity which boosts performance with a Ryzen 7 CPU by up to 30%. That’s an impressive performance boost just from a game patch, but the big question is: will that performance boost will repeated and repeatable elsewhere?

And also… will these performance boosts help Ryzen into our guide to the best CPUs for gaming?

“Unleashing the full high-performance value proposition of the ‘Zen’ core and AMD Ryzen CPUs requires close collaboration with software, hardware, and game developers. The results Stardock and Oxide have achieved show impressive gains,” said AMD’s Jim Anderson. “We’re very pleased with the results, not just because of the statement it makes about incredible AMD Ryzen performance headroom, but more importantly what it means for fans of ‘Ashes’ – a state-of-the art implementation of DirectX 12 in a real-time strategy game.”

AMD's Ryzen 7 processors have a huge amount of multi-threading potential because of the combination of eight physical cores using the simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) tech stretching out to 16 logical cores. Unfortunately Ryzen's single-core performance is still behind Intel’s established Core architecture, hence the need for additional performance patches to try and shore up that gaming difference.

By utilising the capabilities of the DirectX 12 API, and Oxide’s bespoke Nitrous Engine, to leverage the multicore potential of AMD’s Ryzen they’ve managed to squeeze an impressive amount of extra juice from the Ryzen silicon.

AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel comparison

 “As good as AMD Ryzen is right now – and it’s remarkably fast – we’ve already seen that we can tweak games like ‘Ashes of the Singularity’ to take even more advantage of its impressive core count and processing power,” said Stardock’s Brad Wardell.

What does worry me about these statements though is that Jim Anderson himself says getting Ryzen optimised for gaming requires close collaboration with developers. With Ryzen chips making up so little of the gaming market it’s going to be tough for AMD to encourage them to make the extra effort it will take to optimise their DX12 games for the new processing architecture. They're going to need to considerably increase their market share for that to happen and that will take a while.

If all it takes is a couple of lines of code though that wouldn't really be an issue. But given the AotS patch has come out almost a month after the launch of the CPUs themselves, from a developer who worked extensively with AMD to get their Nitrous engine set up as a poster-child for the nominally-extinct Mantle API, I kinda doubt it’s really that simple a fix on the dev side.

It’s also telling the first patch has come for a year-old game that, according to SteamCharts, only averaged 18 concurrent players over the last month. It’s not like we’re getting a performance patch for Rainbow Six: Siege or Civ VI, whose concurrent player stats run into the tens of thousands, is it?

AMD does though say Stardock and Oxide are “premier participants in the AMD Ryzen game development program that spans numerous significant game development houses and titles,” and we know they’re also working with Bethesda on future titles.

But whether we’ll see this sort of performance improvement on other popular, existing titles is difficult to say. I wouldn’t expect to see too many more, but it does make us more positive about the potential for Ryzen's gaming chops in future titles.

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ThatThereTim avatarDave James avatarAnakhoresis avatar
ThatThereTim Avatar
20
3 Weeks ago

"for a title almost no-one plays" ...such a Negatron. Be an Optimist Prime instead.

3
Dave James Avatar
262
3 Weeks ago

They had a maximum of 52 players at once in March. I think it's kind of a fair point :)

But I will try and be more positive... it's tough though.

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
499
3 Weeks ago

While it's unfortunate, it's hardly surprising. AMD doesn't have the resources to be able to compete on pure single thread speed (IPC) with Intel, and regardless of the high core count it's still an entirely new architecture, even Intel's (completely) new architectures have had to get optimisations.

And it's quite impressive to see what they pulled out, though the question is whether it's due to better handling of threading, or just optimising for the architecture. However it is pretty disappointing that their 4 core Ryzen 5 offering really doesn't offer much in the way of an advantage of higher frequencies. The 1500X will have a base clock of 3.5, and boost of 3.7. That's less than the 6 core and 8 core offerings, seems to buck conventional wisdom.

2
Dave James Avatar
262
3 Weeks ago

They do have a Ryzen 5, the 1600X, with the same clocks as the 1800X though, but I don't think they could guarantee any higher clocks on a release chip at this point.

2
Anakhoresis Avatar
499
3 Weeks ago

True, but I was specifically referring to 4 core chips. I was hoping that with the lower core count, they might be able to crank up the clocks and produce a chip that, at least for general gaming, would be exceptionally competitive with the i7-7700k, while being around half the price. That would be lovely.

1
Dave James Avatar
262
3 Weeks ago

Sorry yes, I misread your comment. It would indeed be lovely, but I'm not sure if the cores are able to clock that high, even with just 4 of em.

1