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.
“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.