For years and years, I've waited for AMD to return to the enthusiast CPU realm, and now that they have in the form of their new Ryzen 7 range of processors, I'm now building my new workstation and gaming PC powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor.
Up until now I had been using an Intel Core i7-6700K (at stock) and switched it out to the Ryzen 7 1800X, a new motherboard, RAM, air cooler, and OCZ's wickedly fast M.2 NVMe-based SSD.
This new PC will be my workstation that I'm creating content at - be it writing content, reading up (which I do a lot of every day), Photoshop work, emails, and everything in between. I'll also be gaming on it, with games like Mass Effect Andromeda, Overwatch, H1Z1: King of the Kill, and a bunch of other games - and of course, benchmarks.
I reached out to our friends at AMD who provided the Ryzen 7 1800X processor, ASUS Crosshair XI Hero motherboard, 16GB kit of Corsair DDR4-3000MHz RAM, and Noctua cooler. Corsair provided us with the AX1500i PSU a while back, and OCZ stepped up to the plate in a massive way with some major help in super-fast RD400 series M.2 NVMe-based SSDs that can push 2.6GB/sec reads.
NVIDIA recently sent me the new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, so of course, that was the GPU of choice for my new workstation/gaming PC build.
CPU & Motherboard
I chose to build the most tactful system I could, keeping everything simple - yet powerful. The choice of the Ryzen 7 1800X gives me 8C/16T of CPU performance, mixed with 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - and an insanely fast 1TB OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD, and we've got an amazing PC. All of it air cooled, too.
Housing the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor is the well equipped ASUS Crosshair XI Hero motherboard, with some slick styling at the top of the board near the Socket 1311 - just 26 more pins and we could've had 1337 pins, AMD.
The bottom of the board looks great, with a tease of that OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe SSD at the bottom.
RAM & Storage
AMD sent us over a 16GB kit of Corsair's Vengeance LPX 3000MHz DDR4 RAM, a low-profile kit to boot.
As you can see, the new RAM looks slick in the machine.
OCZ were kind enough to send us a bunch of their M.2 NVMe-based SSDs, where I've used the fast 1TB RD400 M.2 NVMe model which is capable of a blistering 2600MB/sec read, and up to 1600MB/sec writes (2.6GB/sec and 1.6GB/sec, respectively).
2.6GB/sec reads, and I could fit 10 in my hand.
Super small, yet super powerful - the 1TB OCZ RD400.
Graphics Card & What's Next
Building a new super-powered workstation/gaming PC right now? The only graphics card worthy of the Ryzen 7 1800X is NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. That is until the AIB partners push out their custom GTX 1080 Ti cards, then I'll replace the Founders Edition out with an even faster, cooler card.
NVIDIA did some great design work on the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition.
Right now I've got the PC running into two displays: on the left, I have ViewSonic's awesome 27-inch 2560x1440 @ 165Hz display, while on the right I have an Acer 34-inch 3440x1440 @ 60Hz UltraWide display. It's the perfect mix of gaming and workstation use, with the 1440p 165Hz display used for gaming - while the 3440x1440 and its beautiful 21:9 aspect ratio is great for productivity.
Now that I'm nearly done with the entire setup of the R7 1800X + GTX 1080 Ti rig, I can get into some benchmarking and begin testing it against my precious 6700K build. What do I expect in terms of performance? Slightly less gaming performance, but close to 100% more performance in multi-threaded applications and everyday use when throwing a million tasks at it - like 4K video, Photoshop, and having 50+ tabs open in my web browser.
Ryzen has been up to the challenge so far, and I'm beyond impressed with the thermal performance of the air cooler for now - sitting at between 60C idle, and hitting 82C max under 100% load so far. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, on the other hand, lets me play pretty much every game on the market at 3440x1440 @ 60FPS+ or 2560x1440 @ 100FPS+ with mostly Ultra detail, and with some tweaks I can hit 165FPS in some games.
The 1TB OCZ RD400 is insanely fast, with 2.6GB/sec read speeds - and its M.2 form factor is amazing. I have unbelievable performance, in a tiny package - without using any of the SATA ports on the motherboard. Once you've shifted into the M.2 NVMe world, you'll never leave - trust me.
The future's looking bright, and for the first time in 5+ years, I'm excited and proud to be running an AMD-based system.