the Andrew Bailey

AMD Ryzing

Has it been over 6 years since I got a new CPU? That's like getting the fastest Pentium 2 in 1998, and happily using it past 2005, as you wheeze at the kids with their fancy dual-cores. (cough Back in my day...) That's quite a gap! But the weirdest part is that I don't think I've been left that far behind.

Since a bit after I got my Sandy Bridge, I've entertained the idea of getting a processor that had more than 4 physical cores on it, and maybe with more than two memory channels. You know, Extreme Edition territory. Even though I have applications that stretch CPU power beyond that of a normal gamer, having to spend more than about $700 for a CPU and motherboard turned me off. It didn't feel worth it.

But that changed about 3 months ago, when AMD released new CPUs with a completely different architecture. I waited a while for the hype dust to settle down to look at it realisitcally. I waited to notice that the motherboards weren't exactly ready. Since my existing CPU is not the hot new marketable (explitive), it has fallen off the CPU performance charts. After enough digging, aggregate performance data suggests that the Ryzen 7 1800X is somewhat faster in single threaded performance than the i7 2600. The added cores and SMT make it a no-brainer.

A photo of the new CPU, heatsink, RAM, motherboard, SSD, and PSU.

Here's what I did:

  • Order the parts.

  • Benchmark my old stuff.

    • Panic, becuase while I wanted this, I never had an exact plan, and never scientifically benchmarked a computer before.

    • Improvise plan.

    • Install 3DMark (even the old one lying around), and Unigine Heaven.

    • Look around for some vaguely useful utilities that have built in benchmark features, and figure out what exactly the output means.

    • Plan a route in open world games to walk/run through, because those don't exactly have any reproduceable benchmark features (far as I know).

    • Benchmark all the things!

  • Observe International Backup Awareness Day.

    Because I should always be observing it, doubly so in a situation like this.

  • Out with the old, in with the new!

    • Shoot a lot of video of me putting it together.
  • Install Windows, and all the little things.

  • Run benchmarks.

  • Figure out why it crashes about 15 minutes into each one.

    • Then 5 minutes into each one.

    • Investigate a few things.

    • Not do anything useful for a day or two, to make sure you really fixed it.

  • Learn how to edit video.

    • Get a video editor.

    • Realize you're insane for thinking that you can learn it while intensely wanting to do it on a substantial video.

  • Use said knowledge to edit said video (of putting it together) on said computer.

  • Post your first ever video podcast.

One important thing to note, is that I did not get a new video card, nor did I overclock anything. That will be for another time (but don't expect video). I did not get a huge boost in game performance, but I expected that. I understood going in that this is a subtle upgrade for many things, but I will be better positioned in the future as more things get even more multithreaded.

As for the i7 it replaced, it will be powering (this very site!) before too long.

EDIT 2022: Might as well post steps to the 'install Users directory on hard drive' trick here:

  1. When prompted for region selection during installation, press CTRL + SHIFT + F3.

  2. After a reboot, on the System Preparation Tool dialog, click Cancel.

  3. Verify drive lettering: C is internal SSD, D is internal hard drive.

  4. Create directory D:\Users, and verify that it's empty.

  5. Create an unattended answers file D:\unattended.xml:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend"><settings pass="oobeSystem">
    <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" 
    publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" 
  6. Open an elevated command prompt and run:

    net stop wmpnetworksvc

    %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /unattend:D:\unattended.xml

  7. Close everything and restart.

Posted under Gaming.

You can't complain about this anymore. It's perfect!