Test Bed Setup

As per our testing policy, we take a premium category motherboard suitable for the socket, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory. With this test setup, we are using the BIOS to set the frequency using the provided straps on the GIGABYTE Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard.

Test Setup
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700, 65W, $300 MSRP,
8 Cores, 16 Threads
3.0 GHz Base, 3.7 GHz Turbo
Motherboard GIGABYTE AX370-GAMING 5
Cooling Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360
Power Supply Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200 W Gold PSU
Memory Team Group Night Hawk RGB
DDR4-3000 16-18-18
2x8 GB
1.35 V
Video Card ASUS GTX 980 STRIX
1178 MHz Base, 1279 MHz Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1 TB
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 10 Pro

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds.

Thank you to ASUS for providing us with GTX 980 Strix GPUs. At the time of release, the STRIX brand from ASUS was aimed at silent running, or to use the marketing term: '0dB Silent Gaming'. This enables the card to disable the fans when the GPU is dealing with low loads well within temperature specifications. These cards equip the GTX 980 silicon with ASUS' Direct CU II cooler and 10-phase digital VRMs, aimed at high-efficiency conversion. Along with the card, ASUS bundles GPU Tweak software for overclocking and streaming assistance.

The GTX 980 uses NVIDIA's GM204 silicon die, built upon their Maxwell architecture. This die is 5.2 billion transistors for a die size of 298 mm2, built on TMSC's 28nm process. A GTX 980 uses the full GM204 core, with 2048 CUDA Cores and 64 ROPs with a 256-bit memory bus to GDDR5. The official power rating for the GTX 980 is 165W.

The ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB (or the full name of STRIX-GTX980-DC2OC-4GD5) runs a reasonable overclock over a reference GTX 980 card, with frequencies in the range of 1178-1279 MHz. The memory runs at stock, in this case, 7010 MHz. Video outputs include three DisplayPort connectors, one HDMI 2.0 connector, and a DVI-I.

Further Reading: AnandTech's NVIDIA GTX 980 Review


Thank you to Crucial for providing us with MX300 SSDs. Crucial stepped up to the plate as our benchmark list grows larger with newer benchmarks and titles, and the 1TB MX300 units are strong performers. Based on Marvell's 88SS1074 controller and using Micron's 384Gbit 32-layer 3D TLC NAND, these are 7mm high, 2.5-inch drives rated for 92K random read IOPS and 530/510 MB/s sequential read and write speeds.

The 1TB models we are using here support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (eDrive) encryption and have a 360TB rated endurance with a three-year warranty.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Crucial MX300 (750 GB) Review

Memory Straps and Explaining Frequency vs. Data Rate CPU Performance
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  • Arbie - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    While you're at it, reinstall the spellchecker on his PC. Looks like the DRAM testing broke it.
  • lagittaja - Friday, September 29, 2017 - link

    Ian, .vodka is right about this, you should take a closer look at the sub-timings. Maybe get in touch with The Stilt?
  • .vodka - Sunday, October 1, 2017 - link

    As luck would have it, someone did an excellent piece on what this article tried to explore.


    Here's a proper look at how timings and memory speed improves Ryzen performance, on a 3.9GHz 1700x vs a 5GHz 7700k.

    He's using a Vega (much faster than a GTX 980), comparing 2666C16 auto timings, The Stilt's timings for 3200C14 and 3466C14, and 3600C16 with auto subtimings. All B-die.

    Screenshots of the results in five games: https://imgur.com/a/EapgO

    Unsurprisingly, auto subtimings are a disaster with 2666C16 and 3600C16 performing mostly the same in these five games (what you've found in your article), and Ryzen's true performance is hidden in tight subtimings that you have to manually configure and test for. The results are more than worth it.

    Please, have a look in this direction. Get a Crosshair VI Hero and some proper high speed B-die memory capable of those timing sets. Make a follow up article...

    Hopefully future Ryzen iterations will not be as reliant on fast memory to perform like that.
  • Zeed - Thursday, September 28, 2017 - link

    OO You ware faster Maybe they should test RYZEN memory kits like this one ??

    Or maybe Gskill Ryzen kit ??
  • peevee - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    "he DDR4-2600 value can certainly be characterized as the lowest number near to 45-46% FPS"

    Nonsense alert.
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    My mistake, edited the sentence one way, then changed my mind and went another route and forgot to remove the %. Updated.
  • Ken_g6 - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    And shouldn't that have been DDR4-2400?
  • Jacerie - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    Why would you only use a Nvidia gfx card in the test bed if the Infinity Fabric is designed to integrate with AMD GPUs as well. Looks like you need to go back to the bench and run these tests again with AMD gfx to get the true results.
  • Dr. Swag - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    Memory clock speed doesn't affect the IF clock speed on AMD GPUs
  • ZeDestructor - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    GPUs don't talk to the CPU using IF, only PCIe. Well, onc consumer desktop anyways - presumably AMD has some crazy IF-IF under testing internally to compete against NVLink, CAPI, OmniPath and InfiniBand

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