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Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V can still put the hurt on CPUs as well as graphics cards, so we ran through our usual test run with the game's settings turned all the way up at 1920x1080. Unlike most of the games we've tested so far, GTA V favors a single thread or two heavily, and there's no way around it with Vulkan or DirectX 12. In that way, it's a perfect test of whether a CPU can keep the graphics card fed.

Noticing a pattern yet? While the Ryzen CPUs deliver a fine 99th-percentile frame time, they just can't match the higher average frame rates that the Core i7-6700K and Core i7-7700K can produce. In fact, considering the weird wall that the Ryzen 7 1800X hits with its 99th-percentile frame time, we have to wonder if there's not a memory bandwidth issue in play.

As expected, the FX-8370 is the only CPU that can't keep out of the past-16.7-ms doldrums. We're more interested in what happens past the 8.3-ms mark with these systems, and the Core i7-7700K is good for keeping the GPU waiting for less than half the time at that threshold than the Ryzen 7 1800X is. The Ryzen 7 1700X and the Ryzen 7 1700 both keep the Core i7-3770K company toward the back of the pack.

So what are we to make of Ryzen as a gaming chip? Give one enough threads, as a couple of our benchmark titles do, and a Ryzen CPU can be a fine, if not exceptional performer. Most games still don't take advantage of n threads, however, and in situations like GTA V, lower-end Ryzens can't keep our GTX 1080 fed any better than 2012's Core i7-3770K. Let's get into some non-gaming tests and see why that might be.