The Core i9 Gaming Benchmarks Intel Commissioned Against AMD Are a Flat Lie [extremetech.com]
Intel — or to be precise, a company Intel hired to create a whitepaper on Core i9 gaming performance — has crossed that line. According to Forbes [forbes.com], Intel contracted with Principled Technologies to distribute a whitepaper [principledtechnologies.com] containing various claims about gaming performance between Intel's upcoming Core i9-9900K and Core i7-8700K and the AMD Threadripper 2990WX, 2950X, and Ryzen 7 2700X. With AMD having surged into competitive positioning in the past 18 months and Intel taking heat from its 10nm delays, Chipzilla has every reason to push a narrative that puts it in the driving seat of gaming. But Intel is using this whitepaper to claim that it's up to 50 percent faster than AMD in gaming based on Ashes of the Singularity in particular, and that's where the problems start. The Intel results are somewhat higher than we'd expect, but the AMD CPUs — particularly the Ryzen 7 2700X — are crippled.
There are several problems with the AMD benchmarks as run by Principled Technologies. PT was careful to document its own configuration steps on both systems, which is why we know what, precisely, the company did wrong. First, the Ryzen systems were tested without XMP enabled. XMP is the high-end memory timing standard that enthusiast kits use to hit maximum performance and Ryzen gaming performance is often tied directly to its RAM clock and sub-timings. Using substandard timing could lower Ryzen's performance by 5-15 percent. Second, all of the benchmarks in question were run using a GTX 1080 Ti and a resolution of just 1080p. If you wanted to create a report tailor-made to Ryzen's weaknesses, that's the resolution you'd use. Unfair? Not necessarily — it's the most common resolution after all. But there's a reason we include 1440p and 4K results in our resolutions comparisons for gaming, and Intel/Principled didn't do so.
Third, Principled Technologies notes that it enabled "Game Mode" in AMD's Ryzen Master utility. The implication is that it did this on both systems. This can have serious side effects on how well an AMD system benchmarks. On Threadripper, engaging Game Mode cuts the CPU core count in half and enables NUMA to allow the remaining CPU cores to schedule workloads on the cores closest to the memory controllers. On Ryzen 7, clicking Game Mode just cuts the core count in half. That's why AMD's user guide for Ryzen 7 specifically states that Game Mode is reserved principally for Threadripper and that Ryzen customers shouldn't use it [...] the 50 percent performance gain that Intel claims for itself is exactly the kind of result we'd expect if the 2700X had been crippled by having its CPU neutered.
In addition to what is mentioned above, AMD's stock Ryzen 7 2700X Wraith Prism cooler was used for the AMD system while a premium Noctua NH-U14S cooler was used for the Intel system. This could allow the system to hit higher frequencies for longer periods of time.
See also: Intel Stands Behind Controversial Tests That Favored Its CPU Over AMD's [tomshardware.com]
Previously: Intel Announces 9th Generation Desktop Processors, Including a Mainstream 8-Core CPU [soylentnews.org]