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Why the upgrade?:

Let me start by saying, I have been an Intel fan for a long time. Generally, their products have been great for the freelance work I do at home, and so I haven’t had a real reason to change. Until now. Enter the Ryzen 1800x.

Every year I do some sort of upgrade to my pc, to stay up to day and keep things rolling. Last year was the NVidia 980Ti. This year I decided my upgrade would be a new processor, motherboard and memory upgrade. I started this task as I usually do, with research. I looked at many benchmark sites. Asked questions of the IT department people at work, and so on. I also pinged a friend of mine who works for AMD, Don Woligroski. He mentioned that AMD had just released a new, high-end processor unlike anything they have had in the past: Ryzen. The Ryzen 7 1800X is an 8 core, 16-thread processor. I checked out the benchmarks, watched YouTube videos, talked with people and compared prices and specs. It took me 3-4 weeks to decide but finally I picked one up along with an MSI x370 SLI Plus motherboard, a giant Core Frozr L cooler, as well as 32GB of pc3000 DDR4 RAM.

Now, I don’t want to get into tech specs. I will link a few helpful sites below for people to dig into for all of that. What I mainly want to do here is explain how the install was, and how my first month using it for contract work has been.



It took me about an hour to do, mostly because the assembly instructions for the MSI Core Frozr were a bit confusing;  I accidentally totally disassembled it, and had to put it back together after watching some YouTube videos on it. It’s a great cooler but be aware, the instructions aren’t amazing, just watch the installation videos for it, they’re way better. Other than that, it was a piece of cake.  The PC took a few minutes to boot the first time, and of course, I played with the various overclocking tools for fun. Refer to the various YouTube videos for that kind of stuff. Ultimately, I ended up just leaving everything at stock clocks.


The first month:

It turned out that as soon as I got my rug up and running I had some intense Mantra rendering inside Houdini to do so I immediately put the Ryzen to work. What I noticed right off in Houdini was how much easier it is to work on various particles. I also noticed inside Fusion 360 that it seemed to be much peppier even when using projects with a super long design history. I also was able to open 5 million polygon models in Maya. My old core i7 could not do that without crashing. All of this sounds great but here is the funny thing; I did all of those things AT THE SAME TIME. The Ryzen’s power isn’t just its ability to complete a single task quickly. Yes, its pretty good at that, but its real strength is being able to do tons of those things all at once. Consequently, I am able to kick off renders, assign some of the cores to do that work, and at the same time  use other cores for Maya, or Fusion, or Substance, or whatever else I want to work on. It’s like having two or three Core i7 computers at my desk.


Because of this newfound super power, I realized I need more monitors. So I ended up buying a 34” ultra-wide display to go with my 30” widescreen. Now I can run at least two 3d software packages at a time while working. The funny thing is, my bottleneck might just be my more or less brand new video card now…. Thanks a lot AMD!

Final word:

If you’re a digital artist who needs to do renders, the Ryzen processor is definitely for you. The sbility to process complex multi-hour renders and continue to work at the same time without a hiccup is amazing. And if you are a gamer, Ryzen won’t disappoint. It’s blazing fast. It’s probably overkill. The Core i7 has a strong gaming reputation, but Ryzen has never disappointed me..And as games advance and take advantage of  more cores, Ryzen keeps getting better.  

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