Shares of Advanced Micro Devices AMD were down more than 5.5% in late afternoon trading Thursday as the technology sector faces a minor pullback and investors remain cautious over mixed reviews of AMD’s latest processor.
AMD recently debuted the Ryzen 7, a new budget CPU that promises to offer significantly improved performance for about half the price of its closest Intel INTC competitor. AMD has always been the cheaper option of the two, but its previous line of processors was widely considered a disappointment that justified Intel’s higher price tag.
The Ryzen 7 was supposed to be the solution. AMD canned its old design and decided to use a different technique—one also used by Intel—called simultaneous multithreading. The new design also features stand-alone cores, and the CPUs are all built on a new process by the company’s spun-off fab Global Foundries.
At its debut, AMD is selling three Ryzen 7 parts: the 1800X, 1700X, and 1700. According to company-announced benchmarks, all of these parts have the ability to compete with—or even outperform—comparable Intel products.
However, a touch review from PC Gamer today has some investors reeling.
“With the huge strides in performance relative to the archaic (in CPU terms) FX-8370 Vishera chip, I expected Ryzen to achieve parity with Intel's X99 processors,” PC Gamer’s Jarred Walton said. “It gets there in the CPU-centric tests, but falls well short on gaming performance. And I don't really have a good explanation, other than the feeling I keep getting that Ryzen was pushed out the door before it was truly ready."
It is worth noting that Walton’s review does speak relatively highly of the new processor, but it does maintain disappointment from a gaming perspective. With the tech sector already having a rough day Thursday, this review was enough to send the stock sputtering.
Nevertheless, PC Gamer’s review is just one of many to take the Ryzen. In its own review, PCWorld declared that AMD “is back” and called the Ryzen 7 “arguably the most disruptive CPU we’ve seen in a long time for those who need more cores.”
PCWorld’s own testing revealed similar gaming-related criticisms as those from PC Gamer, and the publication reached out to AMD for answers on the inconsistent performance it was seeing.
“CPU benchmarking deficits to the competition in certain games at 1080p resolution can be attributed to the development and optimization of the game uniquely to Intel platforms—until now,” said AMD’s VP of Worldwide Marketing John Taylor. “With developers taking advantage of Ryzen architecture and the extra cores and threads, we expect benchmarks to only get better, and enable Ryzen to excel at next-generation gaming experiences as well.”
So if the Ryzen 7 truly is disappointing for gamers, AMD sees this as an optimization issue that will get better over time. From an investor’s perspective, AMD’s tough day shouldn’t kill all the excitement for its new product.
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