Does Disabling SMT on a Ryzen 7 CPU Improves its Performance?

Intro

The performance of the new Ryzen 7 CPU from AMD has beed causing a lot of controversy: it is faster than its competitor in some tests, but it is slower in other ones, and several theories have been raised about the reason why. A popular theory says that disabling the SMT feature, the performance actually improves. Let’s test if is it true.

We published recently the Ryzen 7 1700X Review. It is a new CPU from AMD, based on a brand new architecture. We concluded that the Ryzen 7 1700X is faster that the Core i7-7700K in some tasks, but slower on other ones, including most games we tested.

One of the possible causes of this is the fact that the Ryzen7 uses a completely new architecture, and the available programs and games are not optimized for it. Intel’s Core architecture, on the other hand, has been in market for years, and software developers know how to optimize their products for it. So, it is a matter of time to have optimizations for Ryzen CPUs.

There was also a suspect that there was a bug on Windows 10, related to the managing of 16 threads of the Ryzen 7 processor, and so you could have a performance improvement if you disable the SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading) feature. SMT is similar to the Intel Hyper-Threading technology, making each physical core to be recognized by the operating system as two threads (logical cores).

AMD, however, denied this bug; the company considers that Windows 10 is working correctly with Ryzen 7 CPUs.

So, we decided to test this hypotesis and see if is there peformance changes. We ran several tests with SMT enabled (16 threads) and the with SMT disabled (8 threads), and compared the result. Let’s check it on the following pages.

Author: Rafael Coelho

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.

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