AMD Ryzen 3700X (Desktop) vs AMD Z1 Extreme (Ally portable)

Hands-On Experience: Ryzen 3700X Triumphs in Handbrake Encoding Over Asus ROG Ally’s Z1 Extreme CPU

While compressing some video recently, I conducted a hands-on test to compare two contenders in my personal collection: my trusty desktop PC powered by an AMD Ryzen 3700X CPU (released in 2019 almost 5 years old!), and the compact portable powerhouse, the Asus ROG Ally mini gaming system (released 2023), equipped with an AMD Z1 Extreme CPU. The battlefield chosen for this performance duel was the demanding realm of Handbrake encoding—a task that puts any CPU through its paces.

The evidence of this friendly competition between the two systems is captured in a couple of revealing screenshots. In the first image, my desktop, armed with the Ryzen 3700X, is clearly pushing the limits, showcasing a hefty 95% utilization, and operating at a speed of 3.73 GHz. This speed was notable for its steadfastness under pressure. This is a very inexpensive HP desktop with stock cooling, it was a testament to the desktop’s resilience and its ability to handle intense workloads without breaking a sweat.

Switching views to the second image, the Asus ROG Ally—a mini gaming system with aspirations of grandeur—started strong but soon faced the thermal realities of high-intensity tasks. The utilization was at 67%, and the speed had throttled down to 2.26 GHz, which was significantly lower than its base speed. This was a clear indicator of thermal throttling in action, as the system tried to balance heat and performance—a tough act that resulted in a 25% lower performance compared to my desktop.

It was fascinating to see the raw power of both systems. Initially, they were neck and neck, but the ROG Ally couldn’t maintain the sprint, leading to a performance dip when it really mattered. The drop in FPS during encoding on the ROG Ally starkly contrasted with the consistent performance of the Ryzen 3700X.

FPS varied a bit but the overall average ended up at about 20-21FPS for the HP desktop PC and 15-16FPS for the ASUS Ally.

HP Desktop, showing Avg FPS: 20.5
ASUS ROG Ally, showing Avg FPS: 15.9

This head-to-head comparison was a valuable personal exercise. It highlighted an important lesson: when it comes to prolonged, high-intensity tasks like video encoding, even the most potent mini gaming systems like the ROG Ally can find themselves at a disadvantage* against the superior thermal management and consistent performance of a desktop PC. *Granted, it is quite impressive that a system that can be held in one hand still does a decent job on such a CPU intensive task!

For those like me, who dabble in video editing or any CPU-heavy tasks, this insight is crucial. It’s not just about having a powerful processor; it’s also about how long that processor can maintain its peak performance. This little experiment of mine underscored the value of desktop PCs for sustained workloads, where they truly shine, outperforming even the (relatively) cutting edge of mini gaming systems when it comes to the marathon of performance.

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