Ashes of the Singularity is well on its way to being the most controversial title for followers of the Intel-AMD-NVIDIA trio (which is pretty much all of us) and now it seems that they are also the first ones to roll out a 'Ryzen optimized' build which significantly improves gaming performance on Ryzen processors. This is something that is a hopeful sign to those who are worried about gaming performance on AMD's spanking new processors.
Ryzen processors need optimized code for every gaming title to run at full potential
The new and improved Ashes of the Singularity build was able to achieve double digit frame rate growth by using the newly optimized (for Ryzen) code. The results of publications have varied, as is the norm, but the range we have seen is in the16-28% band, depending on the preset and configuration you are using. I have taken the liberty to add a benchmark showcasing this effect taken from TomsHardware.com:
It does raise some interesting questions though. If optimization is necessary on a title to achieve Intel-like performance for Ryzen processors then it means that the underlying problem isn't being solved but is rather being worked around. This would further imply that the problem isn't something which can be fixed with a magical software patch but rather something that has to do with how AMD has implemented SMT in their new architecture.
Since the company has been using the CMT approach for the past few years, it is not surprising that we are seeing some less than perfect performance in a specific application segment. This in itself, does not mean that the problem is a defect of any kind (in terms of microarchitecture), just that it is an approach that is different enough from Intel's method that conventional gaming applications are struggling with it. Intel's long run of being the supreme leader in the field of processors has left its mark on the ecosystem, and it shows.
It also means that we should not expect indie or small time developers to take the time out to optimize their code for AMD CPUs, which could be something that might validate the Intel premium and allow it to continue without slashing prices further. Big studio devs and upcoming AAA titles however, should be able to give very comparable performance to Intel by optimizing their code for Ryzen.
That said, we can expect gaming performance on Ryzen processors to eventually achieve parity with Intel counterparts over the course of time as the industry gets friendly with the Zen architecture. It might take a few years, or it might be done before the year ends, it would be hard to say for sure without knowing details about how much time it took for Stardock and Oxide Games to optimize their build for Ryzen and level of difficulty involved.