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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processor Review

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Category: CPU's
Price: AMD Ryzen 5 1600X $249, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X $189
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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processor Introduction:

By taking the clean slate approach, AMD took the steps needed to get competitive with Intel when you look at CPU performance. In our Ryzen 7 launch review, I saw that AMD had indeed made strides towards improving IPC over its Bulldozer architecture. If you look at the multi-threaded tests, you can see that core count really is king when it comes to multi-threaded workloads. In this respect, AMD did well with the design. Looking at the single or lightly threaded workloads, the picture is not as rosy until you run tests at identical clock speeds, where you see a more comparative performance when compared to Intel. However, in this type of workload, clock speed and IPC are king.

Overall, the processors were a breath of fresh air from a stagnant AMD. The other weak point that was pointed out was the less than expected 1080p gaming performance. You can look at those results two ways as both a positive and a comparative negative. What I saw in my testing was that using real world settings, you could see a large or small gap between AMD and Intel depending on the game you are playing. As a positive, AMD's Ryzen 7 did perform well against both Intel and AMD's own Bulldozer chips when not GPU limited.

Today, we can show you the results of OCC's testing of the latest Ryzen processors in AMD's product stack, the six-core R5 1600X and four-core R5 1500X. Both of these chips are fully unlocked for the enthusiast and gamer, and come priced to sell. Now that we have the mainstream chips in hand, it will be interesting to see an even closer comparison to the Bulldozer FX series chips with the 6C/12T R5 1600X and 4C/8T R5 1500X. Based on the kind of single core and lightly threaded performance I saw on the Ryzen 7 launch, there should be no surprises on that front. The key for me is what kind of multi-threaded comparative performance will they deliver? Let's find out.

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processor Closer Look:

Where we saw a nice custom made walnut case with the launch of the R7 series, AMD stepped it back a little for this launch. A little less splash, but no less effective. The front of the package features the AMD and Ryzen logos in grey against a black back drop for effect. Inside were the contents of the review kit that included a pair of Summit Ridge R5  processors: the R5 1600X and R5 1500X. Both of these are factory unlocked processors of the four and six-core variety. Since this launch is targeted against the largest CPU user base, AMD included a premium B350 chipset motherboard from ASUS, a 16GB kit of 3200MHz CAS 16 memory from Geil, and one each of AMD's premium Wraith Max and Wraith Spire CPU coolers to keep the silicon cool.

 

 

For this launch, I will be looking at two new processor SKU's from AMD. These are part of the Ryzen 5 lineup built to tackle the mainstream user base. I will be looking at the R5 1600X and the R5 1500X. Comparing the retail boxes for the two SKU's, you notice that one is larger than the other. The reason for this is that the 4C/8T R5 1500X comes from the factory witth the Wraith Spire CPU cooler as part of the package. The 6C/12T R5 1600X and higher processors do not come with a CPU cooler, so you can manage that spending and choose to go with an AIO or a high-end air cooler like the Noctua NH-U12S. The Wraith Stealth and Wraith Spire are over-the-counter options for the end user, while the Wraith Max is a special item for system builders. These retail boxes are what you should expect to see when your processor shows up. This bright packaging easily stands out in a display case at your local retailer. The processors still come in a plastic clamshell held in a small black box with a case stcker included as part of the deal.

Where we saw the R7 launch back just over a month ago, we now get to the bread and butter chips that will be doing the heavy lifting for AMD.

 

 

 

The Ryzen 7 1800X, Ryzen 7 1700X, and Ryzen 7 1700 are the upper end processors for the enthusiast and prosumer, and come with a price tag associated with that designation. Today we get to take a look at the processors that the bulk of the user base will find more palatable on a cost basis. The Ryzen 5 1600X  and Ryzen 5 1500X are built to work in AMD's new AM4 1331 pin socket motherboards. Whereas the R7 chips were all eight-core / 16 thread processors, the R5 series shrinks up the core count while keeping some core clock speed consistency with the R7 SKU's.

First up is the Ryzen 5 1600X. This chips sits at the top of the Ryzen 5 product stack. It is a six-core / 12 thread processor that mirrors the speeds of the R7 1800X, sporting a base clock of 3.6GHz, an all-core boost clock speed of 3.7GHz, and a two core boost speed of 4GHz. As an "X" processor, the R5 1600X gets the benifit of XFR (Extended Frequency Range) that boosts the clock speed up another 100MHz to 4.1GHz when you have additional thermal headroom. The R5 1500X sees the core count further reduced to four physical cores running eight threads. The base core clock speed on this model is 3.5GHz with an all-core boost clock speed of  3.6GHz and a two core boost speed of 3.7GHz. This processor also supports XFR with a boost frequency as high as 3.9GHz, again when you have the thermal headroom.  Each of these chips feature a 16MB L3 cache with 512KB of L2 cache per core. The R5 1600X is a 95W TDP part like the R7 1800X and R7 1700X, while the Ryzen 5 1500X is a 65 watt TDP part along the same lines as the R7 1700.

 Visually, the two processors look identical to each other as far as the pin count and layout are concerned. Each of the processor heat shields are laser etched with the Ryzen logo and have the SKU specific information, much like I saw when I looked at the R7 lineup. So not a lot changes here.     

 

 

Cooler options are as broad as the day is long for the Ryzen line up. Two coolers that we were sent with this review package were the Wraith Max and the Wraith Spire, which was included in the reatail box for the R5 1500X. When you look at the coolers, OEM just screams out, but AMD has done its homework. And you get a bit of bling to boot. Looking at the coolers, it's clear to see which one is the more capable part. The Wraith Spire is on the left and is an aluminum block with a copper contact plate that attaches with spring loaded screws instead of the standard AMD double hook that has been in use for quite some time. This should provide a more consistent, easier to achieve mount for the end user.

The Wraith Max is the heavy hitter here. Short of a high-end air cooler, it is a big step forward from the Wraith Spire. It uses a copper contact plate with four 6mm copper heat pipes to carry the thermal load to the aluminum fin array. Thermal compound is pre-applied and installation is as challenging as usual with the two hook attachment method. The bling factor comes into play as both of these coolers feature an RGB LED around the circumference of the fan blades. This RGB LED can be controlled via the motherboard or on its own.  

 

 

AMD's AM4 platform consists of a bifurcated 1331 pin socket that is a combination of the AM3+ and FM2 socket. Therefore we see a slightly higher pin count and spacing between the cooling solution mounting screws and clip style brackets. Five new chipsets with varying capabilities are available for Ryzen processors. The X370 chipset is the high-end enthusiast/prosumer part, while the B350 is more along the mainstream line. Each of two fully unlocked parts that are built for the enthusiast and mainstream markets. Whereas I used an X370 board to test the R7 processors, I will be testing the R5 1600X and R5 1500X in a B350 part to show off the capabilities of the chipset and see how it performs by comparison. As you move through chipsets, you do lose capabilities and hardware from fewer native USB ports, PCIe lanes, and the ability to run multi-GPU solutions.

 

 

All of the major partners will have boards available for the enthusiast using the B350 chipset. Included in the review kit for this launch was ASUS' premium B350 offering, and for a mid-range board it's feature rich. You get ASUS 5x protection package, excellent UEFI BIOS, premium sound and connectivity, ESD guards, LAN guard protection, ASUS Digi+VRM, and so much more. Packed full of hardware, it does look ready to go!

 

 

So we saw what the strengths and the weaknesses were on the R7 series on the last go round! Lets see if AMD took the feedback from the masses and stepped it up a bit for this launch.




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