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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processor Review

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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processor Conclusion:

Here we are at the end of Ryzen Part Deux and I have to say that, for the most part, scaling the architecture down does hit on some performance points. As you might expect, the results to show and prove that dropping the core count by 50% on the Ryzen 1500X did reduce performance in multi-threaded benchmarks by close to 50%. No real surprise there since 50% of the core count should equate to roughly 50% of the performance of a similarly clocked Ryzen processor. No real surprises are to be had either when you look at the R5 1600X. It fits that sweet spot right between the R5 1500X and R7 1700 perfectly as a six-core / 12 thread part. The IPC improvements with AMD's Ryzen architecture allow these two lower core count Ryzen 5 offerings to stay ahead of AMD's previous powerhouse, the FX 9590 that is clocked 1.1GHz higher than the R5 1500X right out of the box. The added core count of the R5 1600X pushes that performance envelope higher so that it's more competitive with the Intel product stack in our benchmarks.

When I looked at the Ryzen 7 processors, I found overclocking was possible, but each of the chips I looked at was more or less limited to all-core overclocks right around 4.0GHz. Nothing changes on the Ryzen 5 line in my opinion, as that same 4.0GHz barrier on both good air and liquid cooling was still a very hard wall to crack with voltages that a good AIO liquid cooler can handle. The boost clock speeds on each of these chips does a good job increasing performance in light load situations, but getting an all-core clock speed to stick over 4.0GHz is a challenge on both the X370 and B350 platform. However, the overclocks I was able to achieve on the R5 1600X and R5 1500X do offer a nice boost in performance. Overclocking in the BIOS is more time consuming, but ultimately more rewarding for me. However, AMD makes its own AMD Ryzen Master Overclocking Tool that anyone can use to tune up the performance of their Ryzen processor. Every motherboard partner will have their own suite of tools to tune their boards as well, so you can be sure that you have plenty of options to wring more performance out of the hardware you install.

The elephant in the room when the conversation turns to Ryzen is that 1080p gaming performance lags behind that of comparable Intel processors. The reality is that when gaming and you are not GPU limited, Ryzen is currently a lower performing processor in some, but not all, games. While delivering lower FPS in some games, you still get a very solid gaming experience. If you crank up the visual quality settings, of course, you become GPU limited, but at that point you gain some parity. Tom Clancy's The Division is an example of that parity, while Hitman really likes to see core count and clock speed to deliver FPS results commensurate with those two parameters.

Whether you use these AMD's Ryzen 5 offerings on an X370 or B350-based motherboard is up to you, but I found the ASUS B350 Prime Plus to offer a full feature set that provides all the basics you can use without throwing money out the window. It has all the ASUS features you are used to seeing from an excellent sound solution to LED effects, a red and black theme, and solid build. For $99, you cannot go wrong with the board. An X370 board is going to add features, but most folks looking at processors in the $190 to $250 range are going to be equally fiscally responsible with the board and components. That being said, the R5 1500X is going to hit the market at $189, while the R5 1600X will hit the market at $259. Minus the GPU, chassis, PSU, and disk drives, you could walk out the door with a 6C/12T R5 1600X, ASUS B350 motherboard, and 16GB of high speed memory for less than five Benjamins. Not too bad when you look at the performance metrics.

As a whole, Ryzen competes best in processor heavy benchmarks and shows a marked improvement in IPC over the previous generation. AMD currently is working to get optimizations out to address some of the early shortcomings with Ryzen (1080p Gaming Performance as one example). A new power plan has been implemented to allow the processor to have full control rather than allowing the OS to park cores, and a whole slew of BIOS optimizations are upcoming. As long as we get these optimizations out in the wild soon, the Ryzen future can only get brighter.

 

Pros:

  • Performance 
  • B350 platform
  • Single threaded performance
  • Better than FX

 

Cons:

  • Overclocking limited to 4.0GHz


 

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