AMD Ryzen 5 1600X And 1500X Processor Review: Affordable Zen Takes On Core i5
Although it seems like it has been longer, AMD launched its Ryzen 7 family of processors based on the all-new Zen microarchitecture just a little over a month ago. Based on the level of engagement virtually all of our Ryzen-related articles have received, we have to assume all of you regulars have already seen our launched coverage of Ryzen 7. However, if you somehow missed it, it is available right here.
In our Ryzen 7 coverage, we were able to disclose a few details regarding the more mainstream targeted Ryzen 5 series of processors, but save for a few AMD provided data points, performance wasn’t one of them. Until today, that is. AMD’s Ryzen 5 series of processors should be available soon after you read this, and we’ve got the company’s top 6 and 4-core versions on the test bench, the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1500X.
Specifications & Features
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Specs
3+3 CCX config
16MB L3 cache
512K L2 cache per core
3.7GHz All-Core Boost
4.0GHz 2-Core Boost
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Specs
2+2 CCX config
16MB L3 cache
512K L2 cache per core
3.6GHz All-Core Boost
3.7GHz 2-Core Boost
Unlike the Ryzen 7 series, which consists entirely of 8-core / 16-thread processors, the Ryzen 5 family has two tiers consisting of 6-core / 12-thread and 4-core / 8-thread processors, with different base, boost, and XFR (extended frequency range) clock speeds. Ryzen 5’s features and core architecture remains the same, however. And since we’ve already covered the Zen architecture and the associated platform before, we won’t be doing so again here. Definitely check out our Ryzen 7 coverage if you want deeper technical details.
The entry-level part in the line-up is the Ryzen 5 1400. The Ryzen 5 1400 is a 4-core, 8-thread CPU with base and turbo clocks of 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz, respectively. The Ryzen 5 1500X we’ll be showing you here has the same quad-core configuration, but with base and turbo clocks of 3.5GHz and 3.7GHz. The Ryzen 5 1500X also has support for an extended XFR frequency range of up to 3.9GHz, which is +200MHz over the max, all-core turbo frequency.
Next up the stack is the Ryzen 5 1600. The 1600 is a 6-core / 12-thread processor, with 3.2GHz base and 3.6GHz boost clocks. And at the top of the stack is the Ryzen 5 1600X we will also be showing you here, which has a similar 6-core configuration, but cranks things up even further to 3.6GHz (base) / 4.0GHz (boost). With XFR, the 1600X can also boost all the way up to 4.1GHz.
AMD’s Ryzen 5 processor line-up will work with the very same AM4 platform as the higher-end Ryzen 7. While the X370 chipset was most often highlighted during the Ryzen 7 launch, AMD expects Ryzen 5 to be paired to the lower-priced B350 most often. In actuality, the two chipsets are very similar; the B350 simply has a different PCIe configuration and doesn’t offer support for multi-GPU configurations. Overclocking is still supported, however, which is ideal for tweakers on a budget, because all Ryzen 5 series processors are unlocked, just like their higher-end counterparts.
Most Ryzen 5 processors sold at retail will also include AMD Wraith coolers. The 65W Ryzen 5 1400 will ship with a Wraith Stealth, while the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600, which are also 65W processors, will include a Wraith Spire. Note, however, that these coolers do-not feature built-in RBG light rings. Only the AMD Wraith coolers included with Ryzen 7 processors have the built in lighting. And like the high-end Ryzen 7 1800X, the 95W Ryzen 5 1600X will ship without a bundled cooler. AMD figures enthusiasts are most likely going to use aftermarket coolers anyway, so the company decided against including one in the box.
AMD Ryzen 5 series processors include support for a number of additional instructions over previous generation products, as shown in the CPU-Z screen shots above. The 6-core processors have 192K of L1 data cache (32K per core), 384K of L1 instruction cache (64K per core), 3MB of L2 cache (512K per core), and 16MB of shared L3 cache. Like all other modern processors, frequencies scale up and down dynamically based on the given workload, with the Ryzen 5 1600X topping out in the 4.1GHz range for a single core and 4.0GHz on all cores. Because the Ryzen 5 1500X is a quad-core processor, it has less L1 and L2 cache, but the same 16MB of L3.
We should also note that all AMD Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 series processors actually feature the same die. And all of the processors feature two CCXes (compute complexes). With the 8-core Ryzen 7 series processors, each CCX consists of 4 cores. With 6-core Ryzen 5 processors, each CCX features 3 cores. And with the quad-core Ryzen 5 parts, there are two, dual-core CCXes inside. We point this out because there is inherent latency introduced when threads bounce between CCXes in Ryzen processors.