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AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Review: Intel's Core i5 Lineup is Obsolete Now

Author: HP   Date:


AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs

The release of the Ryzen 7 processors has undoubtedly been a huge success for AMD. We have already covered the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 and AMD Ryzen 7 1700X in-depth and we were blown away by their excellent price-to-performance ratio. AMD has definitely shaken up the market with its Ryzen 7 line-up and has put some serious pressure on Intel.

Today, we will be looking at the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1500X processors which retail for $249 USD and $189 USD, respectively. The Ryzen 5 series takes aim at the mainstream PC market while the Ryzen 3 series which will be released later this year is aimed at the lower-end of the market with sub-$150 processors.

The Ryzen 5 processors are much closer to Intel’s enthusiast X99-platform 6C/12T (i7-6800K and i7-6850K) but price-wise, they are much closer to the Kaby-Lake 4C/4T i5 lineup. Intel's Core i5 lineup are all 4C/4T processors while the Ryzen 5 1600X, which is the flagship of the Ryzen 5 lineup, is a 6C/12T processor. AMD has priced the 1600X at $250 to compete directly with the Core i5-7600K.

Since the 1600X is a 6C/12T processor, you get 2 extra cores over the Core i5-7600K and not only does the 1600X have an advantage in core count but also in thread count because Intel has always disabled Hyper-Threading on their Core i5 desktop processors. On the other hand, we have the Ryzen 5 1500X which has the same number of cores as the Core i5-7500 but twice the thread count. AMD has priced the 1500X at $190 to compete with the i5-7500 which retails for $210 so the 1500X will be cheaper by about $20.

Specification-wise, AMD's Ryzen 5 lineup has made Intel's Core i5 lineup obsolete now. There is zero reason to buy an Intel Core i5 processor now that the Ryzen 5 processors are available. With the Ryzen 5 series, you will be getting 2 extra cores and 2x the thread count so you are getting much more multi-core performance than any Core i5 processor. This will make a huge impact on gaming and applications that take advantage of multi-core/multi-thread processors.

Another thing to keep in mind with Intel's platforms is that they normally have a much shorter life-span compared to AMD's and the AM4 platform will last until 2020. The upgrade path will be better with AM4 than LGA 1151. If you buy a Kaby-Lake CPU now, your upgrade path is probably going to end there and Intel is most likely changing sockets next year. So if you buy an AM4 motherboard now and in the future want to upgrade to Zen 2, you will have a clear upgrade path. The Ryzen processors are a much smarter buy than any Intel Core processor simply because you won't have to spend on buying a new platform when Intel releases their next CPUs.

AMD Ryzen 5 cpus

The Ryzen processors are based on the Zen architecture which is a brand new architecture built from the ground up. I have covered AMD's Zen architecture so you can read that if you want to learn about all the new features that AMD has implemented into the Zen architecture. The 1500X has a 65W TDP while the 1600X has a 95W TDP. The 1500X uses two CCX in a 2+2 configuration while the 1600X uses a 3+3 CCX configuration. The 1500X has a 3.5GHz base and a 3.6GHz boost on all cores. It also has a 3.7GHz 2-core boost followed by a 3.9GHz XFR single-core boost. The 1600X has a 3.6GHz base, 3.7GHz boost on all cores boost, 4.0GHz 2-core boost, and a 4.1GHz XFR single-core boost.


AMD Ryzen Processors Lineup
Model:Ryzen 5 1400Ryzen 5 1500XRyzen 5 1600Ryzen 5 1600XRyzen 7 1700Ryzen 7 1700XRyzen 7 1800X
CPU Process Node:14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET
CPU Codename:Summit RidgeSummit RidgeSummit RidgeSummit RidgeSummit RidgeSummit RidgeSummit Ridge
CPU Architecture:ZenZenZenZenZenZenZen
Cores / Threads:4/84/86/126/126/128/168/16
Core Clock:3.2 GHz3.5 GHz3.2 GHz3.6 GHz3.0 GHz3.4 GHz3.6 GHz
Boost Clock:3.4 GHz3.7 GHz3.6 GHz4.0 GHz3.7 GHz3.8 GHz4.0 GHz
XFR (up to 2 Cores):+50MHz+200MHz+100MHz+100MHz+50MHz+100MHz+100MHz
L1 Cache:384KB384KB576KB576KB768KB768KB768KB
L3 Cache:8MB16MB16MB16MB16MB16MB16MB
DDR4 Speed:2667MHz2667MHz2667MHz2667MHz2667MHz2667MHz2667MHz
DDR4 DIMMs:4444444
PCIe Lanes:24242424242424
Socket Support:AM4AM4AM4AM4AM4AM4AM4
Transistors:4.8 billion4.8 billion4.8 billion4.8 billion4.8 billion4.8 billion4.8 billion
Die size:192 mm²192 mm²192 mm²192 mm²192 mm²192 mm²192 mm²
Included Cooler:Wraith StealthWraith SpireWraith SpireN/AWraith SpireWraith MaxWraith Max
Cooler TDP:65W95W95WN/A95W140W140W
Cooler Weight:???0.425 Kg0.425 KgN/A0.425 Kg0.545 Kg0.545 Kg
Cooler Dimensions:???109mm(L)
Release Date:April 11, 2017April 11, 2017April 11, 2017April 11, 2017March 2, 2017March 2, 2017March 2, 2017

The Ryzen processors support modern features like dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe X4 storage, and USB 3.1 Gen 2. AMD plans to use the Zen architecture around a multi-year CPU roadmap which will be aimed at several market segments such as mobility products, HPC products and workstations. All Ryzen processors have 16MB L3 cache with the exception of the Ryzen 5 1400 which has just 8MB L3 cache. The 1600X has 3MB L2 cache and 576KB L1 cache while the 1500X has 2MB L2 cache and 384KB L1 cache.

Not all Ryzen processors come bundled with the new improved Wraith coolers. The Ryzen 5 1600X does not come with a cooler, so you will have to spend an extra $30-50 for a cooler. Or you can just get the 1600 since it comes with a cooler and overclock it. AMD has sent me the Wraith Max and Wraith Spire coolers which I will cover in a separate review. Here's the link where you can read more about AMD's new Wraith coolers.

I have to respect AMD for putting an extra effort in shipping their Ryzen processors with high quality stock coolers that are built like third party coolers with a copper base and heatpipes. Intel has always bundled their processors with garbage coolers that most people simply throw away because they are extremely loud and do a terrible job of cooling.

Test Setup

Test Setup
Processor:AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i5-7500
Intel Core i5-7600K
Motherboard:MSI X370 xPower Gaming Titanium (BIOS Version 1.4)
ASUS Prime B350-Plus (BIOS Version 0606)
ASUS X99 Deluxe II (BIOS Version 1504)
ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 2 (BIOS Version 0906)
RAM:Crucial Ballistix Elite 2933MHz DDR4 16GB (2x8GB)
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 3000MHz DDR4 16GB (2x8GB)
Graphics Card:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
Storage:Crucial MX300 1TB SSD
Power Supply:SilverStone Titanium ST80F-TI 800W
Case:Open ATX Bench Case
OS:Windows 10 64Bit
Thermal Compound:Noctua NT-H1
Heatsink:Noctua NH-D15

All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of ~21C and the CPUs are tested with the power saving features disabled in the BIOS. CPU-Z will be used to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows 10. Also, the testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit and we made sure there were as few processes running as possible by disabling a bunch of unnecessary services that come with Windows 10.

We are setting the Windows power profile on High Performance mode because Ryzen's SenseMI doesn't function properly when set on Balanced mode. When the Windows power profile is set on Balanced mode, it seems that Windows takes over and mis-manages Ryzen's power/clocks. The Balanced mode has problems with waking up the cores from sleep and setting it on High Performance mode forces all cores to be active.

In gaming, we will be testing at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 and the settings will be set to high. Idle power consumption of the entire computer will be measured after leaving the computer idle for 20 minutes with no additional applications running in the background. Load power consumption of the entire computer will be measured during benchmarking in 3DMark FireStrike on max settings. I want to make it clear that power consumption measurements will differ per computer and components if you add optical drives, HDDs etc and it will also differ based on the PSU efficiency. We are measuring the entire system, not just the processor's power consumption.

Synthetic Benchmarks:

+ Cinebench R15
+ Cinebench R11.5
+ POV-Ray 3.7
+ FryBench
+ TrueCrypt 7.1a
+ SiSoftware Sandra
+ PCMark 8
+ 3DMark Fire Strike

Gaming Benchmarks:

+ Watch Dogs 2
+ Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
+ Hitman (2016)
+ Battlefield 1
+ Tomb Raider (2016)
+ The Division
+ The Witcher 3

Power Consumption

amd Ryzen 5 power consumption
In the past, AMD's CPUs have never been able to compete with Intel in power consumption but it seems that Ryzen has finally taken care of that issue. Even though the Core i5-7600K and i5-7500 are slightly more power efficient in idle/load than the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X, the difference is negligible.


We used the Noctua NH-D15 to cool the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X. Without any overclocking, the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X run under 28 Degree Celsius in idle and never go above 48 C in gaming. When playing Witcher 3 on max settings, I never saw the temperature of the 1600X and 1500X go above 48 C so that's pretty amazing. Similarly like the Ryzen 7 CPUs, I managed to overclock the 1600X to 3.9Ghz by going into the BIOS and bumping up the voltage to 1.3875v. The 1500X on the other hand was fully stable at 4.0Ghz at 1.3875v. You can easily get a 10% performance gain by overclocking either CPU at 3.9Ghz+.

After I managed to get the 1600X stable at 3.9Ghz, idle temp jumped to 32C and load temperature jumped to around 62 C. With the 1500X overclocked to 4.0Ghz, idle temp jumped to 31C and load temperature to 59C. Once I got out of Witcher 3, the temperature of both CPUs dropped back down to around 32 C within a few minutes. The Ryzen 5 processors have impressed me with their fantastic power consumption, temperature and overclocking ability.

CPU Performance Results

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X cinebench r15
Looking at the Cinebench R15 chart above, we can see that the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X absolutely obliterated the i5-7600K and i5-7500 in multi-core performance.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X cinebench r11.5
In the Cinebench R11.5 test, the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X demolished the i5-7600K and i5-7500 in multi-core performance and single-core performance is excellent too.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X frybench
FryRender is a popular benchmarking tool and the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X wrecked both of Intel's i5 CPUs.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X pov-ray
Once again, the Ryzen 5 CPUs outperformed the i5-7600K and i5-7500 in the POV-Ray 3.7 benchmark.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X truecrypt
Moving on, the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X once again bulldozed the i5-7600K and i5-7500 in the TrueCrypt test.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X sisoftware sandra
The i5-7600K and i5-7500 lost in the SiSoftware Sandra test.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X PCMark 8
In the PCMark 8 Creative Suite benchmark, the Ryzen 5 CPUs performed much better than the Core i5 CPUs.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X 3DMark FireStrike 8
Moving on, the Ryzen 5 CPUs once again delivered excellent performance in the 3DMark FireStrike Extreme test.

Gaming Performance Results

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Watch Dogs 2
Looking at the Watch Dogs 2 benchmark, the Ryzen 5 CPUs performed on par with Intel's Core i5 CPUs in 1440p but the Core i5 CPUs pulled ahead in 1080p.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
In the Deus Ex Mankind Divided benchmark, the Ryzen 5 CPUs outperformed the Core i5 CPUs in 1440p and 1080p.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Hitman 2016
Moving on to the Hitman 2016 benchmark, the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X fell behind in 1440p but performed better in 1080p.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Battlefield 1
In Battlefield 1, the Ryzen 5 and Core i5 processors performed the same in 1440p but the Core i5-7500K and i5-7500 did slightly better in 1080p.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X Rise of the Tomb Raider
The Ryzen 5 CPUs did much better than the Core i5 CPUs in Tomb Raider.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X The Division 4
Once again, the 1600X and 1500X outperformed the Core i5 CPUs in The Division.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X The Witcher 3
Looking at the Witcher 3 benchmark, the Ryzen 5 CPUs performed on par with the Core i5 CPUs.

Value & Conclusion

The bottom line is that the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X destroyed Intel's Core i5-7600K and i5-7500 processors in pretty much all of the testing that I performed. The Ryzen 5 series gives you the option of getting a 6C/12T processor while the Core i5 lineup is all 4C/4T. So multi-threaded performance will be significantly better with the Ryzen 5 lineup because you have the option of buying either the 1600X or 1600 which are 6C/12T and the other models all have 2x the thread count of any Core i5 CPU. As games become more threaded and optimized to take advantage of as many cores possible, the Ryzen 5 lineup will perform even better. The Ryzen 5 lineup is staggeringly ahead of the Intel Core i5 lineup in multi-core performance. As a tech enthusiast, I'm happy to see AMD combat Intel in the mainstream PC market with competitive CPUs.

Gaming performance is very impressive considering that Zen is a brand new architecture and games have been tailored to Intel's CPUs for a long time now. In gaming, the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X feel much smoother and fps drops happen a lot less compared to the i5-7600K and i5-7500. During gaming, the i5-7600K and i5-7500 were being maxed out at 90-95% CPU usage on all cores while the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X had plenty of headroom to do other things in the background. I tried to run an anti-virus software in the background during gaming and the i5-7600K and i5-7500 choked because there wasn't any headroom left.

If you are someone who's looking to build your own PC for gaming whether it is at 1080p or 1440p or even higher, the Ryzen processors are a much smarter buy in pretty much every category. It would be foolish to spend anywhere from $100-$300 on Intel hardware for a more expensive Intel motherboard/cpu combination when that money should really be spent on a better video card. Intel CPUs might be slightly better at 1080p gaming, but gaming at 1440p and above, there is almost no difference between the platforms.

Overclocking is super easy with any Ryzen processor since they all come unlocked. Whereas with Intel, the i7-7700K, i5-7600K and i3-7350K are the only unlocked CPUs so you are forced to buy one of those if you want to have an unlocked multiplier. I managed to overclock the 1600X at 3.9Ghz and the 1500X at 4.0Ghz using 1.3875v. If you invest in a good water cooling or air cooling solution, you will most likely be able to hit 4.0-4.1GHz with any Ryzen processor.


+ Comes With SMT Which Core i5 CPUs Lack
+ Outstanding Performance
+ Fully Unlocked
+ Can Easily Be OC'd to 4Ghz+
+ Perfect For Multi-Tasking
+ Future-Proof Platform
+ Great Price/Performance Value
+ Runs Very Cool

- Memory Compatibility Limited

AMD did a fantastic job with Ryzen and their Ryzen 5 lineup has made Intel's Core i5 lineup obsolete now. The Ryzen 5 lineup offers people the option of buying a 6C/12T processor. Intel has been busy milking consumers for the past 6+ years with their 3% performance improvement each generation. They have basically released the same CPU every year while charging consumers premium prices for it. I can safely say that the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X processors are perfect for those who do multi-threading work, gaming, and streaming.

The 1600X and 1500X processors have a huge advantage over the Core i5 processors in non-gaming applications. Multi-threaded performance, such as media encoding, rendering or even intense multitasking scenarios, the Ryzen 5 processors demolish the Kaby Lake Core i5 CPUs. We're in the new multi-threaded era and Ryzen will only improve with time. The Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X processors easily deserve our Elite Award.

Final Score    9.9

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