Review: Ryzen 5 – Definitely No Middle Child Syndrome
Get out your wallet – the AMD Ryzen 5 is here, and oh boy it is a scorcher. After the recently launched Ryzen 7 series CPUs, AMD is on a roll and has just announced their mid-tier processor family, the Ryzen 5. This is something to be rejoiced by all gamers because finally, we have a proper contender to the enthusiast CPU market. No longer we are going to see a dominance of the Blue team – AMD is back and they are ready to rock and roll.
Middle isn’t always a bad thing
Continuing from the Ryzen 7 1800X, we have two chips today that AMD has kindly passed on to the team to test out. We have the Ryzen 5 1600X and the Ryzen 5 1500X. These two chips represents the best that AMD is offering at this performance and price tier – and the value for money is still AMD’s strong suit after all these years.
We well be covering the Ryzen 5 1600X in this review – so look out for our Ryzen 5 1500X later on.
On paper, the Ryzen 5 1600X is a formidable processor. It features 16MB of L3 Cache, with 512K L2 cache per for for speedy memory access. Speaking about cores, the 1600X is a hexa-core processor, meaning that it has 6 cores available to the end user. This collection of cores starts with a 3.6GHz base clock, with a potential XFR boost of up to 4.1Ghz. That is a lot of headroom for overclockers to play around with, and then some.
The biggest reason to have an AMD powering your CPU is always the pricing – and with the Ryzen series, we are heading for the direction of great value for money. The 1600X we have here for example, will be retailing in Malaysia for RM 1199. This, when compared to a retail price of the Intel Core i5 7600K for instance (all Ryzen chips are unlocked btw), is within spitting distance. However, the 7600K is a four core, four thread CPU while the 1600K is a six core, twelve thread CPU. Value for money number one.
Like the bigger brother, the 1600X comes with all of the new AMD technologies such as SenseMI, Infinity Fabric (which is a new system bus where it is a flexible and coherent interface/bus to allow faster data exchange between cores), CPU Complex (CCX) where the cores and caches live, and as well as the smart prediction engine that works as an artificial network to build decision models based on executed software.
Going beyond mid-tier
At 95 Watt TDP, the 1600X is in the top tier of the Zen architecture processor power envelope. Basically what this means is that you get the same performance for less power usage – which is great for anyone who are looking for a more power-optimised CPU build. It actually shares the same TDP as the Ryzen 7 1800X so that is saying something.
AMD came through again to supply us with the test system for us to check out the performance of the Ryzen 5 series. The test rig that they kindly provides us includes:
- ASROCK Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4
- 16GB (8GB x 2) Geil EVO X DDR4 RAM
- NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti FE (because we had it in hand)
- AMD Wraith MAX cooler
- Western Digital Blue SSD 1TB
We had it go against an Intel Core i5 7600K.
Some of the benchmarks we ran were:
- Cinebench R15
Just as a note – we ran the rig on stock speeds, as well as coaxing the processor to reach its max boost of 4.1GHz (which we found was easy). There are many other outlets out there who are overclocking the processor, so we will stick with stock speeds for now.
What we are seeing are almost flagship-level performance, from a mid-tier CPU where some of the cores has been disabled thanks to binning.
At its price point, the Ryzen 5 1600X is definitely something to look out for when you are building your next computer for productivity or even gaming. You know that you are getting a great value for money with the processor.
What’s more, even the ‘stock cooler’ (the 1600X does not come with a cooler, so you have to get AMD’s Wraith MAX cooler, or third party options) from AMD is quiet in operations – even at full load. Plus, AMD knows that RGB lighting is important, so the MAX comes with built-in RGB lighting that can be controlled by partner boards through headers on the board.