AMD R5 1600X, 1500X Review: i5's Fading Grasp

By Published April 11, 2017 at 9:00 am
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Additional Info

  • Component: CPU
  • Awards: Editor's Choice
  • Original MSRP: 250
  • Manufacturer: AMD

Following our in-depth Ryzen VR benchmark (R7 1700 vs. i7-7700K with the Rift + Vive), we immediately began compiling results for the concurrent R5 test efforts by GN Sr. Editor Patrick Lathan. Working together, we were able to knock-out the VR benchmarks (check those out here – some cool data), Ryzen Revisit piece, and today’s R5 reviews.

Both the R5 1600X ($250) and R5 1500X ($190) CPUs are in for review today, primarily matched against the Intel i5-7500 and i5-7600K. For comparison reasons, we have still included other CPUs on the bench – notably the i7-7700K and R7 1700, just to give an understanding of what the extra ~$70-$130 gets.

For anyone who hasn’t checked in on our content since the initial Ryzen reviews, we’d strongly encourage checking the Ryzen Revisit piece for a better understanding of how the scene has changed since launch. That revisit looks at Windows updates (and debunks some myths), EFI updates, and memory overclocking impact on Ryzen performance.

Although we have rerun the R7 gaming benchmarks with higher memory frequency (thanks to GSkill and Geil for providing B-die kits), we have not yet rerun them in synthetic tests. The 2933MHz frequency, as a reminder, was a hard limitation on our test platforms in the initial round of R7 reviews.

We will be including that data (albeit truncated) in our new tests, alongside Intel retests for the same games. For now, though, we’re reviewing the R5 1600X and R5 1500X CPUs in the Ryzen family, priced at $250 and $190, respectively.

AMD R5 1600X, 1600, 1500X, 1400 Specs

  R5 1400 R5 1500X R5 1600 R5 1600X
Cores/Threads 4C/8T 4C/8T 6C/12T 6C/12T
Base/Boost 3.2/3.4GHz 3.5/3.7GHz 3.2/3.6GHz 3.6/4.0GHz
Stock Cooler Wraith Stealth Wraith Spire Wraith Spire None
TDP 65W 65W 65W 95W
Release Date April 11, 2017 April 11, 2017 April 11, 2017 April 11, 2017
Price $170 $190 $220 $250

The Ryzen 5 CPUs more directly target the i5 CPUs, even in gaming applications. This is AMD’s most interesting launch of the Ryzen family, we think, given the heavy market saturation of aging i5 CPUs.

We received the 1600X and 1500X CPUs for immediate review, which are 6C/12T and 4C/8T CPUs, respectively. These CPUs run two CCXs with a few cores enabled per CCX. The 1600X is the high-end, priced at $250 with a 95W TDP (and targeting the 7600K); the 1500X, meanwhile, is a $190 CPU that targets the 7500. Keep in mind that TDP numbers are not comparable cross-architecture, as the definition of TDP – more a measure of power required to cool a chip – is not the same between companies.

Regardless, the R5 1600X and R5 1500X are built to target the best of Intel’s i5 lineup. We may test the other R5 SKUs later.

CPU Test Methodology

Our usual testing methodology is defined further below, per typical copy/paste of methods between reviews, but we have a few explicit items to address with Ryzen.

During R7 testing, GamersNexus discovered that Windows would occasionally engage core parking or other power saving features that could impact framerate in some games, specifically with Ryzen. This was not always detectable, but some games reacted more than others (our biggest observable difference was ~4-5%). As such, all tests were conducted in performance mode.

We’ve been using the newest (and correct) version of AMD’s chipset drivers since we began testing, and we’ve been on ASUS’ version 1006 (latest available when testing began) BIOS for the Crosshair Hero VI.

A clean image is used for all testing. We have Windows images on multiple SSDs, each labeled for the appropriate CPU architecture. We pull an SSD with the correct label from the shelf (e.g. Skylake, Broadwell-E, Ryzen) and use that for testing. Note also that Windows HPET can affect performance.

Game Test Methodology

Windows 10 b970 was used for testing. R7 CPUs have been retested; some i7 & i5 CPUs have been retested. Game settings were manually controlled for the DUT. All games were run at presets defined in their respective charts. All other game settings are defined in respective game benchmarks, which we publish separately from GPU and CPU reviews.

Average FPS, 1% low, and 0.1% low times are measured. We do not measure maximum or minimum FPS results as we consider these numbers to be pure outliers. Instead, we take an average of the lowest 1% of results (1% low) to show real-world, noticeable dips; we then take an average of the lowest 0.1% of results for severe spikes.

Hardware Used

Core Components (Unchanging)

  • NZXT 1200W Hale90v2
  • For DDR4 platforms: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz*
  • For Ryzen DDR4: Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz clocked to 2933MHz (See Page 2)
  • Premiere & Blender tests do not exceed 8GB DRAM. Capacity is a non-issue for our testing, so long as it is >16GB
  • For DDR3 platforms: HyperX Savage 32GB 2400MHz
  • Intel 730 480GB SSD
  • Open Air Test Bench
  • Cooler #1 (Air): Be Quiet! Dark Rock 3
  • Cooler #2 (Cheap liquid): Asetek 570LC w/ Gentle Typhoon fan
  • Cooler #3 (High-end): Kraken X62
  • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW1

Note: fan and pump settings are configured on a per-test basis.

AM4 Platform:

ASUS Crosshair Hero VI

- GEIL X 3200MHz CL16 (R5s, R7 1700, R7 1800X)

- GSkill Trident Z 3200MHz CL14 (R7 1700X)

Used for R7 1800X, R7 1700X, R7 1700.

Z270 Platforms:

- Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 7 (primary)

- MSI Gaming Pro Carbon (secondary - for thermal validation)

- i7-7700K (x2) samples from motherboard vendors

Both used for the 7700K.

Z170 Platform:

- MSI Gaming M7

- i7-6700K retail

Z97 Platform:

- Gigabyte Z97X G1 WIFI-BK

- i7-4790K

Z77 Platform:

- MSI GD65 Z77

- i7-2600K

Dx12 games are benchmarked using PresentMon onPresent, with further data analysis from GN-made tools.

Note: We'd like to add the i5, i3, and FX CPUs, but this was enough for now. We'll add those as we expand into coverage of Zen or i5 Kaby Lake products.

Thermal Test Methodology

Thermal measurement on Ryzen is not necessarily trivial, as most software is incorrect or inaccurate in these early days. See this page from our 1800X review for further information, or AMD’s own statement.

Power testing is simply done at the wall. We do not presently tap into the rails, and openly identify this as our weakest point in current test methodology. This is something we will eventually work toward revamping. For now, we use wall meters to determine a power delta in A/B tests.

Continue to Page 2 for temperatures and power.


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Last modified on April 11, 2017 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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