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

AMD R5 1600X & 1500X Blender Benchmark

We’re running our Blender tests using release candidate-ready settings, with 400 samples per pixel and 16x16 tiles. This is an optimal use case for Blender, and one with which we’re familiar for our own animations we render in-house. As is known, Blender cares most about threads, and so there should be significant differences between the R5 12-thread and 8-thread chips here, despite likely minimal differences clock-for-clock in games.

We’re seeing the R5 1500X ($190) stock renders the 4K scene in 55.5 minutes, faster than the overclocked i5-7600K ($240) by 7 minutes, resulting in an 11% reduction in render time. The next closest CPU is the 2011 i7-2600K overclocked to 4.7GHz, which completes the render in 54.5 minutes. Overclocking the 1500X to 4GHz leapfrogs the 2600K OC, landing at 50.7 minutes, at which point we’re in Devil’s Canyon i7 territory. Most critically, the common thread here is threads, something Blender holds in high esteem. Now, you’re still limited by single-thread performance at some level – but Blender load balances exceptionally well, and adding more threads is almost always better.

amd-r5-blender-benchmark

The 1600X ($250) stock leverages its extra four threads here, completing the render in 36.8 minutes. Compared to the 1500X stock, that’s a render time reduction of 33.6%. Note here that our R7 CPUs haven’t yet been rerun on 3200MHz, though you can see the memory benefit between the 2933MHz R7 1700X OC and R7 1700X with 3466MHz. That should allow some extrapolation – it’s minimal in these types of tests; at least, when compared to the gains found in gaming tests.

Price-to-performance, Intel i5 CPUs don’t stand up here. The i5-7600K, overclocked to 4.7GHz, finishes its render in 62.5 minutes. The R5 1600X, overclocked to 4GHz, finishes in 33.7 minutes – that’s a render time reduction of 46% for roughly the same price. Again, it follows that, given a reasonably comparable frequency, the additional four threads on the 1600X are beneficial in thread-bound production tasks.

If you actually plan to do some CPU-bound rendering, the R5 and R7 chips remain – as we have said from the get-go – the chief consideration at the price. Granted, anyone rendering for professional (read: non-hobbyist) reasons would do well to consider an R7 1700 instead of the R5 CPUs. At the price, Intel does not presently hold up in this particular test. The R7 1700 ($330) more or less invalidates the higher-cost R7 alternatives, if you’re willing to invest a few minutes in overclocking. The R5 CPUs do well – significantly better than the i5 CPUs (in a greater way than i7-7700K vs. R7 comparisons), but professionals may get ROI on an extra $70 on the 1700.

AMD R5 1600X & 1500X Adobe Premiere Benchmark

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Let’s look to Adobe Premiere rendering now. We’ve included CUDA accelerated benchmarks here as well, just to provide perspective for users who prefer CUDA-accelerated rendering to software acceleration in compatible applications. Premiere is one of those.

We immediately see that GPU acceleration is somewhat of an equalizer with our render workload, which features color correction, warp stabilization, and spits out our EVGA ICX review. With a GPU, the 1600X, 6900K, 1800X, and 7600K are all within a few minutes of each other, performing multiple times faster than their software-accelerated counterparts.

Looking instead to CPU rendering, the R5 1500X finishes the render in 114 to 126 minutes, depending on overclock, which lands it a render time reduction of 23% from the i5-7600K stock-to-stock. The i7-7700K finishes the render in 103 minutes, which is 23.7% behind the 12-thread R5 1600X (at 84 minutes). Compared to an R7 1700 overclocked, which we still think is the best buy of the R7 family, the overclocked R5 1600X is about 28% slower.

amd-r5-cinebench

Cinebench has stood as a preferred synthetic benchmark of AMD’s, although our Blender tests tell more of a real-world story (both using similar routines for CPU rendering). With this latest updated, the R5 1500X (stock) lands just below the i7-2600K in both NT & 1T performance, or just ahead of the overclocked i5-7600K same-price, current-gen CPU. The 2600K, although impressive in many ways, is primarily holding on as a result of its thread count – render software likes threads, generally speaking.

The R5 1500X OC is pushed up to Devil’s Canyon levels in NT performance, though still behind in 1T. Slower 1T performance will come into play more when we observe Amdahl’s Law in gaming tasks. The R5 1600X CPU pushes beyond the 7700K at 5.1GHz, expectedly, with 1245 for its cb mark score.

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And POVRay:

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Continue to Page 4 for gaming benchmarks.


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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