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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X (6C12T) CPU Review

With Ryzen 5, AMD builds upon the foundations set by the flagship 8C16T Ryzen 7 processors, and that’s generally a good thing.

Performance in multi-threaded workloads is in a different league to Intel’s price-comparable competitor processors. Ryzen 5 happily takes on the entry-level HEDT six-core in computational workloads and delivers it an embarrassing blow by offering similar performance at a £150 cheaper asking price.

In terms of raw computational performance, Ryzen 5 1600X with its six cores and SMT is faster than anything that Intel can offer outside of its consumer HEDT platform.

However, following the Ryzen 7 trend also means that Ryzen 5’s gaming performance is not as strong as its Intel competitors. At 1080P with a large excess in GPU horsepower, the Ryzen 5 performance deficits are evident and will be deal-breakers to high refresh rate gamers. That’s disappointing given that this is the price point where pure PC gamers have found such value with Intel’s multiplier-unlocked Core i5 quad-cores over the years.

With that said, higher resolution gaming with graphics cards of appropriate power for 1440P and 4K monitors is fine on Ryzen 5. The Core i5-7600K is still slightly faster at 1440P when paired with a GTX 1070 but the performance gap is narrowed by a significant margin. 4K performance from Ryzen 5 1600X is practically identical to that of the Core i5 competition due to such emphasis being put on GPU capabilities.

There is the added dimension of spare CPU performance for Ryzen 5 1600X. In some of our gaming tests, the twelve-thread 1600X had utilisation in the 50% region. This means that somebody interested in game streaming or multitasking whilst gaming still has around half of their processor to dedicate to such tasks. The same cannot be said about the Core i5-7600K that was generally closing in on maximum utilisation for its gaming results (albeit with better performance numbers than Ryzen 5 1600X).

Power consumption is good, especially for prosumers who may care about computational efficiency. On a performance-per-Watt basis using Cinebench numbers, the Ryzen 5 1600X is vastly superior to Intel’s Core i5-7600K. Thermal performance is also good, with the Ryzen 5 chip running cooler than Intel’s Kaby Lake i5-7600K, despite consuming more power and offering significantly higher Cinebench performance. The benefits of a smart heatspreader design with effective TIM. Well done, AMD. Take note, Intel.

Our conclusion for Ryzen 5 1600X follows a similar tone to that of the Ryzen 7 parts. If you do nothing other than game on your computer and don’t want to wait for ‘suggested’ performance optimisations, Intel’s competing Core i5-7600K is currently the better choice. However, if gaming is only one aspect of your daily computer usage and you conduct any tasks that involve heavy multi-threading, the Ryzen 5 1600X and its twelve threads offer a sizeable performance increase over Intel’s 4C4T competitors. With that said, workloads that benefit from twelve threads are likely to benefit from sixteen threads. That makes the Ryzen 7 1700 a reasonable competitor that somewhat overshadows Ryzen 5 1600X, but it is also more expensive.

Ryzen 5 1600X is punching well above its weight in terms of raw computational performance. To prosumers with a strict budget limitation, that’s a great characteristic. Combined with a sensible graphics card for this price range, the gaming performance deficit against Intel’s Kaby Lake competition may be narrowed sufficiently to tempt users with multi-faceted workload requirements.

The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X will be available for £249.99.

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Pros:

  • Superb multi-threaded computational performance that obliterates the Core i5-7600K.
  • Multi-threaded performance makes the i7-7700K and i7-6800K look like poor value for money.
  • Plenty of spare computational capacity for game streamers.
  • Power consumption numbers are positive and deliver strong computational performance-per-Watt.
  • Good thermal results even with a cost-effective air cooler.
  • High out-of-the-box frequencies for a six-core, twelve-thread processor.
  • Aided by the price and feature flexibility of the AM4 platform.
  • Unlocked CPU multiplier for straightforward overclocking.

Cons:

  • Gaming performance is not as strong as Intel’s competition, which is disappointing for this market segment.
  • Kaby Lake competition has significantly better single-threaded performance.
  • Maximum frequency achievable is limited, especially compared to Intel’s competition.
  • Ryzen 5 1600 is $30 cheaper, multiplier-unlocked, and ships with a cooler.

KitGuru says: AMD has brought six cores and twelve threads to a processor with a mainstream price point and the result is positive. Multi-threaded computational performance from Ryzen 5 1600X annihilates Intel’s comparably-priced parts and makes the more expensive 4C8T and 6C12T Core i7 processors look like poor value for money. A superb choice if gaming is not your primary focus. 

Rating: 8.5.

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  • Rocky40

    Thank you very nice review very well balanced 2 thumbs up. in the apart where you say IPC is stronger on the Intel part which we know to be around 6%-7% with same clock rate. With that said what are the Cinebench IPC score if Intel’s Kady-lake and the AMD Ryzen running at the same clock speed. I would assume you would use the i5 7600K since that is the CPU the Ryzen 5 1600x and 1500x are shooting for both Single and multi threaded scores would be great.

    For example my i7 2700K gets 184 single and 894 multi @ 5Ghz(5007mhz) I have 5.2Ghz scores as well I just don’t recall them right now they are higher. 5ghz is my 24/7 settings anyway 5.2Ghz is for bench testing and chest thumping…lol It was nice seeing my i7 2700K in the review @4.6Ghz it gives a reference point of where my CPU would sit running at 4.6Ghz against the newer CPU’s thank you for including the older CPU’s. I also just noticed the i5 3570K included.I also have one of those in another system @ 4.6Ghz it is good to see it is also doing good as well.

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  • Gunnar Burling

    Yikes.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    Great review. I am happy I bought i5 7500 instead of waiting on Ryzen.

  • kaosstar

    You won’t be happy in 2 years, when the i5 is completely obsolete.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    I will upgrade to a hexa/quad coffee/canon lake on my b250 by then.

  • 200380051

    And have spent twice on you CPU/mobo/ram combo. Such savings!

  • 200380051

    Unreliable review. All DX12 tests should be done on Radeon cards. We all know by now how nVidia’s DX12 implementation fails big time to parallelize workloads properly. Thats why you get the same kind of results using a 1080 in DX12 compared to using DX11. Intel on top like erratic freaks (notice the 7600K Oc below the non OC).

    See for yourself : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tfTZjugDeg

    The press should have caught on to this by now. But it seems they, too, behave like erratic zombies. Or maybe money is involved, who knows!..

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    Why? I will just replace the cpu. I have a B250 mobo with LGA1151 chipset that will support Coffee Lake and maybe Cannon Lake too.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    Nvidia or AMD makes no difference. Even a non k i5 beats the crap out of Ryzens in DX12 titles.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/11244/the-amd-ryzen-5-1600x-vs-core-i5-review-twelve-threads-vs-four/13

    ^ See for yourself.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mbK0n5FjvhI
    ^ Ryzen 5 loses in almost all games even to a non k i5.

  • 200380051

    you will still have bought 2 CPUs

  • 200380051

    Well in tests involving AMD cards (second half of the page, R9 Fury and RX480), what i see is either Ryzen pulling ahead, on being neck in neck with Intel CPUs. There are other cases where the test is GPU bottlenecked which means Anand has failed to adapt settings to avoid that.

    Only cases where Ryzen gets destroyed is when using NV cards, which proves my point.

  • kaosstar

    Also, it’s been shown in many places that Nvidia GPU performance is gimped on Ryzen CPUs.

  • kaosstar

    I see you conveniently forgot to link to the other DX12 benches in that review. Let me help you: http://www.anandtech.com/show/11244/the-amd-ryzen-5-1600x-vs-core-i5-review-twelve-threads-vs-four/11

    Ryzen absolutely destroys every intel chip in that one.

  • kaosstar

    Cannon Lake is only coming to low power notebooks. Coffee Lake is coming to the desktop, but it will use a new chipset. So, you’ll have to buy a new motherboard too.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    I can sell or shovel the old cpu under some dumb troll as I always do. BTW thats called upgrade.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    I know in strategy games more cores/threads matter. But I dont play any so I am happy with my i5. Its good to have competition good for both amd and intel fans. I was myself using AMD cpus from last 12 years. But now will stay with intel for some time as I bought B250 board and upgrade to upcoming hexa/quad intel chips. Hopefully cheap thanks to AMD.

  • 200380051

    I think our view of things is jut different. it’s okay.

  • 200380051

    It is the other way around. Nvidia writes their GPU drivers. They have a choice, to optimize for Ryzen or not. And of course they won’t.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    Coffee Lake is socket LGA1151
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_Lake

    And it will come in hexa core in 2018.

  • Vivek Kumar

    can i run g.skill 3000mhz 8x2gb (CL15-16-16-35) kit with amd ryzen 1600x

  • Mark

    Actually. INTEL hasn’t confirmed Coffee Lake to be socket 1151 compatible. If so it could also be just new 3XX Chipset compatible. I hope not, but knowing Intel it is possible. They don’t give much information.

  • SuperkoopaTrooper

    Turns out you both are wrong and just smearing a company. Square released a new tomb raider update that drastically increases ryzen performance with nvidia GPUs so…

  • 200380051

    Square huh?

    Nixxes did address the DX12 performance optimization story for Ryzen CPUs, but then again it favored AMD more than nVidia. http://wccftech.com/dx-12-ryzen-rise-of-the-tomb-raider-patch-1-0-770-1/

  • Mrflappywilly

    And just been confirmed it uses a new chipset… So new board for you.

  • ..:: m a n i ::..

    Its just a tweet but heck I will upgrade to i7 7700K instead. Its still a badass.