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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X (6C12T) CPU Review

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V remains an immensely popular game for PC gamers and as such retains its place in our test suite. The well-designed game engine is capable of providing heavy stress to a number of system components, including the GPU, CPU, and Memory, and can highlight performance differences between motherboards.

We run the built-in benchmark using a 1080p resolution and generally Maximum quality settings (including Advanced Graphics).

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Metro: Last Light Redux

Despite its age, Metro: Last Light Redux remains a punishing title for modern computer hardware. We use the game’s built-in benchmark with quality set to Very High, SSAA enabled, AF 16X, and High tessellation.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 is a free-roaming game which can feature heavy interaction from NPCs in densely-populated urban areas, making it ideal for testing CPU performance. The well-designed game engine is capable of providing heavy stress to a number of system components and will happily use more than four CPU threads when such hardware is available.

We run a custom benchmark which is located in a heavily populated section of an urban town area. A 1080p resolution and Maximum quality settings are used (Nvidia Hairworks settings are disabled).

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GTA V likes Intel architectures, as well as clock frequency. Despite the game engine’s ability to leverage the Ryzen 5 1600X’s twelve threads, the 4C4T Core i5-7600K is a better performer at both speed configurations. If you’re a high refresh rate gamer, Core i5-7600K will satisfy your needs better than Ryzen 5. However, if you game at a locked 60 FPS, Ryzen 5 1600X proves to be a solid option thanks to its significant spare computational capacity. CPU usage hovering around 30-50% on eleven of the twelve threads (and 60%+ for the single driving thread per DX11 limitations) leaves significant spare capacity for multi-tasking opportunities such as game streaming. By comparison, the 4C4T i5-7600K must work pretty much flat-out to achieve its frame rate.

Metro: Last Light Redux shows that Kaby Lake’s i5-7600K is still faster than Ryzen 5 1600X even in a heavily GPU-limited scenario. The performance advantage for the unlocked i5 is small but it is consistent and measurable. Minimum FPS data does not tell us much in Metro due to its inaccuracy.

The Witcher 3 performance gives an indication of 1080P gaming issues with Ryzen. Even accounting for its frequency deficit against some of the comparison processors, Ryzen 5 1600X’s relative performance is disappointing. Processor-wide utilisation is around 20-40% and even specific cores aren’t pinned at 100% usage. SMT threads also look to be practically unused with the 1600X. This indicates that The Witcher 3’s game engine cannot extract the performance that Ryzen 5 1600X can potentially provide. Putting this into perspective, however, frame rates are still above 120 FPS on average. Core i5-7600K is faster than Ryzen 5 1600X but it is largely superficial to most people, given the extremely high frame rates.

DX11 Gaming Overview:

If you have $249 to spend on a processor for gaming, the Intel Core i5-7600K is clearly a better choice in our trio of DX11 games. Its higher clock frequency and stronger architectural performance translate into better gaming performance. This will be important to high refresh rate gamers but largely superficial to those playing at a locked 1080P60.

It is, however, important to highlight that Ryzen 5 1600X and its twelve threads showed significant spare capacity available on our records. The same cannot be said about Intel’s 4C4T i5-7600K. If you plan to stream your games or run heavy background tasks, Ryzen 5 1600X is clearly worthy of consideration against the i5-7600K.

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