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AMD Ryzen 5 Inbound: 6C12T and 4C8T CPUs Launch April 11th

AMD has announced its Ryzen 5 processors which will be launched and on shelves from April 11th 2017 in the form of two 4C8T parts and two 6C12T SKUs. Pricing will range from $169 to $249 USD, with the Ryzen 5 flagship 6C12T 1600X featuring a Precision Boost clock frequency up to 4.0GHz.

After the disruption that Ryzen 7 has caused to the high-end prosumer market, taking on Intel's vastly more expensive HEDT LGA 2011-3 processors, AMD is aiming to lay its stamp in the more popular sub-$300 segment. According to the Austin-based chip vendor, twice as many people choose CPUs at a sub-$300 price point than at higher levels. Simply put, AMD is trying to disrupt the sub-$300 processor landscape by putting 4C8T parts up against higher-clocked 2C4T Core i3 SKUs and 6C12T offerings against Intel's 4C4T Core i5 range.

In addition to Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT), Ryzen 5 CPUs still have AMD's SenseMI goodies baked in. That gives the chips access to features such as Precision Boost and Extended Frequency Range (XFR) that allow increased clock speeds under the relevant usage scenarios. Unsurprisingly, the processors also use the same AM4 platform as higher-end Ryzen 7 parts, making them compatible with the current crop of X370, B350, and A320 chipset motherboards, in addition to X300 and A300 offerings when they arrive.

AMD is expecting Ryzen 5 chips to be paired with the more value-orientated B350 motherboards that still support overclocking, allowing Ryzen 5's unlocked CPU frequency multiplier to be put to good use. Of course, there's also no reason why the chips cannot be paired with a high-end X370 motherboard with a strong power delivery solution for enhanced overclocking.

CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700 AMD Ryzen 5 1600X AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AMD Ryzen 5 1500X AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Intel Core i5-7600K Intel Core i3-7350K
CPU Codename Zen Zen Zen Zen Zen Kaby Lake Kaby Lake
Core / Threads
8 / 16 6 / 12 6 / 12 4 / 8 4 / 8 4 / 4 2 / 4
Base Frequency 3.0GHz 3.6GHz 3.2GHz 3.5GHz 3.2GHz 3.8GHz 4.2GHz
Boost Frequency 3.7GHz 4.0GHz 3.6GHz 3.7GHz 3.4GHz 4.2GHz n/a
Maximum Frequency 3.75GHz (50MHz XFR) TBC (likely 100MHz XFR) TBC (likely 50MHz or 100MHz XFR) 3.9GHz (200MHz XFR) TBC (likely 50MHz XFR) n/a n/a
Unlocked Core Multiplier Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x0.25 granularity) Yes (x1 granularity) Yes (x1 granularity)
Total Cache 16MB L3 + 4MB L2 16MB L3 + 3MB L2 16MB L3 + 3MB L2 16MB L3 + 2MB L2 8MB L3 + 2MB L2 6MB L3 + 1MB L2 4MB L3 + 0.5MB L2
PCIe Lanes 16+4+4 16+4+4 16+4+4 16+4+4 16+4+4 16 16
CPU Socket AM4 AM4 AM4 AM4 AM4 LGA 1151 LGA 1151
Manufacturing Process 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm
TDP 65W 95W 65W 65W 65W 91W 60W
CPU Cooler Wraith Spire (LED) n/a Wraith Spire (no LED) Wraith Spire (no LED) Wraith Stealth (no LED) n/a n/a
MSRP $329 $249 $219 $189 $169 $242 $168-179
UK Street Price Approx. £330 Estimated £250 Estimated £220 Estimated £190 Estimated £170 Approx. £230 Approx. £170

Note: Table updated at 11am 16/03/2017 following additional information from AMD.

Ryzen 5 1600X is the only 95W TDP part in the current Ryzen 5 line-up. This is a factor of its clock speeds which are as high as the flagship 8C16T Ryzen 7 1800X at 3.6GHz Base, 4.0GHz Boost, and probably 4.1GHz XFR (yet to be confirmed by AMD). The pair of 6C12T Ryzen 5 SKUs look to sandwich Intel's 4C4T Core i5-7600K in terms of pricing.

Ryzen 5 1500X is interesting as AMD confirmed in its briefing that the part will feature 200MHz of XFR headroom rather than the typical 100MHz for X-suffix SKUs.

We asked AMD how the Ryzen 5 6C12T parts will be deployed from a design standpoint but we are yet to receive a reply. The six-core design will require two CPU Complexes (CCX) but AMD looks to have the option to disable one core per CCX or two cores on a single CCX. This choice may relate to yield of the four-core CCX modules or perhaps distribution of thermal energy within the die. Ryzen 5 six-core parts will have full access to the 8MB shared pool of L3 cache on each CCX, though the two disabled/removed cores will take their 512KB of L2 cache with them. This information is yet to be confirmed by AMD.

Update 16/03/2017: AMD has confirmed to us that the Ryzen 5 six-core processors will be a 3+3 design both with the full total of 16MB L3 cache and 512KB L2 Cache per core (3MB in total).

Depending on how the six-core chip is enabled, we may see a journey back to the old days for AMD users where there is an ability to unlock the disabled cores through the motherboard BIOS. That was a lot of fun for Phenom II users who could turn a dual- or tri-core into a full-fat quad.

The 4C8T Ryzen 5 1500X and 1400 are likely to use a single CCX without the need for data transfer across the Infinity Fabric. This could aid performance, perhaps in gaming, where the latency penalty incurred by inter-CCX communications may be having a negative influence on performance. The four-core parts are likely to be equipped with 8MB of shared L3 cache and 512KB of L2 cache dedicated to each of the four cores.

Update 16/03/2017: AMD has confirmed to us that the Ryzen 5 four-core processors will be a 2+2 design using a pair of CCX. Ryzen 5 1500X gets the full total of 16MB L3 cache (!) and 512KB L2 Cache per core (2MB in total). Whereas Ryzen 5 1400 gets 8MB of L3 cache and 512KB of L2 Cache per core (2MB in total). The dual CCX design will still rely upon Infinity Fabric for inter-CCX communications and data transfer.

AMD will be bundling Wraith CPU coolers with the three 65W TDP Ryzen 5 parts. Ryzen 5 1600 and 1500X get the same Wraith Spire that is bundled with the Ryzen 7 1700, though it does not feature the LED lighting of the Ryzen 7 version. We tested Wraith Spire with the Ryzen 7 1700 and found it to offer solid performance with capability for a moderate overclock. Wraith Stealth will be bundled with the Ryzen 5 1400 CPU.

Ryzen 5 processors will launch and be available to buy on April 11th 2017. AMD also confirmed that Ryzen 3 is scheduled for the second half of 2017.

KitGuru Says: Ryzen 5 is AMD's weapon to shake up the sub-$300 processor market. With pricing that puts Ryzen 5 in competition with Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs, it will be interesting to see the performance on offer. Are you excited to see a six-core, twelve-thread processor available for a little over £200?

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