The Ryzen 5 Review: 1600X and 1500X Take on Core i5
Power Consumption and Conclusions
That added performance from the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X processors over the Core i5-7600K comes at the cost of additional power draw. Under a full load in Cinebench R15, the 1600X system uses 138 watts, a 43% premium over the 7600K from Intel. Even the 1500X uses more power, to the tune of 12 watts or 12%. Those are not inconsequential numbers but for many desktop consumers, the added power draw won't impact their buy decision as long as the coolers included can keep up with the thermals (which they can).
Pricing and Availability
No preorders took place (though in some regions you've been able to buy Ryzen 5 for a few days already) but the latest AMD Zen-based CPUs should be available starting today.
- Ryzen 5 1600X - $249 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 5 1500X - $189 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 5 1400 - $169 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 1800X - $499 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 1700X - $399 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 1700 - $329 - Amazon.com
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero - $254 - Amazon.com
- ASUS Prime X370 Pro - $169 - Amazon.com
- ASUS Prime B350-Plus - $99 - Amazon.com
- ASUS Prime B350M-A - $89 - Amazon.com
- Intel Core i7-7700K – $339 – Amazon.com
- Intel Core i5-7600K – $239 – Amazon.com
- Intel Core i5-7500 - $198 - Amazon.com
In the segment that these new Ryzen 5 processors compete in, pricing is much more constricted than it was for Ryzen 7 last month. Because of that, every $5 matters. But AMD has a team of product managers that are paying attention and making all the necessary moves. The Ryzen 5 1600X goes up against the Core i5-7600K while the 1500X is even with the Core i5-7500. In both cases, the Ryzen 5 provides a dramatic multi-threaded advantage despite the continuation of the single threaded deficits.
In many ways, AMD's Ryzen 5 follows in the footsteps of the Ryzen 7 launch. The 1600X and 1500X processors are priced directly in competition with very popular Core i5 processors from Intel and have very specific and explicit advantages and disadvantages to their Intel counterparts. For consumers concerned with multi-threaded performance, including media encoding, rendering or even heavy multitasking scenarios, the Ryzen 5 processors will provide a significantly improved experience.
Single threaded workloads, when used in a vacuum, will still run better on Intel hardware. Audio encoding, user interface interactivity and many other working environments fall into this category so it is not something we should simply overlook.
Gaming is still a pain point for AMD as they work through the initial Ryzen launch. 1080p gaming performance is more important in Ryzen 5 than it was on Ryzen 7 and in truth the situation hasn't really changed over the last month. Though AMD did show the potential for improvement with optimization in Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, it still has an uphill battle to deal with, convincing game developers to speed time and resources targeting AMD Ryzen hardware.
Both configuration of the Windows 10 power modes and using higher speed DDR4 memory can help the Ryzen performance situation, but both are also "not ideal" from the standpoint of requiring user intervention or requiring higher upfront cost than the equivalent Intel systems.
While I was incredibly excited about the Ryzen 7 1800X processor for the high end of the consumer market, the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X are equally exciting for the mid-range PC builder. Getting a 12-thread system for $249 (CPU cost) compared to a 4-thread system (with the Core i5) at the same price point, seems like a no-brainer, especially if you aren't overly concerned with the single threaded performance results we showed on previous page. Gaming is still something to keep an eye on, and pure gamers will likely want to stick to Intel for now. But for those of us with a range of computing going on day to day, AMD has a very compelling solution - finally.