The AMD RYZEN 5 1500X Review

A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X CPU. This time though, we are checking out the Ryzen 5 1500X. A multi-threaded processor featuring 4-cores and 8-threads operating with a base clock of 3.5 GHz. 

AMD’s intentions with the R5 1500X is to provide a well-rounded CPU for mainstream applications. Its price point is slated at $189 worldwide, while the local pricing is set at around 9800 Pesos. This one comes with the non-RGB version of the Wraith Spire cooler as a bundle.

Product Line Model Cores Threads Base Clock (GHz) Boost Clock (GHz) Included Cooler TDP(Watts)
Ryzen 7 1800X 8 16 3.6 4.0 N/A 95
Ryzen 7 1700X 8 16 3.4 3.8 N/A 95
Ryzen 5 1600X 6 12 3.6 4.0 N/A 95
Ryzen 5 1500X 4 8 3.5 3.7 Wraith Spire 65

THE ZEN X86 MICRO-ARCHITECTURE:

On the performance side, the Zen microarchitecture represents a leap in core execution capability versus AMD’s previous desktop designs. Notably, the Zen architecture features a 1.75X larger instruction scheduler window and 1.5X greater issue width and resources; this change allows Zen to schedule and send more work into the execution units. Further, a new micro-op cache allows Zen to bypass L2 and L3 cache when utilizing frequently-accessed micro operations.

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A high-performance engine requires fuel, and the Zen architecture’s throughput characteristics deliver in this regard. Chief amongst the changes are major revisions to cache hierarchy with dedicated 64KB L1 instruction and data caches, 512KB dedicated L2 cache per core, and 8MB of L3 cache shared across four cores.

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Beyond adopting the more power efficient 14nm FinFET process, the Zen architecture specifically utilizes the density-optimized version of the Global Foundries 14nm FinFET process. This permits for smaller die sizes and lower operating voltages across the complete power/performance curve.

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Scalability in the Zen architecture starts with the CPU Complex (CCX), a natively 4C8T module. Each CCX has 64K L1 I-cache, 64K L1 D-cache, 512KB dedicated L2 cache per core, and 8MB L3 cache shared across cores. Each core within the CCX may optionally feature SMT for additional multi-threaded capabilities. More than one CCX can be present in a Zen-based product.

THE AMD B350 CHIPSET:

AMD’s AM4 Platform currently consists of 5 chipsets. That’s the X370, A/B350, A320, X300 and the A300 chipset in chronological order. What we have here is the GIGABYTE AB350 Gaming 3 motherboard, featuring the AMD B350 Chipset.

X370 B350 A320 X300 A300
USB 2.0 6 6 6  N/A N/A
USB 3.1 G1 6 2 2  N/A N/A
USB 3.1 G2 2 2 1  N/A N/A
SATA 4 2 2 N/A N/A
SATA Express
(2x SATA III or 2x PCIe 3.0)
2 2 2 N/A N/A
PCI-e 2.x 8 6 4  N/A N/A
SATA RAID 0, 1, 10 0, 1, 10 0, 1, 10 0, 1 0, 1
Multi-GPU Yes No No Yes No
Overclocking Yes Yes No Yes No

The B350 sits flush next to the enthusiast level X370, dubbed by AMD as a flexible performance geared chipset. It supports overclocking, has plenty of IO options and supports multi-GPU if enabled by AMD’s board partner. Such is the GIGABYTE AB350 Gaming 3, our test system’s motherboard for the Ryzen 5 1500X CPU.

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The AB350 Gaming 3 is the top of the line B350 chipset motherboard from GIGABYTE. It is a standard ATX motherboard, supports 64GB of 3200MHz memory and AMD’s 2-Way CrossFire technology. The Gaming 3 also features RGB customization with a flushed audio and full support for USB 3.1 standards.

TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:

The performance of the system shall be evaluated by various benchmarking tools and applications. With the CPU, memory and gaming performance being the focus of the tests. We are testing this system with the high-performance settings enabled at the OS, with the default UEFI configuration. Background processes such as anti-virus and third-party applications are disabled as well. Outlined below are the applications and benchmark tools for reference:

TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
PROCESSOR Intel Core i5-6600K Intel Core i5-7600K AMD Ryzen R5 1500X
MOTHERBOARD ASUS Z170-A MSI Z270 Gaming M5 GIGABYTE AB350-Gaming 3
CPU COOLER Cryorig C1 Top Flow Cryorig C1 Top Flow Wraith Spire
MEMORY KIT Crucial Ballistix Tactical @ 2666MHz 4x4GB Kit
GRAPHICS CARD ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC 6GB
INTERNAL STORAGE Crucial MX200 250GB
POWER SUPPLY CORSAIR RM850X 850W
DISPLAY 27″ DELL U2715H + LG 43UF680T 4K UHD TV
OPERATING SYSTEM Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:

  • Super PI – 32M Calculations
  • wPrime – 32M and 1024M Calculations
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Memory Benchmark

PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE:

  • GIMP – 7 MB worth of image processing
  • HandBrake – 150 MB MP4 to H.264 video encoding
  • WinRAR – Internal benchmark tool

GAMING PERFORMANCE:

  • Battlefield 4 – Ultra Settings | V-SYNC off
  • DIRT: Rally – Ultra Settings | V-SYNC off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Ultra Settings | HairWorks off | V-SYNC off

TEMPERATURE AND POWER CONSUMPTION:

The AIDA64 System Stability Test uses a 64-bit multi-threaded stress testing module to drive the system to its absolute limits. Power readings are recorded with a watt-meter.

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The AIDA64 System Stability Test is also used to evaluate the system thermals. Readings are taken with the latest AIDA64 updated addressing the Ryzen thermal offset.

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With a TDP of 65W, it’s no surprise that the Ryzen 5 1500X took the best spot on the power consumption benchmark. Temperature on the other hand is at 69.7°C, which is still normal for our standards. The Wraith Spire is a properly working bundled cooler so there’s no reason to bug out.

CPU AND MEMORY PERFORMANCE:

Super PI is a single-threaded program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point. It is a widely used benchmark and stress test within the industry.

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WPrime is a multi-threaded program that calculates a set number of square roots for estimating functions. It verifies the results by squaring them, then compares it with the original numbers.

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The AIDA64 Memory Benchmark measure the data transfer bandwidth and latency of the system memory. On this benchmark, we are measuring the memory kit’s latency.

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Single-threaded performance courtesy of Super PI tells us that the Ryzen 5 1500X is the slowest of the bunch. At multi-threaded benchmarks though, the Ryzen 5 1500X showed that it can outpace the 4 core K-Series Intel CPUs.

PRODUCTIVITY PERFORMANCE:

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing tool. A 7 MB worth of images is be processed and converted to gauge the system performance.

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HandBrake is a free video encoding tool that supports a wide variety of media codecs. A 150MB worth MP4 video is converted using the H.264 codec to gauge the system performance.

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WinRAR is a file archive utility that can create, view and unpack numerous archive file formats. The software’s built in benchmark tool is utilized to gauge the system performance.

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On the WinRar and GIMP benchmarks, we could see that the R5 1500X is the slowest CPU; while HandBrake gave it a 1.943 second lead over the Core i5-7600K. Real world benchmarks shows us that the Ryzen 5 1500X is able to keep up with the rest of the systems.

GAMING PERFORMANCE:

Battlefield 4 is Electronic Art’s popular First Person Shooter, running on the Frostbite 3 game engine developed by DICE. It utilizes the DirectX 11 and the Mantle API.

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DIRT: Rally is CODEMASTER’s take on the rally racing game genre. It utilizes the EGO game engine with support for the DirectX 11 API.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is CDProjekt RED’s award-winning Action Adventure RPG. The Witcher 3 utilizes the REDengine 3 with DirectX 11 support.

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Gaming performance is not that much different compared to the other Ryzen CPUs, trailing behind the Core i5 CPUs on our benchmarks. The Ryzen 5 1500X has the lowest 1% minimum framerates on the charts; but it is still far from being troublesome.

A GOOD STARTING POINT:

The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X with 4-cores and 8-threads to work with, gave us an understanding of its place in the market. At 9800 Pesos (locally) or $189 (Amazon), the Ryzen 5 1500X is pitted against the more expensive Core i5-7500. While the sub $200 price bracket is no way near cheap, it is a good starting point for those who require a little bit more power, both for work and gaming.

The performance of Core i5-7500 is not on our benchmarks, but I’ve averaged results from my clients with around 5-10% performance differences. That lead of course belongs to the Core i5 on games and single-threaded benchmarks. As for multi-threaded benchmarks, the 1500X could stand on its own and is again a much better choice over the 4 core Intel CPU.

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The Ryzen 5 1500X also got an ace up its sleeve and that’s support for overclocking. Choosing a 1500X over the i5-7500 for this matter is something you should really consider. A far better choice for budget oriented overclockers over the much more expensive Intel K-Series CPUs.

If the Ryzen 5 1600X is the best sub $250 CPU right now, then the Ryzen 5 1500X is the sub $200 champ. While it can’t blow the competition when it comes to single threaded performance, it is a great multi-threading geared CPU. The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X continues the AM4 platform’s win streak when it comes to performance and price. A great choice for those looking for a capable 4-core 8-thread CPU.

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