AMD RYZEN 5 1600X: Is It Good?

On this performance review, we are taking a look at the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X CPU. A multi-threaded AM4 processor featuring 6-cores and 12-threads operating at 3.6 GHz base clock. The R5 1600X is at the middle of the pack of the Ryzen Family and is slated to compete with the non HEDT Core i7 desktop CPUs.

AMD dubs the 1600X as the world’s fastest 6-core, 12-thread desktop processor. It is a bold claim and we are going to check if it is really a fast one!

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 7 1700 8 16 3.0 3.7 N/A 65
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 1600X 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 1600X
MOTHERBOARD ASUS Z170-A MSI Z270 Gaming M5 GIGABYTE AB350-Gaming 3
CPU COOLER Cryorig C1 Top Flow Cryorig C1 Top Flow Wraith Max
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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The system power consumption stays true to the improved efficiency of the Ryzen CPUs. Compared to other systems though, the Ryzen 5 1600X features a higher power consumption when the chip is idling. This could be due to the CPU, motherboard, the cooler or a combination of the three. As for the Wraith Spire, we got a maximum reading of 72°C; While at a lower power state, the CPU stays cool at 39°C. Pretty decent performance from the Wraith Max cooler I must say.

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 1600X is 13% slower than the Core i5 6600K. At multi-threaded benchmarks though, the Ryzen 5 1600X is 49% faster. A way better multi-threaded performance over a slightly lower single-threaded performance is an indication of a well-rounded performance. Memory latency could be better though.

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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Real world benchmarks shows us that the Ryzen 5 1600X is a multi-threading monster for its price. GIMP results are still geared towards Intel’s chips, while WinRAR and Handbrake shows exceptional results for the AMD hardware.

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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The Ryzen 5 1600X CPU’s gaming performance is slightly behind the pack. Notice that the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7’s gaming performance at Witcher 3 an DiRT are similar.

AM4’s SWEET SPOT:

The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X is simply put, an excellent CPU for its worth. Scratch the Ryzen 7 1800X, get this one instead. Performance is just surprisingly good for a $229 / 12500 Peso chip. Again, that’s 13% less single-threaded performance difference for a 31-49% trade-off at multi-threaded benchmarks compared to its slightly pricier Intel counterpart.

Gaming performance wise, Intel’s Core i5 chips are still the kings, but future proofing is what PC is all about. Future titles could benefit for more cores and while we are at it, more cores means you could put less stress on your PC’s individual cores. That should help you for – let’s say, gaming while doing something else. You could be streaming, switching between apps, or even games.

The Ryzen 5 1600X is truly what a sub $250 CPU should be. It has a good single-threaded performance, while its multi-threaded performance puts the icing to the cake. If you are looking forward to build a gaming system or a mid-range power house, then you should definitely put this one on your wishlist.

2016-Gold