AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU Review

AMD’s Ryzen 7 derives its value from higher performance than Intel's workstation-oriented Broadwell-E processors at any given price price point. With Ryzen 5, the company plays to the same tune, this time hitting comparable prices as Intel's Core i5 chips, but with simultaneous multi-threading to turn four or six cores into 8T/12T powerhouses.

The six-core Ryzen 5 1600X we recently tested is one such 6C/12T solution, going up against 4C/4T Core i5s and successfully cutting through threaded workloads with greater alacrity. The Ryzen 5 1500X we're benchmarking today loses two cores, but maintains its SMT support to tackle the mainstream competition without compromising performance in rendering, programming, and transcoding apps.

A $190 price tag lands the Ryzen 5 1500X between two processors that constantly fight for a position in our Best CPUs column each month: Core i5-7400 and Core i5-7500. But the 1500X's SMT advantage helps turn the tide in a number of our most taxing benchmarks. Moreover, its 16MB of L3 cache provides twice the capacity per core of Ryzen 7, easily outshining Core i5's meager 6MB last-level cache.

As with all Ryzen processors, the 1500X is purely a CPU, so it lacks integrated graphics. The 65W processor offers a 3.5 GHz base frequency and 3.7 GHz boost clock rate, but it also comes equipped with a more robust eXtended Frequency Range than other Ryzen models. The XFR feature provides a 200 MHz dual-core boost to 3.9 GHz if your thermal solution is beefy enough, whereas other Ryzen chips are limited to an extra 100 MHz.

Specifications

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Intel's competing Core i5-7500 runs at 3.4 GHz by default, but employs Turbo Boost to hit 3.8 GHz under lightly-threaded workloads. The Kaby Lake architecture also enjoys a ~10% advantage in IPC throughput. Unfortunately, though, a locked ratio multiplier keeps you from easy overclocks.

AMD caters to the enthusiast market by unlocking all of its Ryzen CPUs on X370- and B350-based motherboards.

Most Socket AM4 motherboards require a new thermal solution or conversion kit (Asus does sell models with elongated holes that support AM3 and AM4 coolers). If you grab a Ryzen 7 1800X, for example, that means shopping for a new heat sink/fan or liquid cooler. But AMD does include its 95W Wraith Spire with the Ryzen 5 1500X. At stock clock rates or under conservative overclocks, it should be ample. Expect more aggressive tuning to require a higher-end third-party cooler, though. And for comparison, Intel's Core i5s do comes with bundled heat sinks and fans.

All of the existing Ryzen models start life with eight physical cores and the same underlying dual-CCX design. Each CCX hosts four cores. AMD disables these resources symmetrically, either due to manufacturing defects or for differentiation purposes, to create the six- and four-core variants. Ryzen 5 1500X utilizes two cores per CCX in a 2+2 configuration.

Ryzen Memory SupportMT/s
Dual-Channel/Dual-Rank/Four-DIMM1866
Dual-Channel/Single-Rank/Four-DIMM2133
Dual-Channel/Dual-Rank/Two-DIMM2400
Dual-Channel/Single-Rank/Two-DIMM2677

The cores communicate via AMD's Infinity Fabric, which we covered in our AMD Ryzen 5 1600X CPU Review. To summarize some of our findings in that story, the communication delay between CCX modules does have an impact on performance. Overclocking the memory subsystem helps reduce Infinity Fabric latency, which benefits application performance. So, we suggest splurging on a 3200 MT/s-capable kit.

Due to its common design, we expect the 1500X to hit an overclocking ceiling around 3.9 to 4.0 GHz. At those frequencies, AMD has an advantage over Intel's multiplier-locked Core i5s. The 1500X also sports the familiar bevy of Ryzen features, such as the SenseMI suite, a dual-channel memory controller, and Socket AM4 compatibility.

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  • Goran_11
    Good review. I would like to see more reviews about AMD Ryzen platform.
    7
  • IceMyth
    I think you missed the i5-7600K from the Price per Usable Core/Thread table which is $57.2 if you buy it from OutletPC but if you buy it from Amazon.com it will be ~$60.
    0
  • Shale
    Be careful, your fingerprint is visible on the CPU, someone could get enough of it from that photo to print and form a latex fingerprint that could be used to frame you for a crime, or depending on the finger and usage, be used for security breach or unlocking your phone.
    8
  • InvalidError
    Cost per 1% low FPS might be a better metric: emphasize sustainability. Maybe a 35-45-20 blend of average-1%-0.1%.
    3
  • Wisecracker
    <50w in the gaming loop is impressive
    Great job overall by AMD, and would love to see a 'head-to-head' with an OC'd AM3+ rig (FX-6350 at 4.5GHz?)

    Page 5 _ "Civilization VI Graphics Test" Heading
    -- graphic says, "Resident Evil 7"
    5
  • jkhoward
    It has been shown time and time again that the AMD chip when paired with a Nvidia card has poor performance. You should really consider getting an AMD Workstation card for your test until Nvidia can fix the issue.
    -1
  • velocityg4
    Why didn't you use the same CPU options for both the Workstation and gaming tests? It would have been helpful to know how an overclocked 1500x stands up against an i5-7500 in any use case. If someone is overclocking for gaming. They aren't likely to disable the overclock when working.

    It sounds like Toms German and US labs need to communicate a bit more to set exact testing requirements for a review. That way the reader receives consistent data.

    As it stands now. The review is haphazard. There are different data sources for gaming, workstation, temperature and power.
    4
  • $hawn
    "8T/12T powerhouses" - I think there's a typo here
    -1
  • $hawn
    Sorry it's correct
    1
  • elbert
    Looks like the Ryzen 5 1500X bests the i5-7500 while overclocked. Should the test have included best OC with the stock cooler? Price is important at this level and an aftermarket cooler stripes it of the price advantage.
    1
  • madmatt30
    Its a good showing , the only game that shows a really significant win for Intel is ROTR which is plainly intel biased (although not purposefully) from the results.

    The 7600k results really don't interest me that much , I can understand why they're there as a comparison but the fact is the 7600k needs the addition of a $20-30 cooler to run even at stock on a cheaper b250 board - its pricepoint is completely different , to oc you can add another $30-40 for a z series comparative to a decent b350 board for the ryzen.
    Once you've done that you're well past the ryzen 1600 pricepoint let alone the 1500x.

    I agree though that the ryzen overclocking should have been done with the included spire - part if it's attraction / value for money aspect is the inclusion of a very good stock cooler.
    9
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    I agree though that the ryzen overclocking should have been done with the included spire - part if it's attraction / value for money aspect is the inclusion of a very good stock cooler.

    From the few results I have seen, the spire is only marginally better (3-5C better under load with a 3.9GHz OC) than the stealth cooler. If you want performance per buck on a tight budget, the R5-1400 OC'd to 3.8-3.9GHz using the stealth cooler is the best option. Next up from there is the R5-1600. Also, Paul neglected to add the aftermarket HSF in his R5-1600X cost per core/thread - that is necessary for a fair comparison against the R5-1600 and other CPUs that come bundled with HSF.
    1
  • neblogai
    When testing RoTR, please test on DX11, or use AMD card. There is an issue with Ryzen+ nVidia + DX12: nVidia GTX1060 + Intel i5 gains performance when going from DX11 to DX12, while nVidia+ Ryzen 1400 combination does not benefit from DX12. When a card like RX480 is used- gains are there, and even higher than GTX1060- so there is clearly an issue with the game in DX12, or nVidia driver.
    2
  • SWKerr
    You really should add something stressing that the Ryzen 5 1600 being on only $30 more in your conclusion. Since it is easily Over Clocked it would have similar single tread performance but with two more cores for only a bit more money.

    I don't really see where any of the "X" Ryzen cpus make much sense from a value standpoint.
    3
  • SWKerr
    It is not just you but I really feel using a GTX 1080 for a low\mid cpu is kind of useless info. It would make much more sense to use a Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon 480/580 with this class of CPU. If you are going with a GTX 1080 than you are probably not going to match it with a low to mid level CPU.

    I would really rather know what to expect with a mid-range video card. But again all the reviewers seem to do it this way. It may help compare relative performance across all cpus but I does not feel like relevant real word information.
    7
  • spdragoo
    They do that to eliminate any chance of GPU throttling affecting the game benchmarks. For example, take Battlefield 1 (http://www.techspot.com/review/1267-battlefield-1-benchmarks/page2.html; GPUs tested with the i7-6700K): with that Skylake i7, both the GTX 1060 & RX 480 had well under 100 FPS average & ~80FPS minimum...well below the results for both the i7-7600K & the Ryzen chips when paired with a GTX 1080, which means that you most likely would have seen identical FPS for all of the chips, whereas the actual results show slight but definite differences in performance.

    Similar results occur with Rise of the Tomb Raider (again with the i7-6700K, http://www.techspot.com/review/1209-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1060/page4.html); again, neither the GTX 1060 nor RX 480 provide anywhere near the same performance with the i7-6700K, so the results of testing with Ryzen would have been even flatter than they are.
    0
  • madmatt30
    ^ what spdagoo says 100%.
    This is a CPU test/comparison - to do that you have to ensure that the GPU plays no limitation in the results.
    That means using the most powerful GPU you can

    Those results show you what maximum fps the CPU's can achieve in games rather than the GPU.
    In a CPU test this is exactly what you want.
    As I said the only issue I have is using the noctua cooler for overclocking because it was unnecessary.
    99% of buyers will stick with the wraith cooler atcthe end of the day.
    2
  • Brian_R170
    Has anyone published a comparison of the 1500X to 7700 or 7700K? Obviously, not in the same price category, but they are the most similar configuration in terms of cores/threads.
    2
  • barryv88
    I too find it a bit mysterious that THG didn't mention anything about the 1600. A measly $30 more gets you 2 extra cores and a beefy cooler, giving it a clear win in absolute value.
    5
  • g-unit1111
    Anonymous said:
    Be careful, your fingerprint is visible on the CPU, someone could get enough of it from that photo to print and form a latex fingerprint that could be used to frame you for a crime, or depending on the finger and usage, be used for security breach or unlocking your phone.


    Someone's been watching too many episodes of Law & Order: SVU lately. :lol:
    2