AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU Review

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Overclocking & Test Setup


As mentioned, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 families share the same die configuration, so we expected a similar 3.9 to 4.0 GHz overclocking ceiling. AMD recommends a 1.35V maximum CPU voltage for long-term overclocks, and although the company says Ryzen can withstand 1.45V, longevity may be affected. In either case, voltages above stock aren't covered under Ryzen's warranty, so any damage you cause is yours to live with.

We spent a considerable amount of time tuning the Ryzen 5 1500X to match our previous efforts with Ryzen 7- and 5-series processors. Eventually, we did dial in a Prime95-stable 3.9 GHz overclock at 1.375V and an auto LLC (Load Line Calibration) setting. In the U.S. lab, we recorded up to 64°C (per AIDA) with our Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 during extended stress tests. Seeing plenty of available thermal headroom, we then attempted to match the 4 GHz we saw from other Ryzen processors (except the 1700), but were unsuccessful.

AMD's Ryzen CPUs respond well to higher DDR4 data rates, so memory overclocking plays an important role in improving benchmark performance. Unfortunately, the stability of overclocked DDR4 is dicey on early motherboard firmware. Again, we couldn’t match the 3200 MT/s data rates achieved on other Ryzen models. We tried MSI's B350 Tomahawk and Asus' B350-Plus XMP-equivalents (A-XMP and D.O.C.P., respectively) with relaxed timings, but were unsuccessful. Finally, we got 2933 MT/s running stably, but that appears to be our sample's ceiling. Interestingly, we achieved 3200 MT/s with other Ryzen processors on the same motherboards, implying the disparity stems from the chip's IMC (Integrated Memory Controller). Of course, it's also possible that future firmware builds could rectify the issue.

Test Setup

For this piece, we split testing between our German and American labs. The U.S. team ran the gaming benchmarks, while the Germans measured performance in workstation apps and collected thermal/power data. Both labs used MSI's B350 Tomahawk motherboard.

Disabling SMT on Ryzen 7 processors is a common tactic to increase game performance. But we've found that it actually adds frame time variance in certain games running on Ryzen 5, negatively affecting the user experience. Today, we're testing with SMT enabled and the High-performance Windows power profile. AMD also offers an optimized Ryzen-specific Balanced power profile.

If you want to know more about how the Tom's Hardware DE system looks and is controlled, check out How We Test Graphics Cards.

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Test Systems and Measurement Setups
SystemsGermany AMD 1Ryzen 5 1500X, 1600X, Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, 1700MSI X370 XPower Gaming TitaniumIntel LGA 1151 Intel Core i5-7600K, Core i5-7500 MSI Z270 Gaming 7AMD Socket AM3+ FX-9590 Asus Crosshair V Formula 2 x 8GB Corsair Dominator DDR3-2133 @1866 MT/sGermany All16GB (2x 8GB) G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-3200 (15-15-15-35)1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD)2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)be quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850WWindows 10 Creators Update Version 1703U.S. AMD 1Ryzen 5 1600X, Ryzen 5 1500X, Ryzen 7 1700MSI B350 Tomahawk2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2666, 2933 and 3200 MT/sU.S. Intel 1Intel Core i7-7700K, i7-7600K, i7-7500, i5-7400MSI Z170A Gaming M72x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2400 and 3200 MT/sU.S. AMD 2AMD FX-8370MSI 970 Gaming2x Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133 MT/sU.S. AllEVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE1TB Samsung PM863SilverStone ST1500, 1500WWindows 10 Creators Update Version 1703
CoolingGermany- Alphacool Eispumpe VPP755 Pump - Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper 240mm- Alphacool Eisblock XPX CPU-Alphacool Cape Corp Coolplex Pro 10 LT- 5x be quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM- Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut U.S.-Corsair H100i v2-Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4-Arctic MX-4
CaseLian Li PC-T70 with Expansion Kit and Mods
Power Consumption Measurements- Contact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card) - Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable - Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply- 2 x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function - 4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC) - 4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz) - 1 x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function
Thermal Measurements- 1 x Optris PI640 80Hz Infrared Camera- PI Connect Analysis Software with Profiles
Noise Measurements- NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File)- Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)- Creative X7, Smaart v.7- Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (L x D x H)- Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm- Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA) - Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise


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  • Goran_11
    Good review. I would like to see more reviews about AMD Ryzen platform.
  • 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 it will be ~$60.
  • 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.
  • InvalidError
    Cost per 1% low FPS might be a better metric: emphasize sustainability. Maybe a 35-45-20 blend of average-1%-0.1%.
  • 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
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • $hawn
    "8T/12T powerhouses" - I think there's a typo here
  • $hawn
    Sorry it's correct
  • 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.