AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU Review

Overclocking & Test Setup

Overclocking

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.

Test Systems and Measurement Setups
Systems
Germany AMD 1
Ryzen 5 1500X, 1600X, Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, 1700
MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium

Intel LGA 1151
Intel Core i5-7600K, Core i5-7500
MSI Z270 Gaming 7

AMD Socket AM3+

FX-9590
Asus Crosshair V Formula
2 x 8GB Corsair Dominator DDR3-2133 @1866 MT/s

Germany All
16GB (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, 850W
Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703

U.S. AMD 1
Ryzen 5 1600X, Ryzen 5 1500X, Ryzen 7 1700
MSI B350 Tomahawk
2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2666, 2933 and 3200 MT/s

U.S. Intel 1
Intel Core i7-7700K, i7-7600K, i7-7500, i5-7400
MSI Z170A Gaming M7
2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2400 and 3200 MT/s

U.S. AMD 2
AMD FX-8370
MSI 970 Gaming
2x Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133 MT/s

U.S. All
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE
1TB Samsung PM863
SilverStone ST1500, 1500W
Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703
Cooling
Germany
- 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
Case
Lian 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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This thread is closed for comments
69 comments
    Your comment
  • 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 Amazon.com 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
    -- graphic says, "Resident Evil 7"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • InvalidError
    1031363 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • g-unit1111
    2466943 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:
  • cryoburner
    It's nice to see the review, though it has been three weeks since your review of the 1600X. What ever happened to "However, the 1500X is right behind. Ryzen 5 1600 and 1400 will follow in short order, too."

    Is "short order" considered "within the next year or so"? : P

    125865 said:
    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.

    The heat sink of the 1400's Stealth cooler is only around half the size of the 1500X's Spire cooler. Maybe it's possible to manage a semi-decent overclock with the smaller cooler under the right conditions, but you can be pretty sure that it will make noticeably more noise to achieve that performance level, and I have doubts about it remaining stable under higher ambient temperatures. I found it a bit amusing that they would call it a "Stealth" cooler when its design will clearly make it more audible than the Spire that comes with the 1500X, 1600 and 1700.

    Once Tom's finally gets around to reviewing the 1400, they really should test its Stealth Cooler against the Spire, noting not only their max stable overclock and temperatures, but also their sound data at various load levels. The Max could be tested as well, and maybe throw in a cheap tower cooler to see what the approximate price difference between a 1400 and 1500X could get you. A stock Intel cooler could also be tested on one or more Intel processors as a point of comparison. It could even be its own article if they wanted.
  • PaulAlcorn
    582021 said:
    It's nice to see the review, though it has been three weeks since your review of the 1600X. What ever happened to "However, the 1500X is right behind. Ryzen 5 1600 and 1400 will follow in short order, too."

    Is "short order" considered "within the next year or so"? : P
    125865 said:
    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.
    The heat sink of the 1400's Stealth cooler is only around half the size of the 1500X's Spire cooler. Maybe it's possible to manage a semi-decent overclock with the smaller cooler under the right conditions, but you can be pretty sure that it will make noticeably more noise to achieve that performance level, and I have doubts about it remaining stable under higher ambient temperatures. I found it a bit amusing that they would call it a "Stealth" cooler when its design will clearly make it more audible than the Spire that comes with the 1500X, 1600 and 1700. Once Tom's finally gets around to reviewing the 1400, they really should test its Stealth Cooler against the Spire, noting not only their max stable overclock and temperatures, but also their sound data at various load levels. The Max could be tested as well, and maybe throw in a cheap tower cooler to see what the approximate price difference between a 1400 and 1500X could get you. A stock Intel cooler could also be tested on one or more Intel processors as a point of comparison. It could even be its own article if they wanted.


    Sorry about the delay, we've had a bit of a hectic schedule lately with multiple GPU releases and Optane articles. 1600 and 1400 are very much on the radar.
  • PaulAlcorn
    125865 said:
    1031363 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.


    I agree that factoring in the HSF is a relevant data point, but in this case, I was also attempting to highlight restricted pricing flexibility primarily at the silicon level. The Zeppelin die restricts AMD's pricing flexibility a bit.
  • madmatt30
    373149 said:
    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.


    The cooler wiht the 1500x & 1600 are exactly the same.
    ]Theyre also exactly the same as the cooler with the 8 core ryzen 1700 albeit missing the controllable led lighting.