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AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU Review

Final Analysis

As we observed with the Ryzen 7 1700X and 1700, AMD’s unlocked multipliers and similar overclocking ceilings are great for enthusiasts on a budget. You're able to buy a cheaper CPU and realize almost the same performance as higher-end models after a bit of tinkering. We couldn't achieve a 4 GHz overclock with Ryzen 5 1600, which would have matched our results with the 1600X. According to other tests we've seen, though, it’s certainly possible to find a sample capable of 4 GHz. We also couldn't match the 1600X's 3200 MT/s memory speed, but that is fairly common from non-X Ryzen CPUs. Motherboard vendors should have a wave of new firmware versions coming soon that might improve memory overclocking.

We use a geometric mean of average and minimum FPS through our benchmark suite to generate a gaming price efficiency chart. This includes six titles released in 2016 and four older games that launched in 2015.

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In the suite, a stock Ryzen 5 1600 provides nearly the same average frame rate as Intel's Core i5-7500. But a bit of overclocking propels it into the lead. An overclocked 1600 can't quite reach the performance of a tuned Core i5-7600K, but it sells for $20 less and comes awful close paired up to high-end graphics. Most systems in this price bracket utilize less powerful GPUs, and the Ryzen 5 1600 should provide enough horsepower to propel mid-range builds to smooth gameplay.

The story changes when we remove older games from our calculation. The second average frame rate chart, which only includes modern games that tend to utilize processing resources more efficiently, places the stock Ryzen 5 1600 ahead of Intel's stock Core i5-7600K. That's quite an impressive feat considering the 1600 also has plenty of spare threads available for more taxing productivity applications. Notably, Intel's CPUs continue to enjoy a substantial lead when we look at minimum frame rates in new and old games alike.

The 1600's low price point is hard to ignore. This CPU features the lowest price-per-core through AMD's Ryzen portfolio, and in light of its solid showing through our application and game suite, it also provides an impressive price-to-performance ratio. The addition of a bundled 95W cooler magnifies the savings relative to Intel's Core i5-7600K and AMD's Ryzen 5 1600X, neither of which include a thermal solution. The Ryzen 5 1600 also provides more performance than Core i5-7500 in a wide range of applications for a little extra money. That should get you thinking about stepping up to AMD's $220 Ryzen instead of buying a locked Intel model.


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  • AgentLozen
    I've been reading the reviews for the various Ryzen models including this one. I just have to say that it's soooo refreshing seeing AMD go toe to toe with Intel once again. We haven't seen a close race in years.
    Reply
  • DavidDisciple
    10-4. I was soooooo sick of hearing Intel fanboys brag and belittle AMD and now the tide has turned. It's great to see AMD providing some serious competition and a brand new architecture. It's also great to see an AMD 1st generation processor beat a 7th generation Intel processor.
    Reply
  • barryv88
    Finally! Took you guys very long to bring out this article - in what is described by many, the little champ of the Ryzen launch so far. The 1600.
    Can't wait to get mine!
    Reply
  • elbert
    Great review but the big gun was a no show. The 1600's stock cooler and can it do 3.7~3.8Ghz. How does that effect the game price effenciency if we add in cooler costs? How does streaming or just recording the game play for later upload effect performance? How about an older game like CSGO while recording? Can we have a part 2 to this review with these and other tests?
    Reply
  • barryv88
    19749170 said:
    Great review but the big gun was a no show. The 1600's stock cooler and can it do 3.7~3.8Ghz. How does that effect the game price effenciency if we add in cooler costs? How does streaming or just recording the game play for later upload effect performance? How about an older game like CSGO while recording? Can we have a part 2 to this review with these and other tests?

    You can check out Bitwit's vid on streaming/recording performance where Ryzen wins rather dramatically. The 7700 is really humbled, given that its 4 extra theads over the i5's don't help either.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXeenX0FZAY
    Reply
  • ZRace
    @Elbert: When streaming, more use is usually being made of having more cores/threads available, so I'd guess the Ryzen CPUs yield better game streaming results compared to pure gaming results when comparing the to the current i5's.
    Reply
  • darth_adversor
    I'm not an Intel fanboy by any means (I think it's fantastic that AMD is going head-to-head with Intel again), but for gaming, minimum frame-rate data is so much more important than average. The article does make a mention of that toward the end, but I don't think it was emphasized nearly as much as it should have been. I really want AMD to succeed (I was AMD all the way throughout the socket 754, 939, AM2/3 days), but if you look past the author's positive spin, I think the Core i5's are really the way to go for gaming.

    Hopefully that will change as the platform matures and the software catches up. I'm still sitting on a 2500k, probably gonna hold out for one more generation before I upgrade. I'd love to go back to AMD.
    Reply
  • DavidDisciple
    Yeah, and things just keep getting better for Ryzen with all the game optimizations and updates for memory compatibility and manufacturers like ROG are adding them in their performance gaming systems. Things are looking pretty good for Ryzen.
    Reply
  • JocPro
    Hey, Paul: AMD has never said that non X processors lack XFR, they just have a more limited extra boost of 50-100 MHz instead of the 100-200 MHz in the X models...
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    19749289 said:
    Hey, Paul: AMD has never said that non X processors lack XFR, they just have a more limited extra boost of 50-100 MHz instead of the 100-200 MHz in the X models...


    I have marketing materials (reviewers guides, press releases, slides from briefings, etc.) that say, specifically and repetitively, that XFR is only on X SKUs.
    Reply