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AMD Ryzen 5 1600X CPU Review

3DMark, Ashes of the Singularity, Battlefield 1


We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure game performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of raw horsepower available to the game engine.

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The six-core Ryzen 5 1600X can work on three times as many threads than Intel's Core i5s, so it easily trumps the competition in the parallelized physics metric. AMD's 1600X also ekes past the Ryzen 7 1700 in Futuremark's DX11 physics test.

Overclocking yields a 7.9% speed-up over the Ryzen 5 1600X's stock settings in DX12. Comparatively, the Core i5-7600K is overclocked 25% beyond its all-core 4 GHz Turbo Boost bin, yielding a 29% performance improvement.

Disabling Ryzen's SMT feature, which eliminates the CPU's six logical cores, results in a roughly ~20% performance loss in DX12. Our DX11 test illustrates a similar step backward, though this time the overclocked Ryzen loses 40% of its performance with SMT disabled.

The Ryzen 5 1600X is competitive in some API overhead tests, such as the DX12 benchmark where it leverage its extra threads. However, Kaby Lake's IPC throughput advantage shines through in the DX11 overhead tests. The Ryzen 5 falls behind Intel's Core i5 family during the DX11 single- and multi-threaded workloads, even with the help of an overclock. That helps explain Intel's oft-superior frame rates in real-world game tests.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

From the launch of Ryzen 7 to now, Ashes of the Singularity demonstrates how a developer can optimize for AMD's Ryzen CPUs to great effect. A recent update improved the poor performance numbers we were seeing from Ryzen, creating much more interesting comparisons.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation's CPU test scales well with core/thread count. However, Intel's third-generation 14nm+ process provides much more overclocking headroom, allowing Core i5 to secure a first-place finish if you're willing to tune it. Don't get us wrong: with both CPUs at their stock settings, Ryzen 5 1600X is faster. Intel's Kaby Lake design simply has more headroom left for enthusiasts to exploit.

The unoptimized version of Ashes offered notably higher performance with Ryzen's SMT feature disabled. However, the updated build does a better job of utilizing available resources. As a result, turning SMT off now hurts performance, rather than helping it. 

Battlefield 1

We dialed Battlefield 1 up to the Ultra preset and repetitively took an armor-laden stroll across the O La Vittoria landscape.

Strangely, when we disabled Ryzen's SMT functionality, our recording utility stopped working in this game. As such, Battlefield 1 is the only title where we're missing results with SMT turned off.

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Surprisingly, the stock Ryzen 5 1600X falls behind Intel's processors. Even overclocking doesn't bridge the gap completely.

If you want a sense of context, though, check out the FX's best effort (particularly the frame time chart). AMD has come a long way since the Piledriver era.


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