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AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU Review

Overclocking & Test Setup


The Ryzen 5 1600 is based on the same die as Ryzen 5 1600X, albeit with a lower 65W TDP. So, we expect a fairly similar overclocking experience.

We dialed in a Prime95-stable 3.9 GHz using a 1.425 vCore setting and 1.2V CPU NB voltage (CPU Loadline Calibration set to Auto). We've seen others achieve 4 GHz overclocks with lower voltages, so it's possible that we have a lower-quality sample. We recorded 84°C (per AIDA) with Noctua's NH-U12S SE-AM4 cooler during extended stress tests.

Our vCore voltage is higher than AMD's recommended limit of 1.35V for long-term overclocks. AMD notes that Ryzen processors can withstand more than 1.45V, though a setting that high may have an impact on longevity. Of course, the warranty doesn't cover damage from overclocking of any sort, so proceed at your own risk.

We were able to use our G.Skilll FlareX DDR4 memory kit at 2999 MT/s with relaxed 16-16-16-34 timings, but were unable to achieve 3200 MT/s in tandem with our 3.9 GHz overclock. Notably, we ran the Ryzen 5 1600X with the same kit at 3200 MT/s and 14-14-14-34 timings on the same motherboard. As we've seen with other non-X models (and the Ryzen 5 1500X), it's possible that the memory overclocking disparity is attributable to AMD's IMC (Integrated Memory Controller).

Ryzen Memory SupportMT/s

After experimenting with the recently-exposed ProcODT (on-die termination signal) motherboard firmware setting, we found that it has a profound impact on memory overclocking and compatibility. The 40- to 60-ohm range allows us to use various memory kits with Ryzen processors that were previously unusable.

AMD recently released a new v1.0.0.6 AGESA update. Motherboard vendors build firmware upon the AGESA bedrock, so improvements to the underlying code allow manufacturers to provide more options through their own BIOS builds. The latest version exposes 26 more settings that should improve memory overclocking, such as allowing either 1T or 2T command rates (previously limited to 1T) and an expanded range of multipliers that allow 4000 MT/s without BCLK overclocking. We will revisit the 1600's memory overclockability when the final firmware revisions become available.

Comparison Processors

Test Setup

We conducted gaming testing with the MSI B350 Tomahawk. To streamline our workflow, we employed Asus' B350-Plus for application testing. The Ryzen gaming story has changed quickly since the launch as a string of motherboard firmware and chipset drivers, along with game updates, have come to fruition. As such, we retested all processors with updated firmware and drivers.

Test Systems and Measurement Setups
SystemsAMDRyzen 5 1600, 1600X, 1500XMSI B350 Tomahawk (games)Asus B350-Plus (applications)2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2666 (stock), 2933 (1600 and 1500X) and 3200 MT/s (1600X)IntelIntel Core i5-7600K, i7-7500MSI Z270 Gaming M72x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @2400 and 3200 MT/sAllEVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE1TB Samsung PM863SilverStone ST1500, 1500WWindows 10 Creators Update Version 1703
CoolingNoctua NH-U12S SE-AM4Arctic MX-4


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Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.