AMD Ryzen 5 1600X And 1500X Processor Review: Affordable Zen Takes On Core i5

AMD Ryzen 5 - Test Setup, SANDRA, and PCMark 8 v2

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmware was up to date, then we entered their respective system BIOSes / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance" defaults. We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported speed for the given platform (without overclocking). The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed.

asrock b350 mobo
ASRock AB350 Gaming 4 Motherboard

When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed all of the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled, and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, and cleared any temp and prefetch data. Finally, we enabled Windows Quiet Hours and let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.

Also note, that to ensure AMD's SenseMI technology was performing to its full potential, the Ryzen-powered systems used Windows' High Performance power profile.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1: 
Intel Core i7-6950X
(3GHz+ - Deca-Core)

Intel Core i7-6900K
(3.2GHz+ - Octo-Core)

Intel Core i7-5690X
(3GHz+ - Octo-Core)

MSI X99A Gaming Pro
(X99 Chipset) 

(@ 2133MHz / 2400MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet 
On-board Audio 

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 2: 
Intel Core i7-7700K 
(4.2GHz - Quad-Core)

Intel Core i5-7600 
(4.1GHz - Quad-Core)

Intel Core i5-7500 
(3.8GHz - Quad-Core)

Gigabyte Z270 Gaming 9
(Z270 Express Chipset) 

2x8GB Corsair DDR4 
(@ 2133MHz) 

IPG or GeForce GTX 960 
On-Board Ethernet 
On-board Audio 

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 3: 
AMD FX-8370 
(4GHz+ Octo-Core) 

AMD FX-9590 
(4.7GHz+ Octo-Core) 

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset) 

2x8GB Radeon DDR3 
(@ 2133MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet 
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 4: 
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
(3.6GHz+ Octo-Core)

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
(3.6GHz+ Octo-Core) 

AMD Ryzen 7 1700
(3GHz+ Octo-Core)

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
(3.6GHz+ Octo-Core) 

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
(3.5GHz+ Octo-Core) 

Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5
(AMD X370 Chipset) 

2x8GB Kingston DDR4 
(@ 2400 / 2933MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet 
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2016
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2016 SP3, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that partially comprise the suite with AMD's Ryzen 7 1800X processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPU running at its default settings, with 16GB of DDR4-2933 RAM running in dual-channel mode on the Gigabyte Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 X370-based motherboard.

1600x san cpu
Processor Arithmetic - 1600X

1600x san mm
Processor Multimedia - 1600X

1600x san mem
Memory Bandwidth - 1600X

1600x san cache
Cache and Memory - 1600X

1500x san cpu
Processor Arithmetic - 1500X

1500x san mm
Processor Multimedia - 1500X

1500x san mem
Memory Bandwidth - 1500X

1500x san cache
Cache and Memory - 1500X

The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X performed as expected in the SiSoft SANDRA benchmarks that we ran. The additional two cores on the 1600X give it a distinct advantage in the multi-threaded tests, though both chips compare favorably to Intel's Core i5-series processors. Memory bandwidth at the platform's officially supported max speed in dual-channel mode -- 2400MHz -- was just shy of the 30GB/s mark, and cache and memory latency is also competitive until the largest block sizes are used.

PCMark 8 v2
System Level Benchmark

PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests -- in addition to battery life testing -- to help consumers find devices that offers the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.

This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments. These tests can be run with or without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ available CPU and GPU compute resources…


The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X sandwich the Core i5 processors here in the Work benchmark, but trailed the Core i5's slightly in the Home benchmark. The additional CPU core resources available in Ryzen 5 aren't fully leveraged in every module of the individual tests in PCMark, however.  With highly-threaded workloads, the deltas should look different.

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