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

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AMD Ryzen 5 - Blender, Overclocking, And Power

Due to the fact that AMD caused quite a stir with its initial Blender benchmarks comparing Ryzen to the Core i7-6900K in the lead-up to the Ryzen 7 launch, we figured you’d all like to see some independent results in that benchmark as well...

Blender
3D Rendering Benchmark

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The Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X also performed well in the Blender benchmark, considering their affordable price points. The 1600X outpaced the Core i7-7700K and the 1500X beat the Core i5-7600 by over 2 minutes.

Overclocking Ryzen 5
Pushing The 1600X

We also spent some time overclocking our AMD Ryzen 7 1600X processor in the ASRock AB350 Gaming K4 to see how much additional frequency headroom the chip had left under its hood. Before we dive into the results, however, we want to reiterate some points we made about Ryzen and overclocking from our original review.

Overclocking still seems like a work-in-progress at this point in time with Ryzen. There are handful of overclocking-related features enthusiasts have grown accustomed to in recent years that are not available just yet. It's also unclear whether they'll be coming to the platform in the near term. For example, there are no per-core turbo / multiplier settings available. If you want to overclock Ryzen, simple multiplier adjustments affect all CPU cores, across the entire chip. There are also no memory / BCLK straps. And while you can change the memory multiplier, fine tuning via BCLK adjustments will also alter your PCI Express clock, etc.  Manually setting CPU multipliers also automatically disables features like turbo boost and XFR. The processors essentially work in two modes -- Default mode enables all of the power and clock gating features, while Overclocked mode allows the CPU to ride along at the specified settings.

The kind of overclocked speeds we're seeing with early Ryzen processors may also seem quizzical. Take the Ryzen 5 1600X, for example. This processor is specified as having a 3.6GHz base clock, with a 3.7GHz all-core turbo boost clock, and up to a 4.0 - 4.1GHz dual/single-core boost clock with XFR. Since overclocking requires altering speeds on all-cores, however, overclocks without exotic cooling solutions will likely hover in the 3.9-4.1GHz range without using up the processor's thermal budget. With liquid-nitrogen, AMD was able to break a record at its tech day event, but the CPU they used only hit 5.2GHz.

1600x overclock
AMD Ryzen Master Utility

AMD is doing some things to make overclocking as easy as possible though. Its latest version of Ryzen Master software looks very much like the Wattman tool available with Radeon GPUs. A single application lets you alter multiplers and voltages from within Windows, monitor temperatures and clocks, and save settings to different profiles. The software even gives users the ability to disable cores, if they'd like to push a fewer number of cores as high as possible, but that feature requires a system reboot. Although there are individual sliders per core, they all work in tandem at this time. As we said, there are no per-core overclocking features available just yet.

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To overclock our Ryzen 5 1600X we experimented both with Ryzen Master and the BIOS on the ASRock AB350 Gaming K4 motherboard and topped out at an all-core overclock of 4.025GHz, with 1.35 volts supplied to the CPU. For cooling, we stuck with the tower-type Thermaltake Contact Silent 12 we showed you in our Ryzen 7 coverage. At these settings, the CPU topped out at just shy of 70'C and was perfectly stable -- though we're not confident Ryzen Master was reporting proper temperatures. Bumping things up to 4.1GHz seemed to work as well, but we actually got lower performance in some tests and the system randomly locked-up. With more voltage and more powerful cooling, somewhat higher clocks would likely be possible. Just don't expect to hit the same kind of frequencies Intel's 14nm processors are capable of, with this generation of Ryzen at least.

While overclocked we re-ran a couple of tests and have the results for you above. Cinbench showed a nice gain and pushed the 1600X closer to the top of the charts. The same thing is true in the 3DMark Physics test.
Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

Before wrapping things up, we'd also like to talk a bit about power consumption. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our Ryzen-based test system was consuming with a power meter to compare it to the other test systems we used for benchmark comparisons. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling at the Windows desktop and while under a heavy CPU workload. Keep in mind, this is total system power consumption being measured at the outlet with only the processor loaded and not the the individual power of the CPUs alone.

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Power consumption with Ryzen looks very good overall. Idle power is nice and low and in-line with the most power-friendly Intel processors. Under load, the Ryzen 5 1600X consumed less power than a 7700K, which is a massive improvement over previous-generation architectures in terms of efficiency. The Ryzen 5 1500X consumed just about the same amount of power as the Core i5s under load, but had the lowest idle power of the bunch.

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We also monitored power while overclocking to see if consumption went up significantly as the processor was pushed beyond its stock limits. With a single core loaded at the processor's stock settings, with XFR enabled, the system consumed only 67 Watts. With all cores loaded at stock settings, the system consumed 129 Watts. And with all cores cranking at 4.025GHz, power consumption went up by about 37 Watts. That's a significant jump, but still ends up being lower than many of the other processors running at default / stock settings.  Although its clear that there is room for improvement in terms of frequency headroom with this first run of Ryzen processors, power consumption looks good.

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