AMD Ryzen 5 1600X

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We were con­fused when we saw just how many Ryzen CPUs AMD was re­leas­ing, es­pe­cially as many of them seemed to have very sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tions. In ad­di­tion, the fact they could all over­clock meant the non-X-edi­tion parts were sin­gled out as po­ten­tial bar­gains, of­fer­ing the same cache and core counts for less money. The Ryzen 5 1600X costs £45 more than the Ryzen 5 1600, yet both CPUs have six cores and 12 threads, along with iden­ti­cal cache amounts. The dif­fer­ences are in TDP – 65W com­pared to 95W for the X-edi­tion CPU – and stock clock speeds.

The Ryzen 5 1600X has a sub­stan­tial lead in the fre­quency stakes, with a 3.6GHz base clock com­pared to 3.2GHz for the Ryzen 5 1600, and a 4GHz Pre­ci­sion Boost clock com­pared to 3.6GHz for the Ryzen 5 1600. The base fre­quency is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant, as it rep­re­sents the point that Pre­ci­sion Boost kicks in to boost fre­quen­cies fur­ther. Above this fig­ure, there’s very lit­tle scope for run­ning all six cores at the same boosted fre­quency – the num­ber of boosted cores falls quickly when Pre­ci­sion Boost and XFR are en­abled.

As well as higher base and Pre­ci­sion Boost fre­quen­cies, the Ryzen 5 1600X has a 100MHz XFR boost, giv­ing a max­i­mum fre­quency of 4.1GHz in lightly-threaded work­loads. By com­par­i­son, the Ryzen 5 1600 only boosts to a max­i­mum of 3.65GHz. As a re­sult, any­one not over­clock­ing their Ryzen CPU should go for the fastest CPU they can af­ford.

At £240 inc VAT, though, the Ryzen 5 1600X is also up against the Core i5-7600K, which re­tails for £224 inc VAT. As usual, the In­tel CPU had a lead in our im­age edit­ing test and, to a lesser ex­tent, in To­tal War: Warham­mer. Ashes of the Sin­gu­lar­ity: Es­ca­la­tion showed much smaller dif­fer­ences, with the AMD CPU ac­tu­ally be­ing faster at stock speed. There was lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the CPUs in Fall­out 4 and Deus Ex as well. It’s in multi-threaded tests where the AMD CPU re­ally shines, and here it sim­ply an­ni­hi­lated the Core i5. The lat­ter scored just 239,176 in our video en­cod­ing test, com­pared to 366,090 for the Ryzen 5 1600X, which was the fastest re­sult on test. The AMD CPU was nearly twice as fast in Cinebench too, with a score of 1,241 com­pared to 681 for the In­tel CPU, and it was much quicker in Ter­ra­gen 4, where it had a size­able lead over the Ryzen 5 1600 too.

The fact that the X-edi­tion CPUs are sup­pos­edly speed-binned held true in over­clock­ing this time as well, although only by 50MHz over the Ryzen 5 1600, with our CPU able to over­clock to 3.95GHz with a vcore of 1.425V. This boost saw the sys­tem score rise by nearly 10,000 points, although the Core i7-7700K was still quicker overall, and the cheaper Ryzen 5 1600 wasn’t far be­hind ei­ther.

Con­clu­sion

If you’re not plan­ning on over­clock­ing your sys­tem, then the Ryzen 5 1600X is a bet­ter bet than the Ryzen 5 1600, as the higher stock fre­quen­cies mean it’s no­tice­ably faster. How­ever, once over­clocked, the two CPUs per­form very sim­i­larly, mak­ing the non-Xedi­tion CPU bet­ter value. Against In­tel, the Ryzen 5 1600X is a match for the Core i5-7600K in games and bat­ters it in most other tests. Only the Core i7-7700K of­fers quicker per­for­mance, and even then it’s not in all tests, and it costs £90 more.

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