AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
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.
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.