How we test

Custom PC - - LAB TEST -

It’s been over half a decade since our last CPU group test, sim­ply be­cause AMD has been mainly play­ing catch-up since the launch of In­tel’s Core ar­chi­tec­ture in 2006. In fact, the Phe­nom and FX CPUs that AMD churned out over the past ten years were gen­er­ally poor, par­tic­u­larly in terms of in­struc­tions per clock, ef­fi­ciency and sin­gle-threaded per­for­mance. Out­side of a few mul­ti­threaded bench­marks, In­tel’s CPUs were mas­sively faster, and AMD’s CPUs were also of­ten very hot-run­ning and pow­er­hun­gry, es­pe­cially when over­clocked.

But now that’s all changed with the in­tro­duc­tion of AMD’s Ryzen CPU line-up. It’s had a rather bumpy ride at launch, as so much soft­ware is In­tel-fo­cused at the mo­ment, plus there were sta­bil­ity and compatibility is­sues. How­ever, Ryzen is now shap­ing up to be a stun­ning CPU ar­chi­tec­ture, of­fer­ing es­pe­cially strong multi-threaded per­for­mance for the money. As a re­sult, we de­cided it was time to pitch the en­tire Ryzen 5 line-up against ev­ery un­locked In­tel LGA1151 CPU, to see which chips are worth your money.

We used an Asus Crosshair VI Hero, along with 16GB of Cor­sair 3000MHz Vengeance LPX mem­ory, to test the AMD CPUs, with the mem­ory clocked at 2933MHz due to the di­vider you’re forced to use with the base clock at 100MHz. For the In­tel CPUs, we used our stan­dard 16GB Cor­sair 3200MHz Vengeance LED mem­ory kit, along with an Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gam­ing motherboard with the XMP pro­file en­abled, but no other set­tings touched. Both sys­tems use a 480GB Cru­cial M500 SSD with Win­dows 10, along with the lat­est Cre­ators Up­date, plus an XFX R9 390X 8GB graph­ics card, a Cooler Mas­ter MasterLiq­uid 120 CPU cooler and a Cor­sair RM750 PSU.

We put each CPU through our RealBench 2015 suite, Cinebench R15, Ter­ra­gen 4, plus Ashes of the Sin­gu­lar­ity: Es­ca­la­tion and To­tal War: Warham­mer, along with power con­sump­tion tests. We also recorded the load tem­per­a­ture at each CPU’s max­i­mum over­clock, so you can gauge the level of cool­ing you’ll need. For In­tel CPUs, we set the max­i­mum volt­age at 1.35V, which is Asus’ rec­om­mended max­i­mum for an every­day over­clock, while AMD’s max­i­mum for short-term test­ing is 1.45V, which we re­duced to 1.425V to achieve a re­al­is­tic long-term over­clock. We then in­creased the CPU mul­ti­pli­ers to find the max­i­mum sta­ble fre­quen­cies.

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