AMD Ryzen 5 1600 review

Processors 199 Page 24 of 25 Published by



The Final Words 

I've already stated that i feel the age of the quad-core processor is behind us. Some might not feel 8-cores is needed, others do not have the budget for it. As such Ryzen 5 1600 might be the steal of the year as you purchase a properly fast 6-core processor at 219 USD. Not just that, it is unlocked hence you tweak it close or to 4.0 GHz and from there on you are golden as the experience overall with this proc inside your PC is just pure and utter value respective to performance. That said, Ryzen platform remains a hint immature. This mainly focuses on memory compatibility and somewhat lower CPU bound game performance. Step by step though AMD has been advancing, more game titles get optimized, memory support is improving with each week that passes and the firmware updates bring in more performance as well. The new AGESA 1004 based already offered a notch better (lower) memory latency by a notch. The biggest culprit however remains memory compatibility. With the new AGESA 1006 update however more memory kits will see proper support, and you really want to run that memory at 2933 MHz or higher.

The Experience

The six-core Ryzen 5 1600 as such offers tremendous value for money. Tweak it a little and this 219 USD processor is as fast in gaming as the 499 USD Ryzen 7 1800X is. You just have two cores less at your disposal. It also tweaks towards 3.9 Ghz on air really well and stable, 4.0 GHz is very feasibly with a liquid cooling kit. I find four-core processors to get less attractive as playing with all the 6 and 8-core processors feels faster and better in your desktop environment and applications.  

The RAW Performance

Overall we like what we are seeing with the Ryzen 5, the per core performance most certainly is good enough for what and where it needs to be, especially in this price category. Realistically the performance overall hits a terrific, maybe even baffling, sweet-spot. Combined with a 3.6 GHz Turbo frequency the Ryzen 5 1600 processors still impress. As stated, the six-core 1600 hits a sweet-spot. The technology arena is slowly transitioning to six or more core processors in the next 12 to 24 months. For those that are shouting four cores is enough, hey... we had the very same discussion moving from two to four cores, remember? So if you hang on to that thought for a moment, in this year of 2017 would you still purchase a dual-core processor over a four-core one? Nope, and along these lines you need to think as we need to advance in hardware, the software will then follow in this technological evolution. I also do know that a setup like this could last you years as, again, the IPC perf is really good and you have many threads available. 

The Gaming Performance

At launch the biggest discussion at Ryzen's launch was 1080p gaming performance. This problem is still here, but not as big as some state it is. Ryzen is a truly great processor series, but it lacks a little in 1080p gaming situations where you are more CPU bound (if you have a fast enough graphics card). There has been much debate on the cause of it, memory latency, latency in-between the CCX modules on the processor, driver issues, Windows 10, game optimizations, benchmarking with a GeForce card over an AMD one, thread schedulers and so on. The reality is simple, the results are what they are. Ryzen 5 and 7 lack a good 10-20% in performance with super fast graphics cards in a lower resolution compared to the fastest clocked Intel SKUs. Now, as this review has shown, it does depend on the game titles a lot as well. We added like eight new games and the differences with these titles look much, much better. For the game titles that do lack a bit of bite, well... you can do quite a bit with the platform to tweak out that difference. 

I recommend you to read our tweaking article, as you can gain a lot from tweaking and using higher-frequency memory. To boost your performance, especially for gaming, here are a few generic Guru3D tips:

  1. Update your motherboard to the latest firmware BIOS, especially the AGESA 1004 or newer firmware revisions are going to help.
  2. Make sure you have your memory set to at least 2667 MHz with CL16 - 2133 and 2400 MHz will hurt game performance. We recommend 2933 MHz and, if possible, 3200 MHz DDR4.
  3. For best game performance, set your Windows energy performance mode to HIGH.
  4. Tweak your processor, you can likely reach ~4.0 GHz on all cores on just air cooling.  This offers a gain for game performance - but granted, this will eat a bit more energy, 40 to 50 Watts extra under hefty load on all CPU cores.
  5. Install the AMD Chipset Drivers and use the Ryzen optimized power plan energy mode.

And also in closing on the gaming topic, if you are a little GPU bound or use 2560x1440, this pretty much is a non-issue as perf there is top notch for what the processor needs to deliver. And no, the 1080p performance isn't as big of an issue as some evangelize it to be. 



The Memory

The AMD Ryzen platform supports DDR4 1866, 2133, 2400 and even 2667 MHz straight out of the box with two DIMMs. Higher frequencies are motherboard and more importantly firmware dependant. Over the past weeks we found out the hard way that Ryzen processors really like fast frequency memory, hence we sorely recommend you to use at least 2667 MHz DDR4 DIMMs. However, we recommend 2933 or 3200 MHz. Let me again refer to this article so you can see why. Now, this all sounds crisp and clear, but actual memory support on Ryzen systems is a bit of a mess. We have seen 3200 MHz modules from brand A work with a Ryzen 1600X, but not with an 1800X on the very same motherboard and vice versa. In such conditions your motherboard will revert to 2133 or 2400 MHz. Quite annoying and chances currently are still pretty good you'll stumble into it. AMD, the board partners and memory manufacturers have a massive task at hand here to get proper XMP support up-to snuff like Intel offers. Are you stuck at 2133 or 2400 MHz? Please read my procedural recommendations on this page.

The Power

With this processor now fabbed at 14 nm FinFET the TDP sticks at either 95 or 65 Watts. A full PC at idle will sit in the 50 to 60 Watt range with a dedicated graphics card installed (GeForce GTX 1080 / 16 GB memory / SSD and the motherboard). When we stressed the processors with a Prime 1024M run we reach roughly 125 Watts, that's low enough for what it needs to be. Overall though this is impressive to see. When we game we hover at ~250 Watts, but obviously that factor is dependant on the type of graphics card you use of course. So yeah, these are really good values with a many core product. No complaints here whatsoever and remember, these are all 8-core parts physically, even that 4-core enabled processor.

The Tweak

We used just the stock Wraith LED cooler for overclocking. We reach a stable 3.9 GHz at ALL cores for both processors. With proper liquid cooling and a lucky CPU we have no doubt that you will reach the 4.0 GHz on all cores as well. After that number things will start to get complicated though. The Ryzen 5 itself will be easy to overclock, you could increase the voltage but we advise the AUTO voltage mode really. Then select your multiplier or frequency of choice and you are good to go. 


The conclusion

At 219 USD the Ryzen 5 1600 is simply put terrific value. Heck pair it with a 125 USD B350 motherboard, pop on a nice graphics card and tweak it close to 4 GHz, you'll get a smile on your face as to how well a setup like that works. For that kind of money this setup offers nice gaming perf and excellent application threaded performance as Ryzen offers killer single- and multi-threaded performance. And if you are not into tweaking, heck the 1600X model might be worth the few tenners more for you. The eco-system is fast in matters of storage like M.2, SATA and/or USB 3.1. The step upwards to a six-core Ryzen 5 1600 is a proper one for the folks that actually need and waited for a well deserved upgrade, the guys that have been waiting for a price/perf competitive 6-core processor series and the intent to give AMD some well-deserved support after a couple of gruesome years. The more I test quad-core processors the less excited I am getting about them. A move to six and eight-core processors to me feels like the right thing to do as I do feel my overall desktop experience is much snappier and faster compared to any brand quad-core CPU, really go ask some users in our forums as it really feels and seems faster. The one thing you need to keep in mind is that Ryzen is a platform in development. Your motherboard will need a few firmware updates in the future, the memory support sometimes can be daunting and icky. But progress has been made in large steps over the last few weeks and slowly but steadily things are maturing properly. Our recommendation sticks, Ryzen processors like fast frequency memory. You start with a 2667 MHz kit but really, we recommend 2933 MHz or 3200 MHz CL16 if you want the last few FPS out of your gaming experience. Motherboards wise the performance will be the same from a 99 USD B350 towards the most expensive 350 USD X370 motherboard, you define the budget and needs in features. Please base your memory purchase choices on what the motherboard manufacturer advises (check their QVL list). Your sweet spot memory might be 2933 MHz with two DIMMs hence for all processor reviews we are moving to that number where possible. in closing, I think that we might have hit true equilibrium with the Ryzen 5 1600. Tweak it a bit and the proc is offering great value for money relative to performance. For 219 USD you can have a high-end processor experience on a very affordable platform. I cannot iterate it enough, this proc is oozing value and performance, and as such comes recommended, even highly recommended. Hence I am issuing both awards to the Ryzen 5 1600.

ATH +++

- Hilbert out

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

Share this content
Twitter Facebook Reddit WhatsApp Email Print