AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Review AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Review - Overclocking, Performance Analysis and Conclusion4GHz is usually an easy target with Ryzen so long as you have decent air cooling or better, and the Ryzen 5 1500X was no exception, getting to 4GHz on the dot across all four cores with a vcore of 1.425V. Raising the vcore to a little over 1.43V didn't yield any improvement here and the same old culprit, Terragen 4, ended our quest for anything higher.

Still, this is 500MHz above the base frequency and 300MHz higher than the maximum Precision Boost Frequency, and combined with something like a Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3, you'll have an eight-thread CPU and board combo for the same price as the Core i7-7700K alone.

Performance Analysis

Let's start with our content creation benchmarks. At stock speed in HandBrake, the Ryzen 5 1500X claims the scalp of the Core i7-7700K, bettering it by four seconds. This is a massive victory for AMD, as it means that not only would the Core i5-7600K be well and truly beaten here, so will all the locked quad-cores in Intel's arsenal too, at least in HandBrake. The downside is that even when overclocked to 4GHz across all cores, the massive 5GHz overclock we manage routinely with our Core i7-7700K is enough to offer 20 percent yet more performance, with the encoding time falling another 29 seconds. But, of course, you'll be paying an extra £100 or so for the privilege. We'll be adding Core i5-7600K results to more graphs over the next few days.

It was an even better story for the AMD CPU in the PCMark 8 Photo Editing test, where even at stock speed, the Ryzen 5 1500X bettered both the stock speed Core i7 and Core i5 K-edition CPUs and even matched the Core i5-7600K once it was overclocked. Even more impressively, the AMD CPU managed to better the Core i7-7700K when overclocked too. Terragen 4 doesn't seem to favour Ryzen CPUs at all, given that despite sporting fewer threads, the Core i5-7600K was faster at stock speed than the AMD CPU was when it was overclocked. However, we've seen similar stories in both the Ryzen 5 1600X vs Intel Core i7-6850K and Ryzen 7 1800X vs Intel Core i7-6900K battles in this test, so this wasn't surprising.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Review AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Review - Overclocking, Performance Analysis and Conclusion

Given the higher base frequency of the Core i7-7700K, it's also not surprising that the Ryzen 5 1500X was a little slower in Cinebench too - AMD may be equal or thereabouts in clock-for-clock performance, but if Intel is clocked higher as standard, the outcome is inevitable. As a result, the Ryzen 5 1500X sits between the Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K, beating the latter's overclocked performance. In short, for most multi-threaded tasks, the Core i5-7600K is totally outclassed by the AMD CPU - the Ryzen 5 1500X is cheaper and faster and draws only a little more power under load and when overclocked.

It's a familiar story in our selection of game tests with the Ryzen 5 1500X performing reasonably well against the field thanks to its 200MHz XFR boost, and it was only 3fps slower than the Intel Core i7-7700K in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Fallout 4 saw even smaller variance between the top and bottom results, so at 1080p at least, there's very little benefit from going Intel compared to AMD. Ashes of the Singularity's CPU test is still showing AMD as needing some optimisation, but as we mentioned in our Ryzen 5 1600X review, a patch is in the works, although as of yesterday it hadn't been dished out across Steam. As soon as it is, we'll take another look at Ryzen performance.

It's worth looking at single-threaded performance, though, as there are still plenty of programs out there that don't make use of more than a couple of cores. Here, Intel still has a lead, largely thanks to its CPUs' higher base frequencies. For example, the Core i3-7350K has a base frequency of 4.2GHz and no turbo boost, so in Cinebench's single-threaded test, it's score of 177 at stock speed is unsurprisingly higher than the 160 scored by the Ryzen 5 1500X, which has a maximum single-core frequency of 3.9GHz. We haven't got an in-house Core i5-7600K at the moment, but with an identical maximum frequency to the Core i3, it would score the same and have a similar lead over the AMD CPU.

It was a somewhat similar story in CPU-Z's single-threaded test. The multi-threaded test appears to favour AMD's CPUs, so there's certainly no bias towards Intel here. Indeed, the Core i7-7700K was slower at stock speed than the Ryzen 5 1500X in the single-threaded test, despite sporting a higher single-core frequency, but once the CPUs are overclocked, there's little AMD can do to match a 5GHz overclock.


Combining the Ryzen 5 1500X with something like a Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3, you'll have an eight-thread CPU and board combo for the same price as the Core i7-7700K. Combined with excellent multi-threaded performance, if you need eight-threaded grunt then for the money it's unbeatable. In terms of specifications, its Intel competitor is the Core i7-7700K, and the only way the latter justifies its price tag is its ability to overclock way past the AMD CPU, with the increased clock speed usually offering much better performance as a result - but then you'd hope so too given that it costs considerably more.

The question of Core i5s is maybe a little different. On one hand, the Ryzen 5 1500X batters the Core i5-7600K in most of the test results we have for it, and in others it doesn't need a rocket scientist to gauge that AMD would soundly beat it given that on occasions the Core i7-7700K is bettered too. The additional threads of the Ryzen CPU really do help it in multi-threaded scenarios. The question is, does the increased overclocking headroom mean you should opt for the Core i5-7600K, given that most are good for at least 4.6GHz? Looking at Cinebench, the answer is no - even the stock speed Ryzen 5 1500X is faster as it was in the PCMark 8 Photo Editing workload too. This also means that many locked Core i5s are not worth it if you need multi-threaded grunt.

This suggests it's also sensible to skip the Core i5-7600, which does offer a higher maximum frequency and is the fastest locked Core i5, so if you need a little more grunt in lightly threaded applications, it could have an edge. However, the extra multi-threaded grunt of the Ryzen 5 1500X also comes at a lower price - the Intel Core i5-7600 costs around £25 more. In terms of gaming performance, we're seeing signs that things are improving for Ryzen in a number of areas. Ashes of the Singularity is the exception in terms of a big deficit in the absence of a performance-boost patch for the moment, but DX12 games such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided show only a small lead for Intel at 1,920 x 1,080.

All this points to a rather attractive offering in the Ryzen 5 1500X, and the only thing stopping us giving it our top award is the fact that the yet untested Ryzen 5 1600 six-core costs just £30 more, while you can save even more cash by potentially going for the £20 cheaper Ryzen 5 1400. For now, though, the Ryzen 5 1500X comes highly recommended.
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