AMD Ryzen 5 1600/1600X vs Core i5 7600K review


AMD Ryzen 5 1600/1600X vs Core i5 7600K review

Since the release of the Core i5 2500K in January 2011, Intel’s mainstream quad-core processor line has been the default choice for those looking to put together a capable gaming PC. The i5 is always fast out of the box and overclocking can keep your platform competitive for anything up to five or even six years. But the return of AMD has already proven disruptive in other areas of the x86 market and the Ryzen 5 1600 and 1600X are simply irresistible products: Core i5 is no longer the ‘go to’ CPU line for gamers – there is now genuine, potent competition. And to cut straight to the chase, given the choice between a 7600K or the cheaper Ryzen 5 1600, it’s the AMD product we’d choose.

To understand why Ryzen 5 is so effective, check out this stock vs 4.8GHz overclock Core i5 7600K vs Core i7 7700K benchmark head-to-head. Across the titles tested, the majority show a stock i7 outperforming an overclocked i5. Single-core performance is still important but the takeaway is that more processing cores and threads trump frequency, with the majority of modern game engines favouring more than four cores. The rest of the review effectively writes itself then: what Ryzen 5 lacks in clocks, it makes up for with many more threads. Both Ryzen 5 1600 and 1600X have six full cores and 12 threads, available for the same ballpark money as the i5’s basic four cores and four threads.

However, despite Ryzen 5’s massive advantage in terms of basic resources, Intel still has some fundamental advantages – but certainly in terms of productivity, there’s no competition. Cinebench confirms that Intel’s Kaby Lake has a substantial single-thread advantage but on the multi-core benchmark, AMD’s lead is overwhelming. The cheaper Ryzen 5 1600 can even beat the Core i7 7700K – even though the latter has a 1GHz advantage over the AMD offering. The extent to which that synthetic benchmark reflects on real-life performance in productivity apps will, of course, vary according to the application.

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