Ryzen 7’s debut just under three weeks ago clearly kicked off an upgrade cycle for AMD fans and potentially some Intel converts — in the three weeks we’ve been watching, the Ryzen 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 have all maintained spots in the Top 20, and typically the Top 15. With 6-7 CPUs in the Top 20 compared to 2-3 prior to the launch of Ryzen, AMD is clearly better positioned (and earning at least somewhat more money, thanks to higher CPU prices). Still, the cheapest Ryzen 7 CPU clocks in at $329, and that’s not exactly affordable.
Today, AMD is announcing its new Ryzen 5 CPU family. While the naming evokes the Core i5, the products themselves do not. First up, we’ve got a pair of six-core chips; the Ryzen 5 1600X and the Ryzen 5 1600. Both of them have SMT enabled, but the 1600X has a 3.6GHz base clock and a 4GHz Boost, while the 1600 has a 3.2GHz base clock and a 3.6GHz boost.
Drop down the stack again, and we’ve got the Ryzen 5 1500X and Ryzen 5 1400. Both CPUs offer quad-cores and eight threads, with clock speeds of 3.5GHz – 3.7GHz and 3.2GHz-3.4GHz respectively. While this is a touch lower than some of Intel’s Core i5s, the addition of SMT should more than compensate for lower clocks in multi-threaded workloads.
I don’t plan to spend much time talking about chipsets, but I wanted to give an updated version of the image that’s been floating around for awhile. The X370 and B350 are the obvious enthusiast platforms, with the X300 available for SFF options.
Of course, none of this means much if the prices aren’t good. Check this out. AMD isn’t done putting a world of hurt on Intel’s high-end product stack.
We’ve put together a chart below to show how AMD’s new Ryzen 5 stacks up against Intel’s lineup, but we have to note that it’s not a perfect match. There are two sets of chips you can conceivably stack up against the quad-core Ryzen 5’s — the Core i7 family, which has four cores, eight threads, and is vastly more expensive, or the Core i5, which has quad-cores, no SMT, and is more competitive within the same price band. We decided to show two comparison points for the 1500X, but stayed with an i5 comparator with the Ryzen 5 1400. If you’re eyeing a $169 chip, stepping up to a CPU that costs twice as much probably isn’t something you’re very interested in doing (and there aren’t enough desktop chips in the Kaby Lake Core i7 family to give us much to compare against anyway).
If you thought AMD was going to confine itself to gunning for Intel’s top-end Broadwell-E chips, think again. The six-core Ryzen 5’s are priced at 40% and 50% of their Intel equivalents, respectively. The quad-core chips are a bit of a mix. If you compare Ryzen 5 1500X against the Core i7-7700, the 1500X is definitely cheaper, but won’t match an i7-7700’s performance (the 7700K is more expensive, but also clocks higher). If you compare Ryzen 5 1500X against a Core i5, the cost difference is marginal, meaning this comes down to a pure performance fight. With eight threads vs. four, Ryzen should win that struggle, but we’re not going to call the situation either way until we have silicon in-hand.
The Ryzen 5 1400 is in a similar position. It’s somewhat cheaper than the i5, but we’ll need to see performance before we render a verdict. But based on this lineup, AMD has a potent set of products, particularly at the six-core level. Ryzen will only have been in-market for a month when AMD’s next quarterly conference call rolls around, but a lot of eyes will be watching to see how the company’s CPU & GPU revenue looks. So far, it seems like they’ve got something to look forward to.