Ryzen 5 reports in on April 11 with chips from $169 to $249


— 9:00 PM on March 15, 2017

AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs have made a splash for the workstation-class builder with their many threads at friendly prices, but not all of us need eight cores and 16 threads to churn through our computing tasks. The logical step down for more mainstream folks is the Ryzen 5 series of chips. AMD revealed two of those parts—the Ryzen 5 1600X and the Ryzen 5 1500X—alongside the Ryzen 7 family, and today we're learning more about a new pair of Ryzen 5 CPUs that complete the midrange tier of AMD's new processor lineup.

Model Cores Threads Base clock Boost clock XFR TDP Price
Ryzen 5 1600X 6 12 3.6 GHz 4.0 GHz Yes 95W $249
Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 65W $219
Ryzen 5 1500X 4 8 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz $189
Ryzen 5 1400 3.2 GHz 3.4 GHz $169

At the top of the range, the Ryzen 5 1600X is joined by the Ryzen 5 1600. The 1600X will likely be pitted against Intel's entry-level six-core CPU, the Core i7-6800K. The aggressively-clocked 1600X boasts what AMD calls a "full" XFR range, although the company says the definition of "full" isn't being revealed at this time, and our guess is that it could vary from chip to chip in this lineup. Of the Ryzen 5 CPUs being announced today, the 1600X is the only one that will slot into a 95W TDP. Meanwhile, the modestly-clocked Ryzen 5 1600 retains XFR, but it likely won't benefit as much as its sibling from a bigger cooler on top.  That chip puts an impressive six cores and 12 threads into a trim 65W thermal envelope.

Most builders are used to four cores and eight threads from Intel's $300+ Core i7 CPUs, but AMD is taking four Zen cores with SMT under $200 with the Ryzen 5 1500X and Ryzen 5 1400. The Ryzen 5 1500X will boast 200 MHz of XFR headroom on top of its already-appealing base speeds, and it'll retain the unlocked multiplier common to all Ryzen CPUs. Whether that's enough to match or outpace the potent Core i5-7500 at $205 will be an interesting question as we approach review time. At the base of the lineup, the Ryzen 7 1400 offers what could be an impressive level of multithreaded performance and unlocked multipliers for about $25 less than the Core i5-7400.

AMD will include unilluminated versions of its Wraith Spire cooler with the Ryzen 5 1600 and 1500X, while the Ryzen 5 1400 will get the more modest Wraith Stealth heatsink. In response to questions about whether it would offer RGB LED-illuminated versions of these coolers separately, AMD said that builders who want the blinkenlights will need to shell out for a Ryzen 7 chip. As the enthusiast-class six-core chip in this lineup, the Ryzen 5 1600X will sell as a bare processor only.

Some mysteries remain about the Ryzen 5 lineup. AMD didn't answer my questions about CCX arrangements for these parts, although the wide XFR boost range the company let slip for the Ryzen 5 1500X suggests that only one CCX may be underneath four-core Ryzens' heat spreaders. We also don't know these chips' cache arrangements just yet. All will be revealed soon enough, as AMD says the entire Ryzen 5 family will hit store shelves April 11.

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