AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.2 GHz Review 97

AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.2 GHz Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The AMD Ryzen 5 1400 currently retails for $170.
  • Beats Intel Core i5-7400 and Core i3 parts in multi-threaded apps
  • Features SMT/HTT (which competing Intel Core i5 quad-core chips lack)
  • Single-thread performance improved over previous generation
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Heatsink included
  • Platform updated to include latest features (PCIe 3.0, USB 3.1, NVMe)
  • Noticeably slower than the Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Low single-thread performance takes away the Ryzen "wow factor"
  • Gaming performance in the league of cheaper Core i3 dual-core parts
  • Setup complicated (memory, HPET, CCX, SMT, and power profile)
  • Lack of 200 MHz XFR makes it effectively 450 MHz slower than the 1500X (3.45 GHz vs. 3.90 GHz)
  • Requires optimized apps of which there are not many
  • Lacks integrated graphics
AMD carved the Ryzen 5 1400 out of the "Summit Ridge" silicon in a slightly different way than it did the Ryzen 5 1500X. In addition to disabling two cores per CCX, AMD also halved the L3 cache per CCX to 4 MB (8 MB total), and this may have levied heavy performance penalties. The cores of one CCX don't address the contents of the L3 cache of a neighboring CCX because it comes with added latency. When you halve the local L3 cache to just 4 MB, a core can't address more than 4 MB of it, unlike on the 1500X, where a core could access >4 MB (up to 8 MB) of it.

We have little reason to complain about its multi-threaded performance. At its $170 price, the Ryzen 5 1400 gives you multi-threaded performance that easily competes with the $20 pricier Core i5-7400 and in some cases even with that of the i5-7600K, but that's where the joyride ends for this chip.

The Ryzen 5 1400 offers consistently lower single-thread performance than quad-core Intel chips, and we can't seem to find a reasonable explanation. It's not like it's clocked too low. If performance scaled linearly with clock-speed for Ryzen, this chip should have shown about 8-14 percent less single-thread performance than the 1500X. The performance differences seem bigger in some tests. The 1500X seems to hold on to its performance better against competing Intel chips.

Gaming performance is another area that highlights this. If you look at "Fallout 4" 720p, you'll notice that the 1500X provides 27 percent higher frame-rates than the 1400. Another example is "Sniper Elite 4" 720p, in which the 1500X is 26.5 percent faster. Clearly, clock speeds aren't the only things setting the two chips apart. Across the spectrum, the Ryzen 5 1400 is slower than every quad-core Core i5 chip in our bench, which has it compete more in the league of entry-level Core i3 and Pentium dual-core chips, and it doesn't bode well for a $170 product to be beaten by a sub-$100 part in gaming.

Overclocking of our Ryzen 5 1400 sample worked well and reached 3.824 GHz easily, at 1.35 V, which helps make up some of the lost ground to the 1500X. The XFR feature on the 1500X seems to be making a big difference with these low-cost chips, by adding 200 MHz on top of the boost clock for the 1500X. It is sorely missed on the 1400.

A minor point for the majority of our readers, but still worth mentioning in my opinion, is that Ryzen lacks integrated graphics (yes, even if the motherboards have monitor connectors). It may not mean much to gaming PC builders, but system integrators, builders of office computers and you, when building a computer for your parents, might miss integrated graphics, which is a cost-effective solution to keeping platform cost down for non-gaming loads. If this affects you, perhaps you could wait for AMD to roll out its Ryzen-branded "Raven Ridge" socket AM4 APUs in the second half of 2017.

With a retail price of $170, the Ryzen 5 1400 is $20 cheaper than the 1500X, but is the cost-saving worth it? Not in my opinion. You would much rather spend the extra Jackson on the 1500X for not just higher clocks, but an inherently better on-die configuration, with 16 MB (double) of L3 cache, for starters. The 1500X also has 450 MHz higher clocks out of the box since XFR adds 200 MHz to the boost clock almost all the time. The stock cooler is also meatier on the 1500X. That leaves too little of a value proposition on the 1400. If you're mostly gaming on your PC with a little school/office work thrown in, you're much better off with cheaper Core i3 processors that offer the same or higher gaming performance. If you're streaming in addition to gaming and doing school/office work, then spend the extra $20 on the 1500X or the i5-7400. The 1400 is the first Ryzen part that doesn't do justice to the innovation AMD put into these chips, which leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The unlocked multiplier which lets you pull it up to 1500X performance is its only redeeming feature.
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