AMD is back in the desktop CPU game with its Ryzen family of processors, thanks to successes with per-core performance and energy-efficiency improvements brought about by its "Zen" micro-architecture. The company launched its Ryzen processor family with the top-end Ryzen 7 series, which consists of eight-core models that start at $329, going all the way up to $499. These chips do manage to make you think twice before choosing an Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core chip, and make the Core i7 "Broadwell-E" series look terrible, all the way up to the $1,199 i7-6900K. Ahead of Summer 2017, when PC gamers hit the stores for hardware upgrades, AMD is launching a new line of Ryzen processors at price points targeting them, with the new Ryzen 5 series.
The Ryzen 5 series from AMD competes with the entire spectrum of Intel's Core i5 quad-core "Kaby Lake" series, at prices ranging from $169 to $249. This puts Intel's high-volume Core i5-7600K and value-oriented i5-7400 in its crosshairs. Carved out of the same 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon as the eight-core Ryzen 7 series, the Ryzen 5 series consists of six-core and quad-core SKUs, which are further bolstered by SMT (simultaneous multi-threading) and unlocked base-clock multipliers across the board. SMT (and its Intel-implementation, HyperThreading) is something quad-core Core i5 parts lack, and unlocked multipliers is reserved only for the i5-7600K quad-core and the $189 i3-7350K dual-core. What's more, the six-core Ryzen 5 parts feature a staggering 16 MB of L3 cache (compared to the paltry 6 MB of the price-comparable Core i5 quad-core parts), and the quad-core parts feature a decent 8 MB. Given AMD has made significant strides in improving per-core performance and the software ecosystem finally taking advantage of more than 4 logical CPUs, the Ryzen 5 series looks extremely exciting on paper.
While the Ryzen 5 series is led by the $249 six-core Ryzen 5 1600X, which AMD claims will compete with not just the price-matched Core i5-7600K, but also punch above its weight against the $329 Core i7-7700K in some tests, a more exciting part with implications in particular for the PC-gaming crowd is the quad-core Ryzen 5 1500X. This chip is priced at $189, a price at which Intel is selling the overclocker-friendly dual-core i3-7350K and its slowest quad-core i5-7400 part. With the i3-7350K, Intel is hoping that two highly clocked "Kaby Lake" cores with HyperThreading make for a sufficiently fast gaming-PC processor. The Core i5-7400 gives you four cores, but no HyperThreading and clock speeds of 3.00 GHz, with 3.50 GHz Turbo Boost speeds. The Ryzen 5 1500X, in comparison, gives you not just four cores, but also SMT, enabling 8 logical CPUs (something you'd have to shell out upwards of $300 on the Intel lineup for), 8 MB of L3 cache, and clock speeds of 3.50 GHz with 3.70 GHz TurboCore frequency, and the XFR (extended frequency range) feature enabling higher automated overclocks, depending on the efficacy of your CPU cooling.
|Pentium G4560||Core i3-7100||Core i5-7400||Core i5-7500||Ryzen 5 1500X||Core i5-6600K||Core i5-7600K||Ryzen 5 1600X||Ryzen 7 1700||Core i7-6700K||Core i7-7700K||Ryzen 7 1700X|
|Cores / Threads||2 / 4||2 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 8||4 / 4||4 / 4||6 / 12||8 / 16||4 / 8||4 / 8||8 / 16|
|Base Clock||3.5 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.0 GHz||3.4 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.0 GHz||4.0 GHz||4.2 GHz||3.4 GHz|
|Max. Boost||N/A||N/A||3.5 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.9 GHz||4.2 GHz||4.1 GHz||3.7 GHz||4.2 GHz||4.5 GHz||3.8 GHz|
|L3 Cache||3 MB||3 MB||6 MB||6 MB||16 MB||8 MB||8 MB||16 MB||16 MB||8 MB||8 MB||16 MB|
|TDP||54 W||51 W||65 W||65 W||65 W||91 W||91 W||95 W||65 W||91 W||91 W||95 W|
|Process||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm|
|Socket||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||AM4||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||AM4||AM4||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||AM4|