AMD Ryzen 5 vs. Ryzen 7: Which Ryzen CPU provides the most bang for your buck?

By Koh Wanzi - 16 Jul 2017


Sometimes you don’t have to be the absolute best to be a winner

In a nutshell, Ryzen 5’s main advantage over Intel’s Core i5 range is the higher number of cores and threads it offers while sharing the same price bracket. That’s not unlike what AMD offers with its Ryzen 7 CPUs, all of which are 8-core/16-thread parts, but AMD has been able to bolster its position in that segment with significantly lower prices as well.

That said, we still stand by what we said in our review of the Ryzen 7 1800X. If your focus is solely on gaming, Intel is still the better option because of its higher instructions-per-cycle and clock speeds. It’ll also take some time before enough developers and games optimize for Ryzen’s approach of lower clock speeds and more cores, so 1080p gaming performance (where the CPU is often limiting) is going to be wanting for a while yet.

However, recent developments suggest that the industry as a whole is moving toward better leverage of a higher number of cores and threads, and there are even rumors that Intel will introduce a 6-core CPU as part of its mainstream line-up for its 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors.

And if you’re going to be doing a lot of CPU-intensive work, the Ryzen CPUs will do wonderfully well. The Ryzen 5 1600X is particularly attractive because it is difficult to turn down 6 cores and 12 threads at that price when the closest Intel offering has just 4 cores and 4 threads.

Furthermore, we should point out that Ryzen isn’t as bad at gaming as the headlines may make it sound. It isn’t as quick as the Intel Core i7-7700K for sure, but that doesn’t mean it is terrible. Maybe “good enough” is enough for most folks, especially considering that Ryzen makes up for it with major advantages in CPU-intensive work.

The Ryzen 7 1700 also deserves particular praise because of the performance that overclocking unlocks. It has 8 cores and 16 threads like the 1800X and is initially a bit handicapped by its relatively low 3.0GHz base clock, but we managed to overclock it to close to 4.0GHz, after which it outperformed the stock Cinebench score of the 1800X.

Arguably, the Ryzen 7 1700X and 1700 are both better buys than the 1800X because they offer (or can offer) very similar performance at considerably lower prices. A similar case could be made for the Ryzen 5 1600X, which has the same clock speeds as the 1800X but fewer cores. The 1500X lags behind more, but is also priced very affordably.

For how close they are to each other, just look at their performance composite indexes (we’ve inserted the table here for easier reference):

  Intel Core i7-6950X Intel Core i7-7700K Ryzen 7 1800X Ryzen 7 1700X Ryzen 7 1700 Ryzen 5 1600X Ryzen 5 1500X
Performance Composite Index 1.15 1.00 0.98 0.95 0.90 0.90 0.76

In summary here's our recommendation:-

All things considered, maybe Ryzen doesn’t have to be the best to be a winner. The line-up doesn’t have the best multi-threaded performance, nor does it take the crown in gaming. But the 10-core Intel Core i7-6950X costs a monumental sum, and the Core i7-7700K doesn't do as well in heavily-threaded workloads. You could say it's a matter of perspective and trading certain things for others – in Ryzen's case, this simply means you gain in terms of better prices and higher core counts, but lose some (but not too much) gaming performance.

Our Final Ratings
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X


Click here for rundown of pros/cons

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X

Click here for rundown of pros/cons

AMD Ryzen 7 1700

Click here for rundown of pros/cons

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X

Click here for rundown of pros/cons

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Click here for rundown of pros/cons

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