Core i5-7600K, move! / Processors and memory


The announcement of the Ryzen 7 processors, built on a fundamentally new AMD Zen microarchitecture, took place almost a month and a half ago. And judging by the intensity of the discussions that have not ceased since then, directly or indirectly affecting the new processors, AMD managed to attract a lot of attention to its product. However, such a heated debate is due, among other things, to the fact that Ryzen 7 is hardly an exceptionally flawless novelty. The processors of this family received atypical accents in performance and can boast good speed indicators mainly in applications for creating and processing digital content. In gaming systems, Ryzen 7 looks far from an outstanding option, at least for now.

However, the fact that most of the participants in the disputes about Ryzen are not owners of such chips, but defend their opinion solely from speculative positions, is not due to the fact that this processor did not meet expectations in some way. This situation is more likely due to the fact that the Ryzen 7 modifications on the market have a relatively high cost and, generally speaking, do not pretend to be a mass product. AMD itself positions Ryzen 7 as an alternative to Intel’s elite platform HEDT (High-End Desktop), and therefore the prices of processors of this family start from $ 329.

But today, April 11, everything should change. The market comes with processors Zen microarchitecture more affordable family Ryzen 5, through which AMD wants to try to succeed in the popular middle segment. The prices of new products look very attractive, and the success of the initiative taken depends only on whether Ryzen 5 processors can match the expectations of average users about the properties that the main chip should have in a modern personal computer or can not.

And this is exactly the main intrigue. The fact is that AMD strategy implies active promotion of multi-core. Any Ryzen in comparison with Intel processors of similar cost necessarily offer more physical and logical cores, and this, generally speaking, is not a 100% winning approach. However, in the case of Ryzen 5, it may well work. The microarchitecture Zen offers a fairly good specific performance per core, Ryzen 5 family processors are comparable in operating frequencies with Intel’s alternatives, and in addition, they offer some additional advantages, such as the ability to overclock.

In this article we will try to analyze how the Ryzen 5 processors can be a worthy alternative to the Intel Core i5 processors, and we will get acquainted with the older model in the new family, Ryzen 5 1600X, which is going to outshine the Core i5-7600K.

⇡ # The Ryzen 5 lineup

Anyway, Ryzen 7 is hard to call the ideal processors for the gaming system. On the one hand, they are expensive and significantly surpass the price, obviously not the worst in terms of gaming performance alternatives, and on the other – the resources of any such eight-core processor with support for SMT (simultaneous multithreading) technology for modern games are simply redundant. In other words, Ryzen 7 is more of an option for a workstation designed to create and process digital content than a mass processor for a wide range of computer enthusiasts.

Ryzen 5 is much better for gaming systems. This is understandable in its structure, as AMD itself says. In this processor series, the number of cores is reduced to a level adequate to the load created by games, and the cost is reduced so that the acquisition of such a CPU does not become an unbearable burden for the average gamer. However, AMD did not abandon the general idea, which it systematically conducts with its new processors with the microarchitecture Zen. Ryzen 5, just like the older family, offers the best multithreading capabilities in comparison with the current Intel processors that perform in the same price category. And if in the case of Ryzen 7, which are opposed to the Core i7, AMD still did not manage to outdo the flagship LGA2011-3 processors by the absolute number of cores and streams, then Ryzen 5 in comparison with the Core i5 looks like pure winners. The number of cores in AMD’s new products is more than 1.5 times, and overflows the advantage goes up to three times.

As a result, the family Ryzen 5 combines the processors with the microarchitecture Zen, which have an array of six or four cores with support for SMT technology. If you consider that such CPUs should cost between $ 169 and $ 249, all this looks very promising, especially if you have in mind typical user tasks. However, it’s worth remembering that Ryzen 5 also retains another characteristic of its older counterparts – base frequencies not exceeding 3.6 GHz. Although this seems somewhat illogical, a decrease in the number of active Zen nuclei does not lead to an increase in the frequency potential, and the Ryzen 5 operating frequencies do not set any records.

This is especially evident in processors with four cores: the corresponding Ryzen 5 models in this respect are much inferior to the older Intel Core i5, whose frequencies reach 3.8 GHz. But the lack of frequency potential in quad-core AMD compensates for a much lower price, and the senior representatives of the series Core i5 the company opposes the six-core processors. In addition, all Ryzen 5 are enhanced with SMT technology, so that any of the processors in this series has more advanced capabilities for working in multi-threaded environments.

The lineup of Ryzen 5 processors, which officially goes on sale today, is made up of four devices.

Ryzen 5 1600X

Ryzen 5 1600

Ryzen 5 15 00X

Ryzen 5 1400

Kernels / streams

6/12

6/12

4/8

4/8

Base frequency, GHz

3.6

3,2

3,5

3,2

Frequency in turbo mode, GHz

4.0

3.6

3.7

3,4

Technology XFR, MHz

+100

+100

+200

+50

The configuration of the crystal

3 + 3

3 + 3

2 + 2

4 + 0

L3-cache, Mbyte

16

16

16

8

TDP, W

95

65

65

65

Memory support

DDR4-2666

DDR4-2666

DDR4-2666

DDR4-2666

The processor socket

Socket AM4

Socket AM4

Socket AM4

Socket AM4

The official price

$ 249

$ 219

$ 189

$ 169

All four processors of the new Ryzen 5 series are based on the same as the Ryzen 7, a Zeppelin semiconductor chip that is manufactured using a 14-nm LPP process with FinFET transistors at GlobalFoundries and structurally consists of two quad-core blocks CCX (CPU Complex). This means that the core of AMD’s quad-core and six-core processors is originally an eight-core semiconductor chip, in which certain parts are blocked at the production stage. As a result, AMD is able to use Ryzen 5 with the benefit of implementing defective semiconductor devices, which, due to defects in some parts of the crystal, can not be used in the older family.

It is curious that different Ryzen 5 uses different circuits for cutting off the cores. In the six-core Ryzen 5 1600X and 1600, one core in each quad-core CCX is deactivated. In the four-core Ryzen 5 1500X in each CCX, two cores are disabled. And in the younger Ryzen 5 1400, one of the two CCXs is completely blocked, which, among other things, leads to a halving of the volume of the L3 cache. Thus, for the three older processors of the Ryzen 5 series, as for Ryzen 7, the memory frequency remains extremely important, since with this frequency the Infinity Fabric bus is synchronized, which connects both the CCX, memory controllers and the PCI Express root system into a single whole .

The news that Ryzen 5 actually hides more cores than is available to the user, involuntarily raises the question of whether over time the ability to unlock disconnected cores will appear. In history, such cases have happened, for example, hidden cores could be brought back to life in AMD Phenom II and Athlon II processors. However, there are serious doubts that Ryzen 5 will open this property. AMD tried not to make such mistakes anymore, and with the representatives of the FX family such a focus did not pass.

But the usual frequency overclock, open for all modifications of Ryzen 5, was not lost anywhere. These processors, like the representatives of the Ryzen 7 line, have free multipliers, and they can freely raise the frequency to values ​​that go beyond the passport modes. However, especially impressive results are still to be expected, because the semiconductor crystal in the four-core and six-core Ryzen 5 is the same as in the eight-core Ryzen 7, and therefore the maximum frequency achievable with conventional cooling is unlikely to be able to rise above 3.9-4 , 1 GHz.

⇡ # AMD Ryzen 5 1600X in detail

For testing, we received from AMD only the senior six-core processor in the Ryzen 5 family, so with the tests of the quad-core representatives of this series we will be able to acquaint our readers later.

But Ryzen 5 1600X is also a very interesting suggestion: judging by the cost, AMD directly opposes this processor to the Intel Core i5-7600K quad core, and the outcome in this confrontation is by no means predetermined. The Core i5-7600K has a higher frequency, but fewer cores and no Hyper-Threading support, which AMD wants to play on. At the same time, the Core i5-7600K, like the Ryzen 5 1600X, is an overclocker chip, and its operating frequency can be seriously increased additionally.

The nominal frequency of the Ryzen 5 1600X is only 3.6 GHz, but thanks to Precision Boost technology, the real speed when loaded on all cores is usually slightly higher – 3.7 GHz. If the work is loaded with one or two cores, the frequency can go up to 4.0 GHz, and the XFR technology (Extended Frequency Range) is able to add another 100 MHz to this value, provided that the temperature and CPU consumption are far enough from the limit values. It turns out that according to the frequency formula Ryzen 5 1600X is similar to Ryzen 7 1800X with the correction for the number of cores.

The Ryzen 5 1600X thermal package is installed at the same 95 watts as the older representatives in the Ryzen 7 series. But in reality this processor is not so hot at all. For example, when testing in the Prime95 29.10 Ryzen 5 1600X with the Noctua NH-U14S air cooler, we did not see the temperature rise above 58 degrees, which is more than favorable thermal conditions. In this case, the main thermal sensor Tctl in the Ryzen 5 1600X, just like in the older Ryzen 7, overestimates the readings by 20 degrees, which, according to AMD representatives, is made for more aggressive operation of the applied cooling systems and to increase the probability of the XFR operation. Therefore, when analyzing temperature readings, this artificial displacement should be kept in mind, and a number of utilities, for example HWINFO64, introduce an auxiliary value Tdie, which displays the “true” temperature along with the returned processor. The limiting heating of Ryzen 5 1600X, at which throttling is turned on, is 100 degrees by unbiased estimation.

The other basic characteristics of Ryzen 5 1600X do not cause any questions. The processor is well described by the formula “Ryzen 7 1800X minus two cores”. As a result, its six cores thanks to SMT technology can perform up to 12 threads, and the third-level cache memory is assembled from two full 8-megabyte halves related to different CCX.

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Nuclear disconnection scheme in the six-core Ryzen 5

Ryzen 5 processors, like Ryzen 7, are available in 1331-pin Socket AM4 and can work in motherboards with the appropriate socket, based on the X370, B350 logic sets and so on. However, when choosing the appropriate platform for new six- and quad-core processors, AMD recommends first of all to pay attention to the B350 chipset. It is a bit simpler than the X370, and does not support configurations from multiple GPUs, but it’s quite possible to fully overclock the Ryzen 5 boards based on it. The advantage of such solutions lies in their low cost. For example, ATX-based motherboards based on the B350 are selling slightly more than $ 100, and Micro-ATX-versions are available at a price of $ 80.

One more interesting detail should be noted. Processors of the Ryzen 5 family are shipped with the complete coolers Wraith Stealth and Wraith Spire. However, the modification Ryzen 5 1600X of the complete cooling system we are considering lacks. This is obviously due to the fact that the cooler in this case will not work out, and the manufacturer did not want to add a relatively expensive Wraith MAX to the processor.

Together with the launch of new processor models based on Zen microarchitecture, AMD engineers continue to optimize the software infrastructure and systematically correct the child’s sores, which we noticed in our first reviews. To date, two major improvements have been made, which deserve a separate story.

The first: release of the new firmware AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) version 1.0.0.4, responsible for the initialization and initial configuration of the Ryzen processors. To date, this firmware has already been distributed to motherboard manufacturers who have begun to implement it in the firmware BIOS of their products. A fresh version of AGESA should fix two major problems. It eliminates the sensational FMA3-bug, due to which with high load associated with the execution of vector instructions, Ryzen processors stopped and hung. More this phenomenon should not be observed.

Another important change in the new version of AGESA is the migration of the memory controller. The speed of operation of Ryzen processors with a memory subsystem causes serious complaints because of limited compatibility with high-speed DDR4 SDRAM modules and very high delays. In the update AGESA AMD specialists took up the second problem. As a result, latency was reduced by about 5 ns, that is, by 3-7 percent.

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