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AMD’s Ryzen 7 too expensive for you? Its affordable siblings will be here soon

amd ryzen 5 3 announced 1
Matt Smith/Digital Trends
AMD’s first Ryzen processors are now on their way to enthusiasts, but the Ryzen 7-series that just launched is only the beginning. The company plans to roll out Ryzen at all price points throughout 2017 in the form of Ryzen 5-series and 3-series processors.

In a presentation, AMD said that Ryzen 5 will target “innovation for the sub-$300 CPU market.” The processors in the family will serve up six cores, with 12 processing threads. That will indeed make for an interesting proposition. Intel only offers quad-core processors below $300, and many of them are Core i5 chips, which do not have hyper-threading. That could potentially pit quad-core, four-thread Intel hardware against AMD chips with 12 processing threads.

Below are the details on the two Ryzen 5 processors officially disclosed by AMD during its Ryzen event in San Francisco. This is not the full stack, and indeed, various leaks have shown a wide variety of Ryzen 5 and 3 chips are planned. But only this pair is official, for now.

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Processor Core count Thread count Base clock Precision Boost clock
Ryzen 5 1600X 6 12 3.6GHz 4GHz
Ryzen 5 1500X 4 8 3.5GHz 3.7GHz

The main difference between the two, obviously, is the core count. The Ryzen 5 1600X will offer six cores, while the 1500X will have “only” four cores. Both chips has the “X” suffix, so they offer XFR, a dynamic clock feature that can up the maximum clock past even the Precision Boost clock when paired with a high-quality cooling solution.

It’s also interesting to note that the Ryzen 5 1500X, despite its lower core count, does not beat the clock speed of the 1600X. We asked AMD about this, and the company told us that we should not generally expect Ryzen 5 and 3 processors to pair higher clocks with lower core counts, though it’s also not off the table. This is different from Intel’s approach, where chips with fewer cores often have a higher clock speed than similar chips with more cores.

What about performance? All we know comes straight from AMD, of course. The company says the Ryzen 5 1600X is up to 69 percent quicker than the Core i5-7600K in Cinebench nT. That’s a heavily multi-threaded benchmark, so it puts the AMD chip in ithe best light.

Ryzen 5 is slated to appear in the second quarter of 2017, and will be followed by Ryzen 3 in the latter half of the year. AMD hasn’t put out any official stats for Ryzen 3, but it’s obvious that it will consist of quad-core and possibly dual-core chips.

We also know the chips will be on the same AM4 platform as Ryzen 7, and AMD promises that platform will be kept relevant through 2020. If you’re looking for a budget AMD rig, then it’s a good idea to wait a bit longer. Ryzen is coming.

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Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is the former Lead Editor, Reviews at Digital Trends. He previously guided the Products Team, which dives…
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