Where AMD’s Ryzen 7 processors have made their homes in the dens of workstation PC’s, the Ryzen 5’s are slowly gravitating towards the dwellings of enthusiast gamers. The flagships of the R5’s are the previously reviewed quad-core 1500X and 6-core 1600X, but with two other cheaper alternatives to choose from in the product line, consumers have been left confused as to which CPU offers the best performance for their budget.

The easiest way to describe the cheaper R5 1400 and 1600 is that they are the alternative CPUs aimed at tinkerers who love to push their processor to the highest overclock setting possible. For a 10 per cent difference in price from the premium X edition chips, users can expect a 10 per cent deficit in performance out of the box. Yet, by messing with bios settings and adjusting voltages, it doesn’t take much work before the 1400 and 1600 reach the same level of peak performance as their respective flagship models, the 1500X and 1600X. This is possible because AMD created the Ryzen line to be fully unlocked, giving users complete control over how much power they want to get out of their components.

(AofS is Ashes of the Singularity, Total War WH is Total War: Warhammer)

Benchmarks were fairly lax this time around because of the lack of performance difference. After I overclocked the chips to the base speeds of their X related counterparts, the 1400 and 1600 were showing nearly identical results as the ones achieved in the previous reviews. The only titles to see any substantial loss in performance were Grand Theft Auto V and the Witcher 3 while running at their highest settings at 1080p, which resulted in an average deficit of 5 FPS. Productivity benchmarks were largely unaffected because the Ryzen processors have the same single core values as our previous tests.

Users who have no interest in overclocking their components and simply want the most stable experience possible out of the box should shift their eyes to Ryzen 5’s X titled processors, which come with a higher base-clock with no hassle to the user. Now it all comes down to the core decision of picking out the quad-core R5 1400 or 6-core R5 1600. If you are picking out a CPU for pure gaming performance then stick with the 1400 and 1500X, but if the user is looking to do any sort of video editing, photo rendering, or even streaming, then the 1600 and 1600X will alleviate the added stress of those programs with the two extra cores on hand.