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Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
Which is the best mainstream processor for $350
- Good value
- Amazing multi-core and multi-thread performance
- Intel more widely-supported for games
Intel's best i5 chip costs a little less and can be a bit faster for single-core applications and (even more for) some games, when software is optimised for Ryzen, AMD wins by a very long way.
Price$ 359.00 (AUD)
Gaming performance: The big question
On the application side, Ryzen 5 has it handled. But how about gaming performance? That’s been the Achilles heel for Ryzen in early-days testing.
First up is Futuremark’s popular 3DMark test. This test is designed first and foremost as a GPU and graphics load test. Everything works as it should: Ryzen 5 gets a small advantage thanks to its additional cores, but for the most part, it’s dead-even between the pair of GeForce GTX 1080 cards we used for testing.
3DMark also include a physics test using a real-world game physics engine. The more cores you have, the more theoretical performance you get out, so guess what: Ryzen and its 12 threads pummels the Core i5 and its 4 threads.
The problem with Fire Strike’s physics test is that it measures things in a perfect world. In the real world, game developers just don’t exploit all the cores in a CPU. This result, though it highlights the horsepower of Ryzen 5, isn’t going to match the reality in 99.9 per cent of today’s games.
The world of gaming is supposed to change with DirectX 12, where cores matter. If we’re to believe 3DMark’s DX12 test, things don’t look quite so decisive for Ryzen. AMD says the API test doesn’t really scale much beyond six cores (true), and it tends to love cache bandwidth, too.
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Performance
Moving on to a real game, we used Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Oxide, the developer of Ashes, has said much of the controversy around Ryzen 7’s gaming performance comes from the new micro-architecture. While AMD’s offerings foundered, the gaming world optimised for Intel — and it showed in our first tests out of the gate, with Ryzen 7. The results you see here follow a few weeks of code-tweaking for Ryzen.
Ryzen 5, for the most part, is slightly faster than Core i5. When you consider the slightly higher clock speeds and improved IPC of Core i5, that’s actually a pretty significant win in this GPU-centric test mode. The results, Oxide said, are only expected to get better.
Ashes also includes a CPU-centric mode too that’s designed to put more units on the screen. It should favour more cores (although it doesn’t scale as much as we’d hope), and Ryzen 5 comes out with a decent victory here. Neither CPU is slow, but the fact that Ryzen 5 performance can be made faster with a few tweaks is very encouraging.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Amazon) is considered to be a serious system hog with its incredible foliage effects, and it lived up to its reputation. We ran it at 1080p on just the High setting, and we barely kept our head above the 100-fps mark. Core i5 finishes about 7% faster, but for the most part I’d consider this a tie, or at best a moral victory for Ryzen, which unfairly got a reputation for being “bad” at gaming. It’s not.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in DX12 mode, Ryzen was just a little slower than Core i5-7600K. Interestingly, many reviews have shown Ryzen tying with or even beating Kaby Lake. The Core i5’s advantage likely comes from its higher clocks and higher IPC, but it’s another moral victory for Ryzen 5.
F1 2016 Performance
Among the games that seem to favor Ryzen is Codemaster’s F1 2016. Although AMD’s own tests put Ryzen 5 ahead of Core i5, my tests show Ryzen 5 slightly trailing Core i5. Note that in AMD’s own tests, the company configured the Core i5 with the RAM set at DDR4/2400, while my tests tried to make it more even by using DDR4/2933 on both. In the grand scheme of things I’d rule it a tie, which makes it another moral victory for Ryzen.
Sleeping Dogs Performance
The thing is, Ryzen 5 still exhibits performance issues that have many wringing hands over the CPU’s gaming chops. You can see it with Sleeping Dogs, where at 1080p resolution and Medium settings, Ryzen exhibits the typical 20% to 30% slower performance.
That performance difference is what you see when you remove the GPU as a bottleneck and move the work to the CPU. By notching Sleeping Dogs’ quality to Extreme (the quality you’d likely run at with a GeForce GTX 1080), you move the load back to the GPU, and the differences mostly vanish.
Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance
Other games are even worse. Ubisoft’s Rise of the Tomb Raider at Medium and 1080p shows a massive frame rate difference.
Even running Rise of the Tomb Raider at its top Very High setting, Ryzen can’t keep up with Core i5. Only by moving up to a higher resolution and making it more of a GPU test do things even out.
Conclusion: Don't panic... and Conclusion
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