Are you feeling lucky in the tech sector this month? Probably not, if the rising costs of memory, power supplies and the cryptocurrency market’s effect on GPU prices are anything to go by. It’s getting harder to squeak out a strong deal on hardware without going the route of refurbished components or getting extremely lucky with time-limited sales.
Ryzen 5, meet Ryzen 7
That’s not the case with those lucky enough to purchase a recent back of AMD’s Ryzen 5 1600 and 1600X CPUs, according to a few very excited internet dwellers over the past few weeks. A production batch of Ryzen 5 CPUs sourced from Malaysia has reportedly worked on par with Ryzen 7 1800X CPUs. For some, that’s an immediate flag of interest regarding CPU production, but for the rest of you, here’s a quick refresher on just why that happens to be a big deal.
The Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 line of CPUs are still fairly new in the world of computing. Launching back in early March, the Ryzen 7 1800x is currently the flagship for AMD’s Performance line of CPUs, boasting an impressive eight cores with 16 threads between them while hosting a clock speed of 3.6GHz per core. Shortly after, the 1600 and 1600X saw their release dates in later, with the 1600X showing up in April and the 1600X not arriving until June.
Comparatively, they exist to fill out the AMD Mainstream line of processors with six physical cores and 12 threads. Their clock numbers still show an impressive 3.2GHz per core for the 1600 and 3.6GHz for the 1600X, leaving a fairly small performance gap between them for everything short of full-on workstation applications.
Userbenchmark scores for the 1600X and the 1800X leave them looking fairly competitive if you’re looking for something in the casual use market, especially considering their price tags. With under 20 percent of a performance difference between them, a doubled price tag for the 1800X can feel tough to justify.
Meanwhile, if you were one of the lucky few to get your hands on a Malaysian Ryzen 5 1600 produced in the lucky 36th week of 2017, your brand new CPU might have shown up at your door with a base clock speed of the 1600X, but with the eight physical cores and 16 threads expected of an 1800X. In short, you may have paid half of the going rate for an 1800X and gotten a fair upgrade in the process.
Who’s to thank: Quality control?
As for why this may have happened, it’s hard to pin down a solid reason. Testing a CPU before it goes out the door is the industry standard so it’s incredibly unlikely they escaped quality control oversight. It seems marginally more likely that a shortage of 1600-line CPUs was met with a re-branding of stronger chips, given how the consumer line versus the enthusiast line is a much younger entry into the Ryzen production series.
Given how AMD recently outpaced Intel in certain markets, one can only assume AMD is trying their hardest not to let a potential public relations problem undermine recent successes.
In all likelihood, this was a one-time incident that won’t see a repeat in the near future. On the other hand, if you’ve been waiting for an excuse to buy a new CPU and wonder what it might feel like to grab something lucky out of the draw pile, there’s always hope for your 1600 turning out to be an 1800X.