AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF Assessment

AMD's first generation Ryzen chips continue to be sold as inexpensive alternatives to the newer generations, and the Ryzen 5 1600/2600 products in particular are very attractive for budget builds. Today we test the 12 nm version of the Ryzen 5 1600, which despite the name is a new CPU that has only been on the market for a few months.

To sum up, the Ryzen 5 1600 was released in April 2017 for $ 220, based on the original 14nm Zen architecture. It is a 6-core part with 12 threads, which is clocked at 3.2 GHz for the base with an all-core boost clock of 3.4 GHz and cooled with the Wraith Spire.

About a year later, AMD replaced it with the Ryzen 5 2600 for $ 200. It was also a 6-core processor, but with updated 12nm Zen + cores. It ran with a base clock of 3.4 GHz with an all-core of 3.7 GHz. Because the refined process was more efficient, AMD downgraded the cooler to Wraith Stealth.

After another year we got the latest generation Zen 2 processors. Here was the replacement of the Ryzen 5 3600, another (incredibly good) $ 200 part.

But what is the Ryzen 5 1600 AF?

At the end of last year, a mysterious Ryzen 5 1600 refresh came on the market. Oddly enough, AMD released a really cheap version of the Ryzen 5 2600, but it was only called the Ryzen 5 1600. Known as "Ryzen 5 1600 AF" due to the box identification, it differs greatly from the original Ryzen 5 1600 AE model.

Forget the name, this is a 2nd generation Ryzen part. It is essentially an R5 2600 with a slight reduction in clock speed. Apparently AMD didn't have enough 14nm wafers to continue producing the R5 1600. That's why they simply switched it to the 12 nm process and now produce a version of the R5 2600, which they call the R5 1600.

At this point, you may be wondering why I am interested in AMD making new products and selling them under old names? Seems counterproductive, but the reason you should take care of it is the price. These overclocked Ryzen 5 2600 CPUs only cost $ 85. This is a Zen + 6-core part with 12 threads for just $ 85.

The original 14nm Ryzen 5 1600 was a lot at just over $ 100 and the Ryzen 5 2600 was a killer at $ 120, but the Ryzen 5 1600 AF both blows out of it at just $ 85 Water. That is, as long as you can get it. The CPU appears to be readily available in the US, but is not sold everywhere.

Before we turn to the blue bar graphs, let's take a look at how the 1600 AF watches work compared to the original 1600 AE model and the 2600: the original 1600 with 3.4 GHz, the new, works with a high Blender workload AF model maintained 3.7 GHz and the 2600 runs at 3.8 GHz.

This test alone shows that the 1600 AF could be up to 3% slower than the 2600, but it is much cheaper. With this information, let's get into our tests that we're going to run because the results aren't surprising and don't require much explanation.

We use the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master with 16 GB FlareX DDR4-3200 memory from G.Skill and an RTX 2080 Ti GPU for testing.


First, we have the Cinebench R20 multi-core performance and here the 1600 AF essentially corresponded to the 2600, which corresponds to a margin of less than 1%. This means that the AF was immediately 12% faster than the original 1600.

In single-core performance, the 2600 was 1.5% faster than the 1600 AF, and the new 12nm-1600 is 10% faster than the original.

At 7-zip we see an identical compression performance. Again, the AF is about 10% faster than the original 1600. For the decompression test, the 2600 was 1.5% faster than the 1600 AF, which was 9% faster than the original 1600.

The last application we ran was Blender. Here the 1600 AF was about 1% slower than the 2600. No surprises.

Gaming benchmarks

Time for some gaming benchmarks and first of all we have Assassins Creed Odyssey AND … the 1600 AF basically has the same performance as the R5 2600 and is therefore a bit faster than the original 1600. As expected, the edges at 1440p are very similar.

Battlefield V performance is very similar between the original 1600, 1600 AF and 2600. Of course it's the same story at 1440p, so you can't expect any difference at all with a smaller graphics card.

The 1600 AF matched the 2600 with identical performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, making it a few frames faster than the original model and we basically see identical edges at 1440p.

We see an identical gaming performance of the 1600 AF compared to the 2600, this time when testing with The Division 2.

The results at 1440p are no different and here we see more evidence that the 1600 and 1600 AF offer the same gaming experience with a lower tier GPU.

Next we have Far Cry New Dawn and yes…. It is a familiar sight.

The 1600A basically fits the 2600 and is therefore a bit faster than the original, the real 1600. 1440p offers no surprises, more of it here.

We see a nice increase of 13% to the 1% low power for the 1600 AF compared to the 1600 in Hitman 2 at 1080p and the updated 1600 could basically match the 2600. The 1% low margin goes up to 16% at 1440p, but overall the margins are similar.

The 1600 AF also shows good 1% low improvements in Total War Three Kingdoms, beating the 1600 by 16% at 1080p to 1-2 fps behind the 2600. The margins are slightly reduced at 1440p, but overall a similar story.

Summary: Incredible budget CPU

That was our quick look at the performance of the Ryzen 5 1600 AF and the results were as positive as we expected. It is a Ryzen 5 2600 with very little reduction in clock speed. Speaking of which, you can of course overclock the 1600 AF as it is fully unlocked. Our chip we bought in retail reached 4.2 GHz at 1.4 V and that's the same overclocking that is achieved with the R5 2600 retail part that we have available.

Depending on the silicon quality, some chips may only work at 4 GHz, some or rather a few may exceed 4.2 GHz. 4.2 GHz is reported to be the top end of overclocking results. Our original R5 1600 chip also performs at 4 GHz and that seems to be about as good as you can realistically hope for with the older processor.

In other words, the Ryzen 5 1600 AF is not only cheaper than the original 1600 and ready to use, it should also be overclocked better. The power consumption corresponds to that of the 2600, with a slight advantage due to the slight reduction in the clock rate, but this can vary depending on the silicon quality.

For budget builders with access to the 1600 AF for $ 85, there is simply no better choice. As we said earlier, the Ryzen 5 2600 was already an astonishing value at $ 120. So the 1600 AF, which is basically the same CPU for another discount, is just a crazy deal.

AMD injures Intel with such parts. Currently, the Core i5-9600K costs $ 240 and the locked i5-9400F costs $ 165 (see this benchmark). We expect these two 6-core / 6-thread processors to be slower than the 1600 AF for gaming within a few years. If the 1600 AF is not sold in your country, you can still buy the R5 2600 for less than any modern Core i5 processor. That's why we chose it as the best budget CPU you can buy so far.

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