Although we've largely plumbed the depths of AMD's latest processors, the wallet-friendly Ryzen 5 1400 has only just arrived on our doorstep and is begging to be benchmarked. Without covering the same ground again, this write-up will be an extension of our original Ryzen 5 review, which looked at the 1600X and 1500X.
At this point it's pretty well established that the Ryzen 5 1600 (non-X) provides a value that is virtually unchallenged among enthusiasts processors. However, we've yet to determine the next best option for those who can't afford to spend $220 on AMD's six-core champion.
For $170, the quad-core 1400 may very well be the next logical choice behind the 1600, though it's not the next Ryzen chip in line by price. The quad-core flagship 1500X is currently set at $190, but if that seems attractive then you should just probably talk yourself into the six-core 1600 for another $30, especially if it's for gaming.
A key benefit of the 1500X over the 1400 is that it offers double the L3 cache, which makes little difference in gameplay performance. This is particularly true given that budget shoppers will likely pair the 1400 with a mid-range graphics card, rather than one such as the $700 GTX 1080 Ti.
As we've said in the past, saving every dollar really helps with lower-end builds and while having the full 16MB L3 cache would be nice, it's purposeless if you don't actually see more performance.
If you can't justify $220 for 1600, then the 1400 appears to be a great alternative solution for gamers, who would benefit more from investing the savings in a better GPU. After all, the $50 that separates the 1600 and 1400 could mean the difference between owning a GTX 1050 and RX 570 for example.
By comparison, building an Intel machine on the same budget would net you a $190 Core i5-7400 or $170 Core i3-7350K, with the i5 being the more cost-effective option of the two, performing as fast or faster than the overclocked 4.8GHz 7350K.
So then, we have a battle between sub-$200 quad-core processors: in AMD's corner stands the Ryzen 5 1400, while the Core i5-7400 has stepped in for Intel's side.
To test these chips, we installed the Ryzen 5 1400 on a B350 motherboard using DDR4-2933 memory, while the Core i5-7400 sat on an Intel B250 board with DDR4-2400 memory.
Both setups cost roughly the same, though the Ryzen CPU has the advantage of overclocking support and can push all cores to around 3.7GHz, possibly even 3.8GHz, even with its little 65 watt Wraith Stealth cooler.
Test System Specs & Memory
Locked Kaby Lake System Specs
Ryzen 5 System Specs
Unlocked Kaby Lake System Specs
Checking out the memory bandwidth performance first, the Ryzen 5 processors are good for 35GB/s using DDR4-2933 memory, around 3GB/s more than the Kaby Lake Core i3-7350K which was testing using 3200 memory. The 7400 and G4560 were limited to just 24GB/s with DDR4-2400 memory.
Application Benchmarks & Power Consumption
Looking at raw CPU performance with Cinebench R15 we see that the 1400 is 26% faster than the i5-7400 for multi-threaded workloads though the single-threaded performance was almost 10% down.
Compared to the overclocked Core i3-7350K, it was interesting to see the stock 1400 being 31% slower for single-threaded performance but 34% faster for multi-threaded workloads. Not only that but once overclocked, the Ryzen 5 1400 was 67% faster than the i3-7350K in this test!
Overclocking the 1400 improved performance by 25% in our Excel test, taking just 5.17 seconds to complete the workload, 16% faster than the Core i5-7400 and 35% faster than the overclocked 7350K.
Out of the box, the 1400 lays waste to anything Intel has at this price point in our 7-Zip test. For decompression work the 1400 was over 40% faster than the i5-7400 and i3-7350K. The compression margins were closer but the 1400 was at least 15% faster than the Intel competitors. Once overclocked the 1400 blows everything out of the water and it's able to roughly match the overclocked 1500X.
The Core i7-6900K took 198 seconds while the 7700K took 230 seconds to complete this Premiere workload. So, overclocked the 1400 was just 24% slower than the 7700K, not bad for half the price. Of course you can still overclock the 7700K, but it's an impressive result nonetheless for AMD's affordable quad-core.
Compared to the overclocked 7350K, the 1400 was still 35% faster and there is simply nothing in this price bracket from Intel that can compete.
The Ryzen 5 series looks impressive here with the 1400 consuming only slightly more power than the i3-7350K out of the box, which isn't bad considering the 1400 features twice as many cores. When overclocked, the 1400 only consumed 12% more than the overclocked 7350K -- another amazing result for AMD given that its chip was around 35% faster.
Benchmarks: Battlefield 1, Mafia III
Time for the games, first up we have Battlefield 1 there are four graphs to discuss here.
Starting with the GTX 1080 Ti's results arranged by the average frame rate, the 1400 comes in second to the 7350K, both out of the box and once overclocked. It was also a good bit slower than the Core i5-7400, at least before overclocking.
However, after rearranging the graph by the all important minimum or 0.1% frame time figures, Ryzen 5 looks much more potent. The 1400 comes in second only to the 1500X though clock for clock at 4GHz it's not a great deal slower, the only difference here of course being the L3 cache capacity.
The stock 1400 matched the 7400 while being a good bit faster than the 7350K, which couldn't catch up even after overclocking. Speaking of which, the overclocked 1400 closes in on the 1500X and we see a very strong 75fps minimum with the GTX 1080 Ti. Great stuff here for the 1400, but we're curious to see how things look with a more realistic GPU, something like the RX 480...
Here we have the same test but this time the GTX 1080 Ti has been swapped out for the much more affordable RX 480, which someone is more likely to pair with one of these processors.
Something to note is that for the fastest CPUs tested, the frame rate only drops by a little over 30%, so the GTX 1080 Ti was clearly being limited by these mid-range CPUs though I'm sure that won’t surprise many of you.
Arranging the data by the average frame rate we see a minor difference between the fastest and slowest CPUs tested, just a 4fps delta. This arrangement isn't particularly flattering for the Ryzen 5 processors and while not much slower than the Intel competitors they are still dead last at 84 fps on average.
However, when focusing on the minimum frame rate data, the overclocked 1500X actually matched the overclocked 7350K while the overclocked 1400 easily topped the Core i5-7400 and roughly equaled the much higher-clocked 7350K. So where it counts the most, the minimum frame rate, the 1400 is quite strong. That's one CPU-intensive title down, five more to go.
Testing Mafia III with the mighty GTX 1080 Ti we see that the 1400 is able to match the 7350K when both CPUs are left at their stock operating frequencies. Overclocked the 1400 does fall behind the 7350K by a slim margin and is roughly on par with the Core i5-7400 now.
In fact, when looking at the minimum results we see that the only real change here is between the Core i5-7400 and Ryzen 5 1400, the 1400 now slips behind the Intel processor, albeit by a 1fps margin.
Something odd happens when we test with the RX 480. Here the Ryzen CPUs are able to pull ahead of the Intel parts, well ahead when looking at the minimum results, though we will get to those in a moment.
We noticed a difference with Mafia III recently, either through a game update or a change to the way the Nvidia display driver works in this title, I still haven't had time to work out what's going on. Previously using an Nvidia GPU, Ryzen 7 crushed any and all Kaby Lake processors, now with this recent change the 7700K has pulled back ahead.
We just saw the Ryzen 5 CPUs struggling to compete when equipped with the GTX 1080 Ti whereas now with the RX 480 they look quite dominant.
If we arrange the graph by the minimum result the Ryzen 5 processors take the top four spots. Even stock the 1400 beats out the Core i5-7400, albeit by a single frame, while it comfortably sits ahead of the 7350K.
Once overclocked, the 1400 matched the overclocked 1500X with a minimum result of 40fps and it was almost 30% faster than the Core i5-7400, the fastest Intel CPU we tested in this game today.
Benchmarks: Ashes of the Singularity, Hitman
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is super CPU intensive game and it's the only DX12 title I know of right now that can be tested using an Nvidia GPU without completely crippling Ryzen. That said it's still by far the best example we have of a well made DirectX 12 title.
Anyway, using the GTX 1080 Ti we find some mighty impressive results with the 1400. Before any overclocking happened, the 1400 had no trouble knocking off the Core i5-7400 and even the overclocked Core i3-7350K. It was 6% slower than the 1500X when matched at 4GHz, so that's the impact the larger L3 cache has in this title.
We find similar margins when switching to the RX 480, though with the GPU bottleneck creeping into the results we are seeing the performance shaped to around 70fps. This has done a few things. First, the cache difference between the 1400 and 1500X has been neutralized and now they can be seen delivering the same performance.
It has also allowed the 7350K to catch up and out-edge the 1400 by a slim margin. That said, once overclocked the 1400 pull ahead and is able to max out the RX 480.
Overall, we saw a strong showing for AMD's Ryzen 5 processors in Ashes of the Singularity.
Hitman is another CPU intensive game and here we see that the 1400 looks very competitive when comparing the average frame rate with the GTX 1080 Ti. It beat the Core i5-7400 out of the box and once overclocked it pulled well ahead to roughly match the overclocked Core i3-7350K.
Arranging the graph by the minimum results favors the higher-clocked 7350K though again the overclocked 1400 managed to top the Core i5-7400 with relative ease.
When playing with the RX 480 and both chips overclocked, the 1400 is able to slightly best the 7350K in each performance metric.
Benchmarks: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Total War Warhammer
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was tested using the high quality preset and like all the other games, we ran it at 1080p. Interestingly, the 1500X seems to max out the GTX 1080 Ti as overclocking this CPU provides no extra performance. That's odd because we know using the same settings and hardware the 1800X can reach 115fps, so I'm not sure what's limiting the 1500X here.
Anyway, out of the box the 1400 matches the average frame rate of the 7350K and that made it slightly slower than the Core i5-7400. That said, once overclocked the 1400 blows the Intel processors away.
If we arrange the graph by the minimum frame rate this really only changes the standings for the stock 1400 configuration, allowing it to leapfrog the Intel CPUs.
Now with the RX 480 installed, we see that almost all of the CPUs are able to max out the RX 480, in fact the G4560 is really the only exception.
However, arranging the graph by the minimum frame rate is a little more telling. Here the 1400 pulls ahead of the overclocked 7350K before any overclocking even takes place -- an easy win for AMD.
Total War: Warhammer is where we're going to end this benchmark session.
First up, we again have the GTX 1080 Ti results and here the 1400 is able to best the 7350K out of the box while it only matches it once both CPUs are overclocked. The 1400 also requires some overclocking to overtake the Core i5-7400.
Using the RX 480 we see similar standings, though the margins are greatly reduced thanks to that good old GPU bottleneck. It's really only our beloved Pentium G4560 that falls away a bit in this test when looking at the minimums.
Phenomenal Value Versus Competing Quad-Core Chips
There isn't much need to break the data down or analyze it any closer. What we just saw was pretty conclusive: for productivity workloads that utilize multiple cores, the Ryzen 5 1400 beats the Core i5-7400 before we even account for overclocking.
What's more, if we look at power consumption in an application such as Premiere Pro, the 1400 is actually more fuel efficient than the Core i5-7400 given its superior performance in that application, which is both shocking and exciting.
The 1400 remained in charge when it came to gaming, especially once overclocked. When paired with the GTX 1080 Ti, the 1400 was vastly superior in CPU-limited scenarios like Ashes of the Singularity, even at stock speeds. Overclocked, it enjoyed commanding leads in Battlefield 1, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Hitman.
When equipped with a realistic mid-range GPU such as the RX 480, the 1400 flexed its way into a performance advantage over the Core i5 processor, particularly if you focus on the minimum results.
In my opinion, the Ryzen 5 1400 ensures a smoother experience for gamers and this will become even more apparent in the future as titles become more demanding on the CPU. As a locked part, the Core i5-7400 can't mask its lack of resources with high default clock speeds, so it will start to fall further behind the 1400 at a more rapid rate than say the 7600K will.
Setting aside speculations about future performance, the Ryzen 5 1400 has proven to be the better value of these two sub-$200 quad-core processors.
Although some fans of Ryzen don't seem to care about the 1400 because it's only a quad-core, it's at least 20% cheaper than the 1600 and for the most part you won't realize the difference in performance, especially when gaming with a sub-$300 graphics card.
My prediction is, by the time the 1400 starts to feel inadequate, there will be a better choice of upgrade options anyway.
It's much the same with the Ryzen memory situation. I don't see the value in spending $50 or so on high-frequency memory if it's not going to result in any added performance under realistic gaming conditions. Again, in my opinion you're better off saving the money or upgrading a component that will provide noticeable performance gains, such as your graphics card.
Wrapping this up, I think the Ryzen 5 1400 is a smart choice for gamers and enthusiasts who are on a budget or simply don't need the best of the best. It should have you well covered for the time being and since AMD's AM4 platform is expected to remain relevant through 2020, it should be painless to install a new processor when the time comes.
Pros: The Ryzen 5 1400 is a phenomenal value vs. competing quad-core chips. Strong productivity and minimum fps performance, overclocks well, runs more efficiently than the Core i5-7400.
Cons: We'll report back when we find some...