Time for an upgrade? Ryzen 1000/2000 vs. the latest CPUs

Do you have a first-, second-, or even third-generation Ryzen processor and unsure whether a new processor is worth upgrading? Then this article is for you, because we completely retested the AMD Ryzen 5 1600, Ryzen 7 1800X, Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 7 2700X for a comparison with the latest AMD and Intel processors. Are you still okay with your older Ryzen or is it time for an upgrade?

Normally, when you upgrade your PC, you first look for a new video card or more internal memory, because they are not directly dependent on the rest of the system. Upgrading a processor is often a bit more difficult; often you have to replace the motherboard or even the memory.

Socket AM4 has a unique proposition in that regard, because even in the oldest B350 and X370 motherboards you can poke a modern Ryzen 5000 processor for some time now. With the newer 400 and 500 series chipsets, that is of course no problem. So in many cases you can exchange your Ryzen 1000 or 2000 processor for a new CPU at no extra cost other than the purchase price of the CPU itself.

For some time now, motherboard manufacturers have been allowed to release BIOSes for the 300 series motherboards with Ryzen 5000 compatibility.

Ryzen 1000 and 2000 in a nutshell

Before we look at the benchmarks, what about the first generations of Ryzen processors? Introduced in March 2017, the Ryzen 1000 series was a huge break from the past; the completely new Zen architecture moved away from the different core design of the Bulldozer processors and also meant a switch to a 14nm production process and DDR4 memory. AMD promised that the corresponding socket AM4 would last no less than three years – at competitor Intel two years/generations for a socket was usual – but it ended up being more than five years. Only in the fall of this year will there be AM5 a successor.

The top model of the Ryzen 1000 processors was the 8-core Ryzen 7 1800X. It had smt, so 16 threads were available, and could boost to 4.1GHz. In the mid-range, the Ryzen 5 1600 was a popular option, which had six instead of eight cores, but was overclockable like all other Ryzens.

The Ryzen 2000 series appeared a year later and was more of an evolution than a revolution, based on the core Zen+ and an optimized 12nm process. Perhaps more important was the improved compatibility with fast memory, as the speed of internal communication between the core complexes was linked to the memory speed. Like the 1800X, the 2700X had eight cores, while the 2600 also had as many cores as the 1600 of the previous generation.

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