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The US$85 AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF looks to be a new 12nm Zen+ part and even outperforms the Ryzen 5 2600

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF could be a Ryzen 5 2600 in disguise. (Source: /u/_vogonpoetry_ on Reddit)
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF could be a Ryzen 5 2600 in disguise. (Source: /u/_vogonpoetry_ on Reddit)
AMD looks to have secretly given some their first gen Zen CPUs a 12nm Zen+ upgrade as was noticed by the recent availability of the new Ryzen 5 1600 AF. Initial tests seem to indicate that the Ryzen 5 1600 AF could outperform a stock Ryzen 5 2600 in Cinebench R20 although overclocking results weren't as impressive. The new CPU can be had for just US$85, which represents very good value for budget-conscious builders.
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It is not often that we see a new fabrication process 'backported' to the previous generation, but AMD seems to have done just that. Last week, news emerged of the appearance of a variant of the Ryzen 5 1600 that is interestingly fabbed on a 12nm Zen+ process unlike the 14nm process of the original. The new Ryzen 5 1600 'AF' version as it is called, is essentially a Ryzen 5 2600 and can be identified by the part number that ends with AF such as YD1600BBM6IAF. CPU-Z also identifies this chip as a 12nm Zen+ Pinnacle Ridge part.

User /u/vogonpoetry_ on Reddit managed to get a Ryzen 5 1600 AF and has posted some interesting findings. The new Ryzen 5 1600 AF now comes with the Wraith Stealth cooler unlike the Wraith Spire of the original. The OP found that with RAM at 3000 CL15 and the Gammaxx GT cooler, the 1600 AF could sustain the slightly increased boost frequency of 3.7 GHz for longer periods and could post 400 points higher than the original Ryzen 5 1600 in Cinebench R20. 

While the stock performance was surprisingly on Ryzen 5 2600 levels, the Ryzen 5 1600 AF did not offer much in terms of overclocking both for the CPU and memory. It could be possible that this CPU is still using Zen's integrated memory controller (IMC) and not that of the Zen+'s.

From the looks of these tests, it seems that budget buyers can benefit a lot if they do manage get their hands on these AF chips. However, there are a few points to note here. It is very much possible that CPU identification programs are identifying a different stepping (B2) as a Zen+ part due to inaccurate reporting of the ID strings by the processor. Also, while the OP has noted good sustained performance under load, the same cannot be expected from all such AF chips. Overclocking wasn't anything noteworthy and silicon lottery will have a big part to play here. 

All said, the US$85 asking price is incredible value for a 6-core 12-thread CPU. Those looking to have a cheap but fairly capable system for increased overall productivity stand to gain a lot from the Ryzen 5 1600 AF.

Ryzen 5 1600 AF Cinebench R20 and CPU-Z. (Source: /u/_vogonpoetry_ on Reddit)
Ryzen 5 1600 AF Cinebench R20 and CPU-Z. (Source: /u/_vogonpoetry_ on Reddit)
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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1355 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 12 > The US$85 AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF looks to be a new 12nm Zen+ part and even outperforms the Ryzen 5 2600
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-12-26 (Update: 2019-12-26)