The original Ryzen series redefined what we could expect from midrange processors. The Ryzen 5 1600 offered 6 cores and 12 threads at a time when Intel’s HEDT line started thereabouts. Lower down the food-chain, the Ryzen 5 1500X offered 4 cores and 8 threads–i7 territory, for $189. Two years on, this is still a solid option for entry-level builds.
But a recent sale sweetens the pot considerably. As of today (and we truly have how long this remarkable price-point will hold), the Ryzen 5 1500X can be had for the shockingly low price of $69.00 on Amazon. That is just 20 dollars more than the Athlon 3000G. While you miss out on crappy integrated graphics, you get double the cores, double the threads, and a substantially higher 3.7 GHz base clock.
As with all AMD Ryzen processors, the 1500X comes with an unlocked multiplier, so you’ll be able to squeeze an extra 5-10 percent more performance out of it. The 1500X is packaged with the Wraith Spire cooler, one of the better stock coolers we’ve seen in quite some time. From experience, the Spire’s not quite enough to help reach the upper limits of Ryzen OC’ing–the 4 GHz range for first-gen. However, you should be able to eke out another 100 to 200 MHz.
We find it difficult to recommend quad-core parts these days. Most newer games are multithreaded and scale well across a considerable number of cores. 6 cores and 12 threads is really where you want to be. But if you’re building a rig on a budget, the 1500X at $69 will complement a Radeon RX 5500 XT or the GeForce GTX 1650 Super far better than the likes of the 3000G. And if you’re building a new AM4+ rig, it’ll give you a solid upgrade path up to the Ryzen 4000 series.