Today we finally get our first look at the Ryzen 5 5500. Surprisingly, this processor was released about three months ago and it’s the cheapest part of the Ryzen 5000 series you can have, so you might think we’d be thrilled. , but for several reasons we skipped this coverage.

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The short version is that the R5 5500 was quietly released back in April and AMD didn’t pick up the media sample in time for day one review, instead we received our sample a week after it hit the shelves. It was old news at the time, so we moved on to other things.

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However, recently, after comparing Ryzen 5 3600 and 5600 many asked us to compare with 5500, given that it can be sold out for $140. It’s a $40 discount over the Ryzen 5 5600, which isn’t that much, but as the name suggests, there isn’t much difference between the two chips either… and that’s what makes the 5500 a sneaky move. dram.

Ryzen 5 5500 and 5600 are completely different products. Of course, they are both based on Zen 3, 6-core/12-thread processors, but they are based on different designs. While the 5600 is a Vermeer model, the 5500 uses an APU design codenamed Cezanne. In short, 5500 5600 g with the iGPU removed, which means you get half the 16MB L3 cache and only PCIe 3.0 support compared to the 5600.

Downgrading the L3 cache is a big problem in and of itself as we have seen it lead to poor gaming performance for 5600 g as well as 5700 g compared to full Zen 3 parts. It looks like a lot of you using older Ryzen 5 parts want to know if the 5500 is a worthy upgrade, or if you should just go with the 5600 or higher, so today we’re going to find out.

For this, we have a test of 21 games at 1080p and 1440p using both Radeon RH 6950 HT as well as 6600 xt, with SAM enabled. For testing, I used an MSI B350 Tomahawk motherboard with the latest BIOS based on AGESA microcode which includes Resizable BAR along with support for Ryzen 5000 processors. We then have 32GB of dual-rank DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-channel memory, and the same configuration used to test all Ryzen processors.

With those details out of the way, let’s go through a few games and then look at the average of 21 games.


Starting with ACC, we find that the 5500 is a bit slower than the old one. 3600trailing it by 5-8% depending on the configuration and this means the 5600 is 35% faster which is seen with the Radeon 6600 XT which is a little odd as the CPU bottleneck was stronger than what we saw with 6950XT.

What’s not strange is the fact that the 5500 is slower than the 3600 in this title. We know from tests with 5800X3D that the ACC is extremely sensitive to cache capacity, and with the 3600 packing a 32MB L3 cache, even though it’s 16MB on the CCX, it has a real advantage over the 5500 which has only 16MB. So, a disappointing start for the entry level part of Zen 3.

The 5500 looks more competent in Battlefield V, outpacing the old 3600 by about 8% from the 6950 XT. Compared to the 5600, average frame rates were not much lower, with only 9% sharing them at 1080p with the 6950 XT. However, it was the 1% low that represented the biggest problem for the stripped down portion of Zen 3, dropping nearly 30% from the 5600. However, this issue was much less noticeable with a more average GPU like the 6600 XT, where the performance of all three processors was the same.

Cyberpunk 2077 primarily limited by the GPU, even with the high quality preset dialed in. Regardless, the 5500 was able to beat the 3600, but overall, all three processors provide the same gaming experience due to the graphics card performance being the main framerate limitation here.

Then we have Rainbow Six Extraction and we see that for the most part any of these CPUs will provide a top-notch experience as we don’t run into a CPU-bound script until the framerate is over 250fps. However, the 5500 is the first processor to hit the wall, as seen when running the Radeon 6950 XT at 1080p, so this will be disappointing news for 3600 owners hoping for a cheap upgrade.

Performance in F1 2021 is the same between 3600 and 5500. This time around, the budget Zen 3 model was slightly faster, but we’re only talking about an improvement in average frame rates to 8% and almost no change to 1%. The lows meanwhile, in our CPU-limited testing, the 5600 is nearly 40% faster, which is a crazy difference given how similar the 5500 and 5600 sound.

Moving on to Forza Horizon 5, we again find that the 5500 delivers similar performance to the 3600. This means the 5500 is about 20% slower than the 5600 in our most CPU-bound testing for this game.

Hitman 3 is another example of the 5500 delivering performance similar to the 3600, although again it was a few percent slower in our CPU-limited testing. There is not much difference between these three processors for Hitman, and for this kind of game, more than 100 frames per second at any time is quite acceptable.

The Riftbreaker CPU benchmark is much more demanding than the Hitman, so those 1% lows will make all the difference here, and luckily the 5500 is faster than the 3600, by at least an 8% lead. The 5600 was 15% faster and managed to keep the 1% low above 60fps with the 6950 XT at 1080p.

Dying Light 2 is a good example of a typical modern single player game in the sense that it is heavily GPU bound using current generation processors. Basically, it doesn’t matter which of these processors you use for this kind of game, you will always be limited by your graphics cards.

Watch Dogs Legion, the last game we’re going to review separately, once again shows the performance of the 5500 at 3600 levels. The 5600 is about 16% faster at best, which isn’t much of a difference, but Zen 2 owners aren’t likely to be interested in the 5500.

21 games average

Looking at our 21 game average, we can see that overall the Ryzen 5 5500 delivers similar performance to the 3600, in fact, it’s quite remarkable that they were identical across all test configurations. For our highest CPU-bound test configuration with the Radeon 6950 XT at 1080p, the 5600 was 17% faster, which isn’t a huge lead, but still big enough as we’d see a smaller lead compared to a 5600 with a 5900X or 5950X in games. tasks.

Since the 5500 and 3600 are basically identical, here’s a comparison with the 5600 for each game. The 5500 was on average 14% slower at 1080p using the 6950 XT data, and we see four examples where the difference exceeded 20%, and even one where it increased to 32%.

However, there are severely GPU limited games like Dying Light 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 where we saw little to no difference between 5500 and 5600 and this will happen in many games, especially single player games where gamers usually prefer graphics, not frame rate. .

With the slower Radeon 6600 XT, the difference narrowed and the Ryzen 5 5500 was now just 7% slower on average. The vast majority of games tested showed single digit margins, so for those using a current-generation midrange GPU that won’t run every game at competitive quality settings, the R5 5500 will be just fine, but you’re better off spending a little more on the 5600 in the long run.

Budget Zen 3, What We’ve Learned

The Ryzen 5 5500 certainly performs well, but really, if you’re on a budget but remain a performance-oriented enthusiast, this processor should be avoided even at $140. At this price, the R5 5500 is about 20% more affordable than 5600and we found that it was only 14% slower in extreme conditions, but we’re also talking about $40, and of course there are other considerations, such as the lack of PCIe 4.0 support.

Assuming you’re building a new system or doing a platform upgrade, adding a $100 motherboard into the equation brings the $5,500 cost savings down to 14%, add memory and whatever else you need, and it’s going to be a very small savings. .

Then for those already on the AM4 platform, the 5500 might seem like an attractive option considering it’s a very affordable Zen 3 processor. But then again, it should be considered more like a Ryzen 5 3600 and you can regularly buy it for less than $100. eBay. We know comparing new and used is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but the bottom line is that if you want a cheap AM4 upgrade, you can achieve the same level of performance for much less money in the aftermarket.

Which begs the question, if you’re already running an AM4 platform, what type of CPU do you need to make Ryzen 5 5500 as an upgrade make sense because it’s definitely not a 3600 and you wouldn’t upgrade from 2600 to 3600, so it’s not 2600 owners either. You will probably have to go with a quad-core Ryzen processor. Ryzen 3 1200, 1300X, Ryzen 5 1400, 1500X or maybe, Ryzen 3 3100 or 3300X — although very few people bought these parts due to limited stock.

This is where we see the Ryzen 5 5500 make some sense, but even so, we recommend that you try increasing your budget by 5600.

If you’re building a new PC from scratch, the Ryzen 5 5500 is a tough task, don’t even think about it. $35 less Core i3-12100F will easily outperform the 5500 as it was 14% faster than the Ryzen 5 3600 in our first day overview, even with a TDP limit of 58W. So, if you’re looking for the most affordable gaming PC possible, the $140 Ryzen 5 5500 doesn’t make sense when you can buy the $105 12100F and install it on a quality B660 board like the MSI B660M Bazooka. $140or the $100 entry-level B660 mid-range board, where it will work just fine, but it will limit your upgrade path.

The Core i3-12100F will at least support PCIe 4.0 devices on budget boards and can use PCIe 5.0 as well as DDR5 memory, so not only is it faster and cheaper for gaming, it also supports new technologies.

Bottom line: Core i3-12100F for budget builders, or Ryzen 5 5600 for those already on the AM4 platform looking for an inexpensive Zen 3 processor. different parts, especially because of the difference (or lack thereof) in that large 32 MB L3 cache.

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