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AMD Ryzen 5 5500 Short Review

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With the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, AMD tested the benefits of adding a massive amount of L3 cache to its existing Ryzen 5000 series processors. Our benchmark tests of this processor showed minor benefits across the board. areas with more significant, albeit variable, advantages in games. Now, with the Ryzen 5 5500 ($159), we can test the opposite: what happens when you take a chip from the Ryzen 5000 series and go drastically? reduce its cache. It turns out the impact, as with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, varies by app, but the Ryzen 5 5500 seems destined to be a tough sell unless sale prices show smaller differences than list prices. – AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600 is generally better in all cases. way and only costs $40 more.


The design: a reduced 5

As we mentioned in our Ryzen 5 5600 review, manufacturing PC silicon is an imperfect process. Companies like AMD, Intel, and Nvidia typically create relatively few real, discrete chip designs in each product line; perfect or near-perfect specimens are packaged and sold as premium parts, while imperfect specimens have more internals disabled and are sold as lesser chips.

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The clearest example of this can be seen in today’s GPU market. AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series contains eight graphics cards so far, but only four chip models are used to create these products. The flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT packs the “Navi 21” GPU in its pure, uncut form. The chip does, however, contain 5,120 stream processors; if only a few of them don’t work properly, it would be pointless to throw the whole chip in the recycling bin.

AMD Ryzen 5 5500 CPU Pinouts

(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

To avoid waste and monetize more product, AMD is doing what everyone else does in the industry, disabling the parts of the silicon that don’t work properly and packaging the resulting card like a low-end model. The Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 are built this way, with 4,608 and 3,840 stream processors respectively.

AMD and Intel do the same with processors, disabling cores and tweaking features along the way to create low-end components. Understanding this is key to understanding the Ryzen 5 5500, far more so than most other processors, as the 5500 cores are not harvested from the same harvest as most other AMD processors. Instead, the Ryzen 5 5500 originates from one of AMD’s APUs, Accelerated Processing Units, or “Ryzen CPUs with AMD Radeon Graphics” as the company now likes to call them. To dodge that mouthful, we’ll stick to the term APU for the rest of this review.

Overhead AMD Ryzen 5 5500

(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

Specifically, the Ryzen 5 5500 appears to be a partially disabled Ryzen 5 5600G, and its design is all the more baffling for that reason. Like all APUs, the Ryzen 5 5600G has less cache than other Ryzen 5 processors because it makes room for a fairly large integrated graphics processor (IGP): while the Ryzen 5 5600X has 32MB of L3 cache, the Ryzen 5 5600G only has 16MB. There’s nothing stopping AMD from building an APU with 32MB or more of L3 cache, but the more you add to a chip, the more it costs to produce, which is why AMD Shrunk the cache in the first place.

Like the Ryzen 5 5600G, the Ryzen 5 5500 only has 16MB of L3 cache, along with the same six CPU cores with simultaneous multithreading support allowing the chip to handle 12 software threads simultaneously. The CPU is also fully unlocked, so you can try overclocking it for a bit more performance.

Clock speeds, however, are down from the 5600G, leaving the 5500 at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to raw performance. The Ryzen 5 5600G has base and boost clocks of 3.9 GHz and 4.4 GHz respectively, while the Ryzen 5 5500’s base clock is set at 3.6 GHz and its boost clock at 4.2 GHz . And like the 5600G, the 5500 has a PCI Express 3.0 interface for graphics cards instead of the PCI Express 4.0 interface found in full-fledged Ryzen 5000 series processors.

AMD Ryzen 5 5500 Pin Diagonal

(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

While the CPU market runs on scaled-down chips, one thing that makes the Ryzen 5 5500 unusual is that its IGP is fully disabled. The Ryzen 5 5600G’s integrated graphics consist of seven compute units with 64 stream processors each, making a total of 448. It’s perfectly possible that part of the 5500’s IGP is malfunctioning and has been disabled. for this reason, but we don’t usually see large portions of chips that are completely inoperable. It’s also possible that the IGP was disabled purely for the purpose of differentiating the Ryzen 5 5500 from AMD’s existing APU products.

If so, the decision is understandable but, in our view, a mistake. Almost all of Intel’s processors come with Iris Xe or other integrated graphics. Intel’s IGPs don’t have much gaming prowess, but for day-to-day tasks like web browsing or video streaming, they work perfectly well. This gives them an advantage over the many AMD processors that lack IGP and thus require the purchase of a graphics card.

That doesn’t matter much if you’re building a gaming rig, but if you’re building a home computer or desktop PC, the lack of on-chip graphics makes AMD’s Ryzen processors much less appealing, d especially since graphics cards have been outrageously expensive in recent years. AMD’s APUs have also been hit by rising graphics prices, which has also made them less attractive for non-gaming systems. If AMD had left even one or two compute units enabled, the Ryzen 5 5500 would have a value-oriented appeal that many comparable AMD processors lack.

Instead, what we have with the Ryzen 5 5500 is a CPU that has all the negative design elements of an APU without the biggest positive. The only thing he Is having to go for it is a low price, but even that is fleeting.


Test setup and benchmarks

We tested the Ryzen 5 5500 with our MSI MEG X570S Ace Max motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 RAM in a dual-channel configuration. The CPU comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, but for consistency with other consumer chips we’ve tested, we’ve used our stock 240mm water cooler.

AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

On the AMD side of the spectrum, the closest competitors to the Ryzen 5 5500 are the aforementioned Ryzen 5 5600 and 5600G. All three chips have the same number of cores and are clocked quite close to each other. The Ryzen 5 5600G is the most expensive because it has integrated graphics, but as mentioned the Ryzen 5 5600 costs just $40 more than the 5500 and has 31MB versus 16GB of L3 cache. As you will see in a moment, this has an impact on the results.

As for Intel, we haven’t tested any processors that come close to the Ryzen 5 5500 in terms of MSRP. The Core i5-11600K isn’t far behind, with a street price of around $215. Intel’s Core i5-12400 comes a lot closer with an MSRP of $192 and a current street price of $175, but since we haven’t tested any yet, we can’t provide benchmark comparisons.

The CPU and productivity test results of the Ryzen 5 5500 were quite predictable. Most of the processors in our range are high-end processors that clearly outperform the new AMD chip. The Ryzen 5 5600 also beat the Ryzen 5 5500 by quite a margin in many tests. This is significant as it clearly shows the impact of removing the L3 cache. The performance difference between the Ryzen 5 5500 and the Ryzen 5 5600G was mostly negligible, with the two places swapping in many tests.

As for competing Intel chips, the Core i5-11600K outperformed the Ryzen 5 5500 in five out of eight tests. 7-Zip’s results were inconsistent, so we’ll ignore them, but the Ryzen 5 5500 offered a slight advantage in Adobe Photoshop. Results in POV-Ray were mixed, with the Core i5-11600K winning the single-core test and the Ryzen 5 5500 taking the multi-core victory.

Next, our gaming tests. Since a discrete graphics card was needed, we relied on our usual Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti running at Founders Edition clocks.

This is where the Ryzen 5 5500 runs into some serious issues. At 4K resolution, the test results across the board were pretty close as the GPU becomes the main bottleneck, although the 5500 did manage to outrun the 5600G in Rainbow Six Siege. The 1080p test results are more telling, with the Ryzen 5 5500 falling behind many competing CPUs, including the Ryzen 5 5600 and Intel Core i5-11600K. Both of these chips may cost a little more, but they also perform much better.

Indeed, in terms of value for money in the F1 2020 game, the Ryzen 5 5600 performed 22% better than the 5500 while costing only 18% more. The benefit varies from game to game, but it clearly makes sense to buy the Ryzen 5 5600 over the Ryzen 5 5500 if you have the extra $40 on hand and care about clock frequencies. maximum images at common resolutions.


The verdict: you can do better for a little more money

AMD’s new Ryzen 5 5500 isn’t a bad processor choice; it may be significantly slower than AMD’s next chip (the Ryzen 5 5600), but it’s also a bit cheaper. If you’re stretching your budget to get the best PC you can build, the 5500 might be just the CPU you’ve been waiting for.

Diagonal AMD Ryzen 5 5500

(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

At the same time, however, it faces both friendly fire from AMD and competition from Intel. If you have the cash to spend, the Ryzen 5 5600 is well worth the extra cost. Intel’s Core i5-11600K is also an attractive alternative, and we’d bet the similar but newer Core i5-12400 with integrated graphics would also be very competitive. Again, it’s not that the Ryzen 5 5500 is a bad CPU, it’s just that there are better options on both sides of the CPU aisle for a bit more money.

The essential

AMD’s Ryzen 5 5500 offers decent performance for non-gaming tasks, but it lags slightly more expensive AMD and Intel processors in our benchmarks, making it a second-tier pick.

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