AMD Ryzen 5 5500 - The CPU with the best price-performance ratio

Posted by Stefan on 2022-07-18, Last updated:
The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is currently enjoying great popularity and is currently one of the best-selling processors for AMD's Socket AM4 platform. It has 6 CPU cores and supports SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading), so it can process up to 12 threads simultaneously. This means that the processor is fast enough for current games and powerful enough to utilize professional applications.

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But why is the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 so cheap and what disadvantages does the buyer have to accept? We clarify that in this article. But first we have to dive a little into the technology of the current Zen 3 processors in order to understand what kind of exotic AMD has actually created with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500.

CPU architecture: Cezanne and not Vermeer


The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is not based on the same architecture as the AMD Ryzen 5 5600 or the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. AMD uses its Cezanne APU architecture in the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 and not the pure desktop architecture Vermeer. However, the technology of the CPU cores (Zen 3) is identical and the processing speed of the processor is quite close to that of the Vermeer 6-core CPUs.

No PCIe 4.0, only 16 instead of 32 MB level 3 cache


Since the third generation of AMD Ryzen desktop processors, they have been equipped with a level 3 cache that is twice as large. Since the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, the 6-core processors can use a whopping 32 MB level 3 cache. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600 and the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X also have a 32 MB level 3 cache. The level 2 cache is identical at 3 MB.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 only has 16 MB Level 3 cache, because the APU architectures need the additional chip space for the integrated graphics unit (iGPU). But this iGPU is deactivated in the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 and therefore not usable. However, all Zen processors of the "Vermeer" architecture also do not have an iGPU.

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The reason why the halved level 3 cache only plays a small role in the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 performance is that AMD specifies the level 3 cache per core in the Zen 3 as 4 MB. Although all cores can dynamically share the level 3 cache, theoretically there is a level 3 cache of 24 MB for a 6 core CPU. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600 also has 6 CPU cores, but is equipped with 32 MB level 3 cache. So more than the 4 MB per core that AMD mentioned in their press release.

One could therefore argue that the 32 MB level 3 cache of the Vermeer architecture is designed for an 8-core CPU and is actually too large for a 6-core processor. This could explain why the halved level 3 cache of the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 has such a small impact on its everyday computing performance.

The support for the PCIe 4.0 standard introduced with the 3rd generation of Zen desktop processors, which doubles the bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0, is also missing. A dedicated graphics card or a fast M.2 SSD should actually benefit from this higher bandwidth.

But with current graphics cards, the twice as high bandwidth of the PCIe 4.0 standard (approx. 30 GB/s instead of 15 GB/s) hardly has an effect. Techspot did a comparison between PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 with the GeForce RTX 3080 and hardly noticed a difference in performance.

And with up to 7 GB/s, PCIe 4.0 SSDs are twice as fast as PCIe 3.0 SSDs, which can only transfer data at 3.5 GB/s. In practice, however, most users will not notice any difference.

5 to 10 percent slower but 40 percent cheaper


The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is around 5 to 10 percent slower in benchmarks such as Cinebench R23 or Geekbench 5 than the AMD Ryzen 5 5600, but currently costs around 40 percent less. So it's no wonder that many people prefer to spend significantly less money.

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Bundled with the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler


Also interesting for inexpensive processors: With the AMD Wraith Stealth, AMD also supplies the right CPU cooler for the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 out of the box. This saves money and the cooler is big enough for normal usage. Only those who want to overclock the processor should use a larger cooler.

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Of course, the supplied CPU cooler is not exactly quiet either. Under full CPU load, the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler gets quite loud. If the volume of a computer is important to you, you should spend some money and buy a better CPU cooler or a small AIO cooler.

Conclusion


So much performance for so little money has not been available for a long time. In terms of price, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 competes with the Intel Core i3-12100F, which offers 4 CPU cores and 8 threads for the same amount of money.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 wins the CPU comparison between the two processors with a lead of around 20 percent. Although the Intel Core i3-12100F already supports the PCIe 5.0 standard, as described above, this does not affect the actual performance of the graphics card.

In addition, mainboards for the Socket AM4 are already available for 35 USD, while the cheapest mainboard for the socket 1700 (Intel Core i3-12100F) costs around 80 USD. This also clearly speaks for the AMD platform, which also works quite energy-efficiently thanks to the modern 7 nm production.


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