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What just happened? AMD is releasing seven new Ryzen desktop CPUs today – one of which we already know about, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D – but the rest of the launch comprises more affordable Zen 3 chips for budget system builders, including the much awaited Ryzen 5 5600.
With the launch of the Ryzen 5 5600, it feels like we've been talking about this lower cost 6-core Zen 3 processor since the launch of Ryzen 5000 back in late 2020. At the time we thought it might only be a few months away, and then gave up all hope when it didn't launch at all in 2021. But then again, here we are. Supply has improved for AMD's desktop CPUs, and we're getting this and two more budget-oriented AMD CPUs, all of which use Zen 3 technology in differing ways.
Three new budget-oriented Ryzen 5000 CPUs
The Ryzen 7 5700X is a lower clocked, lower TDP variant of the Ryzen 7 5800X that originally launched in 2020. It's an 8-core, 16-thread model with 32MB of L3 cache plus 4MB of L2, exactly the same as the 5800X. However, the TDP has been reduced from 105W to 65W, and with it comes a drop in base clock from 3.8 to 3.4 GHz. The boost clock is also down slightly, dropping from 4.7 to 4.6 GHz. However we expect this CPU to perform pretty close to the 5800X for the most part. These are pretty minor clock speed adjustments and importantly, all of the L3 cache capacity remains, which has a significant impact on gaming performance.
Essentially, the 5700X will be a cheaper variant of the 5800X, and it's launching at $300. That's a big discount from the 5800X's launch price of $450, but these days that CPU is sitting closer to $350, so the 5700X is more like a $50 discount.
This should make the 5700X more competitive against Intel's 12th-gen lineup. Currently, the Core i7-12700F sits around $340, while the Core i5-12600K costs $280, and in our testing the 5800X has been neck and neck with these parts. AMD needed an 8-core Zen 3 CPU around the $300 mark to be competitive and that's what they are delivering.
Next up is the Ryzen 5 5600, finally bringing Zen 3 down to a price point of just $200. Like the 5700X vs 5800X, this is essentially a small clock speed reduction on the Ryzen 5 5600X. Instead of getting 6 cores and 12 threads at a base of 3.7 GHz and a boost of 4.6 GHz, the 5600 brings that same core configuration, but with a base of 3.5 GHz and boost of 4.4 GHz. A simple 200 MHz clock speed reduction, which should lead to similar performance to the 5600X as the 32MB of L3 cache is preserved.
These days the 5600X can be found for around $230, so the 5600 is bringing a small $30 discount, not a bad deal but not earth shattering either. It does, however, officially make the 5600 cheaper than the Ryzen 5 5600G, which currently costs $220 and was the cheapest Zen 3 desktop CPU you could get at retail.
The 5600X trades blows with the Core i5-12400F in terms of performance, and the 12400F is a $200 CPU right now, so we're expecting the battle between these two to be close.
The last entry-level Zen 3 CPU that AMD is announcing is the Ryzen 5 5500. This is a little different to the other parts in that it doesn't use the standard Vermeer desktop die. Instead, this is a Cezanne APU with the integrated graphics disabled and the CPU cut down. What we're left with is a 6-core, 12-thread Zen 3 CPU core, but with half the L3 cache of the 5600 and 5700X at just 16MB (plus 3MB of L3). It's also clocked lower than the 5600, at a 4.2 GHz boost, and because it's using AMD's APU design, it's limited to just 20 lanes of PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0.
The Ryzen 5 5500 will cost $160, slotting between the Core i5-12400F and Core i3-12100 in terms of how it stacks up versus Intel offerings. We're also expecting performance to fall in that range. If it can get close to the 12400F it could be a good value processor for budget builders, but we'll have to see when we get hands on time with it.
Both Ryzen 5 models will bundle the AMD Wraith Stealth box cooler, while the 5700X will not come with a box cooler at all, same as the 5800X and higher-tier processors.
New Ryzen 4000 parts aim at the $100+ market
Then we get to the next three processors AMD are announcing, which are Ryzen 4000 parts. Why Ryzen 4000? That's because they use Zen 2 technology, so it wouldn't make sense to place these in the same category as Ryzen 5000 using Zen 3. And these aren't just any Zen 2 desktop processors, they aren't using the standard multi-die Matisse design we've seen for parts like the Ryzen 5 3600, instead these are all based on AMD's Renoir APU design but with various bits cut down.
The Ryzen 5 4600G is a full APU with integrated graphics enabled. However the CPU is reduced to a 6-core, 12-thread design, and a rather slim amount of cache, just 8MB of L3 and 3MB of L2. It's clocked at 3.7 GHz base and 4.2 GHz boost within a 65W package TDP. The iGPU will be Vega 7, with 7 compute units clocked up to 1.9 GHz.
The 4600G was actually released to the OEM market a long time ago -- way back in July 2020 -- so in this instance it's just AMD bringing an OEM part to the desktop market to fill a certain price point. Renoir never came to the DIY market until now, Ryzen 3000 APUs were Picasso dies using Zen+ CPU cores, and then AMD skipped right up to Ryzen 5000 APUs using Cezanne and Zen 3. Better late than never?
At $155, the 4600G is only slightly cheaper than the Ryzen 5 5500 and probably won't make sense for most people building a PC with discrete graphics – you'll want the faster Zen 3 design instead of this Zen 2 part when it comes to CPU performance. But the 4600G will offer integrated graphics at a cheaper price point than the $220 5600G, with nothing lower in the stack since the Ryzen 5 3400G was discontinued.
The Ryzen 5 4500 is a Ryzen 5 4600G with the integrated graphics disabled, and 100 MHz lower clock speeds on the 6-core, 12 thread CPU. It's sold as a pure CPU option for budget builders at $130, placing it head to head with Intel's Core i3-12100F which is available for around $125. The 12100F has four P cores and zero E cores, so it's a quad-core design going up against six Zen 2 CPU cores. We've shown previously that the 12100F is faster than the Ryzen 5 3600 for gaming by a substantial margin, and the Ryzen 5 4500 is unlikely to be as fast as the 3600. However, for productivity work, especially multi-core workloads, six cores of Zen 2 is faster, so we expect this to be another situation where AMD and Intel trade blows depending on what you're using the CPU for.
AMD hasn't had many Ryzen options below $200 for some time now, especially since Ryzen 3000 was discontinued and is now overpriced. So getting more parts in this crucial sub-$200 space is great for AM4 owners and builders.
Finally, the cheapest part AMD is announcing today is the Ryzen 3 4100: a 4-core, 8-thread CPU with just 4MB of L3 cache. This is the lowest bin of Renoir that we've seen yet. No integrated graphics and clock speeds of just 3.8 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost in a 65W TDP.
This is a $100 CPU for entry-level builders that is set to competing against Intel's Core i3-10100F ($85), Core i3-12100F, and Pentium Gold processors. The 12100F is more expensive right now and will go more head to head with the Ryzen 5 4500, while the Core i3-10100F is kind of a dead CPU. The upgrade path for the Ryzen 3 4100 will be better, you can upgrade that all the way to a Ryzen 9 5950X in the same AM4 motherboard if you want, while the Core i3 upgrade path stops at the 10900K or 11900K.
All of these Ryzen 4000 CPUs come with a Wraith Stealth box cooler and because they are Renoir CPUs, they also only support 20 lanes of PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0. So you probably wouldn't want to pair them with a Radeon RX 6500 XT, despite that being AMD's cheapest discrete GPU right now. That should be an obvious candidate to pair with a low-cost Ryzen CPU, but unfortunately AMD crippled it with just PCIe x4 bandwidth.
Availability and Zen 4
AMD says the new CPUs will become available as soon as April 4, or about two weeks from today. Of course, AMD is gearing up to release next-gen Zen 4 CPUs later in 2022, so any Zen 3 processors will be superseded soon. Although it took so long to get sub-$200 Zen 3 parts that we're not expecting to see budget Zen 4 processors immediately.
What's also good news for budget PC builders is that AMD is going to officially support Zen 3 on 300 series motherboards through beta BIOS updates starting in April. This includes all of the X370, B350 and A320 chipsets. Those who bought one of these boards to go along with a first-gen Ryzen processor should soon be able to upgrade all the way to Zen 3 without needing to swap out the motherboard which is good news.
This should have happened earlier to be honest. There's also been a few companies like Asrock jumping the gun (officially and non-officially) to offer Ryzen 5000 support on their 300 series boards, but actual support from AMD is coming from AGESA 188.8.131.52.
Let's talk Ryzen 7 5800X3D
The first CPU to use 3D V-Cache technology, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D adds a layer of L3 cache on top of the existing Zen 3 chiplet die to increase total L3 from 32MB to a huge 96MB.
AMD is claiming a 15% performance boost in games compared to the Ryzen 9 5900X just through the addition of V-Cache, though we'll have to see how it fares in real world benchmarking.
We got the specs of the 5800X3D back at CES, so here's a quick refresher: it's an 8-core 16-thread Zen 3 CPU with a 3.4 GHz base clock and 4.5 GHz boost clock inside a 105W TDP. It is clocked a bit lower than the 5800X and even the 5700X, we're down 200 MHz for boost versus the 5800X, but this was necessary to accommodate the much larger cache.
AMD originally announced this CPU as being supported on 400 and 500 series motherboards, but it will also work on 300 series boards following the aforementioned BIOS updates.
What we're learning today is the price and availability. As expected, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D will slot into the old price of the Ryzen 7 5800X at $450. Technically, AMD hasn't dropped the price of the 5800X, but in practice the 5800X is a $350 part these days, so the 5800X3D will be $100 or 29% more expensive. That's likely to be a greater uplift in price than you get in terms of performance, but that's usually how it goes for higher-end parts.
Ultimately, whether it's worth buying will depend on how it goes up against the likes of the 5900X and Core i9-12900K. The 5800X3D will become available on April 20 and you're likely to find reviews for that CPU around that time as well, including one from yours truly.