Ryzen 3 5100 Budget CPU Could Excel On The Retail Market

Ryzen CPU
Ryzen CPU (Image credit: AMD)

AMD Zen 3-powered processors are still some of the best CPUs around for gaming. Some unannounced chips have great potential, but unfortunately, they are only available to OEMs or on the black market, such as some of the Ryzen 5000G (Cezanne) SKUs that lack integrated graphics.

Three Ryzen processors belong to the Cezanne family and come with a disabled iGPU: the Ryzen 7 5700, the Ryzen 5 5500, and the Ryzen 3 5100. Out of the trio, the Ryzen 5 5500 is the only SKU available to the retail market. The Ryzen 7 5700 and Ryzen 3 5100 are OEM parts occasionally pop up on e-commerce platforms. AMD doesn't even list the Ryzen 7 5700 or Ryzen 3 5100 on the company website. The processors' existence and specifications are only known thanks to the motherboard vendor-provided CPU support list, such as this one from Gigabyte (via momomo_us).

Like AMD's Zen 3-based processors, the Ryzen 3 5100 features TSMC's 7nm process node. However, it's important to highlight that the Ryzen 3 5100 is a member of the Cezanne lineup, which still adheres to a monolithic die. It shouldn't be confused with Vermeer, which also utilizes the Ryzen 5000 nomenclature but sports a chiplet design. Besides, the Ryzen 3 5100 model name alone tells us it's the Zen 3 successor to the previous Zen 2-based Ryzen 3 4100 (Renoir).

The Ryzen 3 5100 and Ryzen 3 4100 share similarities, including the quad-core, eight-thread design, 2MB L2 cache, 3.8 GHz base clock, and 65W TDP. The former, however, has a 200 MHz higher boost clock and double the L3 cache - not to mention the more powerful Zen 3 cores.

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ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost Clock (GHz)L2 Cache (MB)L3 Cache (MB)TDP (W)
Ryzen 7 57008 / 163.7 / 4.641665
Ryzen 5 55006 / 123.6 / 4.231665
Ryzen 5 45006 / 123.6 / 4.13865
Ryzen 3 51004 / 83.8 / 4.22865
Ryzen 3 41004 / 83.8 / 4.02465

The Ryzen 7 5700, the Ryzen 5 5500, and the Ryzen 3 5100, which feature the A0 stepping, don't possess integrated graphics cards, so the processors are meant to be paired with discrete graphics cards. They also lack the "G" suffix to denote their iGPU-less design. The trio of Zen 3 chips dwells on AMD's previous AM4 socket, and a small firmware update is enough to get the processors working on 400-and 500-series motherboards.

AMD's Zen 4-powered Ryzen 7000 (Raphael) processors have been on the market for a while now. Unfortunately, the chipmaker has forgotten about the entry-level segment. The Ryzen 5 7600, the most affordable Zen 4 SKU, retails for $229, although sometimes you can find it a bit lower. But over $200 is more than most budget consumers are willing to pay.

At $63.96, the Ryzen 3 4100 is the only legit budget option from the Red Team. The quad-core chip is a bit outdated, though. Releasing a quad-core Zen 4 processor likely isn't in AMD's nearby plans. The Ryzen 3 5100 doesn't offer the same performance as a Zen 4 equivalent, but at least it's faster than a Ryzen 3 4100. Furthermore, the Ryzen 3 5100 is already available to OEMs and SIs; why not let the retail market get in on the fun? At the end of the day, it's about moving leftover Zen 3 silicon regardless of who buys it.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • Udyr
    At $63.96, the Ryzen 3 4100 is the only legit budget option from the Red Team.
    So I guess the R5 4500 at +/- $78 is not budget?

    The 5500 at $99 is +/-50% more, which would be stretching the cash too far.
  • ET3D
    why not let the retail market get in on the fun? At the end of the day, it's about moving leftover Zen 3 silicon regardless of who buys it.
    Because AMD has an actual relationship with OEMs. It has no relationship with consumers. If OEMs asked for a specific SKU and AMD promised to supply it, and it instead sells that SKU to consumers, then it will still have to supply the SKU to the OEMs, which would mean selling better hardware as a lower SKU.

    It would make sense to sell the SKU to consumers only if OEMs no longer sell it or if its supply is larger than OEMs are expected to need.
  • RodroX
    The R5 5500 is a nice CPU for the money, if you can find it. Im guessing if the R3 5100 land on the DIY market enevtually, it will also be a nice CPU to get.
  • ManDaddio
    My take: 🤢🤮
  • abufrejoval
    I believe these are partial dies which come off wafer edges with the GPU parts mostly missing, that are being collected over the production run and then sold at the end. There were similar pre-Zen Carrizo chips years ago but the important thing is that these aren't produced according to market demands, but small volumes of "chipped" dies, that come from the cross-cut of wafers aimed at producing perfect rectangular dies from round wafers.

    Most of those partial chips will be completely unusable, but some are evidently just missing GPU parts and selling them as "GPU-less APUs" is more profitable than throwing them away.

    But there won't be the volumes a much smaller "quad-core-APU-based CPU-only" chip might actually attract.
    And while that die would also result in partials, those are less likely to be usable at all.