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AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500 Review: The Budget CPU Showdown

Zen 2 little, Zen 2 late?

AMD Ryzen 3 4100
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500 Application Benchmarks — The TLDR

We can boil down productivity application performance into two broad categories: single- and multi-threaded. These slides show the geometric mean of performance in several of our most important tests in each category, but be sure to look at the expanded benchmark results further below. 

The Core i3-12100 easily dispatched the Ryzen 4000 duo in our gaming tests, and while the Ryzen 5 4500 is a bit more competitive in the application testing, the Ryzen 3 4100 does little to rectify its poor showing.

The Core i3-12100 is 44% faster than the Ryzen 3 4100 and 34% faster than the Ryzen 5 4500 in our cumulative measure of single-threaded performance. In other words, the single-threaded contest isn't a contest at all.

Moving over to threaded work, the quad-core 12100 is 40% faster than the quad-core Ryzen 3 4100, leaving no reason to purchase it over Intel's Core i3.  

However, the six-core Ryzen 5 4500 is 3% faster than the 12100 in threaded work. That rather slim delta is a win for the Zen 2 chip against the Alder Lake Core i3, and we see several larger wins for the Ryzen 5 4500 in our more expansive multi-threaded benchmarks below. As you'd imagine given its advantage of having two more cores, the 4500 is faster in some threaded rendering and encoding applications than the Core i3-12100. 

However, given the large disparities in single-threaded performance and gaming, not to mention connectivity options, the Core i3-12100's better blend of performance and features is more attractive even for the productivity-minded (particularly if you plan to use a PCIe 4.0 SSD).  

Tom's Hardware - Application BenchmarksSingle-ThreadedMulti-Threaded
Core i5-12400100%100%
Core i3-1210098.1%74.8%
Ryzen 5 560087.2%97.3%
Ryzen 5 550082.4%89.6%
Ryzen 5 450073.4%77.2%
Ryzen 3 410067.8%53.5%

Rendering Benchmarks on AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500

The Core i3-12100 is impressive in single-threaded rendering work, leading all competing Ryzen chips in both Cinebench and POV-Ray benchmarks. However, its quad-core design isn't as well suited as the Ryzen 5 4500 for some of the heavily-parallelized rendering workloads you'll see in the real world. For example, the Ryzen 5 4500 is 11%, 5%, and 25% faster in the threaded Cinebench, Corona, and C-Ray renderers, respectively. 

Encoding Benchmarks on AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500

Encoders tend to be either heavily threaded or almost exclusively single-threaded. The Ryzen 3 4100 isn't competitive in any of these benchmarks, but while the Ryzen 5 4500 isn't a factor in the lightly-threaded tests, it is more competent in heavily-threaded tasks. 

The Core i3-12100 dominates the lightly-threaded LAME, FLAC, and WebP encoding tests. Flipping over to threaded applications, the Ryzen 5 4500 excels in HandBrake, SVT-HEVC, and the SVT-AV1 encoding tasks. 

Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom on AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500

We've integrated the UL Benchmarks Procyon tests into our suite to replace the aging PCMark 10. This new benchmark runs complex Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom workflows with the actual software, making for a great real-world test suite.

These multi-phase benchmarks have mixed workload profiles, with some sections of each benchmark relying more upon single-threaded prowess while other portions of the workflow rely upon sheer threaded horsepower. This mixed-use type of application is common, and here we can see that the Core i3-12100's superior mix of overwhelmingly faster single-threaded performance and more than sufficient threaded heft given its price point combine to take the lead in every benchmark. 

Web Browsing, Office and Productivity on AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500

The ubiquitous web browser is one of the most frequently used applications. These tests tend to be lightly threaded, so a snappy response time is critical. Here we see the Core i3-12100 take a commanding lead in both the web browsing and light office benchmarks. 

Compilation, Compression, AVX Benchmarks on AMD Ryzen 3 4100 and Ryzen 5 4500

This section includes a diverse set of workloads, including exceedingly branchy code in the LLVM compilation workload and the massively parallel molecular dynamics simulation code in NAMD. Frankly, most of these types of workloads in this section aren't well-suited for this class of chip, but we include them as a reference.

The Core i3-12100 isn't as competitive as the Ryzen 5 4500 in these heavily-threaded applications. AMD also benefits in the SHA3, AES, and HASH benchmarks from its cryptographic optimizations.

Paul Alcorn
Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • Chris Fetters
    All these year or more late CPU reviews recently are absolutely freaking useless Paul... 😑🤦‍♂️ Either do the reviews ON TIME when the CPU's ACTUALLY RELEASE or don't review them at all. 🤷‍♂️
    Reply
  • geko95gek
    Yeah haven't these been out a while? Seems pretty pointless to even talk about them tbh, lowest AMD CPU of this generation anyone should even consider buying is the 5600. 😂
    Reply
  • King_V
    No, it's not "useless" . .

    First, except for a brief period when only one vendor had them, going by the PCPartPicker price history, the 4500 has always been less than MSRP.

    Second, for someone already on AM4, and with a low-to-mid 1st gen Ryzen CPU and having to fit a really tight budget, it's an upgrade. I know one person for whom this is the case, and the extra (at this time, extra $25) for the 5500 would actually be problematic.

    The real issue is, as is correctly pointed out, is the 5000 series. The 5500 is usually available for not much more. That's what can cannibalize the sales of the 4000 series unless the price drops more, relative to the 5500.


    AND.. on a final note, I really am looking forward to the update to the CPU hierarchy to see exactly where these two slot in, relative to other low-end Ryzen chips, performance-wise.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    Pretty funny article...;) Both these CPUs came out years before Alder lake and neither was designed to "tackle Alder's Lake"...which did not exist when these originally shipped.

    Looking forward to your upcoming cacheless Intel Celeron CPU comparison with AMD's Zen 4 CPUs...when is that due for publication? To see what Intel has to "tackle Zen 4"...;)
    Reply