AMD Ryzen 5 5600 and 5500 Review: Firing Back at Alder Lake

Zen 3 gets cheap

AMD Ryzen 5 5600
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Ryzen 5 5600 and Ryzen 5 5500 bring a new level of value to the Zen 3 lineup and could make a great value-centric update if you're updating a first-gen Ryzen system, but competing Intel Alder Lake processors are a better deal for new builds.


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    Competent gaming and application performance

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    Solid upgrade path for Ryzen 1000 owners

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    Bundled CPU Cooler

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    Broad support with 300-series motherboards


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    Value prop is poor vs Intel chips

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    No integrated GPU

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    5500 only supports PCIe 3.0

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Intel's competitive Alder Lake chips have upset AMD's dominance with its Ryzen processors, particularly in the lower price ranges, but the new $199 six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600 and $159 Ryzen 5 5500 are designed to plug key gaps in the company's portfolio. These new chips come as part of AMD's broader launch of seven new Ryzen 5000 models that aim to shore up the company's rankings in CPU benchmarks and retake its position on the Best CPUs for gaming list.

AMD's Ryzen 5000 chips fully eclipsed Intel's performance lead in desktop PCs when they launched back in 2020, but the company has long neglected to launch any sub-$250 chips with the potent Zen 3 architecture. That's kept the bar for entry unattainably high for value seekers.

AMD's new chips are long overdue, arriving a year and a half after the first wave of Ryzen 5000 chips, but they’re badly needed. Intel’s Alder Lake launch caught AMD uncharacteristically flat-footed, wresting away AMD’s performance lead. Intel’s aggressive pricing also brought superior value in every price range while exploiting AMD’s glaring lack of any sub-$250 Zen 3 chips. 

AMD's solution is pretty simple: The company is bringing back its non-X models, but with a twist. As a reminder, AMD's non-X models are the lower-cost and lower-performing versions of the 'X' models (like the Ryzen 5 5600X), but they have historically offered nearly the same performance as their counterparts, particularly after overclocking. AMD is also putting a new spin on the practice: Some of these new models, like the Ryzen 5 5500, are repurposed APUs with a disabled integrated GPU.

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AMD Ryzen Spring 2022 Update
Header Cell - Column 0 Price Street/MSRPDesign - Arch.E/P – Core|ThreadP-Core Base/Boost (GHz)TDP / PBP / MTPL3 Cache
Ryzen 7 5800X3D$449Zen 3 - Vermeer8P | 16T3.4 / 4.5105W96MB
Ryzen 7 5700X$299Zen 3 - Vermeer8P | 16T3.4 / 4.665W32MB
Ryzen 5 5600$199Zen 3 - Vermeer6P|12T3.5 / 4.465W32MB
Ryzen 5 5500$159Zen 3 - Cezanne6P | 12T3.6 / 4.265W16MB
Ryzen 5 4600G$154Zen 2 - Renoir6P | 12T3.7 / 4.265W8MB
Ryzen 5 4500$129Zen 2 - Renoir6P | 12T3.6 / 4.165W8MB
Ryzen 3 4100$99Zen 2 - Renoir4P | 8T3.8 / 4.065W4MB

The four new non-X models are designed to respond to Intel's commanding lead on the low end, and AMD has also slashed pricing on its existing Ryzen 5000 models. AMD is even enabling support for Ryzen 5000 chips on older 300-series motherboards, opening up a value option that’s a good fit for the new low-end Ryzen lineup. Here's how AMD's new mainstream contenders stack up. 

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 and 5500 Specifications and Pricing

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AMD and Intel Mid-Range Specs and Pricing
Header Cell - Column 0 Price - Street/MSRPDesign - Arch.E/P – Core|ThreadP-Core Base/Boost (GHz)E-Core Base/Boost (GHz)TDP / PBP / MTPMemory SupportL3 Cache
Ryzen 5 5600X$230 ($299)Zen 3 - Vermeer6P | 12T3.7 / 4.6-65WDDR4-320032MB
Ryzen 5 5600G (APU)$220 ($259 )Zen 3 - Cezanne6P | 12T3.9 / 4.4-65W DDR4-320016MB
Ryzen 5 5600$199Zen 3 - Vermeer6P|12T3.5 / 4.4-65WDDR4-320032MB
Core i5-12400 / F$192 - $167 (F)Alder Lake6P+0E | 6C/12T4.4 / 2.5-65W / 117WDDR4/5-3200/480018MB
Ryzen 5 3600X$250 ($240)Zen 26P | 12T3.8 / 4.4 -95WDDR4-320032MB
Ryzen 5 3600$229 ($200)Zen 26P | 12T3.6 / 4.2-65WDDR4-320032MB
Ryzen 5 5500$159Zen 3 - Cezanne6P | 12T3.6 / 4.2-65WDDR4-320016MB
Ryzen 5 4600G (APU)$154Zen 2 - Renoir6P | 12T3.7 / 4.2-65WDDR4-32008MB
Core i3-12100 / F$122 - $97 (F)Alder Lake4P+0E | 4C/8T3.3 / 4.3-60W / 89WDDR4/5-3200/480012MB

The Ryzen 5 5600 and 5500 have drastically different designs, but there are a few commonalities. Like their more full-fledged counterparts, both chips come with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler that is sufficient for stock operation. They also support up to DDR4-3200 memory. In addition, these chips are fully unlocked for overclocking the CPU cores, memory, and fabric. In contrast, Intel's non-K models only support memory overclocking, and the company's nonsensical decision to keep certain voltages locked restricts DDR4 overclocking headroom.

The $199 Ryzen 5 5600 is a new Vermeer model, meaning it comes with the standard chiplet-based Zen 3 architecture. This chip is the long-awaited and badly-needed ‘non-X’ version of the Ryzen 5 5600X, so it shares the same feature set, albeit with reduced clocks. The 5600 has a 3.5 GHz base and 4.4 GHz boost, so you're only losing 200 MHz for the base and boost clock rate compared to the 5600X. This chip will grapple with Intel’s popular Core i5-12400.

For its lowest-end Zen 3 chip, the $159 Ryzen 5 5500 finds AMD employing a new tactic of repurposing its monolithic (single-chip) Cezanne silicon that it typically uses for APUs, but the company has disabled the chip’s integrated Radeon Vega graphics engine. This six-core 12-thread chip slots in to compete with Intel's graphics-less $167 Core i5-12400F.

Aside from the disabled iGPU, the 5500 has the same design as the Ryzen 5 5600G, including support for PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0. As a result, this chip will make a great pairing for older, lower-end AM4 motherboards (you definitely don’t want to pay for functionality you don’t need by pairing it with a PCIe 4.0-supporting motherboard).

The 5500 is very similar to the 5600G that has the same architecture, but an active iGPU — there’s only a 200 MHz difference in CPU base/boost clock rates between the two chips. Like its counterpart, the Ryzen 5 5500 also comes with 16MB of cache, half that of the chiplet-based Ryzen 5 5600 that has the same number of cores and threads. This will result in reduced performance in several workloads.

The Ryzen 5 5600 and Ryzen 5 5500 would make great pairings for inexpensive 300- and 400-series motherboards. These chips are already supported on 400-series boards, and as of AGESA version 1207, most 300-series motherboards will support Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 processors after a BIOS update (make sure the BIOS has AGESA 1207 or newer). AMD says that Ryzen 5000 support will vary by vendor, as will the timeline for new BIOS revisions. However, we should see the updates arrive in the April-May timeframe. Notably, these BIOS revisions will also include the fix for AMD’s fTPM stuttering issues. Let's move on to the CPU benchmarks

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

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

  • rtoaht
    Too little too late.
  • ohio_buckeye
    I see why they did it though. They must have known the 5600 would be like the 3600. 95% of the performance of the x model and they must not have sold a lot of the x models in the zen 2 days, but maybe they figure by offering the 5600x first they’d make money from people who wanted to update and knew people wouldn’t buy as many of the upper models if the lower ones were available.
  • escksu
    5600 could have been that killer chip. But it's too late now. I originally wanted to upgrade my 3600 but was put off by 5600x's price. Now, I don't see any reason to go for 5600 since AMD will be releasing new cpus very soon. Even Intel too.. so rather skip the 5000 series.
  • King_V
    The too-little too-late argument falls a little flat. I mean, that reasoning does make sense if you're only thinking along the lines of building a new system from scratch, but for upgrading an existing one, it can make sense.

    Not everyone with a Zen or Zen+ chip jumped to Zen 2.

    EDIT: don't get me wrong, AMD should've come up with the BIOS updates sooner, and these chips could've done with being released a little earlier, but it seems a lot of people fall into the trap of looking at it only from a "build an entirely new AMD system vs build an entirely new Intel system" . . . and also aren't paying attention to the price drops.
  • King_V
    Tom Sunday said:
    Firing Back at Alder Lake! I am very disappointed with AMD continuing the bringing back trick, reengineering products, proffering rearchitected RDNA marketing efforts and generally offering lower-cost and lower-performing version models. Another example was AMD’s last minute effort and ditch with throwing the 5800X3D into the market representing the company's last hurrah for its long-lived Socket AM4 platforms.

    But for me all of this 'rehash business' is really all about my money in the bank! A tainted AMD? The company’s share price has dropped significantly since December 2021 selling at $161 per share to whereby today June 27, 2022 it’s down to $88. Is there still hope for investors and a dream of a repeat in AMD stock pricing doubling again as was seen in 2020. Headwinds: AMD’s GPU and CPU’s have continued in struggling hard to remain competitive with NVIDA and INTEL! Besides astute investors would like to see AMD in building their own ‘Mega Fabs’ preferably here in the U.S and not relying on foreign entities in controlling AMD’s future and ultimate survival! Most certainly I would like to see AMD’s own production facilities rather then their seemingly continued 'refresh dancing' in the past.
    Um, what's your point? Did you take a look and compare Intel's December 2021 stock price to June 2022?
  • tennis2
    As mentioned in the article, they might just be using these to clear stock of IGP-less APUs. Assumedly stock would be limited, so it makes sense to wait until now to launch them. By Sept/Oct nobody would buy these anyway, but until then they can clear the warehouse shelves and they don't have to purposefully disable functioning IGPs to create these SKUs for an extended retail period.
  • King_V
    Tom Sunday said:
    This said I really would like AMD to doubling their stock value again. This alone would most certainly renew and or refurbish my fan status for the immediate future.

    I see. Your only concern appears to be whether AMD's stock value will double again. I think you might've joined the wrong forum, then. This is a PC/tech enthusiast site, not an investment site.
  • Atom Symbol
    Admin said:
    We review AMD's new Ryzen 5 5600 and Ryzen 5 5500 that bring budget chips to the company's vaunted Zen 3 lineup.

    AMD Ryzen 5 5600 and 5500 Review: Firing Back at Alder Lake : Read more

    In year 2022, a review of an 6-core CPU, with some 4-core CPUs in the charts - but without any 8-core CPUs in the charts, is a pointless review.
  • TerryLaze
    Atom Symbol said:
    In year 2022, a review of an 6-core CPU, with some 4-core CPUs in the charts - but without any 8-core CPUs in the charts, is a pointless review.
    Even in the year 2022 not everybody needs more than 4 cores, for gaming even the lowest CPU in this chart is above 100FPS avg and 80FPS 99th.
  • Beelzeboss
    escksu said:
    5600 could have been that killer chip. But it's too late now. I originally wanted to upgrade my 3600 but was put off by 5600x's price. Now, I don't see any reason to go for 5600 since AMD will be releasing new cpus very soon. Even Intel too.. so rather skip the 5000 series.

    I see a reason. Its a 20-30% performance increase for current and future GPU without the need to upgrade my entire system. I have no intention of replacing my B550 mobo and 32GB 3600 to upgrade CPU next gen.