Review: Ryzen 5 5500 and 5600 can breathe new life into older AMD PCs

By | April 4, 2022

Enlarge / AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Nearly a year and a half after the launch of the first Ryzen 5000 processors, the Zen 3 CPU architecture is finally coming to cheaper chips.

AMD’s Ryzen 5 5500 and 5600 CPUs (which go on sale today for $159 and $199, respectively) are both six-core 12-thread processors aimed squarely at mid-range, price-conscious PCs used for gaming and photo and video editing. The new Ryzens significantly undercut the original $299 asking price of the Ryzen 5 5600X (the 5600X was, for many months, the cheapest way to get Zen 3). And the CPUs finally provide a replacement for the last-gen $199 Ryzen 5 3600.

But the new chips have stiff competition in Intel’s Core i5-12400 processor ($210-ish with an integrated GPU, $180-ish without one). Intel’s desktop CPUs were saddled with the aging Skylake architecture and/or the aging 14nm manufacturing process for years, but a modern architecture and the Intel 7 process make the 12400 Intel’s most appealing mid-range CPU option in a long time. The Ryzen 5 5600X has also seen price cuts recently, falling down to around $230 to make more room for the $300 eight-core Ryzen 7 5700X.

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