Finding The Best AMD Ryzen 5 Processor
After years of stagnation from AMD, AMD brought out their new line of Ryzen processors in 2017, bringing them back into real competition with Intel’s Core series of processors. Hopping to a new socket (AM4), making sure every Ryzen chip is overclockable, and even shipping the 2018 refresh with stellar integrated graphics, AMD has seriously shaken up the game of desktop processors.
Among the most popular choices among the Ryzen line is the Ryzen 5 series in particular. Made to compete with Intel’s Core i5 series, Ryzen 5 processors offer stellar price-to-performance and have become a mainstay in gaming rigs all over.
Today, we’re going to tell you all that you need to know about Ryzen 5 processors, from what they’re good at to what they aren’t. Additionally, we’ll be listing our top 3 picks for Ryzen 5 processors, alongside detailed explanations for each pick, so you can decide which one is right for you.
With no further ado, let’s begin.
Where does Ryzen 5 excel?
The Ryzen 5 series excels in the following areas:
- Hardcore gaming. Thanks to strong single-core performance and great multi-threaded performance, Ryzen 5 processors should be on par with Intel i5 processors in gaming performance across-the-board. While the i5 may edge out in some gaming performance related areas, the Ryzen 5 processors are also much better at applications that utilize multiple threads, such as…
- Light Twitch streaming. Thanks to the high core count and hyper-threading in Ryzen 5 processors, they’re actually much better suited to streaming games than Intel i5 processors. While not quite on the i7’s tier, these will still provide a much better experience on that front, making it possible for you to stream more frequently on a budget.
- Semi-frequent video rendering and uploading. If you fancy yourself a YouTuber and upload 2-3 videos a week, the Ryzen 5 should be perfectly fine, providing all the multi-threaded power that you need for those tasks. We’ll discuss the point where it may become a problem below, but for this particular usage scenario, it’s perfect.
- General usage and content consumption. For general web browsing, multi-tasking, Netflix streaming, etc…the Ryzen 5 is beyond good enough. It should handle these tasks with little-to-no issues to speak of, providing you a seamless desktop usage experience.
Is the Ryzen 5 enough for my usage scenarios?
The Ryzen 5 series may not be enough in these situations:
- Career Twitch streaming. If you’re a career Twitch streamer, especially a pro gamer, a Ryzen 5 may not cut it. While better than an i5 for the same purpose, you’ll still want to invest in a Ryzen 7 or Core i7 to be able to host high-quality streams without making significant sacrifices to your in-game performance.
- Career (daily) content creation. If you need to edit and render one or more videos a day, the Ryzen 5 series isn’t for you. Similar to the case mentioned in the previous point, Ryzen 5 isn’t as well-equipped as Core i7 or Ryzen 7 for this kind of workload on a regular basis, and using it will result in unacceptable time loss and inefficiency for a professional.
- High-end productivity tasks. Advanced data sorting and the such isn’t very good for Ryzen 5. Save that for Intel’s i7, Ryzen 7 or higher.
- Core Count – 4 (8 with hyperthreading enabled)
- Clock Speed – 3.4 GHz (overclockable)
- Integrated Graphics – N/A
The Ryzen 5 1400 is our budget pick, offering a great entry point into the Ryzen 5 series. Currently retailing for $139.99 at Amazon, this processor will offer pretty comparable performance to its 1400X big brother and plenty of overclocking headroom with the right cooler. The included Wraith Stealth cooler may not be the best for overclocking, but it should give you some pretty stable temps.
With 8 threads via 4 hyper-threading enabled cores, you’re going to find that the Ryzen 5 is much more readily equipped for multi-threaded applications than Intel processors in this price range. That’s the big benefit of the Ryzen 5 line in general: while the i5 may edge it out in gaming performance here and there, overall performance is superior on Ryzen chips with tasks like rendering and streaming.
The only real downside to this chip is its lack of integrated graphics, which can be a problem if you can’t afford to snag a gaming GPU right off the bat. If you need integrated graphics and want a better performer in general, we recommend taking a look at our top value pick below.
- Core Count – 4 (8 with hyperthreading)
- Clock Speed – 3.6 GHz (overclockable)
- Integrated Graphics – Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics
Our top value pick is the current-gen Ryzen 5 2400G, and what a value it is.
While boasting the same core and thread count as the 1400, the 2400G offers a slick 9% performance bump and a pretty powerful integrated GPU. With the onboard RX Vega 11 Graphics, you should be able to handle 4K media streaming and light gaming just fine, especially if you’re playing last-gen titles that aren’t particularly graphically-intensive.
In addition to onboard graphics and hyperthreading, the 2400G also offers the same great overclocking headroom as the 1400. Unfortunately, it comes packed with the same Wraith Stealth Cooler as well, which means if you want to make the most of its overclocking capabilities, you’ll need to upgrade your cooling setup.
At its current price point, the Ryzen 5 2400G offers the best value of any of the Ryzen 5 chips. If you want even more performance, however, take a look at our last entry below.
- Core Count – 6 cores (12 threads)
- Clock Speed – 3,6 GHz (overclockable)
- Integrated Graphics – N/A
Last but certainly not least is the Ryzen 5 2600X, and it’s quite the powerhouse. First, let’s go ahead and drop the benchmark.
The 2600X outperforms the previous entry, the 2400G, by a 25% margin. That’s a pretty significant increase in processing power. It also boosts the core count from 4 to 6, allowing for 12 threads via hyperthreading, making it by far the best Ryzen processor for game streaming and video rendering.
There are a few notable downsides, however.
First of all, the price. The price isn’t quite worth the performance increase, and isn’t very competitive with the i5 8600K, either. That’s a downside worth noting.
Additionally, there’s no integrated graphics in this one. If you liked the excellent integrated graphics of the 2400G, you’ll miss them here- you’ll want to buy your gaming GPU alongside this processor. No real option to wait for it this time around.
Aside from those downsides, the Ryzen 5 2600X also has a very strong upside in its Wraith Spire cooler. The Spire cooler is larger than the Stealth cooler, since its focus is on cooling performance rather than size. And…it’s pretty good at that- I’d even say that it’s one of the few stock coolers on the market that it’s worth overclocking with.
If this processor ever dips below $200, it will instantly become a steal. For now, it’s a pricier, but valid alternative.