In April, AMD launched one of the most peculiar desktop computers processors the company has offered to upgraders and PC builders for the past few years – and we’re not talking about 3D V-Cache Ryzen 7 5800X3D. The Ryzen 5 4500 ($129) is a new processor that uses an outdated architecture. It’s also one of only two consumer-oriented desktop processors in AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series. And to make the chip even more outlier, it’s based on one of AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units (APUs, chips equipped with on-chip graphics) but doesn’t have the APU’s integrated graphics. With all of this taken together, the Ryzen 5 4500 is quite the weirdo in AMD’s product line. But if your budget is ultra-tight, it might have appeal if you already have a decent graphics card.
The curious origins of the Ryzen 5 4500
Since 2020, AMD’s desktop processors have been built around the company’s “Zen 3” microarchitecture, a fairly significant evolution from the previous one. Design “Zen 2” which improved performance in a wide range of tasks. You can read more about Zen 3 in our AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review if you are interested. Suffice it to say here: it beats Zen 2 but isn’t better in every way. Moreover, the two architectures are identical in one respect, they were designed and built with TSMC’s 7 nanometer FinFet process.
With that in mind, AMD’s reasoning for creating the Ryzen 5 4500 with Zen 2 becomes difficult to understand. You might think this was a way to get more chips to market, as silicon shortages have been widely reported, but that would only make sense if the 4500’s CPU chip was made in a process of separate manufacture. Since it’s built on the same 7nm process as AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series, creating new Ryzen 5 4500 chips from scratch would take up space on the fab that could otherwise have been used to make processors from the 5000 series.
Knowing this, it is unlikely that AMD will devote many resources to the production of Ryzen 5 4500 processors. Instead, it is likely that most Ryzen 5 4500 chips have already been created or are initially created as other parts. As we explained in our Ryzen 5 5500 review, creating bullet points is an imperfect process. Slightly defective chips are common and are often detuned, with their defective parts permanently disabled and the rest sold as a lesser performing part.
This is most likely what AMD is doing with the Ryzen 5 4500, but what’s unusual is that the new CPU was originally designed to be an APU, most likely the Radeon Graphics-equipped Ryzen 5 4600G ( which we have not had the opportunity to test yet). That is, the chip was built with both a CPU and an integrated graphics processor (IGP); the only part that appears to have been faulty and disabled is the Radeon RX IGP. If the company has created APUs with significant numbers that failed quality control, rather than leaving those chips unused, it makes more sense for AMD to offer them as budget processors without integrated graphics.
It’s worth mentioning that the Ryzen 5 4500 is also AMD’s only consumer-oriented Ryzen 5 4000 desktop processor that isn’t an APU. (Other Ryzen 4000-series chips AMD is offering at retail are the aforementioned Ryzen 5 4600G APU and an announced Ryzen 3 4100, which, like the 4500, won’t have IGPs.) In years past , some 4000-series OEM-only desktop processors were produced, and they surfaced in pre-built PCs from some major manufacturers. But none of these OEM chips were officially released to consumers before these three, and the rest of the Ryzen 4000 series consists of mobile processors.
The design: are you a reduced APU?
Now that we know how the Ryzen 5 4500 came to be, we should talk about its price and hardware specs. Both look less impressive on paper than the actual performance of the chip would suggest. Priced at $129, the processor has six CPU cores with a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock of 4.1 GHz. Each core supports Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) technology which allows each to handle two software threads at once, giving a total of 12 addressable threads.
As part of Zen 2, the Ryzen 5 4500 only has 8MB of L3 cache, which is half that of the similar Zen 3-based Ryzen 5 5500 and only a quarter of that of many Ryzen 5000 series processors like the Ryzen 5 5600X. Even more worrying, it’s only half of AMD’s L3 cache. Ryzen 3 3100priced under $99 (if you can find it).
(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
If AMD had kept some of the IGP enabled, it would have enticed people to buy the Ryzen 5 4500 because they wouldn’t have needed to buy a separate graphics card. This would technically be possible even if most IGPs were faulty, but since that didn’t happen, the chip’s main attraction is its six processor cores. Most competing alternatives only have four cores. But the performance benefits are not as great as expected.
Ryzen 5 4500 review: I have your Six
For reference purposes, we paired the Ryzen 5 4500 with our MSI MEG X570S Ace Max test rig and a 240mm water cooler. (The CPU comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, but we used the liquid cooler for consistency with our other Ryzen tests.) The system also came with 16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM.
(Photo: Chris Stobing)
The Ryzen 5 4500’s main competition comes from more affordable processors like the Ryzen 3 3100 and the Intel Core i3-10105. Both of these chips only have four CPU cores supporting eight concurrent threads, but they cost less than the Ryzen 5 4500 and have other advantages of their own – the Ryzen 3 3100 has twice the L3 cache of the Ryzen 5 4500, while Core i3 -10105 actually has less L3 cache but higher clock speed.
The lower price of the Ryzen 5 4500 prevents it from directly competing with other Ryzen 5 processors. But if you have extra cash in your wallet, newer processors like the Ryzen 5 5500 beat it in every way.
Looking at our benchmark results, the Ryzen 5 4500’s limited L3 cache is clearly a bottleneck. HandBrake generally favors CPUs with more and higher clocked cores, so we expect the 4500 to do well in this test, but it actually lost out to the Ryzen 3 3100. It managed to outperform the Core i3- 10105 by a large margin, though.
In most of our productivity and content creation tests, the Ryzen 5 4500 was able to leverage its extra cores to maintain an edge over the Ryzen 3 3100. The Core i3-10105 wasn’t close in most these tests.
The Ryzen 5 4500 performed exceptionally well in Cinebench R23, just slightly behind the more expensive Ryzen 5 5500, but in all other tests it trailed the Ryzen 5 5500 significantly. This shows the performance advantage associated with the AMD’s Zen 3 architecture over the older Zen 2, as well as the benefit of a significantly larger cache.
Next, we performed our play and graphics tests. As noted, the Ryzen 5 4500 does not have an IGP, so there is no integrated graphics test here, only tests with a discrete video card. These tests below were run with our usual Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card running at Founders Edition clocks.
In these benchmarks, the Ryzen 5 4500’s L3 cache shortage is really starting to become apparent. Although the new chip was able to remain competitive with the Core i3-10105, it trailed the Ryzen 3 3100 in Rainbow Six Siege. It also lost to every other processor in the group, including its fellow Ryzen 5 without IGP.
Verdict: pure AM4 price play
It’s hard to judge CPUs like the Ryzen 5 4500 based on price and specs alone, but luckily that’s why we have benchmarks. Although the Ryzen 5 4500 features an outdated architecture and undersized L3 cache, its performance is significantly better than competing chips like the Ryzen 3 3100 and Core i3-10105. In turn, it’s beaten by the likes of its big brother the Ryzen 5 5500. It ends up being a classic case of getting what you paid for.
(Photo: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)
If you can afford it, the $159 Ryzen 5 5500 is a much better option than the Ryzen 5 4500. If the $30 difference is a deal breaker, you can either settle for the $129 4500 or save some more more with the Ryzen 3.3100, although we’ve occasionally had trouble finding this latest chip in stock.
The only clear loser in today’s competition is the Intel Core i3-10105, but it’s fair to say that it’s an older chip and Intel has new Core i3 “Alder Lake ” at comparable prices that we have not yet had the opportunity to test. . Until we do, we cannot make an informed recommendation for (or against) them. But for now, we see no reason not to endorse the Ryzen 5 4500, but only if it’s the best you can afford and you already own a decent graphics card.
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