AMD announced a bevy of new chips yesterday, topped off by the first outing of its 3D V-Cache technology in the form of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. That chip is designed to take the fight to Intel's top-end Core i9 12900K, and Intel appears set to counter with the 12900KS. There are plenty of other more-affordable chips on the way though, with a triumvirate of Zen 3 chips coming alongside three Zen 2 chips. Good times.
Of the Zen 3-powered chips, it's the Ryzen 5 5500 that is going to catch the eyes of many a budget builder. Here's a six-core, 12-thread CPU for a bargainous $159. It even comes with the Wraith Stealth cooler. Pair this with a budget B550 motherboard and you should have access to all the latest technologies and a serious performant architecture into the bargain.
That's the theory at least. In practice, there's one technology sadly lacking from the spec sheet of the Ryzen 5 5500: PCIe 4.0 support. That's right, the Ryzen 5 5500 tops out at PCIe 3.0. That's a real shame for anyone looking to build a long-lasting gaming rig, particularly as we now know that Microsoft's DirectStorage API has just gone out to developers.
An argument can be made that PCIe 4.0 SSDs still demand a slight premium over their predecessors (although it's getting smaller) and that you still pay over the odds for a semi-decent B550 motherboard. And while that's true, that switch to the Cezanne design over Vermeer, while sticking with the Ryzen 5 5000 naming scheme leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
This leaves the Ryzen 5 5600 as the best budget option for anyone looking to build a gaming PC that will last. That chip has an RRP of $199, so it still represents a saving over the previous most-affordable Zen 3 chip, the Ryzen 5 5600X. Although, given that chip has seen its price drop to $229 recently, it's certainly worth seeing how the performance of the new chip shakes out before planning such a build.
It's great to see AMD finally catering to budget builders, but it's maybe not the home run many were hoping for. At least its lineup now starts at a very tempting $99 for the Ryzen 3 4100, plus there's the Ryzen 5 4600G for $154, which is an interesting APU to build a machine around, albeit one that is still holding on to its Vega-level graphics for dear life. Graphics card pricing may be returning to normal, but there's still some way to go, and more APUs can't hurt in these silicon-starved times.
AMD's new chips are due on April 4, apart from the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which is set to land on April 20.