AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Review: Zen 3 and 7nm Vega Excite

The six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600G comes to market as part of AMD’s first salvo of 7nm ‘Cezanne’ APUs for desktop PCs, and today we’re taking an early look at the promising new chip. AMD plans to use the Cezanne chips to plug big price gaps in its Ryzen 5000 lineup that dominates our Best CPU list and CPU Benchmark hierarchy, but they’re limited to the OEM market until the full retail launch on August 5, 2021. We already grabbed an off-the-shelf system from HP to take the eight-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 5700G for a spin, and today we’re giving the $259 Ryzen 5 5600G the same treatment.

The Cezanne APUs come with Zen 3 execution cores paired with the Radeon Vega graphics engine for iGPU-powered gaming rigs, and their arrival is long overdue. Cezanne will be the first new AMD APUs available at retail since the quad-core Zen+ “Picasso” models came to market in 2019. AMD actually augmented that lineup with the more modern eight-core Zen 2-powered Ryzen Pro “Renoir” series in 2020, but limited those chips to OEM systems only. Now, three chip generations after it launched its last round of APUs (Zen 2, XT, Zen 3), AMD is finally replacing its 12nm quad-core Zen+ APUs.

AMD Ryzen 5000 G-Series 65W Cezanne APUs

CPU

Arch. Price Cores/ Threads Base/ Boost Freq. GPU Cores GPU Freq. (MHz) TDP L3 (MB)
Ryzen 7 5700G Zen 3 $359 8 / 16 3.8 / 4.6 RX Vega 8 2000 65W 16
Ryzen 5 5600G Zen 3 $259 6 / 12 3.9 / 4.4 RX Vega 7 1900 65W 16
Ryzen 3 5300G Zen 3 N/A 4 / 8 4.0 / 4.2 RX Vega 6 1700 65W 8

Cezanne comes to market during the worst graphics card shortage in history. As such, a potent yet affordable APU could be a godsend for enthusiasts looking for a stopgap chip for basic gaming while they wait for discrete GPU pricing to normalize. The new Ryzen 5000G models also pack much more performance than their prior-prior-gen brethren, so even after the shortage recedes, they’ll still be a big step forward for extreme budget gaming, small form factor, and HTPC rigs.

Instead of its traditional separation of the CPU and APU lines, AMD drops the 5000G models right into the Ryzen 5000 stack — AMD says they fill the role of the standard “non-X” models that traditionally offer more attractive price points at a given core count by sacrificing peak clock speed for a lower TDP.

If the numbers hold out in our performance testing, the 5600G could also address AMD’s premium pricing with its Zen 3 chips: AMD’s shift from being the budget brand to the market leader resulted in a $299 cost of entry into the Ryzen 5000 family. The $259 six-core Ryzen 5 5600G reduces that steep price of entry and also comes with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler, sweetening the deal. AMD is still holding back some of its lower-priced 5000G models, though, so our list of the best cheap CPUs probably won’t change for some time.

The GPU shortage appears to be improving ever so slowly, thanks in part to the collapse of mining profitability and China shutting down mining firms, but we expect it to persist to some extent over the next several months. If the 5600G slots in well under its X-equipped counterpart, the Ryzen 5 5600X, it could be a tough chip to beat. However, that isn’t an easy task given the tradeoffs associated with Cezanne’s monolithic die design, which differs significantly from the chiplet-based Ryzen 5000 chips. Let’s see how it works out.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Specifications and Pricing


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