AMD and Intel, the two leading CPU manufacturers in the world, often get pitted against each other, especially when one is shopping for a computer. They are the most realistic, accessible, and powerful options for anyone using Windows OS. The alternative would be to go for a MacBook or other Apple product. However, that would mean switching operating systems and your entire tech ecosystem.
When looking at the Core i5 and its alternatives in the AMD camp, you have to consider which tier is closest to it in terms of performance. Other factors such as price and availability are secondary considerations once you figure out which alternative trades blows with it fairly. This article helps you understand where to look, to ensure that you buy the best possible processor for your computing needs.
What Processors Does Each Manufacturer Produce?
Before looking at a suitable alternative in the AMD camp, let us look at the CPUs you can access. Intel produces the Core-i line of processors, which range from the Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and x-series tiers. The Core i3 is an economical chip, with power, processing speed, versatility, and range of application increasing as you go higher up the ladder.
On the other hand, AMD produces the Ryzen line of processors, which includes the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 9, and Ryzen Threadripper. Naturally, the Ryzen Threadripper is the company’s top-tier, all-out, spare-no-performance processor, with the Ryzen 3 the budget-friendly, standard-tasks processor.
So, What Is AMD’s Answer to the Core i5?
The most sensible alternative to the Core i5 is the Ryzen 5. These two processors have some variations in their sub-branches, but they all offer more than capable performance. Professional-grade multimedia editing applications and intense games might be the only processes these CPUs may strain in. The AMD Ryzen 5 processors typically have at least six CPU cores and 12 threads. On the other hand, the Core i5 processors have at least four CPU cores and eight threads. Therefore, most users will find these processors more than capable.
The placement of both the Core i5 and Ryzen 5 processors is similar in each manufacturer’s product range. These processors offer value for money with their no-frills approach and careful balance of cores, threads, and overall power consumption.
Ryzen 5 and Core i5: Comparison
When comparing these processors, a head-to-head may seem like the sensible solution, but it ignores the unique qualities both processors offer. Therefore, a more encompassing comparison is better to help you make an informed decision.
AMD Ryzen 5
The Ryzen 5 class of AMD processors have several qualities that make it a worthy adversary or alternative to the Core i5:
- You’ll find them in either four-core eight-thread or eight-core 12-thread variations.
- These processors offer the option to overclock them on all the tiers, unlike the Intel processors, where only those with the K suffix are overclockable.
- You’ll find three variants of these processors: the desktop base that doesn’t have integrated graphics, desktop-based with integrated graphics, and mobile-based or laptop processors.
- These processors lack integrated graphics, except those with the G suffix.
The AMD Ryzen 5 processors are released in generations, with the latest being the fifth, denoted as the Ryzen 5000 series. AMD has also improved the series’ CPU architecture and power efficiency, but the last major generational release was the fifth in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Intel Core i5
Intel caught up to AMD from the 10th generation of Core processors to offer six cores and 12 threads. Therefore, performance is almost similar, with a few variations. Intel is at their 13th
Which Processor Should You Buy?
While these two processors offer similar performance, several differences may sway you either way. Let us look at those differences and what each processor promises to see if those are enough for you to overlook any shortcomings:
• Compatibility Considerations
Intel processors support DDR5 memory modules and offer PCIe 5.0 support, while Ryzen processors have yet to adopt the technology. Therefore, if you wish to ensure your computer is compatible with the latest memory modules, the Core i5 processor is the better option. However, you’ll need to also invest in the latest memory modules and motherboards. That should result in a significantly more expensive computer setup. The Ryzen processor affords you more memory and motherboard options due to the availability of previous-generation parts. You only need to decide which is more important for you; future-proofing at the cost of limited parts compatibility or foregoing future-proofing for the wider range of parts choices.
Both CPUs are priced similarly, retaining at around $300. Therefore, you’ll be hard-pressed to determine the most suitable based on price. However, looking at the other parts you need to build a PC is where you’ll see differences. The Intel option will be more expensive initially but may end up being the more affordable one. Its compatibility with the latest memory and PICe modules should make for a cheaper upgrade. A similar upgrade would mean buying the next-generation CPU from AMD, alongside the newer parts.
The Intel chip outperforms the AMD alternative, especially in single-thread tasks. The Ryzen 5 processor does claw back some multi-thread performance, but not by a lot. This performance is due to the newer architecture that blends performance and energy efficiency cores, distributing the tasks to the relevant cores depending on their intensity and urgency. Therefore, the Core i5 always has the necessary power whenever needed.
The Ryzen 5 processor allows for overclocking, which should help it perform as well as the Intel chip. While its standard performance is not too shabby, you can access even more performance through overclocking.
Additionally, the Ryzen 5 processor has significantly better power efficiency. The Intel Core i5 processor needs a lot of power to attain higher performance, while the Ryzen 5 processor needs a fraction of the same power to compete in the same region. For reference, the Core i5 processor has a TDP of 125 W while the Ryzen 5 has a TDP of 65W. Therefore, you’ll have to spend more on cooling your computer should you choose the Intel option as the processor produces more heat.
The Core i5 processor also outperforms the Ryzen 5 processor in gaming, although the latter is no slouch. In setting up a gaming rig, the cost of parts is a vital factor, and the Ryzen offers better value for the money spent. Additionally, the Ryzen processor is compatible with virtually all games. The newer Core i5 has compatibility issues with several game titles, thus limiting its application in gaming for most people. Therefore, you should consider the AMD processor if gaming is your priority.
In many aspects, the Ryzen 5 processor is equivalent to the Core i5. However, depending on your needs, each processor has several benefits that make them the right purchase. The Core i5 processor offers more future proofing, but costs more and performs relatively better. On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 processor is more compatible with the currently available parts. It also costs less and has better performance for price in gaming. Therefore, you need to know what matters to you the most in a CPU to pick among these two, as the basic factors are closely matched.