In April, AMD released one of the most unusual desktop processors the company has offered to upgraders and PC builders in recent years—we’re not talking about the 3D V-Cache-based Ryzen 7 5800X3D. The AMD Ryzen 5 4500 ($129) is a new CPU with old architecture. It’s also one of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series’ only two consumer-oriented desktop processors.
To make matters worse, the chip is based on one of AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units (APUs, chips with on-chip graphics) but lacks the APU’s integrated graphics. When all of this is considered, the Ryzen 5 4500 is an outlier in AMD’s product line. However, if your budget is extremely limited, it may be appealing if you already own a decent graphics card.
Origins of the Ryzen 5 4500
Since 2020, AMD’s desktop processors have been built around the company’s “Zen 3” microarchitecture, a significant evolution of the earlier “Zen 2” design that improved performance across the board. If you’re interested in learning more about Zen 3, check out our AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review. Let it suffice to say: It outperforms Zen 2 but isn’t superior in every way. In addition, the two architectures are identical: they were designed and built using TSMC’s 7-nanometer FinFet process.
With this in mind, AMD’s reasoning for developing the Ryzen 5 4500 with Zen 2 becomes difficult to grasp. Because silicon shortages have been widely reported, you might think it was a way to get more chips on the market, but that would only make sense if the 4500’s CPU die was made in a separate manufacturing process. Because it is built on the same 7nm process as AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series, creating new Ryzen 5 4500 chips from scratch would take up fab space that could otherwise be used for 5000 series processors.
Knowing this, AMD is unlikely to devote significant resources to producing Ryzen 5 4500 CPUs. Instead, it’s likely that the majority of Ryzen 5 4500 chips have already been manufactured or will be manufactured as other parts. As we explained in our Ryzen 5 5500 review, creating chips is an imperfect process. Chips with minor flaws are common and are frequently detuned, with the flawed portions permanently disabled and the rest sold as lower-performance parts.
This is most likely what AMD is doing with the Ryzen 5 4500, but what makes it unique is that the new CPU was originally intended to be an APU, most likely the Radeon Graphics-equipped Ryzen 5 4600G (which we have yet to test). The chip was designed with a CPU and an integrated graphics processor (IGP), with the Radeon RX IGP appearing defective and disabled. If AMD has been producing APUs with many failed quality control tests, rather than letting these chips sit unused, it makes more sense for AMD to release them as low-cost CPUs without integrated graphics.
It’s also worth noting that the Ryzen 5 4500 is AMD’s only Ryzen 5 4000-series desktop processor that isn’t an APU. (The other Ryzen 4000-series chips AMD plans to sell in stores are the aforementioned Ryzen 5 4600G APU and an unannounced Ryzen 3 4100, which, like the 4500, will lack an IGP.) Some OEM-only desktop CPUs in the 4000 series were produced in the past and appeared in pre-built PCs from some major manufacturers. However, none of those OEM chips were officially available to consumers prior to these three, and the rest of the Ryzen 4000 series is made up of mobile CPUs.
AMD Ryzen 5 4500 Specs
|Base Clock Frequency||3.6 GHz|
|Maximum Boost Clock||4.1 GHz|
|Socket Compatibility||AMD AM4|
|L3 Cache Amount||8 MB|
|Thermal Design Power (TDP) Rating||65 watts|
|Bundled Cooler||AMD Wraith Stealth|
R5 4500 Design
Now that we know how the Ryzen 5 4500 came to be let’s talk about its price and hardware specifications. Both appear less impressive on paper than the chip’s real-world performance would imply. The processor costs $129 and has six CPU cores with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.1GHz. Each core supports simultaneous multithreading (SMT) technology, which allows each core to handle two software threads simultaneously for 12 addressable threads.
The Ryzen 5 4500 has only 8MB of L3 cache as a Zen 2 part, which is half as much as the similar Zen 3-based Ryzen 5 5500 and a quarter as many Ryzen 5000 series processors like the Ryzen 5 5600X. Worryingly, it only has half the L3 cache of AMD’s Ryzen 3 3100, which costs $99 less (if you can find it).
If AMD had kept some of the IGP enabled, it would have given people more reason to buy the Ryzen 5 4500 because they wouldn’t have needed a separate graphics card. This is technically possible even if the majority of the IGP was defective, but since this did not occur, the chip’s main selling point is its six CPU cores. The majority of competing alternatives have only four cores. However, the performance benefits aren’t as significant as you might expect.
Testing the R5 4500: I’ve Got Your Six
We paired the R5 4500 with our MSI MEG X570S Ace Max testbed and a 240mm water cooler for benchmarking purposes. (The CPU includes an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, but we used the liquid cooler to maintain consistency with our other Ryzen tests.) The system also included 16GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 3,000MHz.
The Ryzen 5 4500’s main rivals are less expensive processors such as the Ryzen 3 3100 and the Intel Core i3-10105. Both of these chips have four CPU cores and support eight simultaneous threads, but they are less expensive than the Ryzen 5 4500 and have other advantages—the Ryzen 3 3100 has twice the L3 cache of the Ryzen 5 4500, while the Core i3-10105 has less L3 cache but a higher clock speed. Read More; AMD Ryzen 9 7950X Prototype Cinebench R23
AMD R5 4500 Specs Compared
|AMD Ryzen 5 4500||AMD Ryzen 5 5600||AMD Ryzen 5 5500||AMD Ryzen 3 3100||Intel Core i5-11600K||Intel Core i3-10105|
|TDP Rating||65 watts||65 watts||65 watts||65 watts||125 watts||65 watts|
|Socket||AM4||AM4||AM4||AM4||LGA 1200||LGA 1200|
Because of its lower price, the Ryzen 5 4500 does not compete directly with other Ryzen 5 processors. However, if you have the extra cash, newer CPUs such as the Ryzen 5 5500 soundly outperform it in every way.
Based on our benchmark results, the limited Level 3 cache of the Ryzen 5 4500 is clearly a bottleneck. HandBrake typically favors processors with more and faster cores, so we expected the 4500 to perform well in that test, but it was defeated by the Ryzen 3 3100. It did, however, outperform the Core i3-10105 by a wide margin. Read Also; AMD Radeon RX 5700XT vs 6600XT
R5 4500 Verdict: A Pure AM4 Price Play
If you can afford it, the Ryzen 5 5500 ($159) is a far superior choice to the Ryzen 5 4500. If the $30 difference is a deal breaker, you can settle for the 4500 at $129 or save even more with the Ryzen 3 3100, though the latter chip can be difficult to find in stock at times.
The Intel Core i3-10105 is the only clear loser in today’s competition, but it’s only fair to say that it’s an older chip, and Intel has new “Alder Lake” Core i3s at comparable prices we haven’t had a chance to test yet. We can’t make an informed recommendation for (or against) them until we do. For the time being, we see no reason not to recommend the Ryzen 5 4500, but only if it’s the best you can afford and you already have a good graphics card.