As a six-core, 12-thread processor with great integrated graphics, AMD's Ryzen 5 5600G ($259) is the CPU that the year 2021 has been waiting for. A strong successor to older, budget-friendly, gaming-focused CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G, it puts up some of the fastest game frame rates to date from an integrated graphics processor (IGP). Cheaper than the IGP-less Ryzen 5 5600X ($299 MSRP) and layered in with the highly-capable Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics engine, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a serious threat to Intel's competing Intel Core i5-11600K on CPU grunt, and really puts the hammer down once you factor in its gaming results and its Radeon Software compatibility. Whether you're an esports hopeful aiming to get a gaming PC built for cheap, or just want a solid IGP-equipped processor that will drive low-lift daily computing, the Ryzen 5 5600G is another stellar 7nm AMD desktop processor. With yet another Editors' Choice award win, AMD's going to need a bigger trophy case.You Can Trust Our ReviewsSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
To start off, if you'd prefer a deeper dive into all the Ryzen 5000G Series goodness we've got to spare (including info on motherboard compatibility and cost of adoption), head on over to our full review of AMD's $359 Ryzen 7 5700G flagship for all the details. These chips launch today and go on sale August 5, following on from their mid-2021 introduction and the early rollout into a few OEM desktop systems before the chips came available to end users.
That disclaimer out of the way, let's get into some specs!
The $259 six-core/12-thread AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is priced aggressively out of the gate against competing Intel options like the $262 Core i5-11600K, and it even undercuts its comparative cousin in the original, non-IGP Ryzen 5000 Series stack, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($299 MSRP). However, it's important to note that at the time of that review we dinged AMD for the $50 price creep we saw across many of its higher-end offerings, and the adjustment of the Ryzen 5 5600G back down to $259 (just $10 off from the $249 debut price point of the Ryzen 5 3600XT) feels less like a good deal than a necessary return to reality.4.5Outstanding$349.99See Itat AmazonRead Our AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Review 4.0Excellent$439.98See Itat AmazonRead Our AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Review 4.0Excellent$228.98See Itat AmazonRead Our AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Review 4.0Excellent$111.98See Itat AmazonRead Our AMD Athlon 200GE Review 4.0Excellent$61.44See Itat NeweggRead Our AMD Athlon 3000G Review 4.0Excellent$195.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Intel Core i5-11600K Review 4.0Excellent$339.99See It at AmazonRead Our Intel Core i7-11700K Review 3.5Good$299.00See Itat AmazonRead Our AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Review 3.5Good$153.21See Itat AmazonRead Our Intel Core i5-10400 Review 3.0Average$107.49See Itat AmazonRead Our Intel Core i3-10100 Review(Photo: Chris Stobing)
Toss in a seven-compute-unit Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics engine, though, and the pot only grows sweeter. As a midrange chip with six cores, the Ryzen 5 5600G is perfectly positioned as the go-to choice for gamers who want to build a gaming PC capable of keeping up at high refresh rates in low-impact multiplayer games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Valorant. As we'll see in some of the benchmark results below, the combination of six cores and the RX Vega 7 makes for some seriously potent integrated graphics gaming power. But more on that in a bit.(Photo: Chris Stobing)
Based off the same Zen 3, 7nm architecture as the rest of the Ryzen 5000 stack, the Ryzen 5 5600G is compatible with AMD's venerable Socket AM4, though as we'll discuss in a moment, the motherboard compatibility list isn't remotely as expansive as we've come to expect from AMD over the past two generations of chips. Also, like the Ryzen 7 5700G and Ryzen 5 5600X, the 5600G is based on a unified eight-core CCD design (with two cores disabled in this model), one that differs from the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600XT. In those chips, the eight-core CCDs were divided over two four-core CCXs, which increased latency and decreased frame rates in both integrated-graphics and discrete-card gaming tests.(Photo: Chris Stobing)
Since optimizing their new designs, midrange Ryzen options—first the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X and now the $259 Ryzen 5 5600G—have rocketed up the value-leader list, assisted in no small part by AMD's decision to include Wraith Stealth coolers with each. Like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, the Ryzen 5 5600G comes with a Stealth cooler in the box, though it's more expected when buying a midrange CPU like this than a high-end one to get this extra hardware in the bag.(Photo: Chris Stobing)
At $259, considering the specs, the RX Vega 7 graphics, and the inclusion of a cooler, it looks like AMD is ready to re-cement its position as the value (and performance) leader in midrange desktop PCs. But can it defend its title in testing? Let's dig in to the benchmarks to find out...
We tested the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G on an MSI Mortar B550 motherboard, with 16GB of Corsair Vengeance memory clocked to 3,200MHz (the new ceiling for these "Cezanne"-based APUs), and an Addlink S70 NVMe M.2 PCI Express 3.0 solid-state boot drive paired with a Samsung SSD 860 QVO SATA secondary drive. The processor was cooled using the Wraith Stealth air cooler included in the box.
All this was packed in a Be Quiet Pure Base 500 case fitted with an 850-watt Corsair RM1000X power supply. For our gaming tests, we used an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, at Founders Edition clocks, as we have on all recent mainstream and high-end CPU reviews.
An important benchmarking-results and performance note: This is a different testbed than we used with other Ryzens we've reviewed to date, as AMD points out that the Ryzen 5 5600G and the Ryzen 7 5700G are compatible with only these four motherboards at the time of launch:
We test CPUs using a variety of synthetic benchmarks that offer proprietary scores, as well as real-world tests using consumer apps like 7-Zip, and 3D games such as Far Cry 5 and Rainbow Six: Siege. Included in the charts below is a variety of like-priced competing and sibling AMD and Intel CPUs.
Though the Ryzen 5 5600G isn't designed to be the star of AMD's productivity lineup in Zen 3 (that honor goes to the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X, for now), let's see how it fared during various content-creation tasks and brute-force benchmarks like 7-Zip...
If you're spending lots of time creating video or other content with your next CPU, from both a value and a performance perspective, I'd recommend opting for the eight-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 5700G instead, if you are choosing between that chip and this one. That's not to say the Ryzen 5 5600G scored poorly on these tests. (In fact, the opposite is true when comparing directly to the Ryzen 5 5600X.) It's just that the 5700G is so good for what it is, that on these tasks specifically, it's the better choice overall.
Perhaps one of the most daunting tales for Intel in all of this comes in the productivity tests, where in runs that tend to favor AMD's lightly threaded cores (say, 7-Zip or Cinebench), there were instances where the six-core 5600G challenged the eight-core "Rocket Lake" Intel Core i9-11900K. AMD has long since proven, post-Ryzen 5000 Series launch, that its current lineup of processors is better suited to modern content-creation workloads that hit as many cores and threads as possible. When a Ryzen 5 5600G is starting to toy with Intel's mainstream top-gun chip in productivity benchmarks...that's when you know things are heating up.
Now, to focus on the area where the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is tuned to perform at its best: PC gaming, especially at popular resolutions like 1080p, where the CPU comes to the fore in some titles.
Here's what we saw in our bank of gaming tests with our GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card running the show, overriding the Radeon IGP. This top-end consumer graphics card is the primary arbiter of performance at 4K with all of the CPUs that we have laid out below. At 1080p, though, the card gets out of the way a bit more and lets the CPU differences shine.
Like what we saw in the CPU tests, the Ryzen 5 5600G also doesn't make the most sense as a pick for anyone who will be gaming with a dedicated GPU, either. Its results paired with the RTX 2080 Ti, while on par with expectations, weren't faster than the similarly equipped Ryzen 5 5600X, and were only slightly faster in most cases than the Intel Core i5-11600K. AMD already makes a stellar set of processors for gamers who own a good video card and play games on discrete graphics (the Ryzen 5 5600X and Ryzen 7 5800X), and although the 5600X is slightly more expensive at MSRP, its age over the Ryzen 5 5600G means it's already seeing discounts in some places. (At the time of this writing, the Ryzen 5 5600X was going for for $279.99 on Amazon, and $289.99 on Newegg, off a $299 MSRP.)
We run lower-end CPUs that have IGPs through a series of games tuned to either near-lowest, or the lowest, settings at a 1,280-by-720-pixel resolution (720p), as well as at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (1080p). Here is what we saw with this lot...
Finally, we come to the bread and butter of Ryzen's G line of chips over the past few years: integrated graphics performance. In this arena, AMD has proven it has no equal, and Intel's closest competition to the Ryzen 5 5600G, the Core i5-11600K, is regularly doubled here in performance by both the 5600G and 5700G chips. And while the Ryzen 7 5700G does generally outpace the Ryzen 5 5600G by a decent margin, it's not so substantial that anyone except people running benchmarks would notice under most circumstances.
When building a system, and especially one designed for multiplayer gaming, having the option to save on a GPU and instead put that money into a faster monitor could mean the difference between Gold and Diamond ranks next season (or between 60Hz and 240Hz, depending on the monitor model). At 1080p, the Ryzen 5 5600G was just about able to hit the 165Hz/165fps threshold in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a mark that could easily be exceeded with just one or two more in-game settings turned down.
Those settings could also be tuned using any number of tools available in the Radeon Software suite, including FSR, RIS, or CAS. (For a breakdown on those acronyms and how to use each, click those respective links for more info.) Compatibility with Radeon Software gives Ryzen 5 5600G and Ryzen 7 5700G gamers access to the full array of tools that Radeon GPU owners have enjoyed for several years now, all of which help critically in mulitplayer titles.
By adding compatibility with tools like Radeon Boost, Anti-Lag, Smart Access Memory, and FreeSync, along with the rest of the acronym salad mentioned above, owners of the $259 Ryzen 5 5600G can now tune their systems to give them frame rates and system performance that can keep them competitive with dedicated GPU/processor combos that cost much more. Players of competitive online multiplayer games don't always need fidelity, they just need speed. And according to our benchmark tests (which didn't even engage the Radeon Software), the Ryzen 5 5600G has more than enough to spare.
In our testing, when overclocking or at stock, the Ryzen 5 5600G never went above 67 degrees C, which lands it just under the Ryzen 5 5600X, at 70 degrees C. This was recorded during a 10-minute stress-test run of 3DMark Night Raid on integrated graphics, and again, all achieved using the included Wraith Stealth cooler.
Moving on to our overclocking trials, we were able to achieve a stable overclock of roughly 120MHz on the boost clock, and around 45MHz on the IGP. This is not far from the profile we achieved during tests of the Ryzen 7 5700G, though the power translation was slimmer, at just a few percent difference in frame rates between the overclocked and non-overclocked runs this time around. Again, though, as we said in that other review: Overclocking on a stock cooler is not advised.
If you're a faithful player of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six: Siege, or Valorant, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G makes it possible to build your next "good enough" gaming rig for much less than what it would cost with any other processor that's come before it. That's especially true if you would otherwise have had to buy a new graphics card, in the midst of the gruesome price inflation that GPU hardware has seen from 2020 to present.
For bringing that relief alone it earns our Editors' Choice award, but add onto that a strong value proposition at its $259 price, and you have a six-core CPU that performs almost in line with where it should relative to the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X...but with "free" integrated graphics.(Photo: Chris Stobing)
Overall, the IGP-less Ryzen 5 5600X is a better choice if you plan to game with a dedicated GPU anytime in the near future, especially if it's on sale. But you can't use it without some graphics card in hand right now. For those who want an IGP-equipped chip that can reliably power many games above 60fps at low resolutions (a ceiling that could reach even higher, with some careful Radeon Software tuning), the Ryzen 5 5600G presents the perfect balance of price and performance, unlike anything Intel can offer on the other side in 2021.4.5Editors' ChoiceSee It$209.99 at AmazonMSRP $259.99View More
Looking to play PC games without a graphics card? AMD's Ryzen 5 5600G CPU and its integrated graphics give cash-strapped gamers a superb, value-focused option that Intel can't match.
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