Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 02:25 pm
AMDs Ryzen lineup has been in the CPU game for a long time, and with each and every new release the Ryzen series becomes more powerful.
Amongst this CPU lineup, the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 processors are very popular with those looking to build mid-tier or budget computers.
In this article, we will be comparing the two so that you can get a better understanding of which one meets your needs the best.
What Is Ryzen?
Ryzen is a CPU model created by AMD that is targeted towards more server, and workstation computers, however, the more recent models of this CPU have a lot of gaming capabilities that help improve performance and reliability when gaming as well.
They focus on the functionality of utilizing multiple cores which makes it great for workstations, but have also upped the GHz on each specific core improving its performance when gaming.
As of writing this article, AMD has 7 generations of the Ryzen CPU series with the latest generation being released on September 22nd, 2022
For more information on this topic, I wrote an in-depth article on What is AMD Ryzen.
Comparing Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5: Key Differences and Similarities
Now that you understand what Ryzen is it is time to compare the differences between Ryzen 3 CPUs and Ryzen 5 CPUs.
|Specifications||Ryzen 3||Ryzen 5|
|Base Clock Speed||3.5 – 3.9 GHz||3.5 – 3.9 GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||4.0 – 4.3 GHz||4.2 – 4.7 GHz|
|L3 Cache||4 – 8 MB||16 – 32 MB|
|Power Consumption (TDP)||65W||65W-105W|
|Integrated Graphics Support||Vega 3 – Vega 8||Vega 8 – Vega 11|
Above is a chart that shows the general comparison between the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 models.
As you can see in some of the sections I provided you with a range because the specs vary within each series depending on the specific CPU model. It’s recommended to compare the specific Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 models you’re considering for the most accurate comparison.
We will be going through:
- Clock Speed
- Core Count
- Thread Count
Let’s get into it!
Although both the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 have very similar base clock speeds between 3.5 and 3.9 GHz which is actually pretty slow considering the minimum recommended requirement for most games is 3.5 GHz.
What really separates these two is their boost clock speed. When running stock the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 will hit around the same performance range, but once given the opportunity to overclock you will be able to have a lot more flexibility with a Ryzen 5 CPU.
If you are not the type of person to boost your rig then using a Ryzen 3 will give you the best value at base clock speeds, but if you are looking to squeeze as much performance out of your CPU as possible you will have the most success with a Ryzen 5.
I have also written an article on what GHz is and how it affects performance. This will give you a more in-depth analysis if you are a little confused.
Core count can be a deciding factor for many people when choosing a CPU and this is where the Ryzen 5 takes the lead.
The Ryzen 3 comes equipped with only four cores whereas the Ryzen 5 has 6.
Now to a lot of you, this might not seem like a big difference but having 2 extra cores is like having 2 extra brains.
With the extra core count on the Ryzen 5, it will be better at multitasking as well as computing highly intensive applications.
Even though the effects of multiple cores aren’t as noticeable when gaming, it can still help with improving performance, especially now because many games are integrating the use of multi-core applications that allow CPUs to use multiple cores to increase your performance.
You should also read: Higher Clock Speed or More Cores When Gaming?
Each Ryzen CPU has double the amount of threads as they do cores.
This means that the Ryzen 3 comes equipped with 8 threads, and the Ryzen 5 has 12 threads.
If you are looking to purchase a CPU for gaming performance specifically then thread count doesn’t really matter to you as most games don’t use multi-threading technology in their applications.
However, for other tasks such as 3D rendering, executing multiple applications at the same time, reducing the complexity of bigger applications, etc. Then the Ryzen 5 has the edge again.
Cache is a very important to performance especially when gaming. Cache stores temporary data and events that might happen. That’s why having more cache in your CPU is very important.
The more cache you have the more chances that your CPU will have the outcome planned out. If you have a low amount of cache and your CPU isn’t able to store this data, then it will slow down the overall performance of your computer to catch up to whatever application it is working on.
When comparing the Ryzen 3 to Ryzen 5 there is a big jump from the amount of cache these two can store.
Ryzen 3 models can store anywhere from 4-8 MB of L3 cache whereas Ryzen 5 models can store around 16-32 MB of L3 cache (Which is a pretty big jump.)
of course, there is also L1 and L2 cache to consider, but it is the same pattern in those as well.
If you want to learn more about this I have an article on Why CPU Cache is Important.
When looking at everything we talked about above we can come to the decision that a Ryzen 5 will offer better performance overall. However, if you are an entry-level computer gamer or don’t need to run your games on high quality then the Ryzen 3 will offer you the best value.
With that being said Ryzen 3 still offers decent performance even when talking about the gaming aspect of things and will work just fine for anyone on a budget.
If you are still not sure what CPU is right for you, then you should check out “Choosing the Right Processor Guide.”
You might also like: What’s The Difference Between Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7