Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 | Which is better for a Laptop?

One of the crucial factors you look for when purchasing a laptop is its Central Processing Unit (CPU).

When it comes to CPUs, you have a choice between AMD Ryzen and Intel Core processors.

Globally, the preferred option is Intel, but AMD has its specific market to compete with its Intel counterparts on almost all parameters.

The debate between AMD and Intel CPUs will rage forever because they keep introducing new generations at regular intervals to stay ahead in the competition.

Before we discuss whether Ryzen 5 or the Intel Core i5 CPU is better for a laptop, let us understand the numbering system followed by both Intel and AMD.

The AMD Ryzen Family

Initially, AMD mainstream Ryzen chips comprised three families, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7. The bigger the numeral, the better is the specification. Simple, isn’t it?

Besides, there is a specific reason why we have such numbering in the Ryzen family. It became easy to compare these chips with their Intel counterparts.

The AMD Ryzen 3 chip is an entry-level CPU similar to the Intel Core i3 processor.

The Ryzen 5 CPU is the mainstream alternative to Intel Core i5, whereas Ryzen 7 compares favorably with the Intel Core i7 CPUs.

In 2018, AMD introduced a new set of CPUs with an improved 12nm manufacturing process and Zen+ architecture.

While it retained the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 series, it introduced a new AMD Threadripper Series, a set of high-end CPUs.

While the mainstream Ryzen series offered eight cores and 16 threads, the Threadripper started with 12 cores and 24 threads and went up to 32 cores and 64 threads.

The year 2019 saw another updating of the Ryzen portfolio by introducing a new series Ryzen 9 to rival the Intel Core i9 processors.

The Intel Core Family

Like the AMD Ryzen CPUs, Intel offers four families, the Intel Ci3, Ci5, Ci7, and Ci9.

Ci3 does not signify that the CPU has three cores or Ci7 has seven cores, and so on. It is more an arbitrary way of distinguishing their performance levels. For example, the Ci7 CPU performs better than the Intel Core i5, and the Ci5 is better than the Ci3.

The Intel Core i9 CPUs were introduced in 2017 as a high-end range of processors boasting high core and thread counts. For instance, the Ci9 10850K has ten cores and 20 threads.

Having discussed the Intel and AMD Ryzen families, let us briefly discuss the different generations.

AMD Ryzen offers three generations, the 3000, 4000, and 5000 series of CPUs.

In contrast, the Intel Core CPUs are available for up to 11 generations, with the 10th and the 11th generations being the latest introductions in the market.

As we have various generations and families in both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen laptop processors, we can find it confusing to discuss each one of them. Therefore, we shall narrow down our discussion to the AMD Ryzen 4000 and 5000 series and the Intel Core 10th and 11th generations.

Practically, no one buys the earlier generations’ CPUs in both the AMD and Intel Core families today.

The CPU naming concept is clear by now. Let us now compare the AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i5 processors and see which of the two comparable processors are better for laptops.

AMD Ryzen 5 – 4000 and 5000 series

Here is a list of AMD Ryzen 5 4000 and 5000 series CPUs available on the market (Source – AMD Official Website)

Model NumberCPU Cores/ThreadsBase Clock Speed GHzBoost Clock Speed GHzGraphics Model
5-5600H6/123.34.2AMD Radeon
5-5600HS6/123.04.2AMD Radeon
5-5600U6/122.34.2AMD Radeon
5-5500U6/122.14.0AMD Radeon
5-4600H6/123.04.0AMD Radeon
5-4600U6/122.14.0AMD Radeon
5-4500U6/122.34.0AMD Radeon

Intel Core i5 – 10th and 11th generations

Model NumberCPU Cores/ThreadsBase Clock Speed GHzBoost Clock Speed GHzGraphics Model
1145G74/84.40Discrete Graphics
1140G74/84.20Discrete Graphics
1130G74/84.00Discrete Graphics
1135G74/84.20Discrete Graphics
10210U4/81.604.20Ultra-Low Power
10210Y4/81.004.00Extremely Low Power
1035G44/81.103.70Discrete Graphics
1035G74/81.203.70Discrete Graphics
1035G14/81.003.60Discrete Graphics

As you compare both these tables, the following features come to light.

Intel offers a higher range of CPUs in the Core i5 family than AMD does in the Ryzen 5 family.

The H-Series processors in both AMD Ryzen and Intel Core come with high-performance graphics, whereas the Y and U series are not the best suited for graphics-intensive activities.

AMD offers an HS series of CPUs with better graphics for gaming and other purposes.

Intel offers the G-series CPUs numbered G1, G4, and G7 that come with discrete graphics on the package.

All the AMD Ryzen CPUs feature six cores and 12 threads, whereas the 11th gen Intel Ci5 processors have four cores and eight threads.

Some of the 10th gen Intel CPUs feature six cores and 12 threads. Cores and threads define the processor’s capability. Hence, both AMD Ryzen and Intel Core i5 are equal on this score because they offer six cores and 12 threads.

When it comes to Clock Speed the Intel Core i5 CPUs are better because they offer better Turbo Boost clock speeds up to 4.80GHz, whereas the maximum speed by AMD Ryzen 5 is 4.20GHz.

The base clock speed in Intel Core i5 CPUs is as low as 1.0GHz. The AMD Ryzen 5 minimum base clock speed is 2.1GHz. Users generally concentrate on the maximum clock frequency, but the base speed indicates battery efficiency.

The lower the base clock speed, the less energy the CPU has to expend to complete low-intensity tasks. It results in power-savings.

Fabrication Process – A technical aspect

The AMD Ryzen 5 Series CPUs come with a 7nm fabrication process, whereas the Intel Core 10th gen i5 features 14nm, and the 11th gen Ci5 processors come with a 10nm manufacturing process. These specifications indicate the transistor size.

  • The smaller the size, the better it is, as one can include more transistors in the same unit area. Thus, it enables processors to achieve higher processing power.
  • Smaller transistors consume less power for functioning than larger ones. Thus, they are better for enhancing the processing power.
  • Another advantage of the smaller fabrication process is that it allows OEMs to reduce the laptop’s thickness and weight proportionately.

The AMD Ryzen 5 series CPUs have an advantage because of their 7nm fabrication process. It helps them compensate for the fewer CPU models on display and compete with the Intel Core i5 processors on an even keel.

We have discussed the technical aspects of the CPU configurations in both the AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i5 processors. It is time to discuss the other features available in both these processors to understand which of the two CPUs is a better option for laptops.

Let us begin with the AMD Ryzen 5 5000 series laptop processors.

AMD Ryzen 5 5000 and 4000 Series – Exciting features

Here are some of the AMD Ryzen 5 5000 Series CPU features that merit consideration. Most of these features are available in the AMD Ryzen 5 4000 series, as well.

The 7nm process enables OEMs to go for the slimmest laptop models to make it look smart and enhance the portability factor.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5000 series CPUs offer up to two hours more battery life than the earlier generation to ensure that you do not run out of power when you need it the most.

The H and HS series of AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs are ideal for graphics-intensive activities. Hence, gamers and content creators would love to have an AMD Ryzen 5 5000 series CPU powering their laptops.

The AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs feature six cores with hyperthreading features. This specification is ideal for having a high-quality video conferencing with family, friends, and colleagues.

These processors support DDR4 RAM speeds up to 3200MHz and LPDDR4 RAM up to 4266MHz. It enables seamless multitasking to help you juggle projects, prepare spreadsheets, browse the web, and create presentations better and faster than other laptops.

Some of the other features include security features like face recognition and fingerprint sensing software, voice assistant compatibility, and the provision of a digital pen for taking notes, drawing maps, and editing documents.

Intel Core i5 10th and 11th generation Processors – Advanced features

The 11th generation Intel Core i5 CPUs support enhanced Wi-Fi speeds in Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. It delivers a generational advance in traffic management, Wi-Fi performance, improved latency, enhanced security, and a higher degree of interference avoidance. This feature is not available in the 10th gen Ci5 processors.

Both the 10th and 11th gen Ci5 CPUs deliver brilliant performances supported by AI-enabled Intel Deep Learning Boost (DL Boost). It enables immersive collaboration experiences, like background blur, video super-resolution, neural noise suppression, and video codec. Thus, it makes for excellent video conferencing and other webcam-related activities.

A sterling aspect of the 10th and 11th gen Ci5 CPUs is its Intel Iris Plus graphics and Intel UHD graphics to deliver improved visual experiences.

Intel Optane Technology is a critical aspect of the 10th and 11th generation Ci5 CPUs. This feature allows hybrid storage comprising HDD and SSD storage in the same appliance. Thus, it enhances storage capacity and improves processing speed considerably.

The 11th generation Ci5 CPUs support Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. While the Ci7 CPUs in this generation support Thunderbolt 4, the Ci5 processors do not.

Thunderbolt 3 is a reversible USB C port. It proves handy for recharging laptops, transmitting video content, and transferring data using a single connectivity port. Thunderbolt 3 supports up to 40Gbps data transfer speeds.

The 11th generation Ci5 CPUs support high-speed DDR4 RAM up to 3200MHz and LPDDR4 RAM up to 4266MHz. Hence, these CPUs are excellent for multitasking activities.

AMD Ryzen 5 Vs. Intel Core i5 – The Comparison in a nutshell

ParametersAMD Ryzen 5Intel Core i5Verdict
Number of processorsSevenTwentyIntel Core offers a better variety.
Cores/ThreadsAll processors come with six cores and 12 threadsSome processors offer six cores, whereas the majority come with four coresThe performance of both these CPUs is similar in this regard.
Fabrication Process7nm manufacturing processThe 11th gen CPUs come with 10nm and the 10th gen with 14nm processThe AMD Ryzen is a better option as it enables OEMs to manufacture slimmer laptops that consume less power.
Clock Frequency2.1GHz to 4.2GHz1.0GHz to 4.8GHzThe Intel Core CPU offers a better range.
GraphicsIntegrated AMD Radeon Graphics and supports discrete graphicsIntel Iris Plus graphics, Intel UHD graphics, and discrete graphicsThe graphics compatibility is similar, depending on the processor type.
RAM SpeedsDDR4 RAM up to 3200MHz and LPDDR4 RAM up to 4266MHzDDR4 RAM up to 3200MHz in the 10th gen Ci5 and LPDDR4 RAM up to 4266MHz in the 11th gen Ci5 CPUThe performances are similar
Connectivity optionsHDMI, Display Port, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth v4.0HDMI, Display Port, Thunderbolt 3 in 11th gen Ci5 CPUs, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) in 11th gen Ci5, Bluetooth v5.0The Intel Core CPUs offer better connectivity.
StorageHDD and SSD storage is available in some processorsIntel Optane Technology enables hybrid storage of HDD and SSDAs both CPU brands offer dual storage, the performance levels are similar..
Battery LifeThe H and HS series offer better battery life than the other CPUsThe H and the T series laptops offer extended battery life than other processorsThe battery life performance is similar.
Security FeaturesSupports face recognition and fingerprint sensors while using Windows Hello softwareThe 10th and 11th gen Ci5 CPUs come with excellent security features to ensure against unauthorized access.The performance of both AMD Ryzen and Intel Core CPUs are similar.
PricingAMD Ryzen 5 CPUs are cheaper.Compared to AMD Ryzen CPUs, the Intel Core i5 processors are expensive.AMD Ryzen 5 series has the edge over the Ci5 CPUs in the pricing aspect.

The Verdict

The choice of the ideal laptop depends on its usage. If you want a computer for your general computing usage, you do not need higher graphics. You can concentrate on aspects like clock speed, booting times, multitasking abilities, etc. The memory, storage, and connectivity options play a critical role.

Similarly, if you are a gaming enthusiast, you need a laptop CPU to support excellent graphics.

If performance is the prime criteria, both AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core Ci5 are good choices. The introduction of the 11th generation Ci5 CPUs has tilted the balance in Intel’s favor. Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.0 support, and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity make the Intel CPUs a better choice.

If the pricing is an aspect, the AMD Ryzen 5 Series is a better bet because they cost less than their Intel counterparts.

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