Which 6 core laptop CPU is better? AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600H, or Intel’s i5-11400H? I’ve compared both laptops in games and applications to find out! These are the differences in specs between these two laptop processors. Both are 6 core 12 thread parts, but AMD has more cache, however Intel has higher maximum boost clock speeds, though this will of course depend on things like power limits and the workload being run.
The Intel platform also has newer PCIe gen 4, so faster storage and more bandwidth to the Nvidia graphics. For this comparison I’m using Acer’s Nitro 5 for both laptops, so exact same chassis for a fair comparison. Both laptops have Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, the same battery, same 1080p screen, and I’ve even tested the exact same physical memory sticks in both. I chose to use 32 gigs of DDR4-3200 CL22 dual rank memory in dual channel to offer a best case, ensuring memory wouldn’t be a bottleneck. I’ve tested both of these laptops both at stock with no power limit in place and with a manual 45 watt TDP limit.
Let’s start by looking at the temperature differences, as this will explain why I’ve done this.
Here’s how hot both laptops get with Blender running, a multi threaded processor intensive workload. I’ve got the results up the top with both laptops just running at stock, then below with both manually limited to 45 watts by using Intel XTU for the 11400H and Ryzen controller software for the 5600H. The problem is that at stock, the Ryzen Nitro 5 was hitting a thermal throttle limit of 90 degrees Celsius in long term tests while Intel wasn’t, and this is with the fans on both maxed out for all tests. Now I was able to boost the throttle limit to 95 degrees with Ryzen Controller, but this didn’t give a further performance boost.
If we check out the TDP reported by hardware info, the Ryzen 5 5600H was barely running above 45 watts in this test at stock because of the thermal throttling, as just shown, but limiting it to 45 watts was just able to remove this in this specific heavy workload, but it’s borderline. The Intel processor on the other hand was able to run with a 20 watt higher TDP in the same test. Ryzen would of course go higher than this at the start of the test, but it would slow down over time as the laptop warms up, and this blender test takes more than 15 minutes to complete so it’s more of a worst case.
Now TDP is measured differently by each platform, but we can see around a 20 watt difference here too when measuring total system power draw from the wall when both laptops are running at stock, so no manual power limits in place. Meanwhile with both limited to 45 watts, Intel was actually using less power, however it’s also reaching lower clock speeds with the lower power limit in the same blender test too.
By default straight out of the box, the Intel based Nitro 5 is able to hit its 4.1GHz all core turbo boost speed no problem in this test, while the Ryzen version of the same laptop is more than 300MHz behind. Intel is clocking lower with a lower power limit because 11th gen seems to scale better with more power, whereas Ryzen doesn’t seem to benefit as much from higher power limits. Up until about a 50 watt TDP, Ryzen is actually ahead of Intel when comparing the performance on offer with the same power limits, but Intel can go a little further with additional power and is just able to overtake Ryzen. Further higher power limits won’t help the i5 at this point, because as mentioned it’s already hitting its all core turbo boost clock of 4.
1GHz, and from what we’re seeing here, it doesn’t seem like extra power will help AMD much either.
I need to note that this is only the case during a CPU only workload. When the GPU is also active, like when running a game for instance, both laptops run the processor lower. Based on the information collected with the Blender benchmark though, it appears that the Ryzen 5 5600H model runs warmer in the exact same chassis compared to the i5-11400H, and that’s despite using less power too. Now the way both processors use sensors to report temperature is likely different and not directly comparable, but regardless, the fact is the 5600H was throttling in the same chassis while the i5 was not.
Of course this definitely isn’t ideal for a CPU comparison, as technically it means the AMD laptop can get bottlenecked. At least in heavy multicore workloads that run for long periods of time. So in those sorts of tests, these two laptops might not offer a perfectly fair comparison. At the same time though, I went out and bought this Ryzen model with my own money so I could make this video, so this is still showing you the actual performance differences that you’d expect to see between an Acer Nitro 5 Ryzen 5 model and an Acer Nitro 5 Intel i5 model. Now I also want to note that I have also tried running the Ryzen 5 model with both a cooling pad and using the Ryzen Controller software to manually boost the thermal throttle limit up to 95 degrees Celsius from 90, and doing this only gave me an extra 30 points or so in Cinebench R23, and that’s a negligible difference, so it may be the case that the temperatures aren’t all that much of a limit here.
Given Ryzen doesn’t gain as much of a performance boost at higher power levels compared to Intel, it may be that we’re not too far off full performance, but alas, the fact remains that this cannot be a perfect comparison unless I put liquid metal on the CPU or something. I didn’t repaste, but I can’t imagine why Acer would change it between them. As the Nitro 5 is meant to be a more budget friendly option it’s likely that there will be higher end models with both of these processors that might offer a better comparison, but I think this is my only opportunity to get both processors in the same laptop chassis, so I’ve gone ahead and done all the testing anyway. Now with all of that explanation out of the way, let’s start out with productivity workloads followed by gaming afterwards. Here’s how long the blender render actually took to complete.
With both limited to a 45 watt power limit the Ryzen system was faster, however without artificial limitations, the Intel laptop was completing the longer Classroom test around 7% faster, as it’s able to clock higher and use more power. It’s a similar deal in Cinebench R23 for the multicore score. AMD’s 5600H is ahead of the i5 with the 45 watt limit, but then the i5 is ahead when we’re just running both laptops at stock without a limit. The single core score is about 7 and a half percent higher on the i5 regardless of power level, because the power limit isn’t low enough to affect a single threaded task. I’ve tested Geekbench because it also has both a single core and multi core test.
The i5 was again around 7% ahead of Ryzen 5 regardless of power limit when it came to single core, otherwise the i5 was scoring 3% higher without power limit in multicore, so despite being able to use more power here the 5600H wasn’t too far behind.
Handbrake was used to convert a 4K h.264 video file that I shot to 1080p h.265. Like the other multithreaded tests, the i5 was completing this export faster without the power limit, as lower times are better here, though at less than 5% faster it’s not a huge improvement.
DaVinci Resolve generally benefits more from GPU improvements than CPU. There’s no difference with both at 45 watts, then with the higher power limit the i5 was just 3% ahead, nothing special at all. Adobe Premiere was also tested with the Puget Systems Benchmark. Again basically no difference with the same 45 watt power limit, while the i5 was able to score a bit better with a 7% lead with no limit. Intel was ahead regardless of power limit in Adobe Photoshop.
I think this one benefits from single threaded performance so that would explain it, but the i5 is only only scoring about 4% higher than Ryzen. V-Ray uses the processor to render out a scene. As was the case with many of the other multithreaded tests, the Intel i5 was scoring higher without any power limits, but lower when both were running capped at 45 watts. The Corona benchmark is another multithreaded rendering workload, but in this one the 5600H was completing the task in the same amount of time regardless of power limit changes, like blender this is probably due to throttling without the cap in place, but regardless it’s still one whole second ahead of the i5.
Linux Kernel compilation is a threaded workload, and lower times are better here, so another where there’s no noteworthy difference between the two without power limits, though Ryzen had more of an edge if we’re not pumping the i5 up with more power.
Microsoft Excel on the other hand was the test that favored AMD the most out of all applications tested. This one seems to benefit from more cache, and the 5600H does have 33% more L3 cache compared to the 11400H, so maybe that’s why Ryzen was completing the task 37% faster. Speaking of AMD win, 7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression, and this workload generally favors Ryzen too, which was certainly the case here regardless of power level. Power limits don’t seem to affect AES encryption or decryption, but the Intel system was ahead in both instances with some of its biggest gains at over 10% higher than Ryzen.
These are the differences when looking at all of the applications just tested with the lower 45 watt TDP limit in place.
In most applications, AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600H is ahead. This isn’t too surprising based on the power scaling data shown earlier, as that told us that AMD performs better with less power. The i5 was ahead in single threaded tests, while AES tests had the biggest gains with Intel. In CPU only workloads such as these tasks, laptops are often able to run much higher than 45 watts, though it of course depends on the specific machine. Without power limits in place, the Intel i5 was now winning in more tests, and just to be clear this is the stock behavior with the Acer’s Nitro 5.
Ryzen only really had clear advantages in Excel and 7-Zip, though in many tasks it’s not actually too far behind Intel. As mentioned, my AMD Nitro 5 wasn’t really able to boost the CPU power limit too high due to thermal limitations, so without this possible problem the gap may close a little, however I don’t believe it would be enough to give AMD the win, as applying more power just doesn’t scale as well with AMD as it does with Intel.
Now the Intel platform does also offer the advantage of undervolting, but support will vary by laptop. The Nitro 5 unfortunately locks this feature, so I haven’t been able to test it, but results will vary by chassis and CPU anyway as it comes down to silicon lottery. Both laptops have the same 57Wh battery inside, but the Ryzen laptop is lasting much longer than the Intel one.
When laptops run on battery they generally have lower power limits, and as we’ve seen Ryzen is more power efficient with less power. This is confirmed when running Cinebench on battery power. The Ryzen laptop was scoring basically the same when it came to single core, while only losing about 250 points or so for multi core. The Intel system on the other hand is way down on battery power, both in single and multi core performance. So not only does the Ryzen model offer better battery life, performance on battery is also better too.
Alright, now let’s get into the gaming benchmarks. As I mentioned earlier there are PCIe lane differences between Intel 11th gen and Ryzen 5000.
Basically Intel has more bandwidth between the CPU and GPU which might offer a performance boost in games. I’ve run the 3DMark PCIe test to try and show the bandwidth difference this makes, though this test does of course fully saturate the connection and this isn’t how all games actually behave. Both of these laptops have 8 PCIe lanes between the CPU and GPU, however the Intel system has around double the bandwidth owing to it being the newer and faster PCIe 4.
It’s difficult to say how much of a performance edge this will give the Intel laptop, as I can’t just test the Intel laptop with slower PCIe 3 and I can’t upgrade the Ryzen model to PCIe 4.
These are just actual platform differences that exist. Now all of that said, I think in most cases 8 lanes of PCIe 3 for Ryzen is probably going to be enough, but in some scenarios that extra bandwidth might come in handy for Intel. I’ve also measured the total system latency between a mouse click and when a gunshot fires in CS:GO. The results were extremely close, but the Ryzen laptop was one and a half milliseconds faster in this test.
Both laptops have the same 1080p 144Hz screen with about the same response time.
Alright now let’s see how well both of these laptops perform in 11 different games at all setting levels. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the games benchmark. I’ve got the Intel laptop shown by the blue bars, AMD laptop shown by the red bars, and I’ve also tested all available setting presets, which are listed on the left with the lowest settings down the bottom and highest settings up the top. There’s basically no difference between the two at high and ultra settings, while Intel had a larger 11% lead at low settings.
Cyberpunk 2077 was tested in little China with the street kid life path on both laptops. Interestingly AMD was a few frames ahead between low and ultra setting presets, however once ray tracing with DLSS comes out Intel had a much more noticeable lead.
Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge on both laptops, and again Ryzen was ahead at all of the setting presets here, though at just a 1 FPS difference we’re realistically talking within margin of error and not something you’d be too likely to notice in a side by side blind test. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was tested with the games benchmark, but this time Intel was in the lead regardless of the setting preset tested. At max settings they’re both about the same, but the gap increases at lower setting levels, presumably because these are less GPU bound and depend more on the processor differences.
The i5 was almost 5% higher in terms of average FPS at low settings, however there’s a larger 13% gain in the 1% low. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature using the exact same replay file on both laptops, and it’s another win for Intel, at least technically, again at the highest epic settings I doubt you’re going to notice that 2 FPS difference. Even at low settings the Intel laptop was less than 5% ahead, and it’s not as if 300 plus FPS from AMD is going to be unplayable or anything. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the game benchmark, and Ryzen was ahead at all setting levels this time.
Again at max settings it basically doesn’t even matter with just a single frame difference on average, while at low settings Ryzen was almost 6% ahead of Intel, but again nothing really major.
Control was tested by running through the same part of the game on both laptops. This is generally a GPU heavy game, so I was expecting the results to be much closer together here, however Intel had a decent lead at all setting presets. Average FPS at max settings was 8% higher on Intel, but the 1% low was higher with a 13% gain, so a more stable experience with the i5. If we enable ray tracing, which is arguably yet more GPU heavy, Intel still has the lead, though the frame rates aren’t too amazing.
That’s where DLSS comes in, boosting performance, and again Intel still has some reasonable leads over Ryzen here, particularly in terms of the 1% lows.
Watch Dogs Legion was tested with the games benchmark. This was another decent win for Intel, particularly at higher setting levels, which is a bit different compared to most other games that generally see a larger gap at lower setting presets. The i5 was reaching 16% higher average FPS at ultra settings, a far above average gain when compared to the other 10 games tested, while low settings only had a smaller 3% gain. Battlefield V was tested in campaign mode in the same spot on both laptops. The differences in average FPS at high and ultra settings is basically nothing, but check out the 1% lows, Intel has a large 17% boost there, so definitely a more stable experience on the i5.
For some reason the 1% low at low settings was actually worse on Ryzen compared to the other presets, not sure what the deal was but it was consistently reproducible. CS:GO is kind of an outlier, but I always like seeing what happens in this test in my CPU comparisons.
The differences were the largest seen out of all 11 games tested in favor of Intel. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark, and this was another where the average FPS was basically the same on either laptop, but Intel had huge improvements for the 1% lows, but that said the 1% lows of the Ryzen laptop are still higher than even the refresh rate of the screen, so again it’s not as if it’s going to be a bad experience. On average over all 11 games tested at 1080p with the highest setting preset, the Intel i5-11400H laptop was just over three percent faster when compared to the Ryzen 5 5600H laptop.
If you want to consider CS:GO as an outlier then we’re instead looking at a one and a half percent improvement with Intel, nothing major one way or the other. Now if we instead consider the lowest setting preset, the Intel i5 is now almost 6 percent faster compared to AMD’s Ryzen 5. Three games were still better on Ryzen, but it’s not a big difference, especially when compared to some of the gains seen on the Intel machine.
There’s a larger difference at lower setting presets because the processor generally matters more here. So although it does depend on the specific game and setting level, at the end of the day in general the Intel system was ahead, and that’s both in terms of average FPS and 1% lows – so less dips in performance.
That said, in most cases though the Ryzen model wasn’t that far behind, and it many of the games tested I doubt the difference is one that you would actually notice in a side by side blind test, so yeah in most cases Intel was objectively better, but at the same time it’s not like Ryzen is offering bad gaming performance or anything. With RTX 3060 graphics like I’ve got here, you’re probably going to be playing at higher setting levels anyway, and the processor just matters less there, but with lower GPU pairings the CPU differences could matter more.
So say if you were looking at a GTX 1650 or something, the Intel gains might make more of a difference. As for pricing differences, well that’ll change over time, so refer to those links in the description below for updates. At the time of recording, the Nitro 5 with RTX 3060 that I’ve tested here is about $1150 USD for the Ryzen model.
Unfortunately I can’t find the i5 plus 3060 model right now, but if we instead look at the cheaper entry level GTX 1650 model we can see that it’s $30 cheaper compared to the Intel i5 model, so basically Intel only costs 4% more money in this example.
Honestly for such a small price difference, you might as well just pay the little extra and get the Intel model, as in general it does perform better, both inside and outside of gaming. Even with higher end laptops like say the Lenovo Legion 5 or something, with both of these processors I wouldn’t expect that to change. Higher CPU power limit isn’t really going to affect the i5 any further because it’s already hitting max boost clock in CPU only workloads, and likewise more power for the Ryzen model also isn’t really going to help it that much, even if we weren’t seeing thermal throttling.
When we looked at the Cinebench R23 multicore scores for the power scaling test we could see that the performance gains with Ryzen started to top out.
Now that said, Ryzen does still have the edge in both battery life and performance on battery, and given laptops are meant to be portable devices that might be pretty important to you. But apart from that, if otherwise running on wall power, Intel was generally the winner. I think at the end of the day it kind of depends on which is cheaper and what you’re personally after, but yeah I think the take away is it’s kind of hard to go wrong with either option. Both processors offer decent performance. I’m still working on the full review of the Acer Nitro 5, so if you’re new to the channel make sure you get subscribed for that upcoming content as well as for future laptop comparisons like this one.
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