It is unlikely that anyone will argue with the fact that the Ryzen 3000 processors were able to significantly strengthen AMD’s position in the desktop segment. Thank you for this to the Zen 2 microarchitecture, which turned out to be much better than the Zen and Zen + used in Ryzen processors before. Increase in specific performance in Zen 2 by a noticeable 15% in total c 5% increase in clock speeds, with the 7nm process technology, doubling the capacity of the L3 cache and doubling the floating point unit gave an undeniable synergistic effect. As a result, Ryzen processors of the first and second generations, which until recently seemed generally good options for desktop systems, have now irrevocably dropped into the second league, speaking against the background of the Ryzen 3000 exclusively in the role of «poor relatives». Why are there past Ryzen, new members of the family now manage to trample on the current mass-produced Intel processors even in a fair number of cases, offering better computing performance at a comparable cost.
The situation with the prices of Ryzen of different generations clearly illustrates the giant leap forward that AMD has been able to make: the flagship processor with the Zen + microarchitecture, Ryzen 7 2700X, is now sold for $190, which is cheaper than one of the youngest carriers of the Zen 2 microarchitecture, Ryzen 5 3600. It turns out that the invisible hand of the market quickly pushed all the Ryzen of the first and second generations into the place of solutions below the average level, while the upper market segments were completely given over to the representatives of the Ryzen 3000 family.
Actually, it is precisely for this reason that AMD did not start releasing processors based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture with a price below $200 — the appearance of such models would not allow it to sell chips of past generations, the stocks of which in the company’s warehouses are obviously far from depleted. Therefore, you should not expect that in the foreseeable future, inexpensive representatives of the Ryzen 3000 series, related, for example, to the Ryzen 3 class, will appear on the market. The bar for entering the Zen 2 microarchitecture media owners club will remain at a fairly high level for a long time to come.
But there are exceptions to even the strictest rules, and the situation with the new low-end Ryzen 3000 models is just such a case. The fact is that AMD is a fairly flexible company that continuously analyzes market conditions and is ready to quickly make “pointed” decisions to strengthen its position. It was as a result of such an analysis that it was noticed that in some regions six-core processors of the Intel Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F level are very popular, which many users willingly choose as the basis for relatively inexpensive gaming assemblies. Among AMD’s current offerings, options similar in price and gaming performance were not initially provided, which led to the loss of a certain market share by the company.
AMD quickly realized that to address this situation, it was necessary to release slightly more affordable Ryzen 3000 models that would become an alternative to Intel’s junior six-core processors and win over the interest of buyers of inexpensive gaming PCs. But in order not to undermine the Ryzen sales channel of past generations, it was decided not to sell the younger Ryzen 3000 processors globally, but only in those countries where the popularity of the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F is really high. Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 became “tricky” models, selectively opposed to younger versions of the Core i5, and users from China, Russia and some Eastern European countries were chosen as their target audience, where demand has historically shifted towards cheaper CPU models. And it may well work: on the one hand, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are priced at $150, which allows them to compete with the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F in the same market segment, and on the other hand, they have six Zen cores 2, providing quite a competitive level of performance, at least at first glance.
True, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are still noticeably different from the more expensive six-core Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600 processors. one computing thread not in pairs. But this does not interfere with their opposition to the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F, because six-core Intel processors also do not have Hyper-Threading support. As for the difference between the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500, it is not too obvious and is not in clock speeds, but in the size of the third-level cache: in the younger model, the L3 cache has been reduced from 32 to 16 MB.
AMD’s original intent was to offer the Ryzen 5 3500X in the Chinese market and the Ryzen 5 3500 in Russia. But in reality, domestic users are more fortunate, because they can get at their disposal both one and the other processor. In particular, the Ryzen 5 3500 is gradually appearing in the windows of large computer stores, while the Ryzen 5 3500X can be bought on Aliexpress. And if so, then we considered it our duty to conduct a detailed test of both of these processors in order to establish whether they can really be considered a good alternative to the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F; how much their performance is worse than the usual six-core Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600; and is it even worth messing with such artificially cheaper carriers of the Zen 2 architecture, when for the same or even less amount you can buy one of the full-fledged Ryzen processors of the last generation.
⇡#About Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 more
With the advent of processors younger than the Ryzen 5 3600, the lineup of desktop media of the Zen 2 microarchitecture has taken on the following form.
|Cores/Threads||Base frequency, MHz||Turbo frequency, MHz||L3 cache, MB||TDP, W||Chiplets||Price|
|Ryzen 9 3950X||16/32||3.5||4.7||64||105||2×CCD + I/O||$749|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||12/24||3.8||4.6||64||105||2×CCD + I/O||$499|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||8/16||3.9||4.5||32||105||CCD+I/O||$399|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||8/16||3.6||4.4||32||65||CCD+I/O||$329|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||6/12||3.8||4.4||32||95||CCD+I/O||$249|
|Ryzen 5 3600||6/12||3.6||4.2||32||65||CCD+I/O||$199|
|Ryzen 5 3500X||6/6||3.6||4.1||32||65||CCD+I/O||~$170|
|Ryzen 5 3500||6/6||3.6||4.1||sixteen||65||CCD+I/O||~$155|
It immediately catches the eye that the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 look a little different compared to the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600. The older and younger models of the Ryzen 5 class are close in clock speeds, but they have a different nuclear formula. Although all such processors are six-core, in the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 the number of threads running simultaneously is six, that is, half as much as in the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600. In general, Ryzen users to such a serious difference in characteristics within the same class of processors already accustomed. For example, in the past generation of processors under the Ryzen 5 brand, AMD offered both six-core and quad-core CPUs at the same time. Now, the number of cores of different Ryzen 5s has remained the same, but the younger representatives of the series have disabled SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading) technology, which was previously blocked by the manufacturer exclusively in Ryzen 3 class processors.
And this would be a completely normal approach to differentiating representatives of one class, if it did not destroy the entire AMD paradigm. So far, the core strategy of the company in the consumer market has been to offer users better multi-threading capabilities than Intel processors in the same price category. The new Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are completely on par with the Core i5 processors in terms of the number of cores and threads. However, this does not mean at all that AMD has made a kind of «analogue of the Core i5-9400F» on its own Zen 2 microarchitecture. In fact, the novelties in question still surpass Intel processors in a number of passport characteristics.
|Ryzen 5 3500X||Ryzen 5 3500||Core i5-9400||Core i5-9400F|
|Number of cores||6||6||6||6|
|Number of threads||6||6||6||6|
|Base frequency, GHz||3.6||3.6||2.9||2.9|
|Turbo frequency, GHz||4.1||4.1||4.1||4.1|
|L3 cache, MB||32||sixteen||nine||nine|
|Memory, DDR4||2×3200||2 ×3200||2 ×2666||2 ×2666|
|Graphics core||Not||Not||UHD 630||Not|
|average price||10 500 rub.||10 000 rub.||12 000 rub.||11 000 rub.|
Speaking about the merits of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500, AMD can safely focus on two facts. Firstly, the younger Ryzen 5s, compared to the Core i5s, have a larger L3 cache, which at the same time is not inferior to the Coffee Lake Refresh L3 cache in terms of latency. And this is true not only for the Chinese Ryzen 5 3500X with a 32 MB L3 cache, but even for the Russian Ryzen 5 3500, despite the fact that in the most affordable Ryzen 5 modification, the cache memory is halved in size.
Secondly, AMD processors support faster memory. Formally, we are talking about DDR4-3200, but in fact the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500, like any other mainstream AMD processors based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture, are also compatible with faster memory, up to DDR4-3600. Moreover, thanks to the improvement in the third generation of the memory controller in Ryzen, high-speed DDR4 SDRAM can be used with them in any motherboards, including those based on the old X470, B450 and even B350 logic sets. At the same time, for the Intel Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F processors, the specifications only state that they work with DDR4-2666. In part, this condition is also formal: if the Core i5 processor is installed in a motherboard based on Z370 or Z390 chipsets, the memory can operate at arbitrarily high frequencies — there are no problems with this. However, in low-cost platforms that use the H370, B360 (B365) or H310 system logic sets, the limitation stated in the specification begins to play a role, and in such cases it will not work to operate memory with a frequency higher than DDR4-2666.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the clock speeds. Although the base frequencies announced for the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are significantly higher than those of the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F, in reality, all these processors operate at approximately the same frequency. Turbo mode in the Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F, even with the load on all six computing cores, makes them work at 3.9 GHz, about the same frequencies can be seen at full load on the Ryzen 5 3500X or Ryzen 5 3500.
As you can see in the screenshots, both the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 reach 3.95 GHz when all cores are loaded. And this is about 100-150 MHz below the frequency at which AMD’s higher-end six-cores, Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600, operate at full load, although the lower six-cores are claimed to have exactly the same base frequency as the Ryzen 5 3600.
The speed of the L3 cache and memory subsystem in the younger six-core Ryzen does not present any surprises. Even though the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 drastically differ in L3 cache size, it is the capacity of the L3 cache, and not the bandwidth or latency, that becomes the main reason for the difference in their performance. That is, both the full-sized 32 MB and the cut-down 16 MB L3 cache in the processors under consideration offer approximately the same performance.
Nevertheless, using the synthetic CacheMem test from the Aida64 package, it is still possible to notice some discrepancies in throughput and latency indicators. The smaller cache in the Ryzen 5 3500 is slightly faster than the full size version, but at the same time, the Ryzen 5 3500X with a full 32 MB L3 cache has a slight advantage in memory performance. However, the differences are insignificant in any case: if we talk about latency, then it differs by no more than two cycles.
The lack of clear differences between the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 is not surprising at all. These processors are based on the same silicon basis, the same for all AMD desktop offerings with Zen 2 microarchitecture and no more than eight cores. Both CPUs carry two semiconductor dies under the processor cover, one of which is a standard eight-core 7nm CCD die, and the second is a 12nm cIOD die containing the memory controller, the logical part of the Infinity Fabric bus, and SoC elements. The blocking of two “extra” cores and SMT technology for the Ryzen 5 models under consideration, as well as the truncation of the Ryzen 5 3500 cache memory, is logically performed at the production stage, but you should not hope for the possibility of restoring lost characteristics by the user. The last time AMD allowed unlocking cores and cache was in Phenom processors, and that was a long time ago. In addition, you need to understand that processors like the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are convenient for the manufacturer in that rejection can be widely used in them — partially inoperative semiconductor crystals with defects in single cores or cache memory.
⇡ # Overclocking
We usually say that overclocking third-generation Ryzen processors makes no practical sense: the manufacturer has already squeezed all the juice out of them with its Precision Boost 2.0 autonomous dynamic overclocking technology. However, the nominal clock speeds of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are slightly lower than their more expensive counterparts, even when compared to other six-core processors. For example, the Ryzen 5 3600X runs at about 4.1 GHz when all cores are loaded, while for the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 this is the limit in turbo mode.
Therefore, we will not deliberately exclude overclocking potential from consideration, referring to its insignificance. Moreover, the ability to increase the frequency above the nominal values u200bu200bis another competitive plus for the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 in the fight against the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F, which will surely be remembered both in advertising and in network discussions. And it’s true: Intel’s junior six-core processors are obviously not overclocked, and all Ryzen processors, including today’s heroes, have a free multiplier, which gives a chance to further increase performance.
However, as practice has shown, it is better not to hope for any noticeable overclocking of the younger six-core processors. Very «weak» semiconductor crystals can get into these processors, capable of stable operation only in the vicinity of the nominal clock frequencies. This is exactly what the sample of the Chinese Ryzen 5 3500X that came to us turned out to be. He with great difficulty mastered the increase in frequency to 4.05 GHz, which required increasing its supply voltage to 1.4 V — a level that, if overclocking is planned to be used constantly, is «on the verge».
At higher frequencies, the processor no longer passed the stability check that we traditionally do in Prime95 29.8 in Small FFT mode with AVX instructions enabled. But even at a relatively low frequency of 4.05 GHz, the heating during the tests reached 86 degrees, despite the fact that the efficient cooler Noctua NH-U14S was used for cooling in the system.
But the second processor, the Russian Ryzen 5 3500, on the contrary, turned out to be very malleable during overclocking. It was easily brought to a frequency of 4.3 GHz, and this is a record overclocking for all representatives of the Ryzen 3000 family that we have tested so far. Moreover, to ensure stable operation of the Ryzen 5 3500 at this frequency, it was not even necessary to lift it especially hard. nutrition. There were no problems with stability already when choosing a voltage of 1.35 V.
The Ryzen 5 3500 reached 90 degrees under load with the Noctua NH-U14S cooler, but we have long been accustomed to the fact that 7nm AMD processors are hot chips. In addition, based on the results of overclocking, we can conclude that the CPU copy that we got has rather high leakage currents.
If we summarize two fundamentally different overclocking results for Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500, we can conclude that AMD can use semiconductor crystals of very different quality in such processors. They can include both the second grade, which could not find application in processors with higher clock frequencies, or chips that are very good in terms of frequency potential. It’s up to luck here, and therefore it’s better not to rely on the fact that an inexpensive six-core processor can somehow be noticeably overclocked.
The point here is also that all representatives of the Ryzen 3000 lineup are actually designed to operate at approximately the same clock frequency in the vicinity of 4.0-4.2 GHz. To differentiate processor varieties, AMD uses other characteristics — the number of cores, TDP, and now SMT technology and cache size. Therefore, the usual principle that low-end processors can almost always be overclocked to the level of older ones means almost nothing in this case. Overclocking any Ryzen 3000, especially one that is not performed through the Precision Boost Override function, but synchronously across all cores, can bring a performance improvement of only a few percent at best.
⇡#Description of test systems and testing methods
The main storyline of today’s testing is comparing the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 with Intel processors of the same price category, Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F. However, this does not mean that we limited ourselves to this set of four opponents. Also on the charts in this article, you will find the performance figures for past generation Ryzen octa-core and six-core processors — today their price has dropped to about $ 10-100, which makes them a possible alternative to the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500. In addition, we could not Ignore the performance comparison of the stripped-down regional versions of Ryzen 5 with their somewhat more expensive but full-fledged counterparts, the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600.
In the end, the list of components involved in testing turned out to be as follows:
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (Matisse, 12 cores + SMT, 3.8-4.6 GHz, 64 MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 7 3800X (Matisse, 8 cores + SMT, 3.9-4.5 GHz, 32 MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (Pinnacle Ridge, 8 cores + SMT, 3.7-4.3 GHz, 16MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (Matisse, 6 cores + SMT, 3.8-4.4 GHz, 32MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (Matisse, 6 cores + SMT, 3.6-4.2 GHz, 32 MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 5 3500X (Matisse, 6 cores, 3.6-4.1GHz, 32MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 5 3500 (Matisse, 6 cores, 3.6-4.1 GHz, 16MB L3);
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (Pinnacle Ridge, 6 cores + SMT, 3.6-4.2 GHz, 16MB L3);
- Intel Core i9-9900K (Coffee Lake Refresh, 8 cores + HT, 3.6-5.0 GHz, 16MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-9700K (Coffee Lake Refresh, 8 cores, 3.6-4.9 GHz, 12 MB L3);
- Intel Core i5-9600K (Coffee Lake Refresh, 6 cores, 3.7-4.6 GHz, 9 MB L3);
- Intel Core i5-9400 (Coffee Lake Refresh, 6 cores, 2.9-4.1 GHz, 9 MB L3).
- CPU cooler: Noctua NH-D15S.
- ASRock X570 Taichi (Socket AM4, AMD X570);
- ASRock Z390 Taichi (LGA1151v2, Intel Z390).
- Memory: 2×8 GB DDR4-3600 SDRAM, 16-16-16-36 (G.Skill Trident Z RGB F4-3600C16D-16GTZR).
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (TU102, 1350/14000 MHz, 11 GB GDDR6 352-bit).
- Disk subsystem: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB (MZ-V7S2T0).
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB 1000W Titanium (80 Plus Titanium, 1000W).
In tests, almost all modern processors worked with memory in DDR4-3600 mode with XMP timings (16-16-16-36). An exception was made for two cases. First, for the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, which are not compatible with DDR4-3600 due to memory controller limitations. These CPUs were tested with DDR4-3200 with an aggressive 14-14-14-32 timing scheme. Secondly, an exception was made for the Core i5-9400, which in the assemblies of economical users can fall into the “bad company” with a budget motherboard, as a result of which it will have to be content with only DDR4-2666. Therefore, we tested the junior Intel six-core processor twice: both with a full-fledged DDR4-3600 and with a compromise DDR4-2666 14-14-14-30. The results of the Core i5-9400 when working with slow memory will be highlighted in the diagrams.
All compared processors were tested with the settings accepted by the motherboard manufacturers «by default». This means that the power consumption limits indicated in the specifications are ignored and the maximum possible frequencies are used in order to obtain maximum performance. It is worth emphasizing that the vast majority of users operate processors in this mode, since enabling limits on heat dissipation and power consumption requires special BIOS settings.
Testing was performed on the Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (v1903) Build 18362.175 operating system using the following driver set:
- AMD Chipset Driver 126.96.36.1993;
- Intel Chipset Driver 10.1.1.45;
- Intel Management Engine Interface Driver 188.8.131.527;
- NVIDIA GeForce 441.08 Driver.
Description of the tools used to measure computing performance:
- Futuremark PCMark 10 Professional Edition 2.0.2144 — testing in Essentials scenarios (typical work of the average user: launching applications, surfing the Internet, video conferencing), Productivity (office work with a word processor and spreadsheets), Digital Content Creation (digital content creation: editing photographs, non-linear video editing, rendering and visualization of 3D models). OpenCL hardware acceleration is disabled.
- 3DMark Professional Edition 2.10.6799 — testing in the Time Spy Extreme 1.0 scene.
- 7-zip 19.00 — archiving speed testing. The time taken by the archiver to compress a directory with various files with a total volume of 3.1 GB is measured. The LZMA2 algorithm and the maximum compression ratio are used.
- Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.6 — Graphics performance testing. The average execution time of the Puget Systems Adobe Photoshop CC Benchmark 18.10 test script, which simulates the typical processing of an image taken by a digital camera, is measured.
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 8.4.1 — performance testing for batch processing of a series of images in RAW format. The test scenario includes post-processing and export to JPEG at 1920 × 1080 resolution and maximum quality of two hundred 16-megapixel RAW images taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera.
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 13.1.5 — performance testing for non-linear video editing. It measures the rendering time to YouTube 4K format of a project containing HDV 2160p30 footage with various effects applied.
- Blender 2.80 — testing the speed of the final rendering in one of the popular free packages for creating three-dimensional graphics. The duration of building the final bmw27 model from Blender Benchmark is measured.
- Stockfish 10 — testing the speed of the popular chess engine. The speed of enumeration of variants in the position «1q6/1r2k1p1/4pp1p/1P1b1P2/3Q4/7P/4B1P1/2R3K1 w» is measured.
- V-Ray 4.10.03 — testing the performance of a popular rendering system using the standard V-Ray Benchmark Next application;
- x265 3.2+9 10bpp — testing the speed of video transcoding to the promising H.265/HEVC format. To evaluate performance, we use the original 2160p@24FPS AVC video file with a bitrate of about 42 Mbps.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Graphics Quality = Ultra High.
- Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. Resolution 1920×1080: DirectX 12, MSAA=4x, Performance Impact=Ultra, Memory Impact=Ultra.
- Far Cry 5. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Graphics Quality = Ultra, HD Textures = On, Anti-Aliasing = TAA, Motion Blur = On.
- Hitman 2. 1920 × 1080 resolution: DirectX 12, Super Sampling = 1.0, Level of Detail = Ultra, Anti-Aliasing = FXAA, Texture Quality = High, Texture Filter = Anisotropic 16x, SSAO = On, Shadow Maps = Ultra, Shadow Resolution = high.
- Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Overall Image Quality = Ultra High.
- Metro Exodus. 1920×1080 resolution: DirectX 12, Quality=Ultra, Texture Filtering=AF 16X, Motion Blur=Normal, Tesselation=Full, Advanced PhysX=Off, Hairworks=Off, Ray Trace=Off, DLSS=Off.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Resolution 1920×1080: DirectX12, Preset=Highest, Anti-Aliasing=TAA.
- Total War: Three Kingdoms. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX 12, Quality = Ultra, Unit Size = Extreme.
- Watch Dogs 2. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Field of View = 70°, Pixel Density = 1.00, Graphics Quality = Ultra, Extra Details = 100%.
- World of Tanks en Core RT. Resolution 1920 × 1080: Quality Preset = Ultra, Antialiasing = Ultra, Ray Traced Shadows = Ultra.
- World War Z. Resolution 1920 × 1080: DirectX11, Visual Quality Preset = Ultra.
In all gaming tests, the results are the average number of frames per second, as well as the 0.01-quantile (first percentile) for FPS values. The use of the 0.01-quantile instead of the minimum FPS is due to the desire to clean up the results from random bursts of performance that were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.
⇡#Performance in complex tests
In terms of performance in common office and Internet applications, the new Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 look very good. Their six single-threaded cores are enough to work with such a load, and a large amount of cache memory allows them to often be even faster than Intel processors of the same class. In other words, AMD’s junior six-core processors can be used in office and home computers aimed at solving typical tasks.
However, if we talk about performance when creating digital content, then the lack of SMT technology in the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 has a noticeable effect. For example, the Ryzen 5 3600 outperforms the Ryzen 5 3500X in this scenario by a massive 16%. However, in fairness, it should be noted that, firstly, the six-thread Ryzen 5 3500X on the Zen 2 microarchitecture almost does not lose to the twelve-thread six-core Ryzen 5 2600X of the previous generation. And secondly, the performance of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 in creative applications is better than the Core i5-9400 (Core i5-9400F).
The results in the 3DMark graphics test, which evaluates hypothetical gaming performance under the condition of high-quality code optimization for multithreading and modern processor instructions, will not please AMD fans. Here, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 are inferior to Intel processors of the same class and the previous generation of six-core processors. The disabling of SMT technology in new products led to the fact that according to the 3DMark processor index they rolled back by almost 30% relative to Ryzen 5 3600. Only the proximity of the results of Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 may seem positive here: you might think that halving the L3 cache for carriers of the Zen 2 microarchitecture does not lead to any catastrophic consequences.
⇡#Performance in applications
If we talk about the performance of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 in resource-intensive applications in general, then it is quite legitimate to oppose them to the Core i5-9400. Having a similar core formula and similar operating frequencies, they give on average about the same or even slightly better performance, but, of course, not without nuances. For example, it is impossible not to notice that the younger six-core AMD processors outperform equivalent Intel processors in image processing, in Internet tasks, and in the analysis of chess positions.
However, disabling SMT technology in the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 still leads to a very noticeable decrease in performance. If we compare the speed of these processors with the speed of the Ryzen 5 3600, it turns out that the advantage of a full six-core is 20-25% and can go up to 30-35% in computational multi-threaded applications like rendering.
At the same time, the difference in the size of the L3 cache of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 has very little effect. The Chinese processor is literally 3% faster than the Russian one, and you can see a more significant advantage only in special conditions, for example, when archiving or when processing images.
As a result, if you choose a processor with a cost of about $ 100 with an eye to creating content and solving resource-intensive tasks, then it is better to pay attention to the previous generation Ryzen. This budget may include, for example, the six-core and twelve-thread Ryzen 5 2600X, which, according to test results, is somewhat more powerful than the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 processors that lack SMT support.
⇡ # Performance in games
The gaming performance of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 is the most interesting point in today’s testing, because AMD is promoting these processors as an alternative to the Core i5-9400F precisely as the basis for low-cost gaming systems. But with AMD’s opinion that the new younger Ryzen can provide comparable performance in games, we can only partly agree.
Look at the results for Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 3500X. Disabling SMT and a lower limit frequency in turbo mode costs the Chinese novelty a drop in game performance by an average of 5%, however, in a number of games that actively use multithreading (Total War: Three Kingdoms or Watch Dogs 2), the difference in the number of FPS can reach up to 15 %. Halving the L3 cache in the Ryzen 5 3500 reduces gaming performance by an additional 5-7%, and as a result we get six-core processors, which, unlike the Ryzen 5 3600, somewhat fall short of the level of the Core i5-9400 (Core i5-9400F) .
If we talk about the average frame rate, then the Ryzen 5 3500X is 7% weaker than the younger six-core Intel processor, and the Ryzen 5 3500 loses almost 12% to its Intel competitor. In other words, the task set for itself to create an inexpensive gaming processor capable of withstanding the Core i5-9400F, AMD did not achieve the highest score. Only the Ryzen 5 3500X can compete with the Core i5-9400F, and only if the Intel processor is placed on a budget platform with an H370, B360 or P310 chipset, which will artificially restrain its potential.
The younger Ryzen 5 3500 loses to the Core i5-9400 (Core i5-9400F) even with a handicap in the form of one and a half times faster memory, so the only argument AMD can use to attract gamers to it is the lower price. However, whether the company will reduce the price is a controversial issue, since even in its current form, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 can create serious problems for sales of second-generation six-core Ryzen 5. After all, as the test results show, in games the Ryzen 5 3500 looks better than the Ryzen 5 2600X.
We have already written more than once about the fact that AMD made checking the overclocking potential in tests of Ryzen 3000 processors an almost useless procedure. But it turns out that this is not the only aspect that makes less and less sense to address during comparative tests. Lose their value and energy consumption tests. The point is that AMD keeps on refining the frequency formula and the power supply scheme of its processors, as a result of which, with the release of new AGESA libraries and new versions of the chipset driver, the consumption of processors keeps changing. Therefore, the indicators that we saw today may be completely invalid tomorrow as a result of some regular optimizations. Moreover, as practice shows, the changes that have taken place can be very noticeable.
Nevertheless, we are not yet ready to completely exclude energy consumption tests from the scope of our attention, therefore we present the measurement results «as is». The graphs below show the total consumption of systems (without a monitor), measured «after» the power supply, which is the sum of the power consumption of all components involved in the system. The efficiency of the power supply itself in this case is not taken into account.
In general, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 show themselves to be quite economical chips, but in terms of energy efficiency, the Core i5-9400 still looks a little better. Along the way, one more interesting point should be noted: the Ryzen 5 3500X turned out to be a more modest consumer than the Ryzen 5 3500. But this is due to the peculiarities of the copies that we got: the Ryzen 5 3500 based on a crystal with high leakage currents and the Ryzen 5 3500X — with a crystal with low leaks.
AMD’s regional six-core Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 processors aren’t as compelling as the older 3rd generation Ryzen family members. It seems that when defining the characteristics of its younger six-core processors, AMD was thinking not so much about how to make the best processor in its price category, but about maneuvering between the existing own proposals of both the current and the previous generation. As a result, the specifications of the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 were cut too much, and their price was not low enough.
All this is well illustrated by the test results. Simply disabling SMT technology causes the Ryzen 5 3500X to slow down by 25-30% in multi-threaded creative workloads and 5-15% in games compared to the full-fledged Ryzen 5 3600. Therefore, in resource-intensive applications, it definitely performs worse than the similarly priced six-core Ryzen 5 2600X with the previous Zen + microarchitecture. In addition to this, in games, the Ryzen 5 3500X, unlike the full-fledged six-core Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600, no longer outperforms the competing Core i5-9400F (Core i5-9400) even in a situation where the Intel processor is weakened by a cheap platform with a frail by today’s standards of RAM.
But do not forget that the Ryzen 5 3500X is actually a processor for the Chinese market, which you can buy in our country only using the services of online stores specializing in cross-border trade. The Ryzen 5 3500, which arrived on the Russian market through the official channel, turned out to be even worse, because half of the cache memory was additionally cut off in it. And such a completely constrained six-core CPU can only claim to be a rational option for inexpensive gaming systems if it costs significantly less than the $157 Core i5-9400F, which is currently not observed.
However, this should not be interpreted as a sentence. The Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 have just hit the market, and their status means that AMD is ready to adjust the price list to demand and market conditions. Therefore, we can hope that the prices for the younger six-cores, and primarily for the Russian Ryzen 5 3500, will soon come in line with the capabilities they offer. It seems to us that if the price of the Ryzen 5 3500 drops by an additional $100, then this processor may well be considered a suitable option for use in low-cost gaming systems. In the end, when we say that the Ryzen 5 3500 loses to the younger six-core Intel under gaming load, we do not mean a dramatic lag. The difference with the Core i5-9400F in the average frame rate in modern games is no more than 10-15%, and these percentages are quite easy to compensate for the price.
However, the Ryzen 5 3500X and Ryzen 5 3500 still could not solve the initially set task: they failed to become a direct alternative to the Core i5-9400F. While AMD’s lower six-core processors outperform Intel’s offering in resource-intensive tasks, their gaming performance was half a step or even a step lower, as if hinting that disabling SMT technology in modern six-core processors is far from the best idea.