Once a China-exclusive, AMD's Ryzen 5 3500X is now being sold as a retail chip in several online American stores. This makes the 3500X AMD's cheapest CPU to purchase amidst the shortage right now, with the Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100 nowhere in sight.
Despite the chip being AMD's cheapest Ryzen 5 offering (that is still in production), it is no slouch when it comes to gaming performance. The chip packs six Zen 2 cores, 32MB of L3 cache, and a respectable core frequency of 3.6GHz base and 4.1GHz boost.
In our review of the Ryzen 5 3500X, we found it to be a surprisingly fast little chip; with performance matching that of the Ryzen 5 3600 and even the 3600X in most gaming titles. Only in a couple of heavily CPU-intensive titles did the 3500X's lack of simultaneous multithreading to be a hindrance.
Unfortunately, it's not all fine and dandy for the 3500X, as pricing for this CPU is terrible. On Amazon (opens in new tab), you can find the 3500X going for $219.99 and on Newegg.com (opens in new tab) it is selling for $173.99. Though beware of the Newegg listing, as the 3500X's sold there are from a third party with poor user reviews.
Amazon'd price of $219.99 is hard to swallow when you can get a more competitive processor from Intel's mid-range Comet Lake and Rocket Lake lineup. Some of the best mid-range CPUs like Intel's Core i5-10600K are going for the exact same price, and even better is Intel's Core i5-11400 and 11400F which you can find for around $180.
The only way you can justify the price of AMD's 3500X is if you pair the chip with a budget-oriented B450 motherboard. But even then, Intel's equivalent B460 motherboards are just $10 to $20 more expensive than a similarly specced B450 board. So going with the 3500X will really depend on how tight your budget is for a motherboard.
That is a real shame since the Ryzen 5 3500X has plenty of gaming performance to offer, but we'd really like to see it cheaper than the i5-11400 for it to be a competitive offering in the sub-$200 CPU landscape.
For more deals on the best CPUs, check out our best CPU deals page here.