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AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Review: First-Gen Zen Gets Refreshed

Zen and Vega go for round two.

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
(Image: © AMD)

Our Verdict

The Ryzen 5 3400G is a great niche part for low-cost systems built around integrated graphics, like budget gaming rigs, HTPCs, and basic computers. But keep your eye out for deals on cheaper previous-gen competitors.

For

  • Radeon Vega graphics
  • Price
  • Higher frequencies
  • Passable 1080p, solid 720p gaming
  • Auto-overclocking PBO support
  • Solder TIM
  • Bundled cooler

Against

  • Lower performance in applications than alternatives
  • Small performance advantage over previous-gen

AMD's four-core eight-thread Ryzen 5 3400G comes packing AMD's Zen+ processing cores paired with AMD's RX Vega integrated graphics engine, a combo that's surely to land among the list of best CPUs for gaming because it can push playable framerates for low-resolution gaming if you're willing to make the trade-off of lower quality settings. 

It's hard to believe the industry was stuck on four-core eight-thread processors as flagships for nearly a decade, but AMD has changed that paradigm entirely. Now instead of dropping ~$330 for a flagship quad-core eight-thread processor with insufficient integrated graphics like we did back in 2017, AMD's low-end Ryzen 5 3400G comes with four cores and eight threads for a mere $150; and you get a capable graphics engine that can even handle some FHD gaming, too.

However, AMD has a staggered naming convention and release cadence for APUs compared to its standard desktop processors, which can be confusing. Most new Ryzen 3000 series models come with the 7nm process and Zen 2 microarchitecture, but the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G APUs still lag a generation behind, so the upgrade isn't as explosive as we've seen with AMD's other 3000-series models. Instead, the chips fall in line with our expectations for AMD's Ryzen 2000-series models. 

AMD has made significant improvements, though. The move to  from the 14nm process to 12nm, along with an optimized Zen+ design, yields solid performance improvements that include a nice bump to the CPU and GPU clocks. The more mature process paired with unlocked multipliers also facilitates higher overclocking ceilings for the CPU, GPU and memory. That combination, along with a beefier bundled cooler and Solder TIM, makes the Ryzen 5 3400G the processor to beat for systems built around integrated graphics for low-resolution budget gaming rigs. 

Ryzen 3000-series "Picasso" APUs

The Ryzen 3000-series "Picasso" APUs snap into the tried-and-true AM4 socket, so they'll work with A320, B450, and X470/570 motherboards, along with the full gamut of AM4-compatible CPU coolers. 

The 3000-series APUs come with the same basic design found in the first-gen models, but AMD moved forward to the Zen+ architecture, which features faster transistors in critical pathways that enable lower-latency cache and memory access. Those improvements facilitate a ~3% improvement to instruction per cycle (IPC) throughput, along with power efficiency gains borne of the transition from the 14nm process to the 12nm LP node that also equate to higher overclocking potential. 

Ryzen 5 3400GRyzen 5 2400GRyzen 3 3200GRyzen 3 2200G
Price (SEP)$149$169 (Launch price)$99$99 (Launch price)
CPU Cores/Threads4 / 84 / 84 / 44 / 4
CPU Base/ Boost (GHz)3.7 / 4.23.6 / 3.93.6 / 4.0 3.5 / 3.7
iGPU - CUsRX Vega 11RX Vega 11 RX Vega 8RX Vega 8
iGPU Base/Boost (MHz)up to 1400up to 1250up to 1250up to 1100
Bundled Cooler95W Wraith Spire65W Wraith Stealth65W Wraith Stealth65W Wraith Stealth
Processor TIMIndium SolderThermal PasteThermal PasteThermal Paste
L3 Cache4MB4MB4MB4MB
Memory Speedup to DDR4-2933up to DDR4-2933up to DDR4-2933up to DDR4-2933
PCIe LanesPCIe 3.0 x8PCIe 3.0 x8PCIe 3.0 x8PCIe 3.0 x8
TDP 65W65W65W65W
Process12nm14nm12nm14nm

The more efficient process and architectural tweaks afford plenty of advantages, but increased power efficiency is among the most important. AMD increased the base and boost clocks on the Picasso APUs by 100 MHz and 300 MHz, respectively, over the previous-gen models, but due to the optimized design, the chips remain within the same 65W TDP envelope. The Radeon Vega graphics engines also move forward 150MHz. 

The Ryzen 5 3400G comes with four cores and eight threads for $149, while stepping back to the four-core Ryzen 3 3200G trades simultaneous multithreading (SMT) and lower CPU and GPU clocks for a $99 price point. 

As before, both APUs come with unlocked multipliers for easy overclocking, but AMD also added Solder TIM and now supports the auto-overclocking Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) feature with the Ryzen 5 3400G. The chip also features higher overclocking potential that AMD accommodates by stepping up from the bundled 65W Wraith Stealth cooler that came with the 2400G to the beefier 95W Wraith Spire cooler. Unfortunately, the Ryzen 3 3200G still comes with standard thermal paste and the same 65W Wraith Stealth cooler as its predecessor, but it's still sufficient given the 3200G's lower clock rates. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Memory support for both chips remains the same with (up to) dual-channel DDR4-2933. Aside from clock rates, the Ryzen 5 3400G's Radeon Vega 11 graphics engine and the Ryzen 3 3200G's Radeon Vega 8 graphics also remain unchanged. However, AMD's graphics drivers have improved quite a bit since our last encounter with the 2000-series APUs, adding new features like support for Microsoft's PlayReady 3.0 for ultra-HD 4K protected content acceleration and Radeon Anti-Lag, which reduces input lag in GPU-limited scenarios. 

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(Image credit: AMD)
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(Image credit: AMD)
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(Image credit: AMD)

Overclocking

We experimented with both AMD's auto-overclocking PBO feature, which is a welcome addition to the Ryzen 5 3400G, and manual overclocking, but we found that manual tuning unlocked bigger performance gains. That holds particularly true for the graphics engine, which isn't impacted by the auto-overclocking feature.  

We dialed in a 1.25V VCCDR SoC voltage paired with 1.38V vCore to bring the Ryzen 5 3400G's execution cores up to 4.2 GHz, which is a nice improvement over the maximum 4.0 GHz overclock we pulled off with the previous-gen 2400G. Pushing the graphics engine up to 1.2V also unlocked a solid 1700 MHz graphics clock rate, another nice improvement over the previous-gen's maximum 1555 MHz. 

We also overclocked the memory to DDR4-3466 with 14-14-14-34 timings, which was a decent improvement over the 2400G's DDR4-2933. Given the big impact of memory throughput on integrated graphics performance, this yielded another nice bump to iGPU gaming performance, but it's noteworthy that most memory kits that support that high of a memory data transfer rate tend to be pricey for a budget build. Results will vary with cheaper kits.  

We found the 3400G's stock cooler to be more than adequate for overclocking, topping out at 82C with our fully overclocked settings. During less-demanding workloads, the chip often hovered in the mid-70's.  

Test Systems

AMD Socket AM4 (X570)

Ryzen 5 2400G/2400G, Ryzen 3 3200G, Ryzen 5 3600

MSI MEG X570 Godlike / ASUS B450M Plus (iGPU)

2x 8GB G.Skill Flare DDR4-3200

Ryzen 3000 - DDR4-3200, DDR4-3600

Second-gen Ryzen - DDR4-2933, DDR4-3466
Intel LGA 1151 (Z390)

Intel Core i5-9600K, Core i5-9400F, i3-9350KF, i3-9100

MSI MEG Z390 Godlike / MSI MPG Z390 (iGPU)

2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2667 & DDR4-3600
All Systems

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

2TB Intel DC4510 SSD

EVGA Supernova 1600 T2, 1600W

Windows 10 Pro (1903 - All Updates)
Cooling

Corsair H115i

Custom Loop, EKWB Supremacy EVO waterblock, Dual-720mm radiators

AMD Wraith Prism, Wraith Stealth Stock Coolers

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

  • yeti_yeti
    i3-9350K on top in pretty much all of the gaming tests with a discrete gpu? From what I have seen, it is considered a terrible purchase at its MSRP. Didn't expect to see it perform this well in this review.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    yeti_yeti said:
    i3-9350K on top in pretty much all of the gaming tests with a discrete gpu? From what I have seen, it is considered a terrible purchase at its MSRP. Didn't expect to see it perform this well in this review.
    Yeah these are only a decent buy if you're looking for something with a strong iGPU. Even then, these are stopgaps until the Zen 2 powered APUs hit - although that might be a while, since they're wisely targeting mobile first. They've also been around for a while now, so it's not like a hot new release.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    alextheblue said:
    Yeah these are only a decent buy if you're looking for something with a strong iGPU. Even then, these are stopgaps until the Zen 2 powered APUs hit - although that might be a while, since they're wisely targeting mobile first. They've also been around for a while now, so it's not like a hot new release.

    Which is exactly what makes it surprising that we're seeing a review of it at this late date. But I guess ANY review of actual hardware is a good thing. Better than another "this is on sale" or "check out these deals" piece of clutter.
    Reply
  • domih
    I happen to have i5 9600K, R5 3400g, R3 3200g as generic Linux servers.

    Using InfiniBand FDR (56Gbps) translating into theoretical max ~48Gbe for IPoIB (Internet over InfiniBand) I get the following the iperf3 results:

    44.5 Gbits/sec for the i5 9600K ($243 on NewEgg) on ASRock Z390M-ITX-ac, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    46.1 Gbits/sec for the R3 3200g ($95 on NewEgg) on ASRock B450M Pro4, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    46.5 Gbits/sec for the R5 3400g ($150 on NewEgg) on ASRock B450M Pro4, 32GB mem @ 3200.
    Kind of statistically similar with a 4% advantage to the R5 3400g over the i5 9600K.
    So while the i5 9600K has 6C/6T, the R5 3400g with 4C/8T can rival the i5 9600K in specific tasks.

    Network cards: Mellanox ConnectX-3 VPI MCX354A-FCBT (about $50 on eBay)
    Switch: Mellanox InfiniBand SX6790 (about $200 on eBay)
    Cables: Mellanox QSFP+ DAC or AOC (for about $25 to $90 unit depending on type or length on eBay)

    CONCLUSION: If you want a fast 40Gbe NAS (SMB IPoIB, NFS IPoIB or RDMA) you must go with recent hardware BUT you do not need to spend thousands of $$$.

    OTHER CONCLUSION: I can hardly wait for the R5 4400g.
    Reply
  • linuxdude
    I don't get it - the 3400G has been released to market over a year ago - why review it now?
    Reply
  • Nick_C
    linuxdude said:
    I don't get it - the 3400G has been released to market over a year ago - why review it now?
    Planting a "refreshed AMD APUs aren't that much better than the older version" message in the readers' consciousness might me seen as an attempt to detract a little from the upcoming release of the 4000 series APUs - which are expected to be rather good....
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    is it true that due to the quirks of on chip memory bandwith, an overclocked R3 3200G pretty much matches an overclocked R5 3400G in integrated gaming performance? is that why AMD WON'T LET BIG REVIEWERS PIT OVERCLOCKED R3 APUs AGAINST R5 APUs?

    please, for us budget gamers out here, will you PLEASE TEST AN OVERCLOCKED RYZEN 3 APU!!!!
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    WHAT'S GOING ON WITH TOM'S HARDWARE'S REVIEWS?

    The whole freaking point of these APUs in this class of processors is all about gaming on the built in graphics, without having to buy an additional graphics card. So, what does Tom's do?

    This is what they do: they only give us just a few games on the iGPU. And then proceed to bore us to tears with a ton of predictable ray tracing and compression and encoding benchmarks. What, a 6c/12t will smoke a 4c/4t in Handbrake?!?! COLOR ME SHOCKED :eek:

    at LEAST run the same tests on the iGPU as you did on discrete cards.
    Reply
  • piquard4567
    please fix your POV-RAY Single Core charts already!

    you are using different versions of POV-RAY without noting it, which is a no-no in benchmarking
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Darkbreeze said:
    Which is exactly what makes it surprising that we're seeing a review of it at this late date.
    Exactly. Seeing this review, with no apparent acknowledgement of its lateness, sent my head spinning.

    As I thought, it seems the Ryzen 5 3400 G has been available since July, 2019. Retail boxed, no less.

    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/XP6qqs/amd-ryzen-5-3400g-37-ghz-quad-core-processor-yd3400c5fhbox?history_days=365
    Reply