AMD Ryzen 5 3500X Review: China Gets a CPU Exclusive

The China-only AMD Ryzen 3500X packs a punch.

AMD Ryzen 5 3500X
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

VRMark and 3DMark on Ryzen 5 3500X

Synthetic gaming benchmarks often aren't indicative of real-world performance, but the 3DMark DX11 and DX12 tests are interesting because they measure the amount of raw computational horsepower exposed to the game engine. For now, most of today's game engines don't scale as linearly with additional compute resources, but these tests help us gauge how games could exploit processing resources as the engines become more sophisticated.

In the synthetic world of the Fire Strike benchmark, the Ryzen 5 3500X falls to its more powerful 3600X and 3600 counterparts, which isn't surprising given the 3500X's lack of threading. However, The Ryzen 5 3500X outstrips the Core i5-9400F due to its 700 MHz base clock speed advantage. A similar story plays out in the Time Spy benchmark, though the Core i5-9400F wrests away the lead at stock settings. The 3500X edges past after overclocking to 4.2 GHz, but the Core i5-9400F can't fire back due to a locked multiplier that prevents overclocking.

VRMark test prizes per-core performance (a mixture of frequency and IPC), and it obviously prefers physical cores and L3 cache. The 3500X's lack of threading helps as it beats out the more expensive Ryzen 3600X and takes the lead against all but the overclocked Core i3-9350KF. That bodes well for performance in lightly-threaded games. 

Civilization VI AI and Stockfish on Ryzen 5 3500X

Civilization VI prizes per-core performance, so it isn't surprising to see the overclocked 9350KF take the lead in this test of AI engine performance in a turn-based strategy game, but it is surprising to see the overclocked Ryzen 5 3500X trail by a mere 0.01 seconds. At stock settings, the 3500X unseats the Core i5-9400F.

Stockfish, an open-source chess engine, is designed to extract the utmost performance from many-core chips by scaling well up to 512 cores. That scalability meshes well with the chips that support threading, but obviously punishes the 3500X. In either case, the 3500X matches the Core i5-9400F thread-for-thread but has a much higher base frequency, lending it the advantage.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation loves cores and threads but clock rates play a role, too. The Ryzen 5 3500X falls to the previous-gen Ryzen 5 2600X that comes armed with twelve threads, and essentially ties the Core i5-9400F. In spite of the 2600X's less-performant previous-gen Zen architecture, more threads in these types of games often equates to more performance. 

Civilization VI Graphics Test on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Civilization VI is known for its preference for high clock rates. The 3500X trails the stock 3600X slightly, but overclocking propels it into the lead as it even beats the nimble overclocked Core i3-9350KF. The 3500X's lack of threading and massive 32MB  cache obviously come into play here. 

Dawn of War III on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Warhammer 40,000 benchmark responds well to threading, but it's clear that clock speed and IPC has an impact as the overclocked 4C/4T Core i3-9350KF takes the top of the chart. The 3500X is potent, though, as it notches a big lead at stock settings over the Core i5-9400F and takes second place after overclocking. 

Far Cry 5 on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The overclocked Core i3-9350KF takes a huge lead in Far Cry 5 while the overclocked 3500X struggles to match it at stock settings. In either case, the 3500X trails the 9350KF slightly at stock settings, but takes a big lead after tuning. 

Final Fantasy XV on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We run this test with the standard quality preset to sidestep the impact of a bug that causes the game engine to render off-screen objects with the higher-resolution setting. Threading becomes more of an advantage here as the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 ekes out a lead over its stock counterpart the 3600X. It also beats the tuned 3500X. 

Hitman 2 on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Hitman 2 finds the overclocked Ryzen 5 3500X once again taking the top of the chart, reminding us that hyperthreading can be a burden in some games. The Core i5-9400F falls behind the 3500X once again, but that's becoming a repetitive theme. 

Project Cars 2 on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Although Project CARS 2 is purportedly optimized for threading, clock rates obviously affect this title's frame rates. The 9400F takes a slight win in this title, while the Core i3-9350KF unleashes the power of Intel's clock speed advantage.  

World of Tanks enCore on Ryzen 5 3500X

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The World of Tanks benchmark doesn't hold any surprises, the 9350KF once again proves to be a potent force while the 3500X posts surprisingly strong results. 


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Benchmark Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • refillable
    We have plenty of these in Indonesia, but I'd pass this for a 2600 or 1600AF. They're a bit cheaper and have more threads that would be useful once games starts to be optimized for 8C/16T CPUs.
  • gfg
    2016 and AMD looked like they had the coffin bought .... but 2017 came and Ryzen appeared:
    Newly announced Ryzen 3 3100X and 3300X are worth $ D99 and $ D120 very comparable to a two-year-old Core i7 7700 that were worth 3-4 times more.
    Ryzen 9 3950X 16/32 cores / threads from U $ DS750 which is the High End on desktop PC ... broke the floor to U $ D2000 processors from Intel professional workstations.
    Thread Ripper 3990X 64 cores / 128 threads and 288 MB of total cache, forced Intel to completely surrender the crown of professional workstations, it seems Japan defeated in the second world war by the US in this sector, it has nothing at all to compete at this level against AMD.
    Ryzen Mobile 4000: Ryzen 4900HS 8 cores / 16 threads 35W, integrated igpu comparable in power to a Geforce MX250, is in notebook in the price range of U $ D1400 and is equated with the Intel 10980HK 8/16 core CPU / 45W wires and comparable remaining specifications where the price far exceeds U $ D2500 ... * Intel PCI-E 4.0 vs 3.0 in the entire range of PCs and more connection lines in each product range vs. Intel.
    On the server side, Epyc is an excellent processor with a top of the range of 64/128 cores and 128 PCI-E 4.0 lines, although it is difficult to overcome the root part of Intel in this regard. Still, AMD already has contracts for the world's fastest supercomputers where EL Capitan with a theoretical maximum capacity of 2.0 Exaflops and Frontier of 1.5 Exaflops outperforms all other Supercomputer projects. Intel has Aurora programmed for "only" 1.0 Exaflop, meaning "1 Exaflop" for "1 million Teraflops". In no case is Nvidia part of this panorama and at the moment it does not have new contracts of this scale in the future, although it is currently the leader in most of the top500. * And there are new Ryzen 3 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU architectures out by the end of the year, the future looks bright if things get right, and Intel continues on the current timeline.
    And finally out of the PC world, next-gen consoles have comparable specs to a Ryzen 7 3700 and Radeon 5700XT with slightly lower clocks, an improvement especially in CPUs that was heavily needed to upgrade the graphics-quality floor to current game titles, by the fact of sharing PC and Console platforms and the console has always limited PCs in recent years. I summarize ... Thanks AMD !, Thanks Advanced Micro Device !!!
  • Zarax
    What would be extremely interesting is a review of how AMD HEDT chips fare in gaming with SMT disabled.
    It was done for the 2000 series and it would be interesting to repeat the test for the 3000 too.
  • RodroX
    Nice review, too bad the price is soo high. I guess for an all around office PC it will be a very powerfull chip, but thats it. If the price was around U$100, it could be a nice budget CPU for some games.

    I feel both the Ryzen 5 3500X and the Core i3 9350KF are kinda pointless. The first is too expensive and the lack of HT turn it sorta useless against the Ryzen 5 1600AF and 2600, heck for the same price you could get a Ryzen 5 3600. The second it only make sense if you are going to OC and for that you need to dish out a lot of cash for high end motherboard, so you are better off getting a budget B450 mobo and a higher core and threads Ryzen CPU.
  • hennes
    "Intel Core i5-9400F review, that CPU ticks at a 2.9 GHz base clock and . But "

    Half sentence?

    " the AMD Ryzen 5 3500X handles just like any other Ryzen 300 chip. "

    Otherwise a fun read :)
  • panathas
    The B460 is a new upcoming INTEL chipset and not an AMD one. The correct AMD chipset is the B450 or the new B550.
  • mdd1963
    With the rather noted (and surprisingly high,IMO) placing of the 9350K here, it's almost like someone went out of their way to find the last 5-6 semi-popular games that still did quite well on 4 threads, even at 1% lows...and used just those. :)