The AMD Ryzen 3500X stands as the lone Ryzen 3000-series processor to come without threading, but the tradeoffs associated with that distinction are clear. We measured higher performance in many of our gaming benchmarks, but performance will vary based upon the game, so it can also result in lower performance in some titles.
While disabling threading isn't a panacea that boosts performance in all games, it does have a universal impact on performance in threaded workloads. As we have seen throughout our test suite, the AMD Ryzen 3500X's disabled threading feature resulted in substantially lower performance in threaded applications compared to other 3000-series Ryzen processors.
Threading plays to the strengths of AMD's Zen architecture and has cemented the Ryzen 3000 series as the apex predator in desktop PCs for threaded workloads, like productivity and creation applications. Still, there's a long list of pros and cons associated with disabling the feature. AMD obviously took that complicated matrix into account when it decided to enable the feature on all of its retail chips, instead assuring the best mix of performance for the broadest cross-section of the market. The company is also renowned for not skimping on features in the name of segmentation, earning praise from enthusiasts and casual users alike, which it likely took into consideration when building out its product stack.
The Zen microarchitecture does leave plenty of room for customizations, though, and the pared-back model makes sense for high-volume customers in the OEM and system integrator markets. AMD has struggled to gain as much traction in this market as it has in DIY circles, largely due to a lack of integrated graphics on its models that come with more than four cores.
While OEM systems without a discrete graphics card make up the bulk of the market, Intel's newfound practice of selling graphics-less F-series models to increase its output creates a rare opening for AMD to gain some penetration. That comes as a faster, but slightly pared-back model with a lower price point than the 9400F. And make no mistake, despite what we see in the grey market, AMD is almost certainly significantly undercutting the 9400F's pricing in volume sales.
AMD accomplished that goal; the Ryzen 5 3500X beats the Core i5-9400F in nearly all of our tests in both gaming and productivity applications. However, while this low-cost chip with superior performance makes sense for the target market, it isn't as good of a fit for the retail side. Especially in light of AMD's looming Ryzen 3 launch.
In either case, you can score the AMD Ryzen 3500X through various resellers for pricing that fluctuates wildly between $190 to $240. The 3500X ships from Asia, so be prepared to spend some extra cash on shipping, too. The AMD Ryzen 3500X would make a nice pairing with a previous-gen B-series motherboard, but you'll lose support for PCIe 4.0 in exchange. AMD is on the cusp of releasing its B460 lineup of motherboards, but the new AMD Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100 both arrive with that launch, too. If you're looking for a value chip, the new Ryzen 3 CPUs look like the processors to beat.
Overall, the Ryzen 5 3500X is a solid chip that's certainly interesting and would be a nice addition for a collector. Still, enthusiasts should stick with AMD's retail models for the best mix of price and performance.
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