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AMD’s Ryzen 5 3500X Selling in US, No Longer China Exclusive

AMD Ryzen 5 3500X
(Image credit: Future)

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, you can find the 3500X going for $219.99 and on Newegg.com 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.

  • Samipini
    This will be a rather niche product IMO. No one will choose this CPU over the rocket lake counterparts, but the lack of SMT can mean some power savings, and this might be popular for internet cafes or schools that want efficiency to lower their power bill. To further back my theory, Internet cafe users would not need SMT anyway. 6 threads are enough for games today, and students can get away with even 2 cores.
    Mini pc builders should opt for mobile chips.
    Reply
  • RodroX
    Prices makes no sense since last year, and I guess it will only get worst with all the silicon shortage.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    These region-only / China-only etc parts don't really make any sense to me. I can see some reasons why OEM-only makes sense, particularly for CPUs that are soldered on or also mobile where there's never been such thing as a build-your-own laptop.

    But if Newegg wants to buy 10x by 100x etc trays of Ryzen 5 3500X or Ryzen 7 PRO 4750GE, why would AMD prevent that? Not quite understanding this.
    Reply
  • Wendigo
    It can be interesting as an upgrade for people stuck with a Ryzen 1xxx or 2xxx series CPU on a B3xx motherboard who doesn’t want to buy a used CPU. For them Intel isn’t an option, nor the Ryzen 5000 series.
    The only option right now is going for a 3600, if one is found at a decent price, or higher CPU. But price then become an issue if all you want is a cheap upgrade to extend the life of the platform as 3100 and 3300x are unavailable (and maybe will never be back).
    Reply
  • watzupken
    Its the cheapest 6 core processor, but given very strong competition from Intel at the lower end, this processor makes no sense at all since it is likely going to be consistently slower.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Samipini said:
    ...but the lack of SMT can mean some power savings, and this might be popular for internet cafes or schools that want efficiency to lower their power bill. To further back my theory, Internet cafe users would not need SMT anyway. 6 threads are enough for games today, and students can get away with even 2 cores.
    Disabling SMT is not likely to reduce power draw by any significant amount, aside from in tasks fully utilizing all cores, and even in those cases you will be losing an amount of performance that's disproportionately larger than the amount of power being saved, meaning you will actually see lower efficiency without SMT. It could even increase the power draw in some less heavily-threaded workloads if two threads that could efficiently be run on one core with SMT, need to be run on two cores instead. SMT is in part a power-saving feature (and in part a silicon-saving feature), since it allows each core to be more efficiently utilized for multithreaded workloads with a minimal increase in chip size and power draw relative to the performance gained.

    And this is all the same silicon. The 3500X utilizes the same 8-core, 16-thread chiplet as the other 3000-series desktop processors, just with 2 cores disabled much like the 3600 and 3600X, but also with the use of SMT locked out. So at idle and in lightly-threaded workloads, power draw will be very similar between the 3500X, 3600 and 3600X.

    watzupken said:
    Its the cheapest 6 core processor, but given very strong competition from Intel at the lower end, this processor makes no sense at all since it is likely going to be consistently slower.
    It's not the cheapest 6-core at this time, and being a 6-core processor doesn't matter all that much if it lacks SMT. It will in most cases perform like a 4-core, 8-thread processor at both light and heavily-threaded workloads. It really should not be priced much higher than the 3300X's $120 MSRP, even though that CPU was only available in limited quantities. And I suspect the OEMs were not paying much more than that for them.

    Most likely, the 3500X is only coming to US online stores now as OEMs try to offload them to make room for new and upcoming processors in this range from both Intel and AMD. Even last-year's i5-10400/10400F outperforms this processor at heavily-multithreaded tasks by a decent margin due to its inclusion of SMT, while providing similar performance at lightly-threaded workloads, and those processors can now be had starting at a little over $150, so a 3500X should be priced below that at this point. Likewise, the new i5-11400/11400F outperforms the 3600 and 3600X by a decent margin and are priced under $190 for the version with integrated graphics, and even less for the version without (when its in-stock), so paying $200+ for the 3600 or 3600X no longer makes much sense either. The 3600 really needs to be priced more like the $160-$170 sale pricing it was seeing for much of last year for it to be worth considering, and the 3600X not much more, while the 3500X should be priced no more than $130-$140 to properly compete with Intel's current lineup.

    Of course, it's unlikely that these processors are being manufactured in any significant quantities at this point, and we will likely be seeing them replaced with more value-oriented 5000-series models eventually, once AMD manages to catch up enough on supply to justify dedicating more of their limited manufacturing capacity to lower-end processors.
    Reply