In a much-anticipated release, Silicon Lottery just launched its binned Ryzen 3000 series processor lineup. Silicon Lottery specializes in buying massive quantities of CPUs and testing them to sort out the best from the worst in process called binning, then sells the premium chips to customers with a markup.
The company offers four different SKUs in the Ryzen 7 3700X and 3800X along with Ryzen 9 3900X (3950X data will be released come September when the CPUs are actually available). What we can glean from the binning of these CPUs may be a bit of a disappointment for some as, so far, the highest bin out of any of these chips is 4.3 GHz (on a 3800X). What may be worse than this news is that Silicon Lottery feels this is writing on the wall about CPUs being close to maxed out, which it sees as the beginning of the end for their business in this form.
Before we get into what the firm had to say on Reddit, we’ll share the bins they came up with for each processor:
Ryzen 7 3700X
- 4.05 GHz @ 1.237V, $300
- 4.10 GHz @ 1.25V, $320
- 4.15 GHz @ 1.26V, $340
Ryzen 7 3800X
- 4.20 GHz @ 1.275V, $370
- 4.25 GHz @ 1.287V, $430
- 4.30 GHz @ 1.300V, $610
Ryzen 9 3900X
- 4.00 GHz @ 1.200V, $470
- 4.05 GHz @ 1.212V, $500
- 4.10 GHz @ 1.225V, $530
- 4.15 GHz @ 1.237V, $590
- 4.20 GHz @ 1.25V, $810
While the clock speeds are, in general, low-peaking at 4.3 GHz on the 3800X, the good news is a couple of SKUs are actually selling for less than MSRP. As usual, the higher binned models fetch a premium with the highest binned 3900X selling for over $800 - more expensive than the Ryzen 9 3950X’s MSRP in fact. So while there are deals to be had, there is still a significant premium on the fastest CPUs they offer. I’m personally waiting to see the percentages each bin yielded which should be posted ‘in a couple of weeks’ once they have a larger sample size. Along those lines, the vast majority of these are currently sold out.
The takeaway here is confirmation the AMD processors do not have a lot of overclocking headroom, just as their predecessors. Silicon Lottery (SL) binned Ryzen based CPUs in the past and ran into the same situation. After a few months, they stopped selling those processors as demand simply dried up.
SL posted on reddit the other day to clarify some questions about the launch and share some observations. The company shared its stance about why it bins the CPUs with such little headroom stating, “…as long as we can break even on the labor, I don’t mind carrying them a short while and gathering some overclocking statistics to add onto our chart,” which is something we love to hear.
Another point the firm clarified is the difference between a 3700X and 3800X silicon in that, there is one. On average, we can see the 3800X hits about 100 MHz or more higher on all cores. SL goes on to say that, in general, overclocking isn’t warranted on these CPUs as the stock boost works great, better than 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen. Additionally, the company says the use of AVX2 support has caused the CPUs to run a lot warmer in AVX2 stress tests, which may be why they use lower voltage than some will push in the wild. When running Prime95 Small FFT as compared to other stress tests, the all-core frequency will run 100-200 MHz lower.
An alarming part of the Reddit post comes in the last paragraph where SL states, “AMD has done a fantastic job here overall, and we’re very aware this is the start to the end of our company in general. As both AMD and Intel optimize their binning process more and more, overclocking will not be possible as CPUs will boost themselves on their own to the highest clocks possible.” For those enthusiasts who use the Silicon Lottery service to ‘win’ the silicon lottery with their chosen processor, this may be the beginning of the end.
We’ve seen the trend start with graphics cards and their boost clocks which tends to lop off what the end-user can do, and we’re now starting to see it on some CPUs as well. With such little headroom available, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point of doing so as a company. As Bob Dylan said, the times they are a-changing, but we hope Silicon Lottery will be around for the next couple of CPU releases from Intel and AMD so those many users who don’t want to take the time, effort, and money to bin themselves, continue to have this option in the market.