AMD's 3rd Generation Ryzen CPUs are currently dominating sales charts and market mindshare, but if rumours are true then the red team are far from finished. The flagship Ryzen 9 3950X is currently still MIA, but last month a new entrant at the entry level position into the mainstream market was uncovered: the Ryzen 5 3500. This week specifications for an X-variant were leaked, and combine with earlier reveals to paint a picture of the inevitable conclusion to AMD's fine grain binning of the Zen 2 CCD.
Official AMD slides leaked on Twitter by BullsLab in Korea break down the Ryzen 5 3500X. It will be a 6-core/6-thread CPU that, as previously indicated and unlike the rest of the 3rd Gen Ryzen lineup, will not support Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT). It will however still be a 65W part, clocked at up to 4.1GHz from a base clock of 3.6GHz, with 32MB of total cache (AKA 'GameCache').
This CPU launches against Intel's Core i5-9400F, a similar 6c/6t part without Hyperthreading, and AMD are being assertive in claiming at least parity against their competitor. Slides focus on FPS in a variety of popular & esports titles (Overwatch, CS:GO, DOTA 2 etc.), with roughly equal performance measured. Other figures appear to trumpet the value of the large GameCache pool in maintaining low frame latencies at V-SYNC, again on par with the i5-9400F despite the disparity in synthetic benchmark results measuring memory & cache latency.
An earlier leak from ExtremeIT posted to Facebook adds more detail on a non-X variant of the Ryzen 5 3500. Although in many aspects identical to the 3500X (core count and operating frequencies), this chip has only half the GameCache (16MB rather than 32MB) which would make it materially worse in every performance measure.
These CPUs are further evidence of AMD's aggressive and successful efforts to bin the Zen 2 Core Die (CCD) according to performance and feature capability. The best are reserved for top-performing SKUs such as the Ryzen 9 3900X, while less capable ones are binned for successively slower chips. If one or more cores don't operate as expected they're fused off, with the die then binned for the SKU with lower core counts (i.e. 3600X, 3600 and now 3500-series). Ryzen 5 3500-series CCDs are likely those with defects preventing SMT operation at high performance levels within the necessary TDP envelope, and in the case of the 3500 potentially faulty L3 cache that is subsequently fused off.
It would be unsurprising if the Ryzen 5 3500 was strictly for OEM markets, while the Ryzen 5 3500X would represent a new <$150 entry-point into the Ryzen ecosystem through standard retail channels. Ironically however Intel may not prove to be the stiffest competition; the remainder of first and second generation Ryzen CPU in the retail channel are currently extremely aggressively priced, and could be far better value for money.
SOURCES: ExtremeIT on Facebook, @BullsLab