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AMD Ryzen 5 3600X & Ryzen 5 3400G CPU Performance Review

AMD Ryzen 5 3rd-gen Processor Packaging

Date: September 20, 2019
Author(s): Rob Williams

Having taken a look at Linux performance with AMD’s Ryzen 5 6-core 3600X and 4-core 3400G last week, we’re now turning our attention to Windows. We’re tackling everything from encoding to rendering and math to gaming with the ultimate goal of finding out how these chips stack up, and see where the greatest strengths lay.



Introduction

If you’re interested in Linux performance, you may want to take a look at our experiences with these CPUs here.

We’re a little overdue on tackling our performance look on these chips, thanks in part to some hassle that happened along the way, but, it’s finally here. And probably just in enough time to leave a few weeks’ breathing room until the next launch, as AMD is expected to release its 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X at some point soon, and Intel has its i9-9900KS and new Core X-series slated for release next month.

At the Zen 2 launch, we checked out the 12-core 3900X and 8-core 3700X, and to say we were impressed would really be an understatement. Generation over generation, AMD packed in some obviously beneficial polish, with bigger gains than expected being seen in some cases. Fortunately, nothing changes for the 3600X. It also shows some sweet gains over its predecessor.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3400G Processors

Alongside the 6-core 3600X, we’re also going to be taking a CPU-only look at the 4-core 3400G APU. As an APU, this chip bundles integrated Radeon graphics, but we haven’t been able to get to the testing we’ve wanted to with so much other stuff going on, but we still hope to tackle it soon(er than later).

As there’s not too much revolutionary to talk about here, let’s check out the overall Ryzen stack:

AMD’s Current-gen Ryzen Processor Lineup
CoresClock (Turbo)L2+L3MemoryTDPPrice
Threadripper WX-series
2990WX32 (64T)3.0 GHz (4.2)16+64MBQuad250W$1799
2970WX24 (48T)3.0 GHz (4.2)12+64MBQuad250W$1299
Threadripper X-series
2950X16 (32T)3.5 GHz (4.4)8+32MBQuad180W$899
2920X12 (24T)3.5 GHz (4.3)6+32MBQuad180W$649
Ryzen 9
R9 3950X16 (32T)3.5 GHz (4.7)72MBDual105W$749
R9 3900X12 (24T)3.8 GHz (4.6)70MBDual105W$499
Ryzen 7
R7 3800X8 (16T)3.9 GHz (4.5)36MBDual95W$399
R7 3700X8 (16T)3.6 GHz (4.4)36MBDual65W$329
R7 2700X8 (16T)3.7 GHz (4.3)4+16MBDual105W$329
R7 27008 (16T)3.2 GHz (4.1)4+16MBDual65W$299
Ryzen 5
R5 3600X6 (12T)3.8 GHz (4.4)35MBDual95W$249
R5 36006 (12T)3.6 GHz (4.2)35MBDual65W$199
R5 2600X6 (12T)3.6 GHz (4.2)3+16MBDual95W$219
R5 26006 (12T)3.4 GHz (3.9)3+16MBDual65W$189
Ryzen w/ Radeon Vega Graphics
R5 3400G4 (8T)3.7 GHz (4.2)0.5+4MBDual65W$149
R5 2400G4 (8T)3.6 GHz (3.9)0.5+4MBDual65W$169
R3 3200G4 (4T)3.6 GHz (4.0)0.5+4MBDual65W$99
R3 2200G4 (4T)3.5 GHz (3.7)0.5+4MBDual65W$99

The 3600X is priced at $249, which from first glance looks to be a solid deal. We remember Intel’s Core i7-8700K costing $370, so to see a 6-core with this much power for $249 is great. But wait, there’s more: the R5 3600 foregos the cooler and 200MHz to shave $50 off of the price.

Depending on whether or not you want the cooler, or want to deal with overclocking, that $200 chip looks to be unbeatable at this point (based both on paper and our testing with the X version).

It’s important to note that the 3400G isn’t based on the Zen 2 architecture like the rest of the 3000-series is (excluding the even lower-end 3200G). That means that it’s not going to experience the same level of boosts as the actual Zen 2 chips, because it’s effectively a clock boosted product. Those who were looking at the 2400G but have held off can instead today buy the 3400G for $20 less and with higher peak clocks.

We’ve been a bit unlucky with the 3400G, with much more to be said about this on the final page, so if you do want to go the APU route, we suggest that you don’t settle on your particular components until you’ve verified that everything works together. We even ran into difficulties trying to reach our 3200MHz DRAM speeds, so more than the regular Ryzen platform, there seems to be more to take into consideration with these APUs.

Since we’ve covered Zen 2 to death already, there’s not much to talk about here except performance, so let’s get into that. You can check out our testing methodologies in the next page, or jump to page three to get straight to the results.

Test Methodology & Systems

Benchmarking a CPU may sound like a simple enough task, but in order to deliver accurate, repeatable results, and not to mention results that don’t favor one vendor over another, strict guidelines need to be adhered to. That in turn makes for rigorous, time-consuming testing, but we feel that the effort is worth it.

This page exists so that we can be open about how we test, and give those who care about testing procedures an opportunity to review our methodology before flaming us in the comments. Here, you can see a breakdown of all of our test machines, specifics about the tests themselves, and other general information that might be useful.

Let’s start with a look at the test platforms, for AMD’s TR4 (MSI’s MEG X399 Creation) and AM4 (Aorus X570 MASTER and Aorus B450 PRO WIFI), along with Intel’s LGA2011-v3 (ASUS’ ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING), and LGA1151 (ASUS’ ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING).

On Intel’s platforms with ASUS motherboards, we disabled the “MultiCore Enhancement” feature, which effectively overclocks the processor. On AMD’s platforms, the same kind of feature doesn’t exist on our chosen motherboards. The Aorus X570 MASTER has a “Core Performance Boost” option in its EFI, but performance drops well below expected levels when it’s turned off, so we believe it to represent AMD’s own Precision Boost, and thus left it enabled.

On the mitigation front, nothing is explicitly done outside of having the most up-to-date EFI and chipset driver installed on every motherboard. Systems are effectively default, and whichever security mitigations are applied will be automatic ones applied by the motherboard firmware or driver vendor. All platforms were run with DDR4-3200 speeds, and 14-14-14 timings.

Here’s the full breakdown of the test rigs:

Techgage’s CPU Testing Platforms

AMD TR4 Test Platform
ProcessorAMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (3.0GHz, 32C/64T)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX (3.0GHz, 24C/48T)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (3.5 GHz, 16C/32T)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X (3.5 GHz, 12C/24T)
MotherboardMSI MEG X399 Creation
CPUs tested with BIOS 7B92v13 (April 11, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid (1300W)
ChassisCooler Master MasterCase H500P Mesh
CoolingEnermax LIQTECH TR4 240mm
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

AMD AM4 Test Platform #1
ProcessorsAMD Ryzen 9 3900X (3.8GHz, 12C/24T)
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (3.6GHz, 8C/16T)
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (3.7GHz, 8C/16T)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (3.8GHz, 6C/12T)
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (3.6GHz, 6C/12T)
MotherboardAorus X570 MASTER
CPUs tested with BIOS F5g (July 12, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyEVGA Bronze 600B1 (600W)
ChassisFractal Design Define C
CoolingNoctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 (1x120mm)
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

AMD AM4 Test Platform #2
ProcessorsAMD Ryzen 5 3400G (3.7GHz, 4C/8T)
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G (3.6GHz, 4C/8T)
MotherboardAorus B450 PRO WIFI
CPU tested with BIOS F42a (July 31, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyEVGA Bronze 600B1 (600W)
ChassisEnermax Equilence
CoolingAMD Wraith Spire
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Intel LGA2011-3 Test Platform
ProcessorsIntel Core i9-9980XE (3.0GHz, 18C/36T)
Intel Core i9-7900X (3.3GHz, 10C/20T)
MotherboardASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING
CPU tested with BIOS 1704 (February 21, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCorsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 (1200W)
ChassisCorsair Carbide 600C
CoolingNZXT Kraken X62 AIO (280mm)
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Intel LGA1151 Test Platform
ProcessorsIntel Core i9-9900K (3.60GHz, 8C/16T)
Intel Core i7-8700K (3.70GHz, 8C/16T)
MotherboardASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING
CPU tested with BIOS 1005 (April 28, 2019)
MemoryG.SKILL Flare X (F4-3200C14-8GFX) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 14-14-14 (1.35V)
GraphicsNVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 430.86)
StorageWD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCorsair RM650X (1200W)
ChassisNZXT S340 Elite Mid-tower
CoolingCorsair Hydro H100i V2 AIO Liquid Cooler (240mm)
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (1903, Build 18362)

Testing Considerations

For our testing, we use Windows 10 build 18362 (1903) with full updates as the base. Basic guidelines:


Encoding Tests

Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Encoding: Adobe Premiere Pro
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Photogrammetry: Agisoft Metashape
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Music Encoding: LameXP
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Encoding: MAGIX Vegas Pro
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Adobe Premiere Pro
Agisoft Metashape
HandBrake
LameXP
MAGIX Vegas

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


Rendering Tests

Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Adobe Dimension
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Autodesk Arnold in Maya
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Blender
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: Chaos Czech Corona Renderer in 3ds Max
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3 dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3
Rendering: Chaos Group V-Ray Next in 3ds Max
dBpoweramp - Convert FLAC to MP3
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: MAXON Cinebench
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: MAXON Cinema 4D
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Rendering: POV-Ray
Sony Ps4 Pro Angled View
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Rendering: V-Ray Next Benchmark
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Adobe Dimension
Arnold (Maya 2019) (Also relevant to: 3ds Max, C4D, Houdini, Katana, Softimage)
Blender
Cinebench
Cinema 4D
Corona (3ds Max 2019) (Also relevant to: C4D)
KeyShot (Also relevant to: 3ds Max, Maya, Creo, SketchUp, SolidWorks, NX, Rhino)
POV-Ray
V-Ray Next (3ds Max 2019) (Also relevant to: C4D, Houdini, Maya, Rhino, SketchUp)
V-Ray Benchmark
SiSoftware Sandra 2019

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


Gaming Tests

Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z) Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Intel Core i7-6700K (CPU-Z & GPU-Z)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Far Cry 5
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
UL 3DMark

(You can click each name to go straight to that result.)


If you think there’s some information lacking on this page, or you simply want clarification on anything in particular, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Encoding: Premiere Pro, Vegas, HandBrake, Agisoft Metashape & LameXP

We’re going to kick off this performance look with a handful of encode tests. Encoding is one of those scenarios that can be extremely hit-or-miss when it comes to taking good advantage of big CPUs. Sometimes, applications will give the impression that they’re making proper use of the CPU, but we’ve found more than once that some applications actually just use the entire CPU very poorly.

Fortunately, the situation is getting a lot better over time. As an example, for most of its life, Adobe’s Lightroom didn’t use more than a few cores and threads. Today, the application can use most of whatever CPU you can hand it, although we’re not sure it uses it entirely effectively. We’re actually planning on looking into that very soon.

The performance look on this page is going to tackle Adobe’s ever-popular Premiere Pro, MAGIX’s Vegas Pro, and HandBrake. That trio takes care of video encoding, while Agisoft’s Metashape will help with a photogrammetry scenario. Finally, we’ll wrap up with audio encoding, and before we catch FLAC for dilly-dallying, let’s get into the first results:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Adobe Premiere Pro 2019
Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 - 8K RED to H264 CPU Encode Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 - YouTube Project CPU Encode Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

These first two results are enough to highlight the generational advantages each of these new chips have – or don’t have. The 3400G is based on the last-gen Zen, so its strengths over its predecessor are modest. As for the 3600X, it follows in the footsteps of the other 3000-series chips and reflects a huge leap in performance from one generation to the next.

Zen 2 exhibits many gains over the previous generation, but we’re guessing the near doubling of cache on the 3000-series chips plays a big role in the performance pick-ups here, but that’s certainly not everything. It does make us hope that Intel stuffs its next-gen CPUs with more cache, though. The last-gen Zen chips didn’t fare nearly as well against the Intel competition, but it’s caught up quite a bit here, with AMD’s newest 6-core managing to beat out Intel’s last-gen 6-core i7-8700K.

As for the G chips, it’s clear that they are not built for such heavy workloads, but that’s not to say they’re not capable of it. You’re just going to be waiting a while. If the reason for your slowdown is mostly related to video effects, then adding a GPU might help things. Such as a TITAN Xp:

Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 - 8K RED to H264 CUDA Encode Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 - YouTube Project CUDA Encode Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

The slowest chip in the 8K non-CUDA test hit 800 seconds (2400G), a number that was whittled down to 144 when a fast GPU was added into the mix. Such dramatic gains were not seen in the more complicated YouTube Project test, but that just means the performance deltas between each model are even smaller.

Ultimately, you do not want to skimp on your CPU for encoding stuffs. Even moving from the 4- to 6-core parts result in massive gains in performance. Overall, 8-core parts look to offer good bang-for-the-buck, but the 3600X’s generational gains paints it as a good value for $249.

MAGIX Vegas

MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - Median FX Test
MAGIX Vegas Pro 16 - Median FX CPU Encode Performance - (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
MAGIX Vegas Pro 16 - Median FX NVENC Encode Performance - (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

We’ve never manged to find another FX filter in Vegas Pro that punishes hardware as much as Median, an effective denoiser that aggressively uses your hardware regardless of your settings. The clip we’re testing with is a mere 50 seconds long, but Median is grueling enough to require an entire minute to process each second on the lower-end G chips, with major gains immediately being seen with the simple bump up to a 6-core model.

Intel’s 6-core 8700K beats out AMD’s 3600X in the CPU-only encode, but once the GPU was introduced, those placements were swapped, so both CPUs are on a level playing field here. As for the G chips, it’s important to note that straight encodes will not take nearly as long to complete, and this is by all assurances a “worst-case scenario” test.

For more in-depth Vegas Pro 17 testing, you can check out our recently posted article.

HandBrake

HandBrake AVC Encode Performance - (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
HandBrake HEVC Encode Performance - (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

This is the third encode test in a row that shows major differences between the 4- and 6-core parts. While the 6-core 3600X doesn’t include an APU, its performance leap over the 3400G could be considered extreme. But, video isn’t the only thing people do on their PCs, and if you do very little, the slower parts might not matter too much.

HandBrake is another test that lets Zen 2 strut its stuff. The 3600X places ahead of the 8700K in both the AVC and HEVC tests, although if we had a more comparable 9700K in there, we’re guessing both SKUs would be a lot closer (but it’s still hard to say if AMD would be overtaken).

Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape

Metashape, the artist formally known as PhotoScan, is a popular photogrammetry tool that makes life for its users a lot easier when there’s some powerful hardware waiting to be exploited. This is one of the more complex tests we run, because not all of its actions apply to one process or another.

The entire test consists of four steps, with the first being Align Photos. The GPU is used in this step for the Match Photos portion, while the CPU handles Align Cameras. This process shows no real scaling, so it’s ignored in the results. The next step is Build Dense Cloud, which uses the CPU and GPU heterogeneously for its Depth Maps Generation Time step, and only the CPU for Dense Cloud Generation Time. The final steps are Build Mesh and Build Texture, both of which use the CPU exclusively.

Agisoft Metashape Photogrammetry Performance - Build Dense Cloud (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Agisoft Metashape Photogrammetry Performance - Build Mesh (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Agisoft Metashape Photogrammetry Performance - Build Texture (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Agisoft Metashape Photogrammetry Performance - Build Depth Maps (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Metashape is an interesting piece of software to benchmark, because we’re not just measuring a single process, but a number of them. All of these processes use the CPU and GPU differently, so scaling can vary quite a bit from one chart to the next. It appears based on our performance here, it’s the Build Texture part of the process that uses the CPU most efficiently.

What confuses things is that 8-core parts can dominate the Build Mesh and Build Depth Maps graphs, so it’s clear that there’s no such thing as a one-size fits all here. Photogrammetry can often introduce many single-threaded operations, which could help drag out the overall time.

Metashape is a test we’re going to iterate on over time, and we may ultimately move from a product capture to an aerial one, and see if our scaling improves at all. Similarly, we’re also planning to add other photogrammetry tools in the future, with RealityCapture next on the agenda.

LameXP

LameXP
LameXP - FLAC to MP3 Encode Performance - (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Music conversion gives us largely expected scaling, although the top-end would be shaken up a bit if LameXP would take advantage of more than 32 threads. We’re still seeing clear gains gen-over-gen with the 3600X, while the 3400G itself inherits a clear boost over the last-gen 2400G. Chances are good that you’re not someone who encodes music all day, but it is really satisfying when you need to do it and have a lot of cores waiting for action.

Rendering: Arnold, Blender, KeyShot, V-Ray Next

There are few things we find quite as satisfying as rendering: seeing a bunch of assets thrown into a viewport that turn into a beautiful scene. Rendering also happens to be one of the best possible examples of what can take advantage of as much PC hardware as you can throw at it. This is true both for CPUs and GPUs.

On this page and next, we’re tackling many different renderers, because not all renderers behave the same way. That will be proven in a few cases. If you don’t see a renderer that applies to you, it could to some degree in the future, should you decide to make a move to a different design suite or renderer. An example: V-Ray supports more than just 3ds Max; it also supports Cinema 4D, Maya, Rhino, SketchUp, and Houdini.

Autodesk Arnold

Autodesk Arnold in Maya 2019
Autodesk Arnold CPU Render Performance - Jaguar E-Type Scene (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Autodesk Arnold CPU Render Performance - Sophie Scene (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Ahh, now this is what we call satisfying scaling. Clearly, rendering is one of the most intensive tasks someone can do on a computer, but if we had to bet, we’d wager a lot of pixels on the fact that few people opting for the 3600X and especially 3400G will be doing much rendering. However, the times are changing, and solutions like Blender are making it easier than ever to create cool content with modest hardware. That said, for those who render a lot to the CPU, the more cores, the better.

It’s great to see AMD perform well in Arnold overall, since the GPU version of the renderer supports only NVIDIA’s CUDA. At some point, RTX OptiX acceleration is going to be added in, and at some point later than that, we should see heterogeneous OptiX/CPU support available. Ultimately, if you can take advantage of both your CPU and GPU, the biggest gains should be possible.

On that note, let’s move onto a solution that has had CPU+GPU rendering built-in for a little while: Blender.

Blender

Blender 2.8
Blender 2.80 Cycles CPU Render Performance - BMW (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Blender 2.80 Cycles CPU Render Performance - Classroom (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Blender never ceases to impress us with its ability to use both the CPU and GPU effectively – or we should specify “Cycles”, since the new Eevee render don’t use the CPU much at all for its actual rendering process. Meanwhile, Cycles is like fine wine that continues to get even better, and soon, that “better” will include NVIDIA OptiX support for seriously accelerated rendering.

Given its ability to scale well, Blender is giving us a similar picture as some of the other tests, with the current-gen Zen 2 chips showing good improvement over the last, and the G chips proving themselves to definitely belong to a different price segment, but that price is of course also bolstered with integrated graphics, which we’re not testing for this CPU-focused article.

Speaking of GPUs, but those of a much larger sort, let’s see what changes once a TITAN Xp is introduced:

Blender 2.80 Cycles CPU+GPU Render Performance - BMW (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Blender 2.80 Cycles CPU+GPU Render Performance - Classroom (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

It’s immediately clear that Cycles really digs GPUs, with massive acceleration being seen when both the CPU and GPU are engaged in a render. If you’re a serious Blender user, you should check out our recent in-depth look at performance, which includes heterogeneous render tests with six sets of CPUs and GPUs all tested together, as well as viewport testing.

KeyShot

Luxion KeyShot
Luxion KeyShot 8 - Porsche 918 Spyder Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Luxion KeyShot 8 - Kitchen Interior Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

KeyShot continues to be one of our favorite tools to test with, primarily because it’s a lot of fun to use, and it also happens to scale really well. We’re not seeing much deviation from trends here in comparison to previous results, so we can take it as yet another form of proof that smaller CPUs are not ideal for CPU rendering. Again, 281s or so for the Porsche 918 model might not seem like a big deal, but that’s just one resolution, and one render. Since KeyShot is also a live renderer, that means your real-world interactions with the software will improve as your CPU’s capabilities grow.

At the moment, KeyShot doesn’t have heterogeneous rendering capabilities, but it is set to gain OptiX support with KS9, and since OptiX can use the CPU as well, we’re hoping we’ll see OptiX + CPU rendering in the future. We’re not trying to be greedy, we swear!

Chaos Group V-Ray Next

Chaos Group V-Ray in Autodesk 3ds Max 2019
Chaos Group V-Ray - Flowers CPU Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Chaos Group V-Ray - Teaset CPU Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

To help wrap-up this page, V-Ray chimes in and effectively backs up the rest of the results by showing that more cores matters a lot in such an intense workload. Unlike the others, though, Intel’s chips seem to get a bit of optimizations here, with the 18-core easily beating out the 32-core AMD chip in the more complex Teaset project, but AMD still manages to edge it out in the Flowers project.

Chaos Group offers a standalone benchmark, so we can’t help but compare our real-world results with it:

Chaos Group V-Ray Next Benchmark - CPU Render Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Chaos Group V-Ray Next Benchmark - CPU+GPU Render Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

This test seems to agree that Intel has an advantage, but only with straight CPU rendering, and only in seemingly more complex projects. When the GPU is introduced, we return to scaling that we’d expect to see. For our future V-Ray performance results, we’re going to test with both a mid-range and high-end GPU so that we can better understand advantages of certain combinations over the others. Thankfully, those changes are coming soon, as some new CPUs are set to launch in the month ahead.

Rendering: Adobe Dimension, Cinebench, Cinema 4D, Corona, POV-Ray

We covered a handful of major renderers on the previous page, but we’re not done yet. On this page, we’re going to take a look at a few more, including some industry mainstays and newbies. Adobe’s Dimension is the newest renderer to our testing fleet, which yet again joins Corona Renderer, which joined the fun about a year ago.

To give you an opportunity to test your own hardware against ours, we’re also including the ever-popular Cinebench standalone benchmark, which represents current R20 performance. This test, along with the latest version of POV-Ray, act as our only single-threaded angles in the article. For good measure, the performance on this page will be capped off the real Cinema 4D, to see how it agrees with CB.

Adobe Dimension

Adobe Dimension
Adobe Dimension - Gelato Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Adobe Dimension - Ryzen Cups Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

We’re beginning this page with similar performance scaling as seen on the previous pages, with cores mattering a lot more than clock speeds here. We’d imagine that if Intel’s 28-core part were more customer-friendly, it’d go toe-to-toe with the 2990WX well here. Alas, we say that at a time when we know more Threadrippers are en route, and AMD is pretty core-happy, so we could see a fabled 64-core part for real at some point.

It’s funny to talk of such many-core chips when looking at the bottom G chips, though. It’s almost unfair to look at these chips in this kind of context, because even the six-core models will easily obliterate their performance. Again, though, half of the appeal of an APU is its inclusion of graphics, so you win and lose battles with the G series depending on what you’re after. It’s interesting to think of how a 6- or 8-core APU would fare in tests like these, especially if the IGP could be engaged a little bit.

Cinema 4D & Cinebench

MAXON Cinema 4D R20
Maxon Cinema 4D R20 - Candies Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Maxon Cinema 4D R20 - Interior Render Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Again proving that not all workloads are built alike, we see varying scaling between these two tested projects, but neither to a real significant degree anywhere. In the simpler Candies test, the 18-core Intel chip keeps right up to the 32-core chip. In the same test, the 8700K pulls ahead of the 3600X, but the roles reverse in the Interior scene.

With Cinema 4D R21 having been released a couple of weeks ago, we’re investigating upgrading to it for our next suite revision, which is coming soon.

Of course, Cinema 4D has a standalone benchmark that represents its overall performance fairly accurately, so let’s see how placements fare there:

Maxon Cinebench R20 - Multi-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Maxon Cinebench R20 - Single-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Because we’ve already tested multi-threaded performance with our real-world renders, it’s arguably the single-threaded test in Cinebench that’s most interesting here. No one is rendering to a single core, but this test does give us a bit of insight into which processors are faster at quick single-threaded tasks. Normally, Intel easily dominates this particular chart, but that was until AMD’s Zen 2 came into the picture and spiced things up.

One thing both of these Cinebench graphs highlight is that the G chips are definitely not going to offer much breathing-room at the bottom end, making them better-suited for more basic or HTPC-type use. It’s hard to ignore the differences seen from a chip like the 3600X to 3400G – a full 20% drop. Granted, this is only a single test, so it can only be weighed so heavily.

Corona Renderer

Chaos Czech Corona Renderer in Autodesk 3ds Max 2019
Chaos Czech Corona Renderer 4 - Livingroom Scene (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

If AMD’s Zen 2 chips didn’t exist, it’d be so much easier for Intel to shine. In this test, and many other rendering tests, the 8-core 3700X beats out the 9900K and the 6-core 3600X beats out the 8700K. That said, the last comparison is quite close, so it seems certain that the 9700K would at least match the performance of the 3600X in this test.

POV-Ray

POV-Ray 3.8 Multi-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
POV-Ray 3.8 Single-threaded Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

As a bit of a second opinion to Cinebench, we use POV-Ray for a more neutral (as far as we know) look at rendering. The scaling here aligns a lot more to our expectations, with the single-threaded tests putting Intel on top, but multi-threaded doing the same for AMD. It’s interesting that in the single-threaded test, even the huge Threadrippers outscore the quad-core APUs. Just imagine if the 3400G was built around Zen 2. We really want to see that chip yesterday.

System: SiSoftware Sandra 2019

While this article has no lack of synthetic benchmarks, SiSoftware’s Sandra makes it very easy to get reliable performance information on key metrics, such as arithmetic, multimedia, cryptography, and memory. Sandra is designed in such a way that it takes the best advantage of any architecture it’s given, so each CPU always has its best chance to shine.

That means a couple of things. This is definitely the “best” possible performance outlook for any chip, and doesn’t necessary correlate with real-world performance in other tests. It’s best used as a gauge of what’s possible, and to see where one architecture obviously differs from another.

SiSoftware Sandra 2019

Multimedia

SiSoftware Sandra 2018 - Multi-media Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Testing with Sandra introduces our best chance of seeing interesting scaling, since both AMD and Intel design cues can either give favor to one test or another. In the case of multimedia, Intel not surprisingly exhibits strong performance, with the 9980XE far exceeding the peak performance of the 2990WX, despite it having far more cores.

Despite Intel’s generally strong multimedia performance, the 3600X still manages to topple the equivalent 8700K, but again, the newer 9700K would change the picture a little bit. This chart is a good example of how much a bigger CPU can actually offer a lot more potential over a smaller one. The 3600X only offers 2 additional cores over the 3400G, but it’s proven itself to be 250% as powerful in this test.

Arithmetic

SiSoftware Sandra 2018 - Arithmetic Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Whereas Intel had some strong multimedia performance in the previous test, AMD’s multitude of cores have shaken up this mathematics set of results. We’re essentially seeing the complete inverse of scaling to our renderer tests, which is satisfying to look at overall. A graph looking satisfying doesn’t matter as much as the results themselves, so as far as that goes, this is a test where the last-gen 8700K inches past the 3600X. Likewise, the 8-core 9900K enjoys the same super-slight lead over the 3700X.

Cryptography

SiSoftware Sandra 2018 - Cryptography (High) Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
SiSoftware Sandra 2018 - Cryptography (Higher) Performance (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

At some point a few generations ago, it seemed like both AMD and Intel decided at the same time to implement some cryptography improvements, with AMD famously extending that to its GPUs, resulting in cryptocurrency miners going gaga over Radeon.

AMD’s cryptography strengths are clear in these charts, but once again, we’re seeing more proof that workloads can change things up quite a bit depending on certain factors. With 256-bit hashing, more cores matter. Boost that to 512-bit with SHA, and suddenly Intel takes a serious lead. That owes thanks to AVX-512 support in the Core X-series. Software that can take advantage of the advanced vectorization can see some immense gains, clearly.

Memory Bandwidth

SiSoftware Sandra 2018 - Memory Bandwidth (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Memory bandwidth only matters so much (more so for heavy creator users), but some of the placements here are interesting, nonetheless. Somehow, the 9900K sits at the bottom, behind the 8700K, and because we can’t bear to be uncertain about something, we reinstalled and retested each of those CPUs, and wound up with the same results.

Bandwidth is currently really strong on AMD platforms, but if you really need bandwidth, you automatically sign yourself up for an enthusiast platform with 4-channel memory.

Gaming: CS: GO, Far Cry 5 & R6 Siege At 1080p/4K, 3DMark

In recent years, we haven’t had a huge gaming focus in our CPU reviews, simply because we’ve had so much other testing to take care of, some of which isn’t tackled many other places (if anywhere else on a regular basis). But, with such a massive focus on gaming with this launch, we had to renew our focus, and thus, we have three games and a couple of synthetic benchmarks on-hand to help.

For our testing with real games, we’re sticking to testing with 1080p and 4K resolutions. If we’re going to benchmark games, it makes sense to us to run them at realistic resolutions, because a gain seen at 720p or lower quite literally doesn’t matter if there’s no differences seen at higher resolutions people actually play at.

Nonetheless, we’re up for suggestions on how to expand our gaming testing for CPU reviews. We already have a robust collection for our actual gaming GPU reviews, but when testing for CPUs, it can be hard to find good scaling. For this reason, we chose to start with two eSports titles here, as well as a high-end game, Far Cry 5. Synthetics will be shown after the real game results.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Counter-Strike Global Offensive - 1080p Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Counter-Strike Global Offensive - 4K Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Intel regularly touts that its CPUs are best for gaming, and based on CS: GO, that’s hard to argue. While 100s of FPS are not going to matter to most people, it’s clear that if you want as much of a guarantee as possible that you will hit peak framerates, the 9900K is pretty tasty. For those who are not quite as dependent on sky-high FPS, all of the CPUs can handle the game at 4K/100 with ease. With the 3600X appearing 4th in the list, it shows that AMD is definitely providing a solid, but cheaper alternative to the 9900K, at least with CS: GO.

That all being said, you’ll still likely get better overall performance on faster single-threaded CPUs, with possibly less hitching. Sadly, hitching can even exist on the highest-end of systems, so it’s hard to truly future-proof anything. Hopefully we’ll reach a day when such game niggles are a thing of the past (now there’s some naive thinking).

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 - 1080p Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Far Cry 5 - 4K Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

CS: GO proved that your CPU can matter quite a bit in games if high frame rates are your goal, and Far Cry 5 changes nothing about that statement unless we’re talking about 4K. At 1080p, Intel’s 6- and 8-core chips have a clear lead, while poor Threadripper optimization for gaming results in the 32-core model sitting at the absolute bottom. Meanwhile, the modest 3400G sits ahead of it!

At 4K, the 2990WX still sits at bottom, but advantages with all of the others appear to go right out the window. That’s ultimately a good thing, since it means high-resolution is much more dependent on the GPU than it is the CPU.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege - 1080p Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege - 4K Average FPS (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

Siege scales quite well on CPUs at 1080p, reaching almost 300 FPS with the TITAN Xp and Core i9-9900K. That’s an interesting value to take note of, since CS: GO peaked at 235 FPS, despite Siege looking graphically more impressive. At 4K, the gains across the stack are minor.

Synthetic Benchmarks

UL 3DMark - Fire Strike CPU Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
UL 3DMark - Fire Strike Overall Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
UL 3DMark - Time Spy CPU Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)
UL 3DMark - Time Spy Overall Score (AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 3400G)

We’re not really sure what we should be taking away from 3DMark runs in CPU reviews, but with the DX11 test, the 6-core 8700K aligns with the 3600X, flip-flopping strengths in each test. In the DirectX 12 test, things change a bit, with Intel having a stronger lead overall. At least according to 3DMark, the 4-core APUs will really hold back your gaming overall (which is probably fair to say by this point).

Final Thoughts

As the many results found throughout this review can attest, not all workloads are built alike, and for that reason, it’s never safe to assume that a CPU suitable for one person will suit someone else just as well. There are assumptions that can be (relatively) safely made about general overall performance, but if you find yourself running one workload more than any other, that should factor into your next purchase.

In reality, reviewing the 3600X and 3400G together is a bit odd, because while they’re only priced $100 apart, they cater to completely different audiences. The Ryzen 5 3600X targets those who want more breathing-room than a quad-core can provide, but who may not necessarily be running encoding or rendering workloads all too often, if ever.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Processor

By contrast, the 3400G targets those who want a simpler desktop PC that still manages to pack a reasonable punch for its $150 price tag. It’s just hard to see those highlights when we don’t have comparable Intel chips on-hand to include. We also didn’t get to test the APU’s built-in GPU, but we may at some point in the future. This leads us to a story time:

When we received the 3600X and 3400G, we planned to review them separately, aiming to spend more time on the GPU aspect with the 3400G. Over time, complications arose, and we never got around to it, and because we need to justify the time wasted, we’re putting this mini-rant to paper.

To keep our testing as accurate as possible, we always try to use the same motherboard for any given series of chips. Our plans for that with this article were thwarted when our Aorus X570 MASTER refused to boot with the 3400G installed, an issue that AMD ended up replicating. After weeks of EFI releases and no corrected support, we decided to suck it up and move the chip to an MSI B350 board. Despite it being last-gen, it had an EFI update to support Zen 2.

As it happens, this MSI board refuses to update its EFI. Either inside of the EFI itself, or with the Windows tool, any attempted flash will result in absolutely no action being taken after the reboot occurs. We even left the PC to sit for an entire hour on one occasion to see if that helped, but no cigar. Even clearing the CMOS on the board failed to improve the situation.

We then got hold of a newer B450 board from Aorus, and our issues finally disappeared. We’re not sure why we’ve had so many issues overall, but we can say that if you buy an APU, you should verify with a search that the chip is working as it should, since motherboard support pages may not always be accurate (and weren’t in our case).

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Processor

Tying into all of this, we never managed to achieve 3200MHz DRAM speeds on the 2400G before in our previous-gen ASUS Crosshair VII HERO or the aforementioned MSI B350 board, but on this Aorus B450 PRO WIFI? It somehow works. It just seems like boards actually suited for these APUs support them better (go figure, right?)

We hate to hog so much of this page with those woes, but the truth is, we encountered one issue after another, and didn’t expect it, and because of it, we ended up not even getting around to IGP testing. We still want to do that, though, because we’ve been dying to know how it handles video game emulators for a while – and some real game testing wouldn’t hurt.

Overall though, the $149 3400G is a cool chip, but for those who want a desktop experience with a lot more freedom, the 3600X is a seriously attractive alternative for its $249 price tag, so it’s useful that we’re reviewing them together. But again, both are different products, and if someone needs integrated graphics, then the 3600X isn’t an option.

Despite there being just a 2-core difference between the 3600X and 3400G, the performance gains seen on the bigger chip were often much greater than the specs on paper would suggest. If you remove the threads, and back down to a 3200G, the performance hit will be even greater. But, for a PC that isn’t necessarily being used for heavy workloads, but instead acts as a basic PC or an HTPC that just needs to stream or torrent, then it becomes a lot of power for the purpose – thanks especially to SMT capabilities.

AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600X offers a ton of performance value at its price-point, but we’d be remiss to ignore the fact that the R5 3600 also exists, a chip priced at $199 that foregos the cooler and 200MHz. If you have an inclination to overclock, and won’t be using the stock cooler anyway, you may want to save the money and get an extremely comparable alternative instead.

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