After some speculation and anticipation, let's take a look at the AMD Ryzen 3000XT series today. These are technically new processors and you want to know if they are worth buying. But let's just stop right there to say, spoiler alert: you're a big, fat nothing burger that you should avoid. Just buy the models we already had.
Those of you who would like more information are welcome to read on. Let's start with the 3900XT and compare it side by side with the original Ryzen 9 3900X, which was released a year ago for $ 500. It's a great CPU that was sold in 2019 for about this MSRP. It fell to $ 470 in January 2020 and to $ 420 in March (see our price tracker here). Prices will of course vary, but currently around $ 420-430 seems to be a common price, which means that the 3900XT is offered at a 16% surcharge and returns to the original $ 500 price.
In return for this price premium, you basically get nothing. An increase of 2% on the maximum turbo clock and the removal of the Wraith Prism box cooler. Before we get to all of the exciting benchmark charts that we won't 100% cover in detail, here's how they are both compared in the Blender Gooseberry workload.
Yes, the 3900XT clocked a whole 11 MHz higher at a sustained clock frequency of 4155 MHz. This resulted in the same peak and average CPU temperatures. Despite rumors of a strict binning process, we basically see the same voltage and current consumption.
The Ryzen 7 3800XT has the original MSRP of $ 400, while the 3800X has now dropped by $ 340, making the XT version 18% more expensive. The difference? They take away the Wraith Prism cooler and in return give you a slightly better silicon that is only 4% higher.
In our Blender test, we found that the 3800XT clocked an average of 1% higher, which resulted in a sweet frequency boost of 56 MHz. However, this "performance improvement" was at the expense of increased thermals and higher power consumption. The 3800XT was 5 to 6 degrees hotter and consumed around 12% more electricity.
And finally, there is a high point with the Ryzen 5 3600XT, which, at an original MSRP of $ 250 or ~ 11% more than the current 3600X offer price, but also a little more than 40% more than the R5 3600, the chip, you can get it now. At least this time, AMD holds the cooler, if only a Wraith Spire, plus a 2% increase in operating frequency.
We found a 3% increase in the all-core clock rate in the blender stress test, which had a major impact on power consumption and operating temperatures. We expect a temperature increase of 5 to 10 degrees with an increase in power consumption of ~ 20%. So you're buying an overclocked 3600X with slightly better silicon, which is a few percent faster.
We have tested the CPUs and you can check all of the following graphics, but we will just go through them as it is not an event. To test all CPUs, we paired them with four 8 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 modules for a total capacity of 32 GB and used the 360 mm AIO liquid cooler Corsair Hydro H150i Pro.
If you look at the Cinebench R20 multi-core results and what we just saw with Blender, it seems to be about as good as the performance gains will be. We see an increase of 2% for the 3600XT over the 3600X, 2% for the 3800XT and almost half a percent for the 3900XT.
We see a 4% margin for single core performance, just as AMD promised. So that's good, I think. This will likely help them rank better in the UserBenchmark comparisons, but that's about it.
If you look at the power consumption and hope that the efficiency improves by 3950 times, these chips are extremely disappointing. They look like slightly overclocked versions of the original chips.
Time for a little overclocking to see what this higher quality silicon can do. Through manual overclocking, we see 100 to 200 MHz more again, at least in comparison to our early production chips.
Interestingly, the 3900XT was the worst overclocker at 4.4 GHz, but then it has more cores, making it less likely that all 12 cores can reach 4.5 GHz. However, it is quite possible and we are sure that other reviewers have received better chips. Our maximum was 4.4 GHz, no matter how high we pushed the voltage, which only makes it 100 MHz better than our old 3800X.
The only problem with manual overclocking of 3rd generation Ryzen processors, at least with this method, is that you save some of the single-core performance and cannot escape this fact with the new XT chips.
Cost per frame
Take a quick look at the cost per frame using the 1% low data from our Battlefield V benchmark. When comparing the X variants with the XT models, we see that the 3600 per frame is 9% more expensive, the 3800 is 16% and the 3900 is 15% more expensive.
However, if you're interested in the value, we don't recommend the 3600X or 3800X. We have been recommending the Vanilla 3600 and 3700X since day one. So when we compare the value of the XT series to the Ryzen CPUs you should be buying, things look a lot. We are talking about a 36 to 39% increase in cost per frame compared to the basic models. Pretty brutal stuff in the value department.
What just happened
This brings us to the end of one of the strangest CPU reviews we've written. It seems that AMD has decided to release three "new" CPUs that don't offer anything new, and no one should consider buying them at starting prices. Maybe crazy overclockers who want to get everything out of a 3rd generation Ryzen processor? But even that would be a stretch.
We think AMD takes a page out of the Intel playbook and copies what they did with the Core i9-9900KS. We believe that they benefit from improved returns, bundle the better silicon and sell it at a higher price. At the same time, they remove the box cooler to maximize profit margins.
Personally, I'm not a fan, but I don't see a problem with this step as long as nothing changes on existing Ryzen processors. In the 9900K example, both parts were later sold for more than the intended price range. If AMD continues to offer the original Ryzen 5, 7 and 9 parts below the MSRP, we don't care about these XT versions.
We won't go into any possible motives in more detail, but you could say AMD hopes to milk Zen 2 one last time before Zen 3 launches later this year – fingers crossed. In this sense, given the fact that we are expecting new CPUs soon, it does not make sense to currently pay a premium for a Ryzen 3000 series CPU. If you need something like the 3900X or 3950X and the prices are attractive, definitely buy them, they are amazing processors, but you know that you are late in the product cycle.