Test Bed and Setup

As per our processor testing policy, we take a premium category motherboard suitable for the socket, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the manufacturer's maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
AMD Ryzen 3000 AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Motherboard GIGABYTE X570 I Aorus Pro (1.12e)
CPU Cooler AMD Wraith
DRAM G.Skill FlareX 2x8 GB DDR4-3200 C14
GPU Sapphire RX 460 2GB (CPU Tests)
MSI GTX 1080 Gaming 8G (Gaming Tests)
PSU Corsair AX860i
SSD Crucial MX500 2TB
OS Windows 10 1909

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds. Some of this hardware is not in this test bed specifically, but is used in other testing.

Hardware Providers
Sapphire RX 460 Nitro MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X OC Crucial MX200 +
MX500 SSDs
Corsair AX860i +
AX1200i PSUs
G.Skill RipjawsV,
SniperX, FlareX
Crucial Ballistix
DDR4
Silverstone
Coolers
Silverstone
Fans

 

Scale Up vs Scale Out: Benefits of Automation

One comment we get every now and again is that automation isn’t the best way of testing – there’s a higher barrier to entry, and it limits the tests that can be done. From our perspective, despite taking a little while to program properly (and get it right), automation means we can do several things:

  1. Guarantee consistent breaks between tests for cooldown to occur, rather than variable cooldown times based on ‘if I’m looking at the screen’
  2. It allows us to simultaneously test several systems at once. I currently run five systems in my office (limited by the number of 4K monitors, and space) which means we can process more hardware at the same time
  3. We can leave tests to run overnight, very useful for a deadline
  4. With a good enough script, tests can be added very easily

Our benchmark suite collates all the results and spits out data as the tests are running to a central storage platform, which I can probe mid-run to update data as it comes through. This also acts as a mental check in case any of the data might be abnormal.

We do have one major limitation, and that rests on the side of our gaming tests. We are running multiple tests through one Steam account, some of which (like GTA) are online only. As Steam only lets one system play on an account at once, our gaming script probes Steam’s own APIs to determine if we are ‘online’ or not, and to run offline tests until the account is free to be logged in on that system. Depending on the number of games we test that absolutely require online mode, it can be a bit of a bottleneck.

Benchmark Suite Updates

As always, we do take requests. It helps us understand the workloads that everyone is running and plan accordingly.

A side note on software packages: we have had requests for tests on software such as ANSYS, or other professional grade software. The downside of testing this software is licensing and scale. Most of these companies do not particularly care about us running tests, and state it’s not part of their goals. Others, like Agisoft, are more than willing to help. If you are involved in these software packages, the best way to see us benchmark them is to reach out. We have special versions of software for some of our tests, and if we can get something that works, and relevant to the audience, then we shouldn’t have too much difficulty adding it to the suite.

Turbo, Power, and Latency CPU Performance: System Tests
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  • steve wilson - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    They do it to make it a fair test. You can easily compare results of other CPU's if you are using the same hardware in the rest of the PC. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I was almost that person asking that question; thank you for pointing out a good answer. Reply
  • Irata - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    It is interesting for the average $ 150- 200 CPU buyer since they most likely won‘t have anything close to a 2080ti in their PC.

    Personally, I also think all reviews should be done using the stock heatsink or alternatively add the aftermarket HSF‘s price to the CPU cost, at least in the low to mid range.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    How does that better help you evaluate the performance? All it does is tell you what you'd see if you spend $1200 on a GPU and then restrict yourself to last decade's favourite resolution. The differences you observe in that state don't translate to meaningful performance difference in practice. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    Scanned page titles, no OCing, crap benchmarks....Moving along. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    We already know that there's not really any point in overclocking Ryzen. Why waste the time on repeating that? Reply
  • msroadkill612 - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    Ian makes an important point imo - the 3600 has been the cheapest foot in the door for zen2. It happens to also be a very muscular 6 core.

    Folks are starting to get that its about balance, & the whole am4 zen ecosystem leaves Intel for dead.

    A little mentioned thing, is intel must run NVME drives thru the chipset - yuk... thats not the same at all - its wasting a lot of what u paid for that boon of a resource.
    Reply
  • watzupken - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    Performance vs price is certainly the key reason for people to get the Ryzen 5 3600. At least for myself, I tend to get mid tier CPUs as I don't like to spend too much on a hardware. Historically, I would get Intel i5 consistently due to it price vs performance. I feel most people will be on this same boat where we look for best performance to price. In the case of AMD Ryzen 5 3600, it's got an outstanding value since it performs better than an Intel chip at the same price, and you can further overclock it to push performance. Intel chips at this price point means an OC locked chip. Reply
  • johnthacker - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    So basically, as expected, the Ryzen 3 3300X is the 5 3600's equal on anything that's not embarrassingly parallel, but the 5 3600 is far superior on things like encoding, decoding, and compression that parallelize easily. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    "AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Review: Why Is This Amazon's Best Selling CPU?"

    Lame headline. How about this:

    "Stomped: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Has No Intel Competition In Its Price Bracket"

    My headline is more to the point.
    Reply

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