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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  • vortmax2 - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Anyone know why the 3300X is at the top of the Digicortex 1.20 bench? Reply
  • gouthamravee - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    I'm guessing here, but the 3300X has all its cores on a single CCX and if Digicortex is one of those benches that's highly dependent on latency that could explain why the 3300X is at the top of the list here.

    I checked the previous 3300x article and it seems to be the same story there.
    Reply
  • wolfesteinabhi - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Thanks for a great Article Ian and AT.

    the main problem with mid/lower range CPU (review) like this Ryzen 3600/X and even i5/i3's is that their reviews are almost always focused on "Gaming" (for some reason everything budget oriented is just gaming) ... no one talks about AI workloads or MATLABs, Tensorflows,etc many people and developers dont want to shell out monies for 2080Ti and Ryzen 9 3950X or even TR's .... they have to make do with lower end or say "reasonable" CPU's ... and products like these Ryzen 5 that makes sensible choice in this segment ... a developer/learner on budget.

    a lot of people would appreciate if there are some more pages dedicated to such development workflows (AI,Tensor,compile, etc) even for such mid range CPU's.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Ian periodically tweets requests for scriptable benchmarks for those categories and for anyone with connections at commercial vendors in those spaces who can provide evaluation licenses for commercial products. He's gotten minimal uptake on the former and doesn't have time to learn enough about $industry to create a reasonable benchmark from scratch using their FOSS tools. On the commercial side, the various engineering software companies don't care about reviews from sites like this one and their PR contacts can't/won't give out licenses. Reply
  • webdoctors - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Because office tasks don't require any computation, and gaming is what's most mainstream that actually requires computation.

    Scientific stuff like MATLAB, Folding@Home needs computation but if that's useful you'd just buy the higher end parts. Price diff between 3600x and 3700x (6 vs 8core) is $100, $200 vs $300 at retail prices. For someone working, $100 is nothing for improving your commercial or academic output. These are parts you use for 5+ years.

    I agree a TR doesnt make sense if you can get the consumer version like a 3800x much cheaper.
    Reply
  • Impetuous - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Logged in to second this. I think a lot of students and professionals like me who do research on-the-side (and are on pretty tight Grants/allowances) would appreciate a MATLAB benchmark. This looks like a great option for a grad student workstation! Reply
  • brucethemoose - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    I think one MKL TF benchmark is enough, as you'd have to be crazy to buy a 3600 over a cheap GPU for AI training training. If money is that tight, you're probably not buying a new system and/or using Google Colab.

    +1 for more compilation benchmarking. I'd like a Python benchmark too, if theres any demand for such a thing.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    A lot of people don't have money to throw away at hardware, moreso now than ever before so we are going to make older equipment work for longer or buy less compute at a lower price. It's important to get hardware out of its comfort zone because these general purpose processors will be used in all sorts of ways beyond a narrow set of games and unzipping a huge archive file. After all, if you want to play games, buying as much GPU as you can afford and then feeding it enough power solves the problem for the most part. That answer has been the case for years so we really don't need more text and time spent on telling us that. Say it once for each new generation and then get to reviewing hardware more relevant to how people actually use their computers. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    Plus most of us don't upgrade hardware as much as we used to. back in the day (single core days) I was upgrading my CPU every 6-8 months. Each upgrade pushed the graphics from 28FPS to 32FPS to 36FPS which made a difference. Now with modest setups pushing past 60FPS...why bother. I upgrade my CPU every 6 years or so now. Reply
  • wolfesteinabhi - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    as i said in one of the replies below... maybe TF is not a good example ..but its not like it will be purely on a CPU for TF work, but some benchmark around it ...and similar other work/development related tasks.

    Most of us have to depend on these gaming only benchmarks to guesstimate how good/bad a cpu will be for dev work. maybe a fewer core cpu might have been better with extra cache and extra clocks or vice versa ... but almost no reviews tell that kind of story for mid/low range CPU's.... having said that..i dont expect that kind of analysis from dual cores and such CPU ..but higherup there are a lot of CPU that can be made to do a lot of good job even beyond gaming (even if it needs to pair up with some GPU)
    Reply

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