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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  • edzieba - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    The "faster ram" columns always get a good laugh: anyone here running their DIMMs and /not/ using the XMP profiles? Reply
  • WaltC - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Right! What would be the point of that?...;) Intel isn't yet equal to AMD in architecture--still needs a bunch of vulnerability mitigation, and is still cranking out 14nm like there's no tomorrow...;) Intel's "high end" is in great demand, says Ian. Hmmm...I'll bet AMD's high end is even under higher demand--since Intel has very little if anything that can catch it. Zen 3 is going to fire another shot across Intel's bow...! Good times! Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Yeah, but how many desktop CPUs are getting sold directly to consumers versus the numbers going into more portable form factors or to OEMs for mass market Optiplexes and ProDesks? Those admittedly yawn-fest systems are where the volume sales are landing, not here with Gamer Billy's RGB LED-sled full ATX tower where though there are higher margins on a per-unit basis, the numbers just aren't significant. Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yeah, I’m not sure why they have a delusional disclaimer saying folks don’t use XML. Last time I checked this was a site for enthusiasts. Would really like them to test at stock and with a reasonable upgrade stick. A wider suite of benchmarks would be nice too. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    While the 3600 is currently the best selling desktop CPU on Amazon and it is great to see a competitive CPU landscape right now, occupying that number 1 slot is not representative of the wider PC market as a whole. A vanishingly small number of people elect to operate a desktop PC of any sort these days and of those people the majority do not build their own systems from individual components. Most of the world uses a mobile phone or a laptop to accomplish day-to-day compute tasks and get whatever CPU happens to be included in that system. I'm happy to see 4000-series APUs becoming more available so there is competition FINALLY in the price segments that see large sales volumes. It would be great if Anandtech could get hands on more practical and common hardware that the average person puts to use so the next time I go out to grab a sub-$500 laptop, I know if the cooling is sufficient or if it has dual channel memory. Maybe find out if there is something quirky about the touchpad. I have to drop in at notebookcheck.net most of the time for information that is relevant to me and their reviews are not usually as complete at AT, but AT appears to be very much out of the mobile hardware review business except for halo gamer hardware that relevant to a pretty small audience. Reply
  • WaltC - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Maybe it's just the difference in English, but why title the article "Why is the 3600 AMZN's best-selling CPU?" Almost sounds like Ian doesn't think it should be--but then the article itself corrects that misapprehension. Probably a better title would have been, "Here's why the 3600 is AMZN's best-selling CPU." Small change comment--nit picking, for sure...;) IMO, articles should never be titled as questions--a good article should inform, instead of leave unanswered questions. I was always taught that titling with questions instead of statements was second rate. A good article should include the answers--so instead of asking a question you let the reader know, "Herein lies the answer," etc.
    Reply
  • GreenReaper - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    It doesn't meet the expectation that any news piece titled with a question can be answered "no", either! Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    One title is click bait, one is not. This is the world we live in Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Hello. 3600 is still too expensive. $290 CAD when I paid only $100 CAD for my used 2600. So for me to upgrade, I'd be paying an extra $200. Reply
  • 1_rick - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Comparing used prices to new isn't very useful. Reply

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