The AMD Ryzen 5 3500 is a unique CPU, in that it is only available in select markets like China, India, and some other Asian countries. In essence, it is a nerfed Ryzen 3600. The Ryzen 3500 and 3600 are both 6-core CPUs clocked the same. The difference is that the 3500 doesn’t have SMT (simultaneous multithreading). This makes the 3500 a 6c/6t CPU versus the 3600’s 6c/12t. To its advantage, though, the Ryzen 3500 costs two-thirds of what the 3600 does. Read on for our Ryzen 3500 review.

Ryzen 3500 Review – Specifications Overview

SocketAM4
ArchitectureZen 2
ProcessTSMC 7nm
Cores6
Threads6
Base Clock3.6 Ghz
Boost Clock4.1 Ghz
RAM SupportUpto 128 GB
DDR4-3600
Dual Channel
L3 Cache16 MB
PCI Express VersionUpto 4.0
Max Power Draw (TDP)65 W

The Ryzen 3500 packs a good bit of muscle for its price. The CPU rests at 3.6 Ghz and can boost all the way up to 4.1 Ghz under load. It is built on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, and carries all the impressive instructions per clock (IPC) gains that come with it. This grants the Ryzen 3500 an impressive bit of single-core performance. Single-core performance remains one of the most important factors for good gaming performance in 2020.

Ryzen 3500 Review Image

The lack of hyper-threading (SMT) is an important thing to look at, as well. The existence of the Ryzen 3500 seems like a business optimization decision from AMD. Obviously, not all silicon dies earmarked to be 3600 chips match the required performance levels. The ones lacking are then locked into a non-SMT configuration, and rebranded as the 3500. This gives AMD a competitor for the i5 9400 while finding a great product to launch with these dies.

Another thing that is lacking when compared to the Ryzen 3600 is the L3 cache. The 3600 has a 32 MB L3 cache while the 3500 has half that. This will slightly handicap the 3500 in memory intensive applications such as rendering and video editing.

The 3500, like other 3rd gen Ryzen processors, has support for the PCIE 4.0 generation, making the use of ultra-fast PCIE4.0 NVMe SSDs possible. The processor supports a maximum of dual-channel 128GB RAM at 3200 Mhz.

Benchmarking – AMD Ryzen 3500 vs. Intel i5 9400F

Intel’s i5 9400F is the most direct competitor of the AMD Ryzen 3500, costing about Rs. 500 more than the AMD processor. Here are the synthetic benchmark numbers for the AMD Ryzen 3500 and the i5 9400F to put their performances in perspective.

Cinebench R20 (Single and Multi-Core)

Cinebench R20 Single Core for Ryzen 3500 review
Cinebench R20 Multi Core

Cinebench R15 – Single and Multi Core

Cinebench R15 Single Core for Ryzen 3500 review
Cinebench R15 Multi Core

Benchmark Conclusion

The comparison CPUs in these benchmarks have been chosen by looking at the best CPUs below, at, and above the Ryzen 3500’s price tier. The Ryzen 3600 and i5 9400 are a tier above the 3500 in price, the i5 9400F is the Ryzen 3500’s direct competitor, and the i3 9100F and Ryzen 3200G are CPUs below the 3500’s price tier.

As seen in all of these benchmark score graphs, the Ryzen 3500 has an edge on its price competitor, the i5 9400F, in both single and multi-core scenarios. To add to this fact, the Ryzen 3500 is overclockable, which we will talk about a little later in this review. The 9400F, sadly, is not overclockable and loses more potential performance due to this. To add insult to insury, the 9400F runs hotter, as well.

It is no surprise that the Ryzen 3500 handily beats the lower tier processors. It is also not a surprise that the 3500 is beaten out by the 3600 in multi-threaded performance, though they are evenly matched in single core performance.

What IS a surprise, though, is the 3500 beats out the i5-9400 (non F) comprehensively. The i5 9400 costs over 15,000 INR, compared to the 3500 that sells just below INR 11,000! The Ryzen 3500 maintains a 5 – 15% advantage in all of the above benchmarks. This really underlines the incredible value proposition that this processor brings to the game.

Ryzen 5 3500 Overclocking Review

A Ryzen 3500 isn’t much of a review if we don’t talk about its overclocking capacities, is it? We kept things simple here, though, and used the Wraith Stealth cooler included with the Ryzen 5 processor. Our reasoning for this was based in the fact that most people going for a budget Ryzen processor will not like the idea of spending INR 3,000 or so on an aftermarket cooler.

We use MSI’s B450 Tomahawk MAX motherboard for this test – a motherboard known for its overclocking capabilities thanks to its beefy VRMs. Coupled with it are 8 GB of 3200 Mhz CL16 RAM and a Crucial MX500 M.2 SSD.

Overclocking Results

On our Ryzen 3500 CPU, we were able to hold a stable 4.2 Ghz all-core boost at 1.35V peak voltage with our humble Wraith Stealth cooler. The CPU and motherboard are definitely capable of more, but we want to keep this review to a realistic scenario of the default cooler being used. During a Cinebench R20 multi-core stress test, the CPU temperatures peaked at 78.2 C, and averaged 73.4 C. Decent numbers, given the simplistic cooler installed.

Overclocked Benchmark Scores

Overcloced Benchmarks Ryzen 3500 Review

The Ryzen 3500 at a modest overclock (with temperatures in control) was able to match its older brother, the 3600, at single core performance. Given its lack of SMT (multi-threading), though, the Ryzen 3600 stays far ahead in multi-threaded workloads.

Gaming Benchmark – CS:GO

We chose CS:GO for our gaming benchmark because of its CPU-intensive nature, especially single core performance which is one of the Ryzen 3500’s strong suits. The CPU is paired with a GTX 1650 Super and is run at maximum settings at 1080P resolution.

CS GO Benchmarks for Ryzen 3500 review

As can be seen, the Ryzen 3500 has excellent performance, never dipping below the 120 FPS magic mark for CS:GO. The average FPS remains at a strong 264 FPS at stock settings, more than even a high end 240 Hz display panel can handle. Applying a small overclock of 100 Mhz provides us with significant extra gains, if needed.

Ryzen 3500 Verdict – Is the Ryzen 3500 the Best Budget CPU in India?

Use Cases

Depending on what is one’s definition of “budget”, the Ryzen 3500 is an excellent starting point for a value-conscious gaming PC. It is also a viable candidate for an editing PC as well, but the extra expenditure for the 3600’s multi-thread capabilities will be justified in that scenario.

For any PC build under the 50,000 mark in India, the Ryzen 3500 is the ideal CPU. It will not bottleneck recommended GPUs in that budget such as the 1660 Super or 1650 Super, and will have plenty of processing power left over for future GPU upgrades.

Future Proofing

The Ryzen 3500 fields strong single core performance and decent multi-threaded performance. As games still struggle to use more than 4 threads (the 3500 has 6), we will see this CPU be good at gaming for 3-4 year, at least.

Another value-addition comes with the platform the Ryzen 3500 runs on. The AM4 platform will be used for the foreseeable future. This creates a clear upgrade path without having to change the motherboard.

Ryzen 3500 Price

The Ryzen 3500 is quite competitively priced as a sort of “younger brother” to the 3600. It can be found for INR 10,399 at MDComputers and INR 10,667 at Amazon India at the time of writing this post.

At this price range, it easily trounces Intel’s offering – the i5 9400F. It even beats the next tier of Intel – the i5 9400. The 3500 sees large performance jumps over the cheaper Ryzen 3200G and i3 9100F processors, as seen on our benchmark graphs. This puts the Ryzen 3500 at a very good value and performance to price ratio.

The CPU provides good value at the mid-range CPU market and is a definite choice for gaming PCs in this budget range.

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