Test: AMD Ryzen 3 vs Intel i5 CPU (2020)

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Performance Winner
Intel Core i5-9400F Desktop Processor 6 Cores 4.1 GHz Turbo Without Graphics
Best Price
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon Graphics
Model
Intel Core i5-9400F
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
AMD
Performance category
Medium performance CPU segment
Entry class CPU segment
Cores
6 cores (2.90 GHz up to 4.10 GHz Max Turbo )
4 cores
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q1/2019
Q3/2019
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2933
Pros
  • Great performance for gaming
  • Can be overclocked
  • Very stable
  • Very good price-performance ratio
  • Solid CPU for simple tasks
  • Can be overclocked
Cons
  • Pretty expensive
  • Not the best CPU for playing the newest games
Performance Winner
Intel Core i5-9400F Desktop Processor 6 Cores 4.1 GHz Turbo Without Graphics
Model
Intel Core i5-9400F
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
Medium performance CPU segment
Cores
6 cores (2.90 GHz up to 4.10 GHz Max Turbo )
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q1/2019
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • Great performance for gaming
  • Can be overclocked
  • Very stable
Cons
  • Pretty expensive
Best Price
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon Graphics
Model
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
Test Result
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
AMD
Performance category
Entry class CPU segment
Cores
4 cores
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q3/2019
Max. RAM
DDR4-2933
Pros
  • Very good price-performance ratio
  • Solid CPU for simple tasks
  • Can be overclocked
Cons
  • Not the best CPU for playing the newest games

Our Verdict: AMD gets you more for the buck, while Intel performs slightly better, but for an unreasonable price

Of course it is a bit unfair to compare the Ryzen 3 CPU series with the Intel i5 CPU series. Especially in price they differ quite significantly. However, although the Ryzen 3 costs almost half of the Intel i5 series it performs extraordinary well. And the higher price of the Intel i5 does not reflect the difference in performance at all. If you are budget concious we woul 100% recommend to go for the AMD Ryzen 3 Processor series instead of the more expensive i5 series.

In detail

Coffee Lake, Coffee Lake Refresh, Cascade Lake-X, Ice Lake Ryzen, Threadripper: the market for processors is becoming increasingly confusing. AMD has stirred up the tech world with the launch of the Ryzen processors and forced Intel to launch new models in a very short time.

The Ryzen processors, which, with many computing cores and affordable prices, have finally reignited competition between Intel and AMD, were answered by Intel with the Coffee Lake processors, which are distinguished by their excellent gaming performance. But which processor is right for you, and what are the differences between AMD and Intel? Thebig Techtestreport guide will clear that up.

AMD or Intel?

There are a few fundamental differences between AMD and Intel processors that you should keep in mind when buying:

AMD’s processors have more cores in direct comparison, which means they perform better on tasks that are optimized for more cores, such as video editing. Intel’s processors have higher clock speeds, which has a positive effect on performance in PC games. Intel processors support some technologies, such as Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 interface, which AMD does not currently license.

All Ryzen processors from AMD have unlocked multipliers and can therefore be easily overclocked. Overclocking means that the processor is run at a higher clock frequency than specified by the manufacturer to achieve higher performance. Laymen should be careful here, however: The processor can get hot quickly! If you don’t have an appropriate cooling on your computer, you should keep your hands off overclocking. With Intel processors you have to be careful to buy a model with the suffix “K” when overclocking, because only these have unlocked multipliers.

Ryzen 3 and 5 series overview

Ryzen 3 2200GRyzen 5 2400GRyzen 3 1200Ryzen 1300X
Cores / threads4/44/84/44/4
CCX configuration4 + 04 + 02 + 22 + 2
BaseAT 4AT 4AT 4AT 4
Standard clock3.5 GHz3.6 GHz3.1 GHz3.4 GHz
Max. Turbo clock3.7 GHz3.9 GHz3.4 GHz3.7 GHz
StorageDDR4-2933DDR4-2933DDR4-2666DDR4-2666
L2 cache per core512 KB512 KB512 KB512 KB
L3 cache1 x 4.0 Mbyte1 x 4.0 Mbyte2 x 4.0 MB2 x 4.0 MB
Integrated GPUVega 8Vega 11
GPU clock speed1,100 MHz1,250 MHz
GPU shader units512704
TDP65 watts65 watts65 watts65 watts
Free multiplierYesYesYesYes
Approx price95$150$95$110$

AMD Ryzen 3 in detail

In the application benchmarks, the Ryzen 3 1300X cuts a better figure than in games in comparison to the Core i3 7350K and the Pentium G4560 thanks to four real cores. Above all, it can clearly keep the low-clocked Pentium at a distance, but the Core i3 also always has the disadvantage over the AMD CPU.

AMD’s FX 8350 compares well with Ryzen 3, Core i3 and Pentium, despite the clearly lower performance of individual cores (also recognizable in the single core result in Cinebench). The high core count ensures decent scores in the application tests despite the outdated module design. AMD’s new Ryzen processors with six and more cores and Intel’s current quad-cores with Hyper-Threading, as well as Intel’s models with more than four cores clearly play in a different league, though.

Power consumption & overclocking

The power consumption for the entire test system with the Ryzen 3 1300X in Battlefield 1 is about 227 watts, which is the second-lowest value in the test field. The energy efficiency of the Pentium G4560 turns out a bit better with a consumption of 192 watts at a similarly high performance, but the same applies to the noticeably faster Core i3 7350K with a consumption of 239 watts for the test system. Knocked out at the end of the test field are AMD’s FX processors with values above 300 watts, which are manufactured in 32 nanometers, whereas current models from AMD and Intel have 14 nanometers.

AMD Ryzen 3 – Video Review

A quick look at the possible overclocking with our test sample of the Ryzen 3 1300X: We couldn’t reliably crack the 4.0 GHz mark on our Ryzen 3 1300X. But the processor ran stable at 3.9 GHz and 1.375 volts. By the way, AMD itself states that 1.35 volts are also harmless for continuous operation. A value of 1.45 Volt is also “acceptable”, but the longevity of the CPU could be negatively affected by this.

In the case of the Ryzen 3 1300X OC, there isn’t always much left of the approximately eight percent higher clock rate in our benchmark titles, so the performance in Watch Dogs 2 increases by only two percent, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided it is four percent. On the Ryzen 3 1200, overclocking could pay off more because it only clocks at 3.1 GHz on all four cores under load, while the Ryzen 3 1300X reaches 3.6 GHz here. We will get to the bottom of this in the soon to be scheduled test of the Ryzen 3 1200.

With the relatively inexpensive Ryzen 3 1300X in the test, AMD brings a serious competitor for Intel’s Core i3 and Pentium processors onto the market, which comparatively has four cores instead of two. However, the 1300X can’t quite convince in the gaming benchmarks, at least with the same memory clock rate in the duel against Intel, because the noticeably cheaper Pentium G4560 currently achieves a very similar performance despite its only two cores. Against an Intel i5 the Ryzen 3 series does not have a chance in terms of performance.

However, there are various factors that speak for Ryzen 3 – or at least could do so in the future. For example, the B350 chipset offers the possibility of using higher clocked RAM and noticeably improving performance, whereas Intel only allows this with more expensive Z270 mainboards. In addition, the prices of the currently brand new Ryzen 3 CPUs should soon drop a bit, so that at least the Ryzen 3 1200 could still fall below the 100 Dollar limit – and that as a true quad-core CPU!

Last but not least, it is quite conceivable that in games in the future it will make a bigger difference whether there are four true cores or only two cores in combination with virtual core duplication, and that the Zen architecture will become increasingly better used by game engines. Considering the higher application performance of the Ryzen 3 1300X in comparison to Core i3 and Pentium, the new processors are a useful additional option for beginners – as a gaming CPU, the Ryzen 3 1300X is definitely suitable in combination with an appropriate graphics card.

Intel i5 CPU series in detail

Coffee Lake Refresh also without graphics

For the new year Intel surprises with processors that offer up to eight cores on the well-known LGA 1151 socket, but do not have an active graphics unit. This is still present on the processor die of the “F-CPUs”, but not activated. Intel has never made the motivation behind the CPUs official, but the company should try to sell this with a defective iGPU from the overloaded 14nm production to those who don’t need an iGPU. There is no advantage in technology or price.

At the same time, Intel is adding important solutions for the mass market to the Coffee Lake Refresh family, which until now only consisted of three K models (Core i9-9900K, i7-9700K & 9600K). The Core i5, which is brought into focus in this review, leads the way. One question here is also: Does the F-model offer an advantage over the conventional variant?

Intel – What’s the difference – Video Review

Intel Core i5-9400F: The technology

Coffee Lake Refresh (Core i-9000 for LGA 1151) is the code name of processors with up to eight cores and follows Coffee Lake (Core i-8000 for LGA 1151). In October 2017, this architecture brought out the first six-core CPUs for Intel’s LGA 1151 socket: Core i7-8700K, Core i5-8600K and Core i5-8400. The small Core i5-8400 (review) in particular surprised as a good complete package of performance and price at the time, the new Core i5-9400(F) is now the same price but slightly higher clocking successor.

However, there isn’t much space available in this area. Because apart from the Core i5-8400 there is also the Core i5-8500, which offers 200 MHz more clock speed in the base, but the same turbo, but costs 10 US dollars more. Theoretically, the Core i5-9400 would now also rank below that. However, since the turbo is on in 99 percent of a working session, the performance will be the same. The overview looks like the following:

Intel does not solder the heatspreader

With Coffee Lake Refresh, Intel addressed a criticism that had been voiced for years, which the competitor AMD had recently brought into focus again with its Ryzen CPUs: The heatspreader is soldered to the processor die again in the top models (9900K, 9700K and 9600K). The heatspreader is soldered back to the processor die on the top models (9900K, 9700K and 9600K). The last architecture where Intel generally did this was Sandy Bridge. In Coffee Lake Refresh, Intel calls the new old connection classic Solder-Based Thermal Interface Material (STIM).

Overclocking: CPU no, RAM yes

With Intel only K models can be overclocked. This statement also applies to the ninth generation of core processors. With the Core i5-9400(F), the multiplier thus remains where it is on every motherboard, and thus also the processor clock.

The RAM divider, on the other hand, can be set in the BIOS to DDR4-3200, for example, and is also used in this way in Windows. Even DDR4-4000 was thus ready in combination with the Intel Core i5-9400F on an Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Intel Z390): Simply load the XMP profile and nothing stood in the way of problem-free use.

Conclusion and recommendation

For years, enthusiasts demanded the pure processor, now it is here. Something like this has been around at Intel at the latest with Sandy Bridge (January 2011) (first beginnings with Clarkdale (January 2010)) and thus for more than eight years almost no longer. However, because the Die of the new F models (“without iGPU”) is the same as in the processors with iGPU, i.e. the unit has only been deactivated, there is no technical advantage: (K)F models clock just as high as the known models with the same consumption. And the price is also officially the same.

No technical advantage from deactivated iGPU

However, the Core i5-9400F currently offers early buyers a price advantage of 15 Dollar in retail; the Core i5-8500 is significantly more expensive (plus 35 Dollar) as a predecessor of almost the same speed. The Core i5-8400 is only 5 Dollar cheaper. However, the picture is even more diffuse in the other (K)F CPUs, and their price is often higher. They aren’t available yet, though.

In view of the absolutely identical performance of the F- and non-F-CPUs, customers should look at the price afterwards anyway and rather ask themselves: Have I ever used the integrated graphics in the processor or will/must I do so in the future? Even those who use a discrete GPU could be at a disadvantage with an F-model if their graphics card breaks down and needs to be replaced

Regardless of this question, the Intel Core i5-9400(F) doesn’t compromise on performance and delivers what is expected from six cores with around 4 GHz clock speed in the middle class. Slightly faster than Intel’s first processor with six cores in the price class around 180 euro, the Core i5-8400, it sets the bar a little bit higher. AMD’s products in the league in the form of the Ryzen 5 2600(X) (test) offer six cores and twelve threads, which pushes them to the front in applications. In games on the other hand, Intel CPUs are even a touch faster. Whether this is relevant, the customers may decide.

Private customers reach for the Non-F model

The Core i5-9400(F) is thus a very fast under-200 Dollar processor, but as an F-model without iGPU it is actually only suitable for OEMs. This is because private customers with a separate graphics card exchange the potentially small price advantage for the reliability in case of a defect, without getting a faster CPU.

The situation is different for OEMs: Most recently, for example, the Techtestreport review of the HP Omen Obelisk revealed that the installed motherboard has no graphics outputs at all. There this CPU is suitably kept and makes sense for Intel: If HP chooses the F-model, possibly with a small price advantage, a non-F-model for private customers remains more in the free trade.


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