When we first heard that AMD were intending to release a refresh of their latest 3000 series of processors, many people were rightly excited, thinking it could have been a hidden Ace waiting to flush out any remaining competition they might have had from Intel's latest 10th Gen series of processors. There was a great deal of speculation about clock speeds significantly increasing, and prices remaining relatively low, which would have given Intel a real run for their money in the gaming scene. These speculations felt quite possible in the scheme of things, especially following off the back of the 12nm "AF" refresh we saw a few weeks or so prior, which gave us possibly the best price-performance 6C/12T chip since, well, ever - the Ryzen 5 1600 AF for under £100. This, it materialised, was not the case however, and the hidden Ace turned out to be a bit of a Joker...
By and large, the 3 new CPUs, the 3900XT, 3800XT and 3600XT, have seen barely any increase in speeds at all, with identical base clocks to their X variants, and only between 100-200MHz extra on boost clocks. An increase so insubstantial that even those practically un-overclockable X variants could achieve the same with some apt tinkering. They'll also be dropping the usually standard AMD Thermal Solutions, included with those same X variant parts, citing a minimum requirement for AIO cooling solutions instead. So, the new processors slot in just barely above AMD's own offerings, and don't challenge Intel's gaming crown in the slightest, making them little more than Premium Silicon; these new chips will be retailed at the original MSRP of the X variant parts, whilst those X series processors will likely see a tasty price drop to help them make more sense in the AMD line-up, as well as putting further pressure on 10th Gen Intel chips.
|Processor||MSRP / Est. Drop||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost GHz||TDP||L3 Cache||PCIe|
|Ryzen 9 3900XT||£499||12 / 24||3.8 / 4.7||105W||64MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||£499 / £420||12 / 24||3.8 / 4.6||105W||64MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 7 3800XT||£399||8 / 16||3.9 / 4.7||105W||32MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||£399 / £320||8 / 16||3.9 / 4.5||105W||32MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||£329||8 / 16||3.6 / 4.4||65W||32MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 5 3600XT||£249||6 / 12||3.8 / 4.5||95W||32MB||16+4 Gen4|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||£249 / £199||6 / 12||3.8 / 4.4||95W||32MB||16+4 Gen4|
That, I suppose, is a strong positive to take away here, as those of you that may have been in the market for anywhere between a 3600 and a 3900X will now have some revaluation to do, and may well be able to step up a processor with those potential price drops. So it's definitely not all bad.
Equally, if you're someone who would benefit from those minor overclocks, and don't know how to do it yourself, then for the same original price as the X variants, the XTs aren't completely redundant on launch. Especially seeing as those looking to overclock would almost certainly be purchasing aftermarket AIOs anyway. Definitely a personal, financial and circumstantial decision to be made though, whichever way you look at it.
Another positive that came with the announcment: many people were concerned the release of a refresh would mean no Zen 3 later this year, but in a statement from AMD it was in fact confirmed that Zen 3 is still on course for a Q4 2020 release, so stay tuned for that!
What do you think of the XT "refresh"? Let us know down in the comments.
14 Jul 2021
We caught up with PNY's David Flood to discuss how the 4th industrial revolution GPU refreshes and other major tech developments are powering incredible and exciting transformation in the media and entertainment industry.