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AMD adds the Ryzen 9 3900 and Ryzen 5 3500X to its growing Zen 2 garden

(Image credit: AMD)

As expected, AMD followed up the recent launch of its Ryzen 9 Pro 3900 CPU for businesses with a non-Pro variant for consumers, the Ryzen 9 3900. It also further fleshed out its latest generation of Zen processors with new Ryzen 5 3500X processor.

We have been anticipating the 3900 part since Biostar tipped its pending launch on its CPU support list a couple of weeks ago. It's essentially a lower power version of the 3900X, one of the best CPUs for gaming, with slower clocks. It has 12 cores and 24 threads, a 3.1GHz base clock and 4.3GHz boost clock, and 64MB of L3 cache. It also has a 65W TDP.

Here's how the specs compare between the two:

  • Ryzen 9 3900X—12 cores / 24 threads, 3.8GHz to 4.6GHz, 64MB L3 cache, 105W TDP
  • Ryzen 9 3900—12 cores / 24 threads, 3.1GHz to 4.3GHz, 64MB L3 cache, 65W TDP

What intrigued us about the 3900 was the prospect of buying a cheaper version of the 3900X and then overclocking to make up the difference, assuming a willingness to blow past the stock power envelope.

Unfortunately, AMD is not releasing the 3900 as a standalone processor—it's only being made available to OEM and system integrator (SI) customers. That means it's bound for prebuilt configurations, and not DIY builds (unless a retailer gets its hands on some units to sell individually, which will probably happen though you would need to supply your own cooler).

AMD also unveiled a Ryzen 5 3500X. This one is also shipping to OEM and SI customers, and is only slated for release in China (the 3900 is available globally). This one is a 6-core/6-thread chip with a 3.6GHz base clock and 4.1GHz boost clock, 32MB of cache, and 65W TDP. Compared to the 3600X, the specs are the same, except the 3900 has a 100MHz higher boost frequency and also has SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading).