The AMD Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X CPU Reviewby Ian Cutress on February 11, 2019 11:45 AM EST
Despite AMDs resurgence to kick it with the high end of mainstream processors, the biggest volume sales occur more in the mid-range where the parts are often competitively priced. In the segment, AMD currently has the Ryzen 5 2600 and the 2400G at retail, but OEMs can use two others: the 2500X and the 2300X. We don't know if we'll ever see these at retail, but we obtained both CPUs for a review.
AMD’s Ryzen 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X: Filling in Some Gaps
Much like the first gen counterparts, the 2500X is a quad core processor with simultaneous multi-threading while the 2300X is a straight forward quad core. The X processors usually have a higher thermal design power (TDP) than hypothetical non-X equivalents, allowing them to take advantage of AMDs Extreme Frequency Range technology for higher turbos for longer given sufficient cooling, although these are set at 65W, similar to non-X processors. Normally X processors come with better stock coolers at retail, however as these are OEM only processors, it is up to the system integrator to provide sufficient cooling.
|AMD's Mainstream Stack|
|Ryzen 7 2700X||Zen+||8 / 16||3700||4300||16||-||105W||$329|
|Ryzen 7 2700||Zen+||8 / 16||3200||4100||16||-||65W||$299|
|Ryzen 5 2600X||Zen+||6 / 12||3600||4200||16||-||95W||$229|
|Ryzen 5 2600||Zen+||6 / 12||3400||3900||16||-||65W||$199|
|Ryzen 5 2500X*||Zen+||4 / 8||3600||4000||8||-||65W||-|
|Ryzen 5 2400G||Zen||4 / 8||3600||3900||4||11||65W||$169|
|Ryzen 3 2300X*||Zen+||4 / 4||3500||4000||8||-||65W||-|
|Ryzen 3 2200G||Zen||4 / 4||3500||3700||4||8||65W||$99|
|Athlon 240GE||Zen||2 / 4||3500||-||4||3||35W||$75|
|Athlon 220GE||Zen||2 / 4||3400||-||4||3||35W||$65|
|Athlon 200GE||Zen||2 / 4||3200||-||4||3||35W||$55|
|* Released but not at retail|
Both of these processors use AMD's Zen+ microarchitecture, built on GlobalFoundries' 12nm manufacturing process node. This means it has better voltage, frequency, and power characteristics over the first generation Ryzen, allowing them to run faster at the same power, or cooler at the same performance. AMD has also applied minor tweaks to the design, which gives the processor an additional 3% performance at the same frequency to first generation Ryzen. We tested and verified these claims in our review of AMD's first Zen+ processors.
Tackling the Midrange
If you believe the sales numbers posted by German retailer MindFactory, or the bestselling lists over at Amazon, it would be hard not to notice that out of the first generation of Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 5 1600 has been one of the top best sellers. At an initial release price of $219, followed by subsequent cuts, it hit an aggressive price point and offered six high performance cores with simultaneous multi-threading where Intel could only offer four cores without hyperthreading. It also allowed for overclocking, providing users with the potential to squeeze more out of the processor if they had the cooling to do so. Pair this CPU with a good mid-priced motherboard and the bundled cooler and it is easy to see why this CPU had been successful.
For the second generation of Ryzen, AMD launched four CPUs at retail: the 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and the 2600, which we reviewed at launch (click here for the review). Technically we have a direct replacement to the 1600 in the 2600, which at $199, is very competitive. However, in contrast to the first generation of CPU-only products, AMD never did fill up the rest of the processor stack with CPU-only options. Under the 2600, AMD recommends the 2400G, a quad core with simultaneous multi-threading and integrated graphics at $169, then the 2200G at $99 which is another quad core with integrated graphics but without simultaneous multi-threading. AMD used to have four processors in this space (1500X, 1400, 1300X, 1200) which were also very competitive. We tested them all when they were launched against the competition, and the parts had obvious strengths and weaknesses.
Despite AMD recommending these parts with integrated graphics up to $165 (current Amazon pricing), it would appear that their system builder partners have requested a CPU only option below this price point. This is where the Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X come in. These parts are generational updates against the 1500X and 1300X, but at present only available to AMD’s partners that build full systems. These parts cannot be ‘officially’ purchased at retail; however it is likely that some will filter out onto the grey or second hand markets.
The main obvious reason for not releasing several parts at similar price points is to cannibalize each other’s sales – by offering the 2500X and 2300X as OEM-only parts, it allows AMD to maintain a rigid stock based on order requirements, while the 2400G/2200G can be sold on the open market. There could be the argument from the side of PR that at this price bracket, $150 and below, emerging markets benefit most from integrated graphics solutions. But that doesn’t preclude selling these parts at retail elsewhere in the world. Regardless of the reasons, we still wanted to test these CPUs to see where they stand, and ultimately if the sub-$150 plus discrete GPU self-builder would benefit from a CPU-only option.
Normally when we compare processors, we compare on two fronts: core/thread count, and price. Very rarely do our review processor(s) have the same contestant for both. In this case, we don't have a list price for the 2300X or 2500X, which makes this a little difficult. In order to be competitive however, we would expect the two CPUs to fit price wise where their naming suggests - above the 2200G and 2400G respectively.
When it comes to competitive Intel processors then, on price, the competition is around the Core i3-8100 at $120, or the Core i3-8350K, currently on sale for ~$190. These parts is a quad core without hyperthreading, which automatically puts it on par more with the Ryzen 3 2300X. Intel no longer offers anything below an 8-core with hyperthreading, which makes a comparison with the Ryzen 5 2500X difficult. In terms of thread parity, then either the quad-core Core i3-8100/i3-8350K with four threads is still relevant, or the six core i5-9600K with six threads comes into play, although it is worth bearing in mind that this is a $260 processor. Going for eight threads on Intel for comparison just blows out the budget, making a comparison more irrelevant.
When we set the comparison against AMD, the natural competition is the 2200G and 2400G, but also the 2600, based on price. The 2200G and 2400G are APUs, and this affords a couple of pros and cons. In normal AMD Ryzen CPUs without integrated graphics, the silicon has eight cores split into two 'core complexes' of four cores each. Transferring data between cores thus has two latencies - within a complex it is fast, but between the complexes it is slightly slower. There are two ways to enable four cores on this design, in a 2+2 configuration, which gives access to the full L3 cache on each complex but has slower complex-to-complex communication, or a 4+0 configuration which keeps core communication fast but halves the L3. As the Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X only have half the L3 available, this means they are in 4+0 mode. If we compare this to the APUs, the 2200G and 2400G, because they combine one quad-core complex with integrated graphics, they also do not have a complex-to-complex latency, but the downsides of the APU configuration though is that these parts only have 4 MB of L3 cache (compared to 8MB), and they are running on the older Zen microarchitecture, which clock for clock is around 3% slower.
If AMD ever decides to release these processors at retail with corresponding stock coolers, on paper at least, they appear to be very competitive. This is one reason why we are testing these parts in a review.
|Recommended Reading on AMD Ryzen|
|2700X and 2600X
|2400G and 2200G
|2700 and 2600
|APU Memory Scaling||Threadripper 2
Pages In This Review
- Analysis and Competition
- Test Bed and Setup
- 2018 and 2019 Benchmark Suite: Spectre and Meltdown Hardened
- CPU Performance: System Tests
- CPU Performance: Rendering Tests
- CPU Performance: Office Tests
- CPU Performance: Encoding Tests
- CPU Performance: Web and Legacy Tests
- Gaming: World of Tanks enCore
- Gaming: Final Fantasy XV
- Gaming: Shadow of War
- Gaming: Civilization 6
- Gaming: Ashes Classic
- Gaming: Strange Brigade
- Gaming: Grand Theft Auto V
- Gaming: Far Cry 5
- Gaming: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Gaming: F1 2018
- Power Consumption and TDP
- Conclusions and Final Words
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romrunning - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkIt may just be me, but all of the links on the "Pages In This Review" at the bottom of the main page simply return me to the main page.
romrunning - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkBut the drop-down to the specific page works as expected.
evilspoons - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkIt's definitely not just you. I spent a few tries wondering what I was doing wrong and re-read the start of the article until I tried the drop-down menu instead of the links.
Ian Cutress - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkThat's my fault, as the hyperlinks need to be manually added. I had messed up the part of the URL after the /show/13945. It should be fixed now.
Kevin G - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkI noticed this as well.
IGTrading - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkThank you Ian for a good review.
I completely agree with the conclusion that the 2300X makes perfect sense, but the 2500X is harder to place in the picture ...
On the other hand, despite 2400G and the 2500X have the same TDP, if I look at the graph with full load power consumption, I can clearly see that the latter has a very generous thermal limit, compared with the 2400G where the thermal envelope seems to be very strictly limited.
Meaning OEMs will probably be able to use the 2500X for cheaper gaming systems where auto-overclocking is used as a feature and AMD will thus be able to offer something better for a lower price.
This also allows AMD to push AM4 harder on the market, giving itself the opportunity to future upgrades for AM4 buyers.
So the 2500X will show considerably better performance than the 2400G despite the similar config (minus the iGPU) while not cannibalizing the 2600 nor the 2400G.
If AMD manages to sell more 2500X through OEMs, AMD also builds a future upgrade market for itself, unlike Intel that will likely push buyers into purchasing new machines.
dromoxen - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkppl buying these CPUs are not the sort to be upgrading the CPU.. to most the computer is a closed box and is upgraded as a whole . I do wonder where all these cores are going .. I mean its great to have 4 6 8 cores with another 8 hyperthreads .. but who is using all that power ? Lets make 4 cores the absolute limit , unless you have a Govt permit to purchase more.
GreenReaper - Monday, February 11, 2019 - linkBrowsers have been getting a lot better at using multiple cores, and websites surely do enough in the background nowadays to justify the effort.
RadiclDreamer - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - linkWhy would there be any limit on how man cores? Whats it to you that I want to transcode movies faster, or multitask more, or anything else? And government permit to have more? Thats just insane.
kaidenshi - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - linkHe's trolling like he always does. Anything to get under someone's skin enough to get a reaction out of them.