AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Review

Written by Antony Leather

September 19, 2019 | 12:20

Tags: #12nm #3rd-gen-ryzen #apu #quad-core #radeon-rx-vega #rx-vega-11 #x570

Companies: #amd

Manufacturer: AMD

UK price (as reviewed): £137.99 (inc. VAT)

US price (as reviewed): $139.99 (exc. tax)

AMD's APUs were, not too long ago, considered to be its most competitive products, with Intel lacking (and still lacking) when it comes to onboard graphics, with current desktop offerings from the blue team simple unable to provide reasonable frame rates in modern, graphically-demanding games at low to medium settings. So, when the Ryzen 5 2400G appeared at the beginning of last year, we were understandably excited. Here was Ryzen paired with Vega, giving extra leg room to the already-potent onboard graphics but offering much-needed boosts to CPU performance, which prior to Zen had been lacklustre really since 2011's Lynx family of 32nm APUs.

Today, we're looking at the Ryzen 5 2400G's successor, as we've finally put the Ryzen 5 3400G through its paces, comparing it not just to the latest batch of 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs but also to its predecessor and Intel's Core i5-9500, ditching our discrete GPU for a dabble in onboard graphics performance comparisons to see what the improvements AMD has made are worth in modern titles.

Model Cores/Threads Base Freq Boost Freq Total Cache TDP (Watts) Included cooler SEP (USD) Availability
Ryzen 9 3950X 16/32 3.5GHz 4.7GHz 72MB 105W Wraith Prism RGB $749 September
Ryzen 9 3900X 12/24 3.8GHz 4.6GHz 70MB 105W Wraith Prism RGB $499 July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3800X 8/16 3.9GHz 4.5GHz 36MB 105W Wraith Prism RGB $399 July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3700X 8/16 3.6GHz 4.4GHz 36MB 65W Wraith Prism RGB $329 July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600X 6/12 3.8GHz 4.4GHz 35MB 95W Wraith Spire $249 July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600 6/12 3.6GHz 4.2GHz 35MB 65W Wraith Stealth $199 July 7, 2019
Model Cores/Threads Base Freq Boost Freq GPU GPU Cores GPU Freq Total Cache Lithography TDP (Watts) Included cooler Price
Ryzen 5 3400G 4/8 3.7GHz 4.2GHz Radeon RX Vega 11 11 1400 6MB 12nm 65W Wraith Spire $149
Ryzen 5 2400G 4/8 3.6GHz 3.9GHz Radeon RX Vega 11 11 1250 6MB 14nm 65W Wraith Stealth $129

Although the Ryzen 3400G is marketed as part of the 3rd Gen Ryzen family, you can see above that it is neither Zen 2-based nor built on 7nm lithography. The CPU cores are actually built on the previous-gen Zen+ architecture and the 12nm FinFET process, although this is still an upgrade from the 14nm Zen cores in the Ryzen 5 2400G. As such, there are none of the IPC benefits of the Zen 2 architecture, so while the boost frequency of 4.2GHz is reasonable compared to, say, the Ryzen 5 3600, it's by no means going to match it performance-wise in lightly-threaded applications, as that's where IPC and improved cache come into play. The gulf is obvious: 6MB total cache versus 35MB for the Ryzen 5 3600.

However, this 4c/8t APU isn't trying to be a quad-core Zen 2, but instead builds on the Ryzen 5 2400G. After all, Zen+ was still a big improvement on Zen, and it's those benefits, if you'll cast your mind back to 2018, that we'll be seeing here. There are much higher frequencies  - 100MHz higher base frequency and 300MHz higher peak boost frequency - which are sure to offer better performance in content creation and games. The latter will be even more improved by the fact that the Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics, while still using the same 11 GPU compute units, sees its frequency rise from 1,250MHz to 1,400MHz. Despite the generational leap in APU design, then, we're not going to see our benchmarks set alight. On the plus side, though, the Ryzen 5 3400G costs less than £140, so while there's a sizeable gap between it and the cheapest current Zen 2 CPU (just under £200), it's a welcome addition to the fray for a select niche of low-budget gamers.

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