Conclusion

Today we have tested something unique, and honestly very exciting.  We found a great deal on a laptop, $299 spent on a 15.6” laptop that’s originally $519.99. 

Inside this laptop is the latest AMD Ryzen 5 mobile CPU.  We have an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U on board with Vega 8 graphics.  The laptop itself is brand spanking new, manufactured on 10/10/2019.  The opportunity was such that we had a brand-new laptop, new technology, the latest AMD CPU and graphics combo generation so we decided to bring you a full review on it! 

This review, plus our Vega 8 graphics one will be useful and interesting to anyone in the market for a laptop right now in the thin and light department.  Can you actually find good performance at a low cost?  Can you actually game at a low price?  We have set sail, to find out. 

In this first review today, you read about the Ryzen 5 3500U CPU itself.  We talked about what makes it tick, and we thoroughly benchmarked its performance in many real-world workloads.  We even looked at the frequency, the temperature and the power.  If you are wondering how good this mobile CPU is, then this is the right review for you.  In our next review, we will focus squarely on the Vega 8 graphics performance.

Performance

Let’s just get down to it, it’s all about performance.  I would say that performance is a mixed deal with this CPU. When it comes to Internet and Office Applications and media consumption this CPU soars.  This is mostly due to the 3.7GHz boost clock on single-core performance.  We spent some time perusing the Internet, YouTube watching 1080p videos full-screen, and spent some time-consuming audio and video in different formats.  Time was also spent working in Office 2019. 

There was never once had any lag issues or slowdowns.  Everything ran smoothly and we were able to do things like have multiple tabs open in a browser with different videos and things running at once.  The CPU handled it like a champ.  This CPU can handle the Internet and desktop office applications with ease, and it’s perfectly powered for media consumption. 

The 4 cores and 8 threads allow you to do multiple things at once with no problem.  We really like the fact that you can get a 4c/8t laptop in this size, for so cheap, it makes a difference.  You should really never purchase a 2c/2t or 2c/4t CPU laptop ever again. 

The only weakness in the CPU that we really noticed is when it comes to heavily multi-threaded applications.  The reason for this comes down to the fact that when all cores are running the clock speed drops dramatically to 2.8-2.9GHz.  This is well below what desktop CPUs drop to in all core performance.  This means even though it can run 8 threads, performance is hampered by the lower clock speed.  This was seen when it came to rendering out 3D and encoding video. 

The CPU will probably be fine for light video editing.  When it comes to actually rendering out or exporting your work though, it’s going to take a while.  Now, there’s a thing that this CPU can do though, and that is utilize encoding features built into it as part of its Vega 8 graphics nature.  In our second review where we focus on Vega 8, we will see if that makes a big difference.  It could potentially be just the thing this CPU needs to really shine. 

If Vega 8 can speed up that rendering performance, then this CPU might just be the most well-rounded mobile CPU we’ve ever encountered for the price.

Final Points

We are generally impressed and excited about the Ryzen 5 3500U.  It is based on the Zen+ architecture and runs on the more efficient 12nm manufacturing process compared to Zen at 14nm.  This is especially important for laptops.  It has a slightly faster boost clock than its predecessor, and even Vega 8 runs a little faster. 

The fact is, this is the best mobile CPU from AMD and the latest technology. The only downside is that it is not Zen2 architecture like the desktop CPU current generation.  It seems the laptop segment will be one generation behind the desktop CPUs, despite the naming convention.  That’s the other part we wish AMD would re-think, it is a little misleading if you compare the model numbers to the desktop parts.

One thing is for sure when Zen2 7nm comes to laptops, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame, and AMD is in the lead.              

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...