For our AMD platform testing, we are utilizing an ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (WI-FI) X570 motherboard. This is on the X570 chipset. We reached out to AMD and asked the question if performance with these Ryzen 3 CPUs would differ between B450, or B550 or X570 chipsets. AMD’s response was that the chipset will not change the performance or boost parameters of the CPUs. The chipsets will only have differences in feature set on the motherboards.
Therefore, we can test the CPUs on the X570 platform and know that it would perform exactly the same if it were B450 or B550 in terms of CPU performance and boost. The reason we bring this up is that we contemplated testing on B450 (as we don’t have a B550 board yet) but since we were assured there are no performance differences we went ahead and tested on X570. The memory would be running at DDR4-3600 on either chipset with this CPU with the RAM modules we are using with DOCP enabled. Therefore, no differences exist and we went with the X570 chipset.
We also used the AMD reviewers guide recommended settings for BIOS and software to test the CPUs. We followed it to the letter on the AMD platform. We verified that Precision Boost Overdrive was set to OFF. We verified that Global C-States were ON. We used the power profile plan of AMD Ryzen Balanced which is the default power plan installed and used when the latest chipset drivers are installed. AMD states that this is the intended out-of-box configuration for the processor. This is required for full and intended performance.
We updated our motherboard to the latest BIOS which is version 1302 dated 03/03/2020. We also enabled the DOCP profile for our RAM. This enabled DDR4-3600 speeds with a timing of 16-19-19-39 1T. It is important to note that DDR4-3600 is supported on Ryzen 3000 series even on B450 chipset motherboards. Therefore, even if we used a lower-end chipset than X570, like B450, we would still be able to run DDR4-3600 and that would be the automatic DOCP profile. As we stated earlier, with the AMD chipsets the only difference is feature sets, not performance, even on memory.
The chipset driver we installed was AMD Chipset Driver version 2.04.04.111 which is the latest version. Our Windows version is 1909 18363.815. This contains all the latest patches and updates. Our Corsair H115i offers plenty of cooling for these CPUs.
For our Intel platform testing, we aimed to match up the CPUs as close as we can per AMD’s intended competing lineup and based on pricing. We have on hand an Intel i5-9400 and an Intel i3-9100 CPUs.
The Intel i5-9400 we are using isn’t the “F” version, but the only difference is that the “F” version doesn’t have iGPU. Since we aren’t testing iGPU performance, this does not matter for our CPU testing. The i5-9400 boosts to 4.1GHz and is a 65W TDP CPU just like the i5-9400(F). The i5-9400 is $169.99 and the i5-9400(F) is between $120-160 depending on where you buy it. Since the i5-9400 is the same as the i5-9400(F) the i5-9400 can stand in as the i5-9400(F) for our CPU comparison today.
We also have the Intel i3-9100(F) to use as a comparison. The i3-9100(F) boosts to 4.2GHz and is a 65W TDP CPU. The i3-9100(F) is priced between $75-$80 online right now.
The i5-9400 is a 6c6t CPU. That means it has 6 cores and 6 threads with no HyperThreading. The i3-9100 is a 4c4t CPU. That means it has 4 cores and 4 threads with no HyperThreading.
For the platform, we chose the MSI B360M Mortar motherboard which we purchased for this review. We chose this motherboard based on the B360M chipset as it aligns closest to the intended price point of these CPUs and as a platform someone would actually buy makes sense. This is a real-world CPU/motherboard combination based on the pricing.
We updated the BIOS on the motherboard to the latest version which was 7B23v18 dated 12/27/2019. We utilized the exact same RAM modules from the AMD platform on the Intel platform. We enabled XMP in the BIOS which on this motherboard and chipset runs at DDR4-2666 speeds on the i5-9400 and DDR4-2400 speeds on the i3-9100F with a timing of 16-19-19-39 2T on both. These are the maximum RAM frequencies supported by these CPUs and chipset combination as per the Intel specification.
We installed Intel INF driver’s version 10.1.18228.8176. Our Windows version is 1909 18363.815. This contains all the latest patches and updates. Our Corsair H115i offers plenty of cooling for these CPUs. We enabled the High-Performance power profile in Windows.
We left all other motherboard settings at their default settings. Note that on this motherboard Long Duration Power Limit is 115W, Short Duration Power Limit is 125W, and Long Duration Maintained is 28 seconds. This is the default and stock out-of-box performance a user would experience with this motherboard, therefore we left it at default to represent real-world performance someone buying this motherboard and CPU would experience.