Turbo, Power, and Latency


As part of our usual test suite, we run a set of code designed to measure the time taken for the processor to ramp up in frequency. Recently both AMD and Intel are promoting features new to their processors about how quickly they can go from an active idle state into a turbo state – where previously we were talking about significant fractions of a second, we are now down to milliseconds or individual frames. Managing how quickly the processor fires up to a turbo frequency is also down to the silicon design, with sufficient frequency domains needing to be initialized up without causing any localised voltage or power issues. Part of this is also down to the OEM implantation of how the system responds to requests for high performance.

Our Ryzen 5 3600 jumped up from a 2.2 GHz high-performance idle all the way to 4.2 GHz in 16 milliseconds, which coincides exactly with a single frame on a 60 Hz display. This is right about where machines need to be in order to remain effective for a good user experience, assuming the rest of the system is up to scratch.


With the Ryzen 5 3600, AMD lists the official TDP of the processor as 65 W. AMD also runs a feature called Package Power Tracking, or PPT, which allows the processor to turbo where possible to a new power value – for 65 W processors that new value is 88 W. This takes into account the power delivery capabilities of the motherboard, as well as the thermal environment. The processor can then manage exactly what frequency to give to the system in 25 MHz increments.

As part of my new test suite, we have a CPU power wrapper across several benchmarks to see the power response for a variety of different workloads.

For an AVX workload, y-Cruncher is somewhat periodic in its power use due to the way the calculation runs, but we see an almost constant 90 W peak power consumption through the whole test. The all-core turbo frequency here was in the 3875-3925 MHz range.

Our 3DPMavx test implements the highest version of AVX it can, for a series of six 10 second on, 10 second off tests, which then repeats. In this case we don’t see the processor going above 75 W in the whole process.

Photoscan is our more ‘regular’ test here, comprising of four stages each changing between single thread, multithread, and variable thread. We see peaks here up to 80 W, but the big variable threaded scenario bounces more around the 60 W mark for over 1000 seconds.

On the per-core power side, using our ray tracing power load, we see a small range of peak power values

When one thread is active, it sits at 12.8 W, but as we ramp up the cores, we get to 11.2 W per core. The non-core part of the processor, such as the IO chip, the DRAM channels and the PCIe lanes, even at idle still consume around 12-18 W in the system.


Our latency test is a simple core-to-core ping test, to detect any irregularities in the core design.

The results here are as expected.

  • 7.5 nanoseconds for threads within a core
  • 34 nanoseconds for cores within a CCX
  • 87-91 nanoseconds between cores in different CCXes
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Review Test Bed and Setup
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  • jabber - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    I just wish he's cut that damn awful hair, put it in a ponytail or use some conditioner on it at least. The constant hair tucking....aarrghghhhhhhhhhh
  • burnte - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    I have a 3600X, not the 3600, and I can throw everything at it in 1440p. Once the perf patches came out for Fallen Order and the drivers for my RTX 2070, Fallen Order runs like butter. Shadow of the Tomb Raider never dipped below 90fps, and most of the time tops out my monitor's 144hz refresh rate, all running at 1440p.
  • evilspoons - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    I mean, you've got 1080p and 4K results already and as the resolution goes up the CPU is less important than the GPU. 1920x1080 vs 2560x1440 vs 3840x2160, the results are basically just going to be split down the middle.
  • PeterCollier - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    It's interesting that in Australia, the Ryzen 7, instead of the 5, is the most popular. You would think that the VAT incentives the less expensive parts. Is electricity unusually cheap down under? Or is the 7 the best selling part because winter is coming to the southern hemisphere, and users needed upgrades from Preshott?
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Could be that once you've saved up the silly amount of money needed for an upgrade there, stretching a little further to the 3700X just seems to make sense?
  • PixyMisa - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Yeah, the exchange rate is brutal right now so it makes sense to try to make your system last an extra year. I have two Ryzen 1700 systems and I'm hoping to hold onto them until DDR5 arrives.
  • tmr3 - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Generally speaking, Amazon isn't really *the* go-to place for PC hardware shopping in Australia. We tend to rely more on established PC-centric retailers like PCCaseGear, Scorptec, Mwave, Centre Com, PLE and a few others depending on where in Australia you live. It's worth considering that Amazon has only been available as an AU website for around 2.5 years now, and depending on where you look, stock for certain products is often spottily available, way overpriced through third-party sellers only, or clearly international stock being sold as a "local" listing.

    On one of those retailer sites (Scorptec in this case) that has the option to list products by popularity, of the AM4 processors, the Ryzen 5 3600 takes top spot, followed by the Ryzen 5 1600 AF, the Ryzen 7 3700X, and then the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 5 2600. For their Intel processor listings, the Core i7-9700K is followed by two "value bundles" featuring the Core i5-9400 and Core i3-8100, then it's the Core i7-9700F and the Core i9-9900K. Unfortunately, they don't offer a combined view so we can't compare overall popularity.
  • Gigaplex - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Australian winter isn't that cold. I think the Amazon ranking is skewed because we generally shop elsewhere.
  • boozed - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Heard of the Core i9?
  • ingwe - Monday, May 18, 2020 - link

    Wow these are good results for AMD. Looks like this might have to be my next build.

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