The AMD Ryzen XT series skimps on bundled coolers and clock speeds

Only the lowest-end Ryzen 5 3600XT will bundle a Wraith cooler.

Credit: AMD

With its new Ryzen XT-series CPUs, AMD may have stolen a page from Intel’s playbook by offering a moderate clock speed bump while taking away the bundled cooler.

Although accidentally leaked already, the three CPUs are officially:

  • Ryzen 9 3900XT with 12 cores, a boost clock of 4.7GHz, and 105-watt TDP for $499
  • Ryzen 7 3800XT with 8 cores, a boost clock of 3.9GHz, and 105W TDP for $399
  • Ryzen 5 3600XT with 6 cores, a boost clock of 4.5GHz, and 95W TDP for $249

On paper, they offer little change compared to the original Ryzen 3000-series launch. The only spec difference is a 100MHz higher clock for the Ryzen 9 3900XT over the original Ryzen 3900X, a 200MHz boost for the Ryzen 7 3800XT over the Ryzen 7 3800X, and a 100MHz bump for the Ryzen 5 3600XT over the Ryzen 5 3600X.

Coming almost a year after the original mind-blowing Ryzen launch, the XT-series’ mere 4-percent clock boost, is likely one big letdown to many hardware fans. Intel took flak for a slow drip of single-digit clock bumps over many generations of new CPUs.

amd wraith spire AMD

The Ryzen 5 3600XT will come with a cooler, while the Ryzen 9 XT and Ryzen 7 XT won’t.

Farewell to the free cooler

That’s not the only Intel-like move hardware junkies are likely to decry. For years, Intel has not included any cooler with its K-series of overclockable CPUs. Intel’s rationale was that most enthusiasts would want to choose their own after-market cooler. 

AMD flipped that stance on its head when it decided to offer fairly decent coolers with most of its X-series of performance CPUs. With the XT, AMD is shifting its position. The company will bundle a Wraith cooler with its Ryzen 5 3600XT, but the Ryzen 9 3900XT and the Ryzen 7 3800XT will no longer do so.

AMD’s explanation echoes Intel’s. “The AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT, AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT and Ryzen 5 3600XT processors feature tailored specifications engineered for enthusiasts who regularly choose aftermarket cooling for the highest possible performance,” AMD officials said in a press release this morning. “As a result, AMD is recommending the use of an AIO solution with a minimum 280mm radiator or equivalent air cooling to experience these products at their best.” There’s a good chance AMD will get the same blowback Intel has for this move.

ryzen7 AMD

That Ryzen 7 XT box won’t look likke this one since it won’t come with a bundled cooler.

Why did AMD take away the cooler?

While the official word is “you should buy aftermarket anyway,” the most obvious reason AMD is changing its mind is that the coolers aren’t really free—they’re bundled with the CPU, but AMD paid a price for them. By losing the stock cooler, the company can increase revenue. The savings isn’t passed on to the customer, unfortunately, as the launch prices for the Ryzen 3000XT parts are essentially the same as they were for the Ryzen 3000X chips which included the cooler.

(We should point out the original Ryzen 3000X parts (with cooler!) are considerably lower in price now after a year on the street. A Ryzen 3900X on Amazon, for example, goes for $416.)

Before you smash your keyboard in anger, one thing we don’t yet know about the new XT parts is how well they overlock. It’s entirely possible they offer better overclocking than their predecessors—but only with after-market cooling. We’ll likely have to wait until the CPUs go on sale on July 7th to find out.

New A520 chipset 

Besides the new CPUs, AMD also confirmed it has a budget A520 chipset on tap too. The company described the chipset as a product to offer “a  streamlined, trusted platform to satisfy everyday PC users.”

AMD also confirmed that yes, it’ll work with with future CPUs. “These AMD 500 Series motherboards including the new A520 provide essential performance for 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors and beyond,” the company said. AMD had recently angered users by cutting support for next-gen CPUs on some chipsets, leaving many of its customers with no upgrade path. AMD said boards based on the new A520 would be available in August from vendors such as ASRock, Asus, Biostar, Colorful, Gigabyte, and MSI.

Updated StoreMI

One last bit of news from AMD concerned its StoreMI technology, which improves storage performance through tiering of data from an SSD to a hard drive. AMD said StoreMI has been reimagined for 2020 with a new user interface and features, as well as improved performance from newer algorithms. The company did not release details on when StoreMI 2.0 would be released, nor what its compatibility would be with previous motherboards.

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Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
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