In a nutshell: AMD has finally admitted to the existence of the thoroughly leaked Ryzen 5 3500. Sliding into the line-up just a notch under the 3600, the 3500 has 6 cores/6 threads, clocks of 3.6/4.1 GHz, a 16 MB L3 cache and a 65W TDP. It won't be for sale except for OEMs, but if you want a comparable processor, a 2600 should do just fine.

The processor first appeared on the radar in August when Apisak tweeted out all its specs with perfect accuracy. Then MSI accidentally confirmed it, HP accidentally confirmed it, Dell just recently confirmed it, of course Amazon had several listings... you get the point. AMD finally gave up the ghost, launched a product page and is handing out their generic product statement:

"We are offering the AMD Ryzen 5 3500 processor to OEM partners and channels in certain regions. This processor will enable our partners to take full advantage of AMD's most advanced CPU platform, offering powerful gaming and high-speed productivity performance, with a support of industry leading PCIe 4.0, AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive and Ryzen Master Utility."

Model Cores/
TDP (Watts) Boost/Base (GHz) L3 Cache (MB) PCIe Lanes Price
Ryzen 5 3600X 6/12 95W 4.4/3.8 32 40 PCIe 4.0 $250
Ryzen 5 3600 6/12 65W 4.2/3.6 32 40 PCIe 4.0 $200
Ryzen 5 3500 6/6 65W 4.1/3.6 16 40 PCIe 4.0 ~$175
Ryzen 5 2600X 6/12 95W 4.2/3.6 16 20 PCIe 3.0 $150
Ryzen 5 2600 6/12 65W 3.9/3.4 16 20 PCIe 3.0 $120

Various companies have been taking the 3500 for a spin on Geekbench, and taking the average of the eight runs gives a multi-core score of 4886 and a single-core score of 1149. That's of course below the 3600's 6921 and 1212 scores, but pretty comparable to the 2600's 5408 and 980. The 3500 could be expected to beat the 2600 in lightly threaded applications like games, but will be defeated in multi-threaded tasks.

Presently the 3500 can only be purchased inside the (rather pretty) Dell Alienware Aurora desktop, either at $1,200 with 8GB of RAM, a 5700 and a 1TB HDD, or at $1,350 with an upgrade to 16GB of RAM and an additional M.2 drive. But with both configurations, Dell will let you upgrade to the 3600 for only $25 extra - a miles better deal. We'll have to see if the 3500 can be better value in future configurations.