November 1

Best AMD Ryzen 3000 CPU

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Table Of Contents

AMD, as a philosophy, has always had just one goal — make better CPUs than Intel, meaning the best gaming CPUs possible. That simple. It’s what they’ve been trying to do… forever. From Athlon to Ryzen, that has been the goal. This year, AMD released its Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Built on the Zen 2 architecture, the aim is the same here as well. And for the first time, they might just have achieved it.

Ryzen 3000 CPUs are, as of now, the best CPUs on the market. The culmination of the Intel vs. AMD rivalry has a clear winner and at least as of today, it’s AMD.

AMD’s ascension to the throne will not change its commercial status immediately, though. Intel is still the market king and most people will still buy an Intel processor. It’s just the way it is. However, with the 3000 series, AMD will get more exposure and mainstream acceptability.

There are already indications of that happening. AMD’s stock valuation is rising at quite a pace and more importantly, Microsoft has decided to produce a new series of their Surface laptops with Ryzen 3000 processors.

There are already stories of people ditching Intel processors for new AMD 3000 CPUs all over the internet. Pricing won’t be a problem either, given that AMD CPUs have traditionally been slightly cheaper than Intel counterparts.

So, how did this happen?


Ryzen 3rd Gen Processors

AMD’s success with processors is largely attributed to its manufacturing process and creativity. Intel, to this day, can’t seem to produce commercially viable 10nm chips. AMD, on the other hand, is producing its chips using a 7nm node.

AMD calls this architecture Zen 2. Additionally, Zen 2 has one more important feature — chipsets. Instead of having the I/O components within the same die, Zen 2 has a multi-chip module.

This means that the I/O components are laid down on their own, on a completely separate die. This gives AMD a massive advantage in production and scalability. Cramming everything into a chip makes it harder to manufacture. By having separate components, production becomes easier.

All this fine-tuning has paid off for AMD with the 3000 series. The IPC (Instructions Per Cycle) score has increased by about 15% and now is very close to that of Intel.

amd ryzen 3900x chip mounted

However, when all’s said and done, should you take the plunge? Move from Intel to AMD?

If you do, this might just be the perfect time to do it. And to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best Ryzen 3000 processors.

As a general rule, think of Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 as competitors to i3, i5, and i7. This isn’t always the case, but it’ll help you wrap your head around the new names.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Pros & Cons

  • Gaming performance better than Intel
  • Future proof
  • Value for money
  • PCIe 4.0
  • Difficult to hit the boost clock speeds
  • Not all motherboards support PCIe 4.0

Key Features:

  • 6 cores and 12 threads
  • DDR4 3200 support
  • Clock speed of 4.2 GHz
  • Comes bundled with a cooler

Specifications

  • L x B x H — 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  • Weight — 1.76 ounces
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 65 Watts

Performance:

As mentioned earlier, AMD 5 3600 is a competitor to the Intel i5. Intel i5 processors, as you might know, are the most popular processors in the Intel lineup. Core i5 is the ultimate mid-range processor. It offers everything that a user might need from clock speed to core count to gaming performance.

The Ryzen 5 3600 has just overtaken i5. If there’s only one thing that you know about Ryzen 5 3600, it should be this — it’s better than the latest Core i5 processor.

And there are no exceptions there. Ryzen doesn’t pull ahead in one or two aspects. Dominance is all around. If you’re looking for a $200 odd processor, this is simply the best one now.

Traditionally, Intel has always maintained a lead in gaming. Intel, is, after all, a gamer’s choice. The multithreaded performance was AMD’s corner — 3D animations, video editing, advanced photo editing, that sort of thing.

However, with the 3000 series, Intel no longer holds the lead in gaming either. Benchmark tests all uniformly show the Ryzen 5 being better.

And this is pretty important for AMD. After all, there are some amazing i5 gaming processors out there and beating them means that AMD now has bragging rights over one of the most successful gaming processors of all time.

Mind you, when it comes to multithreaded performance, AMD is far far ahead already. All this is a result of the Zen 2 architecture. Because of the 7nm process, AMD has been able to increase the IPC score and also push up the clock speed. It’s important to note that even after all this added power, power consumption still stays at 65W.

Additionally, the cache has improved significantly too. 384KB of L1, 3 MB L2, and 32 MB L3. This sort of cache has a huge impact on responsiveness, which is important not just for gaming but also for general performance.

All this boost means that when it comes to benchmark results, Ryzen 5 has some serious surprises. Even though the Ryzen 5 mainly competes with the i5, in a lot of benchmark tests, it betters much more expensive i7 8th generation CPUs.

If you’re a gamer, the good news doesn’t stop here. In fact, it gets really good for gamers just about now. If you know anything about gaming and CPUs, you know that the Intel i9 9900k is the king. It’s one of the best Intel gaming CPUs out there and it’s also about twice as expensive.

Well, in some games, the $200 Ryzen 5 outperforms the Intel i9. These results are from games like Total War: Warhammer, Witcher 3, and Deus Ex — all demanding games. You can expect frame rates of 75fps as a minimum, which can go up all the way to 110fps.

There are a whole lot of other games where the Ryzen 5 matches Intel i9 9900k.

Obviously, as you take the resolution up to say, 4K, you’re going to lose the edge. But even at those resolutions, the Ryzen 5 matches up to i7 CPUs easily and mind you, the Intel Core i7 is a significantly pricier processor.

Finally, if you’re online and searching for the Ryzen 5 3600, you will also notice that there’s another processor called the Ryzen 5 3600X. Now, it’s about $50 more expensive and it’s also the better processor.

However, 3600X offers only better overclocking. All the other features are exactly the same. So, if overclocking isn’t really your thing, it’s best to skip the 3600X and simply go for the Ryzen 5 3600.

In conclusion, the 3600 is a crowd-pleaser. It has a lot of offer, no matter what type of user you are. However, if you’re a gamer, look no further than this CPU. It’s everything that you’ll ever need.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700x

Pros & Cons

  • Shipped with a cooler
  • Value for money
  • Amazing multithreaded performance
  • Power consumption is quite low.
  • Single-threaded performance slightly lags behind Intel
  • Full PCIe 4.0 is still limited to the new X570 motherboards.

Key Features:

  • 8 Cores and 16 Threads
  • 4.4GHz Max Boost Clock Speed
  • Game cache of 36MB
  • DDR 32 Support

Key Specifications:

  • L x B x H — 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  • Weight — 1.41 lbs
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 65 Watts

Performance:

The Ryzen 7 3700x is the processor that most professionals would want. It has been AMD’s flagship for a while and has also been a fantastic success. So, a generational update had to be done right.

By the looks of it, they’ve nailed it.

The 3700x, in essence, adds all the goodness of the Zen 2 architecture to an already amazing 2700x processor. So, instead of one 12nm chip, we have multiple 7nm chiplets and one 14nm die. Infinity Fabric Interconnect maintains a steady flow of communication between these chiplets.

All this basically results in a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.4 GHz. However, on clock speed alone, the 3700x isn’t anything special. After all, its predecessor — the 2700x — could reach speeds of 4.3GHz.

The difference here is that the 3700x uses almost 35% less power to do the same job. Moreover, there are more advantages in line. Now, the cache memory totals up to 36 MB.

What do all these numbers mean to you?

In essence, they mean that there’s no processor at this price point that can offer more than the Ryzen 7 3700x. The multithreaded performance of this processor leaves the Intel i7 9700k in the dust.

But that’s common knowledge. AMD is awesome at multithreaded performance. The question is that of single-threaded performance where IPC scores are really important. Thanks again to the Zen 2 architecture, 3700x sees a 15% boost to its IPC.

Is it enough?

So near and yet so far — that sums it up.

The 3700x gets very close to Intel but just falls short. Games are a prime example given that they rely on the strength of individual cores to deliver performance.

In games like Middle Earth, the i7 delivers 122fps whereas the 3700x delivers 118fps. The difference is just 4fps. But, technically, Intel still wins out. This is at 1080p resolution. Crank it up to 1440p and the difference is lesser still. Go all the way to 4K, the difference is almost untraceable to benchmark tests. Almost.

With the Zen 2 architecture, AMD has come very close to Intel in terms of single-threaded performance. So close that people have started wondering if that difference still counts as a difference, especially when you look at the big picture.

If you edit videos, do advanced photo editing, use Excel a lot, render 3D animations, or work on any sort of 3D modeling software — AMD is far, far ahead. It’s almost as if Intel isn’t fighting that fight.

The only place where AMD falls back (by 4fps, so to say) is gaming, and the difference is quite marginal. To me, it’s negligible.

Core i7 9700k, as of today, is priced at about $375 whereas the Ryzen 7 3700x costs $330. For those dollars, not only do you get a beast of a processor, but you also get a decent cooler for free.

All this begs the question — why should you buy an i7 over a Ryzen 7?

Personally, I don’t see a reason. Yes, if that 4fps matters to you a lot, the i7 makes sense. But for all other purposes, the AMD Ryzen 7 3700x is a much better proposition.

AMD Ryzen 3 3200g

Pros & Cons

  • Inexpensive
  • Built for gaming
  • Comes with integrated GPU
  • Overall increase in performance when compared to its predecessor
  • Not built on the latest Zen 2 architecture
  • Not great for AAA games

Key Features

  • 4 cores and 4 threads
  • Clock speed up to 4GHz
  • Onboard graphics card
  • Not built on Zen 2 architecture

Specifications

  • L x B x H — 16 x 1.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight — 1.59 ounces
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 65

Performance

As with most AMD products, the review must begin with an Intel processor to compare and in this case, it’s the Intel Core i3 processor.

The first thing to know about the Ryzen 3 3200g is that it costs about $80. For your 80 bucks, you get a CPU built for gaming, a cooler, and a discrete GPU. That’s a deal if I’ve ever seen one.

Now, just because it’s cheap as chips (no pun), it doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it’s really good. Right up there with some of the best budget gaming CPUs.

The processor itself is built on a four-core, four-thread configuration. Now, given the price, AMD hasn’t gone all Zen 2 on the processor. However, it’s not as bad as an Intel i3, which is built using a 14nm process.

The Ryzen 3 3200g is built on the Zen+ architecture (12 nm), which is actually the architecture on which the Ryzen 2000 series was built.

The four core and four-thread combinations yield great if rather predictable results. In most tasks, Ryzen 3 is almost as good as the i3. Multicore performance is obviously better. However, what’s great about the Ryzen 3 is its clock speed.

With the help of Precision Boost 2, the 3200g can boost cores to manage the workload better — in fact, it can boost a core all the way up to 4 GHz. Like most AMD processors, there are easy ways to overclock, especially with the Ryzen Master tool. However, you can also overclock the CPU manually. That being said, stock clock speed is actually quite decent at 3.6 GHz.

All this said it’s important to keep in mind that this is still an entry-level processor and as such, its computing power won’t be blowing your socks off anytime soon. Stress the processor, and you’ll immediately notice everything slowing down.

While all this is relevant, it’s not what the Ryzen 3 was meant to do. The 3200g is meant to be a gaming CPU and at that, it’s quite brilliant. AMD gaming CPUs, though very good, weren’t always the go-to choice for gamers. Ryzen 3 is aimed at fixing that.

With the Ryzen 3 2200g, AMD made gaming extremely accessible and inexpensive. That story continues here. This time, it’s about making the Ryzen 3 even better. To that end, the base clock speed has gone all the way up to 3.6GHz.

As mentioned earlier, the 2200g was built using the 14nm architecture. However, the 3200g gets an upgrade to the 12nm node Zen+ architecture. The thermals get better too. What’s more, the focus on gaming continues.

Vega Graphics is shipped as standard with the 3200g. While it’s not the top dog, it’s no slouch either. All of this is especially impressive considering that even the cheapest graphics card alone is costlier than the processor.

Then there’s the Wraith Stealth cooler. While it’s appreciable that AMD ships this thing for free, the fact is that this cooler is just enough for normal use. You can get away with day to day tasks, but if you want to overclock even a little, you need a much more powerful cooler.

So, where does all that leave us?

Basically, what we have here is an excellent gaming CPU which is more than capable of doing all the routine tasks too. What’s more, you can expect to play at 35-40 fps on almost all compatible games. 

Obviously, performance goes down once you start playing the latest AAA games. But even here, the dip isn’t too bad and you can certainly game with ease.

And just so that you don’t forget, as of today, all this costs $79. That’s a good $50 cheaper than the Intel i3.

That’s the value proposition that AMD Ryzen 3 offers. If gaming budget is what you’re after, it doesn’t get better than the Ryzen 3 3200g.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900x

Pros & Cons

  • Highest ever core count for a mainstream CPU
  • Zen 2 architecture
  • Gaming performance
  • PCIe Gen 4 support for amazing SSD speeds
  • Not a lot of applications use 12 cores
  • Technically, Intel is still ahead in gaming

Key Features

  • 12 Cores and 24 threads
  • 4.6GHz clock speed
  • 70MB Cache
  • Supports DDR 3200

Specifications

  • L x B x H — 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  • Weight — 2.3 lbs
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 105 Watts

Performance

At the Next Horizon Gaming event back in July, this was the processor that AMD was the proudest about. Yes, they launched 7nm processors. Yes, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 are amazing. But, the Ryzen 9 3900x — this was the showstopper. Simply put, Intel no longer makes the best mainstream CPU you can buy.

AMD does and it’s this — AMD Ryzen 9 3900x.

The 3900x is designed to take on the Intel Core i9 9900k which is Intel’s flagship offering. To beat the flagship, AMD has taken a very AMD route — more cores. The i9 has 8 cores while the 3900x has 12. With that, AMD has broken the record for the highest number of cores that a company offers for a mainstream CPU.

You’ve already read enough about the new 7nm design in this article. Suffice to say, all the improvements have gone into this chip, making it a complete beast. Given that the 3900x also supports PCIe 4.0 means that you’ll have amazing speeds and performance if you have a good SSD.

Then there are clock speeds. The base clock speed of the i9 is 3.6GHz. The 3900x trumps that with 3.8GHz. However, AMD loses out on the boost clock speed. The i9 can rev up all the way to 5 GHz whereas the 3900x tops off at 4.6 GHz.

All this points to a rather familiar story — Intel can’t match AMD when it comes to multithreaded applications. As mentioned before, this includes video creation, video editing, photo editing, 3D rendition, animation, etc.. In these aspects, AMD is just way too ahead at this point.

And AMD cannot match Intel when it comes to gaming — or can it?

Well, technically Intel is still ahead in gaming.

Understanding that lead is actually quite important. For the longest time, buyers have had a simple decision to make. If you needed more cores, you chose AMD and if you needed core strength you bought an Intel processor.

This was simply because AMD processors had mediocre core strength. If you go online, even now, you’ll see that people say Intel is better for gaming. This is the reason.

Most games can’t really use a lot of cores. They are only capable of using 2 or 4 cores. So, for good gaming performance, you needed the two or four cores in question to be really strong. However, with Ryzen 3000 series adopting the Zen 2 architecture, things have changed quite a lot.

AMD cores are no longer mediocre. In fact, they’re almost as good as Intel cores. Yes, there’s still a difference. Depending on the game, you can see a difference of 4% to 7%. That is the lead that Intel holds currently.

So, Intel declared, after the 3900x was launched, that they still made the best gaming processor in the world. They’re right, technically. Technically, the Intel i9 9900K is still the best processor for gaming.

But critics were quick to call the bluff. A 7% lead means nothing, really. The fact of the matter was that the 3900x was much better when it came to multithreaded applications and almost as good when it came to gaming.

So, which one should you buy — the i9 or the 3900x?

Well, if gaming and gaming alone is your concern, the i9 9900K is better. However, if you don’t mind a dip of about 5fps in gaming and want to do anything else, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900x is far superior.

AMD, with the 3900x, has achieved its fundamental goal — it makes the best mainstream CPU.

However, things are set to change on that front. AMD hasn’t actually released its most powerful CPU yet — the Ryzen 9 3950x. It’s supposed to be a 16 core processor that can reach speeds of 4.4GHz in stock settings.

The 3950x was supposed to be released back in November. But, it has been delayed until mid-November. So, we’re waiting on that one. However, once released, it’s poised to take on Intel HEDT processors, but at mainstream prices.

AMD Ryzen 7 3800x

Pros & Cons

  • Surprisingly great single-threaded performance.
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Aggressive boost clock
  • Cooler is shipped as standard
  • Difficult to justify the steep price when compared to 3700x
  • Very little overclocking headroom.

Key Features:

  • 8 Cores and 16 Threads
  • 4.5 GHz Boost Clock
  • Better Base clock than the 3700x
  • PCIe 4.0 supported on X570 motherboards

Specifications

  • L x B x H — 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  • Weight — 1.41 lbs
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 105

Performance:

In the above list, we rated the Ryzen 7 3700x as the best quality choice in the 3000 lineups. This processor, the Ryzen 7 3800x, is a sort of a big brother to that CPU.

Given that it’s a Ryzen 7, some basic configuration stays the same. There are still 8 cores and 16 threads. The L3 cache is 32 MB — the same.

However, from there on, things change slightly. The 3700x has a base clock of 3.6 GHz whereas the 3800x starts off at 3.9 GHz. The boost clock of the 3800x is 4.5 GHz which is actually just a 100 MHz more than the 3700x.

If these changes don’t seem like much, it is because they’re not. The real gain that the 3800x has to offer is its aggressive clock speed, thanks to a higher PPT (Package Power Tracking) Envelope.

PPT basically is a measure of how much power is sent to the socket. The maximum PPT for 3700x stands at 88W whereas the PPT for the 3800x tops out at 142W. Now, that’s a significant difference. 

This difference on paper translates into real performance too. The 3800x is very happy to boost its clock speed. A 3800x will boost to 4.3 or 4.4 GHz way more often than a 3700x and what’s more, it can stay there for longer durations too.

Apart from this, there’s very little that’s different between the two processors. While that extra performance may sound nice, the fact is that the bump isn’t too great and for all practical purposes, you might not even notice it.

That moves us along to the other things that are a bit problematic about the 3800x. One, there’s very little headroom for overclocking. Don’t expect much here. Then there’s the cooler. Now, before I go ahead and criticize the cooler, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that AMD at least supplies a cooler. Intel doesn’t even bother.

However, the cooler that they do provide isn’t great if you plan to overclock the CPU. It’s a capable cooler for users who will use the CPU at stock speeds. However, if you want to overclock, note that this cooler, the Wraith Prism, isn’t going to help you a whole lot.

Finally, the biggest problem with the Ryzen 7 3800x — its price. At the time of writing, the 3800x costs around $370. The Ryzen 7 3700x, on the other hand, costs about $325. That’s a gap of almost 50 bucks.

That difference in price is pretty hard to justify. After all, the processors aren’t that different. In fact, you could mildly overclock the 3700x and get identical performance from it.

One argument to justify the price is that the 3800x is all-round better than the Intel Core i7 – 9700k and still cheaper than it. While that’s true to an extent, the 3700x isn’t far behind either. The same argument holds just as good there.

So, should you buy it?

The price doesn’t take away from the fact that the 3800x is an excellent processor. Single-threaded performance, multithreaded performance, gaming, media applications — it does everything brilliantly.

But that’s true of the 3700x as well and for that reason, I’d prefer the 3700x over this.

AMD Ryzen 5 — 3600x

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Supports PCIe 4.0
  • Multithreaded performance beats expectations
  • Cooler shipped as standard
  • Little to no overclocking headroom — manual or auto
  • Support for PCIe 4.0 is only for X570 motherboards

Key Features

  • 6 Core and 12 Thread configuration
  • 4.4 GHz Boost Clock
  • 35 MB cache
  • Supports DDR 3200 memory

Specifications

  • 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  • 1.12 lbs
  • CPU Model Socket — AM4
  • Wattage — 95

Performance

On this very list, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 sits at the very top. It’s moderately priced, has excellent performance, is great for gaming, and even better for multithreaded applications. In fact, it’s so good that it beats the Intel i9 9600K when it comes to core-heavy performance.

The 3600x is slightly better than the 3600.

Like with the 3800x that we saw earlier, some basic hardware remains the same for ‘X’ processors. So, the 3600x, like the 3600, has 6 cores and 12 threads.

However, clock speeds change a bit. At a base clock of 3.8GHz, the 3600x is 200 MHz faster than the 3600. The trend is the same as the boost clock. 3600x offers 4.4 GHz whereas the 3600 tops out at 4.2 GHz.

Again, per usual, the real change is in power consumption. The TDP of the 3600x is 95W whereas the younger sibling is rated for 65W. To account for that, you get a 95W Wraith ‘Spire’ cooler here and a Wraith ‘Stealth’ cooler there.

The pricing gap with these two processors isn’t as great as it is with the Ryzen 7 processors. The 3600x should cost you about $235 whereas the 3600 should be available for as little as $195.

So, does the increased performance justify the price gap?

Erm… it’s hard to say. The price gap itself was actually $50 before. But now that’s come down to about $40.

The fact is that there’s not a lot of difference in performance. You’re looking at a bump of about 4% to 5% when it comes to basic tasks. For multithreaded performance, the difference is just about 2%.

The difference in price is about 18%. So, that’s what it really boils down to.

The story doesn’t change much when it comes to gaming either. For most games, you’re looking at an increase of about 4-7 fps. While that’s not anything, it comes awfully close. Mind you, the 3600x is an excellent gaming processor. It just pales a bit when you compare it to 3600 in terms of price.

For a very long time, AMD prided on the fact that their processors loved to be overclocked. The headroom was there and the cores were unlocked. However, with the 3600x, that’s not the case. The cores are unlocked, yes, but there’s very little headroom.

In fact, AMD does not recommend overclocking the 3600x even moderately. So, that being the case, it’s hard not to wonder if the 3600x exists solely for AMD’s profit margins.

Our take? Get the 3600. The $40 doesn’t make much sense.

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

Pros & Cons

  • Inexpensive
  • Unlocked GPU and CPU cores
  • Gaming performance is amazing
  • The stock cooler can keep up even with moderate overclocking
  • Not based on the latest Zen 2 architecture
  • Power consumption is quite high

Key Features:

  1. Built on Zen+ architecture
  2. 4 Cores and 8 Threads
  3. 4.2 GHz boost clock
  4. 6 MB cache

Specifications:

  1. 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches
  2. 1.12 lbs
  3. CPU Model Socket — AM4
  4. Wattage — 65

Performance:

Ryzen processors built on the Zen 2 architecture are named in the 3000 nomenclature. The latest Ryzen 5 3400G is obviously named as a part of the 3000 series. Yet, it’s not actually built on the Zen 2 platform. It’s built on the older Zen + architecture.

If you can forgive that, there’s really nothing very wrong with the Ryzen 5 3400G. It’s priced at around $145 and comes with a four-core eight-thread configuration. To top that off, it’s equipped with Vega 11 Graphics.

The 3400G, like the Ryzen 3 3200G, is an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) offering. This basically means that the processor is shipped with graphics as standard.

Like almost every AMD processor, the CPU cores are unlocked. Here, the GPU cores are unlocked too. If you figure your way around the Ryzen Master Tool or manually overclock the GPUs, there’s quite a bit of performance there to unlock.

Even if you don’t overclock, the Ryzen 5 3400G delivers on all fronts. AMD is known for its multithreaded performance and that hasn’t changed a bit. It’s extremely capable. However, if you want great performance on the 3400G, the RAM is the key.

The GPU uses 2GB RAM, period. So, when you’re deciding RAM capacity, it’s good to keep this in mind. We reckon 16 GB is a pretty sweet spot.

However, the true prowess of the 3400G is gaming. iGPUs are usually duds. They’re there, but they don’t do much. Ryzen changed things by using good GPUs. However, the Vega 11, in combination with the processor is fantastic.

For most games, and these include AAA games, you can easily expect 55-70 fps at 1080p. That being said, if the game is extremely heavy, you might see the FPS dip into the 40s.

But, remember, this is a $150 unit that comprises of both the CPU and the GPU. As far as value propositions go, it’s right up there.

Now, if you’ve been using i5, i7, or Ryzen 7 processors, this might not seem all that great. However, if you’re new to PC building or to gaming, this is the perfect place to start.

In terms of competition, there’s nothing that Intel can offer at this price that can even remotely match the performance of the Ryzen 5 3400G.

For me, this thing is an absolute winner. Pair it up with some great gaming monitor, and you’ve got yourself a gaming rig!

 

CPU Hierarchy

CPUCore and Thread CountTDPMaximum Stock Clock SpeedPrice (Estimate)
Ryzen 9 3950xTBDTBDTBDTBD
Ryzen 9 3900x12, 24150 W4,6 GHz$530
Ryzen 7 3800x8, 16105 W4.5 GHz$370
Ryzen 7 3700x8, 1665 W4.4 GHz$330
Ryzen 5 3600x6, 1295 W4,4 GHz$235
Ryzen 5 36006, 1265 W4,2 GHz$195
Ryzen 5 3400G4, 865 W4,2 GHz$145
Ryzen 3 3200G4, 865 W4,0 GHz$80

AMD Ryzen 3000: Buying Guide

While it is true that the GPU is the most impactful component of a computer for gaming and you need to choose a great graphics card, the CPU isn’t far behind on that list. In fact, it’s the second most important thing. The CPU has a huge say in gaming performance.

Now, if you don’t have a lot of experience building gaming rigs, it’s always a good idea to learn how to recognize a good processor. You’ll see that every processor has a lot of jargon attached to it. So, we thought we’d simplify it a bit for you.

With that in mind, here are a few important factors that’ll help you zero-in on that ideal CPU.

Performance

The performance of a processor is best judged on the needs it serves. So, it’s important to consider your requirements, and then buy.

amd ryzen cpu

What is your PC supposed to do?

Are you a casual gamer who just needs a rig to play most games at decent resolutions and frame rates? Or are you trying to spec up your computer?

This is an important question because paying more isn’t always necessary. For example, if you are a casual gamer, an Intel Core i5 should be more than sufficient. It’s about half the price of the flagship and delivers excellent performance. The flagship is just about 20% better.

Do you want to spend twice for a bump of 20 percent?

What’s more, spending more sometimes might mean that you end up with bad gaming CPUs. The AMD Threadripper is a prime example here. It might have a million cores, but for gaming, it’s pretty mediocre.

So, how do you pick the right one?

It’s all about understanding the specifications. Now, there’s a whole lot of jargon that you’ll see. But there are two particular numbers that matter a lot, especially in a gaming build.

Clock Speed:

Without getting into too many technicalities, these are the important points to note.

Higher clock speeds are always better. There are no exceptions to this rule. However, most CPUs have at least two clock speeds. Base clock and Boost Clock. When you’re buying, concentrate on this Boost Clock.

All the cores in a processor cannot usually operate at the highest speed. However, they hover around this number more than they spend around base clock speed. One way to find out the Boost Clock is to look at the product descriptions and search for an ‘up to’ clock speed.

Eg: Clock speed of up to 4.4 GHz

Cores and Threads:

In most cases, more is better. However, for gaming, the core number doesn’t matter once you reach 8 or 12.

Also, most games cannot even use six cores. They are capable of using two or four. This is changing slowly and more games can now capitalize on additional cores. But, as of today, a six-core processor is almost as good as a 12 core processor for gaming.

What matters the most here is core strength and in that department, Intel is slightly ahead of AMD. This is why people usually prefer Intel processors for gaming.

Practicality

A fancy, high-end processor looks great until it starts consuming lots of power and overheating. These CPUs usually need some sort of liquid cooling or at least, very strong air cooling. Now, you will have to factor that before you buy it.

Instead of spending on the CPU, see if you can get a better GPU. It matters more when it comes to gaming. There are some great GPUs at even better prices out there. As a general rule, what’s left of your budget can go directly towards a GPU.

amd gpu

If you plan to overclock your CPU, read up as much as you can on coolers. You’ll need elaborate cooling setups for considerable overclocking. Also, if you’re buying Intel, make sure that the processor is overclockable. Most AMD processors are, but a lot of Intel ones aren’t.

A handy tip is to look for a K at the end of the name. Eg. Intel Core i7 9700K, Intel Core i9 9900K, etc..

For the casual gamer reading this list, you don’t need anything more than a Ryzen 5 2600x to play games at decent frame rates and respectable resolutions.


Best Ryzen 3000 CPU FAQ

With all the talk of new AMD gaming processors, there are some commonly asked questions. We answer them below.

Are AMD Processors Bad for Gaming?

For the longest time, AMD processors were duds when it came to gaming. But that’s changed drastically now.

With the 3000 series, you’ll get excellent gaming performance. You can expect great frame rates at great resolutions. However, Intel still has a lead.

amd ryzen cpu orange energy

So, if you’re building a gaming rig and a gaming rig alone, Intel might still be better. However, if you plan to stream your gaming, AMD is better. The pros of an AMD processor heavily outweigh the cons.

Is Overclocking Relevant to Gaming?

Yes, but not a lot.

Will you see a bump in performance if you overclock your CPU?

Yes, certainly. But don’t expect much. An increase of 5 to 6 fps is what you’re looking at.

Realistically, there’s not much to gain from overclocking as far as gaming is concerned. However, the enthusiasts are not into overclocking because of gaming. Overclocking improves clock speeds and that in turn, improves the general performance of the computer.

Gaming has very little to do with overclocking.

What CPUs Do Professional Gamers Use?

Mostly Intel. Then again, they are professional gamers and their gaming rig is meant only for gaming. However, expect that to change in the coming days. With the Ryzen 3000 series, AMD is almost up there with Intel even when it comes to gaming.

So, watch your favorite gamers carefully. Some of them might just be shifting to Team Red very soon.

Which Is the Least Expensive AMD Gaming Processor?

The Ryzen 3 3200g. Not only is it AMD’s cheapest offering, but it’s also the best budget gaming CPU in the market currently. The direct competition — Intel Core i3 — is not only expensive, but it also is not shipped with a cooler or a discrete GPU.

All this makes the AMD Ryzen 3 3200g the best budget CPU on the market.

Should I Buy an Older Version or Iteration of a CPU If It’s Cheap?

Generally, it’s not advisable to go down that road. The latest iterations are not just better performing, they are also future proof. You can use them for a longer time than older ones. Compatibility, speed, performance — on all fronts, a new product is simply better.

There are exceptions, of course. If you find a great deal for a product that’s not too old, then the older version might make sense. But, in general, it’s always best to stick to the newest iterations.

Which One Is the More Important Spec: Clock Speed or the Number of Cores?

It depends on what you want to do. For gaming, once you have four or six cores, the number of cores stop being very important. Four to six cores are more than enough to play most, if not all, games. Clock speeds start mattering more.

However, if you’re a professional who does a lot of advanced photo editing, video editing, 3D animations — any media work, the number of cores that a processor has matters a lot.

amd ryzen cpu cooling

Any multithreaded application is capable of using multiple cores and for those applications, a higher core number is always better.

As far as clock speeds are concerned, the rule is quite simple — higher is better… always.

Are Threadripper Processors Bad for Gaming?

If there’s one group of processors that you don’t want for gaming, they are Threadripper processors.

A Threadripper isn’t aimed at gamers. High prices may lead you to believe that they’ll be good at gaming, but that’s not true at all. In fact, there are instances where an i5 processor has performed much better at gaming than a Threadripper.

A Threadripper is for professionals who need a high core number to run complicated, heavy, multithreaded programs or applications. At that job, there are very few processors that can compete with the Threadripper.

Gaming just isn’t what a Threadripper is used for.


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