Today AMD completes the Ryzen 3000 series family with the launch of the budget friendly Ryzen 3 CPUs. AMD were kind enough to provide samples for this review but unfortunately due to current events shipping the samples took a while and I didn’t have much time to test the chips extensively. From my limited testing these chips certainly pose a lot of questions, more on that later.
AMD are also announcing the new B550 chipset today, which will be available for purchase on the 16th of June.
Are 4 Cores enough in 2020?
Motherboard: X570 and Intel compatible chipsets
RAM: 2666 CL15 DDR4
Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62
Ambient Temperature: 21C
Looking at the specs the first thing that stands out is the core count. Is 4 cores good enough in 2020? You’ll notice that unlike Intel’s budget offerings AMD’s entry level Ryzens do come with SMT enabled, and this makes this question harder to answer.
Jumping straight into Cinebench R20 multi-core might give us an idea of how multi-threading performance compares with chips with 6 cores:
Interestingly, the Ryzen 3300X is faster than Intel’s I5 9400F which is a 6 cores chip with no SMT (Hyperthreading). Not only that but the $99 Ryzen 3 3100 actually matches the 9400F which has a suggested price of $144.00 – $157.00. The I3 9100F, which currently retails for aprox $80 is completely outclassed by the 3100 in this multi-core rendering test.
Looking at single-core performance, in R20 we see the 3300X taking the lead, with the 3100, 9100F and 9400F performing about the same. Considering the 3300X is aprox $40 cheaper than the 9400F and is on a platform that can support up to 16 cores, it’s hard to make the case for the Intel part.
In a more “real world” scenario, rendering a 4K clip in Premiere took the 3300X 1,029 seconds to complete vs 1,225 for the 9400F. The R3 3100 is incredible value here, crushing the 9100F and beating even the more expensive 9400F by a slight margin.
But what about gaming?
In Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey the R3 3300X reaches an impressive 91 FPS average, while the more expensive I5 9400F struggles to reach 80 FPS average. The R3 3100 performs decently although the gap to the 3300X is significant enough to justify spending the extra $20 in this case.
In a more CPU centric game however we see the 9100F actually catching up to the other CPUs, beating the R3 3100 in the process. The 3300X maintains the lead in this title, by over 10FPS!
Seeing as I had very limited time with the chips I don’t have detailed charts for every game tested but above is an average (I’ll update the article in the future with the 1% lows). The 13 games tested were: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Ashes of the Singularity, Call of Duty Black Ops III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Far Cry 5, GTA V, Civilization VI, Total War: Warhammer 2, CS:GO, PUBG, LoL, Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Of these Intel’s I5 9400 only came ahead in Deus Ex, a game nobody plays (Although I recently returned to it, fantastic game!). In every other title the Ryzen 3 chips performed exceptionally well, particularly the 3300X. Also of note is the fact that the 1600AF – which is basically a R5 2600 – looks a bit overpriced now, especially considering you can get the 3100 for less and get the same performance (in gaming at least).
I will continue testing these chips as I’m curious to how 4C/8T handles multi-tasking, for instance having a youtube video or twitch stream playing in a second monitor while gaming. Overall the Ryzen 3 chips are great value if you are on a restrictive budget. I would argue that it’s worth spending the extra $20 on the Ryzen 3300X (or $21 to be more precise) given the difference in performance in both games and productivity applications compared to the Ryzen 3100.
My only reservation is that we will soon have consoles with 8 cores on the market, and games in the next couple of years will be coded to take advantage of the extra multi-threaded performance, so it’s hard for me to recommend buying a 4C/8T part in 2020. I think you’ll be happy with a 3300X for the time being, but what about a year from now? It’s hard to say how these chips will age, so I can only evaluate them for how they perform today, and for the money, these Ryzen 3s are hard to beat, especially the 3300X. My recommendation is to avoid both the 9100F and 9400F. If you really need a 6 core then the 1600AF or the 2600 are better choices given the more flexible platform.