Finding The Best AMD Ryzen 3 Processor

For a long time, AMD didn’t really compete in the processor arena. As Intel’s Core series started to dominate the FX series, AMD seemed to have given up entirely on desktop CPUs in favor of APUs tailored to laptops, game consoles, and other smaller devices. With the launch of Ryzen in 2017, that changed, and AMD debuted three different Ryzen series, each designed to take down their rival Core processors.

These were Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7. Respectively, these were meant to tackle Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. Interestingly, they pretty much succeeded, and earlier this year they followed up with a Ryzen refresh. We’ll be including CPUs from both Ryzen generations in these articles, but don’t worry: even if you opt for a last-gen, you’ll still be on the same motherboard socket for quite a while. This means you don’t need to worry about going obsolete particularly quickly, unlike with Intel sockets.

Below, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about Ryzen 3 processors, as well as our top picks if you want to buy one.

Where does Ryzen 3 excel?

The Ryzen 3 line will shine in the following scenarios:

  • General usage. Web-browsing, multi-tasking, etc- Ryzen 3 will excel in these areas with no issues whatsoever. Expect a very smooth experience with common desktop usage.
  • Media consumption. Media consumption via Netflix and other applications will work great, too. If you get a Ryzen chip with embedded Radeon graphics, you may even be able to turn your Ryzen setup into a powerful HTPC for 4K content and very light gaming.
  • Budget gaming. If you’re building a budget gaming setup, the Ryzen 3 line will serve as a great companion. While we don’t recommend pairing it with cards above the level of the GTX 1050 Ti or RX 560, it shouldn’t bottleneck any cards at or below that level.

Is the Ryzen 3 enough for my usage scenarios?

Ryzen 3 may not be enough if you’re doing the following:

  • Hardcore gaming. If you’re a hardcore gamer who wants to push the absolute best performance through your system, Ryzen 3 isn’t for you. Many modern titles that are more CPU-intensive may be too much for the Ryzen 3 to handle as well, in which case we recommend upgrading to a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processor.
  • Virtual reality. If you’re gaming in virtual reality or using applications like VRChat, Ryzen 3 will not give you a very good experience. You should at least start with a Ryzen 5 for that purpose, otherwise, you’ll end up with very jarring, nauseating performance issues when in VR, which is the last thing you want.
  • Video rendering. While Ryzen 3 is somewhat equipped for the occasional light rendering session, it’s highly recommended that you opt for a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 if you plan on rendering videos even semi-regularly.
  • Twitch streaming. Ryzen 3 is definitely not enough for decent streaming quality. Just…don’t.
  • Heavy productivity applications. If you’re buying a CPU for work that needs to do high-end rendering, data sorting, etc, the Ryzen 3 isn’t the right pick.  You’ll want to look at a Ryzen 7 for that kind of thing.
Everyone else

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