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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 they eventually 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 remarkably quickly, unlike with Intel sockets.
Below, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about Ryzen 3 processors and our top picks if you want to buy one.
The Ryzen 3 line will shine in the following scenarios:
Ryzen 3 may not be enough if you’re doing the following:
Those who are into heavy gaming don’t always need to spend a sizeable chunk of their savings to get an excellent gaming experience. There are options like the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X that are capable of giving you the opportunity to build a fast gaming PC on a budget. This CPU will deliver the best results if you’re okay with 1080p gaming. You will enjoy smooth gameplay when using this processor because of its 100+ FPS performance. It features four cores and eight processing threads. It’s equipped with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, which takes care of your heat management in a quiet manner. The Ryzen 3 3300X has a maximum boost of 4.3GHz and a GameCache of 18MB. It fully supports DDR-3200. Before purchasing it, one important thing to note about this CPU is that it doesn’t come with on-die integrated graphics, so you have to ensure that you also invested in a decent graphics card. This processor is among the priciest on this list, but we believe it’s worth the price.
The next best processor you can get after the Ryzen 3 3300X is the Ryzen 3 4100. It also consists of four cores and eight threads. The most significant difference it has is its CPU speed. It’s a bit slower because its base clock is at 3.8GHz, and its maximum boost clock is at 4.0GHz. There’s barely any difference when it comes to its cooling system because it’s also equipped with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. This processor supports DDR-3200, but you get a smaller cache of 6 MB. The Ryzen 3 4100 supports different technologies like AMD StoreMI Technology, “Zen 2” Core Architecture, and Ryzen VR-Ready Premium. This processor has no integrated graphics, so users will have to buy a discrete GPU separately.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a decent option for those who want to game on a budget. It boasts performance improvements over the previous generations and is also stupidly powerful for its price point. At the time of writing, it’s priced at $190 on Amazon, which is reasonable since it outperforms some of the last-gen Ryzen 3 processors. Four of its cores are unlocked, and it has a frequency of 3.7 GHz. In addition to raw performance gains, it includes embedded Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. While it’s no substitute for an RX 580, these are much more serviceable than Intel’s UHD Graphics, providing performance on par with a GT 1030. This means that even without a GPU, you’re looking at a system capable of some last-gen gaming and any kind of media streaming you throw at it. Overall, the Ryzen 3 2200G presents an attractive value proposition. You can still find it on sites like Amazon, but you’ll have to purchase it as soon as possible if you like it because stock for it will most likely run out soon.
The older Ryzen 3 1200 is a great place to start if you just want to get into the door. Sadly, it used to be cheaper because limited stock availability pushed its price to $165 on Amazon. There was a time wherein you could’ve gotten the processor for only $94. Including a Wraith Stealth Cooler, this processor should fulfill all the big promises of the Ryzen 3 line while providing a much better stock cooling experience than Intel. (Intel’s stock coolers are notoriously lacking.) It’s also fully overclockable, provided you invest in a capable motherboard. While AMD is standing out from Intel by allowing all of their processors to be overclocked, they are pulling an Intel by requiring specific motherboard architectures to do it, which they didn’t do with AM3. That minor caveat aside, you’re getting a great processor for a low price that competes with modern-day i3s, thanks to its quad-core setup. You can rest assured that there are no dual-core hyperthreading tricks here. The CPU features a 3.4GHz precision boost that can reach up to 3.45GHz with XFR. It has a large total cache of 10MB and a maximum system memory speed of 2,667 MHz.
Last up is the Ryzen 3 1300X, a pretty powerful chip that’s been somewhat overshadowed by the 2200G. Sadly, it’s hard to find available stock for this online, but we’ve seen one available on eBay. It isn’t like others on this list whose price went up when the stock became scarce because you can get it for only $64 in 2022. If you aren’t using integrated graphics and want roughly the same level of processing power as the 2200G, this is precisely the CPU for you. The Ryzen 3 1300X has four CPU cores and threads and features the Wraith Stealth thermal solution. It can handle all your extended gaming sessions since its maximum operating temperature is 95°C. This CPU has a base clock of 3.5GHz, but its maximum boost clock reaches 3.7GHz. Overall, this processor’s most significant competitor isn’t anything from Intel. The Ryzen 3 1300X is competing most strongly with its own Ryzen 3 brethren, and that might actually be a good thing for AMD moving forward.
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