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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 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.
The Ryzen 3 line will shine in the following scenarios:
Ryzen 3 may not be enough if you’re doing the following:
The Ryzen 3 2200G is insane. Not only is it a current-gen Ryzen chip, boasting performance improvements over the last-gen, it’s also stupidly powerful for its price point. At the time of writing, it’s priced at $96 on Amazon- which is insane, because it’s currently cheaper than some of the last-gen Ryzen 3 processors it outperforms!
In addition to raw performance gains, it also includes embedded Vega 8 Graphics. While no substitute for, say, an RX 580, these are much more serviceable than Intel’s U HD Graphics, providing performance on par with a GT 1030. This means, 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 a stunning value proposition. Unless the price raises significantly over the other CPUs on this list, it easily remains our top pick.
If you just want to get into the door, the last-gen Ryzen 3 1200 is a great place to start, especially if you can find it for under its current MSRP of $109. (At the time of writing, it’s actually at $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 motherboard with the capability. 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 especially to its quad core setup. No dual-core hyperthreading tricks here.
However, if you really want to get the best for your money…we recommend taking a look at our next entry.
Last up is the last-gen Ryzen 3 1300X, a pretty strong chip that’s been somewhat overshadowed by the 2200G. For whatever reason, this is currently priced higher than the aforementioned CPU on Amazon- while this is the case, it’s probably the worse option.
Not by a lot, but pretty much the only reason to buy this while it’s still more expensive than the 1200G is if you really, really don’t want integrated graphics for whatever reason.
Once the price drops, though, it becomes a very compelling option. Whenever this is cheaper than the 2200G, consider it: if you aren’t using integrated graphics and want roughly the same level of processing power as the 2200G, this is exactly the CPU for you.
Overall, this processor’s greatest 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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