AMD Ryzen 3 1200

Ryzen goes even lower-priced with an ex­cep­tional-value en­try-level op­tion.

APC Australia - - Contents - Josh Collins

While In­tel may con­tinue to dom­i­nate when it comes to in­struc­tions-per-cy­cle CPU per­for­mance ef­fi­ciency, there’s no deny­ing that AMD’s now the go-to when it comes to multi-thread­ing — and with the Ryzen 3 1200, that’s now clear from the bot­tom of the CPU mar­ket right through to the top. This new en­try-level chip also nicely high­lights the over­all value en­grained in the AMD AM4 plat­form, even at this lower-tier in the CPU mar­ket.

We tested the new 1200 us­ing our stan­dard AM4 test­bed, based around ASUS’s RoG Crosshair VI Hero, which packs an AM4 X370 chipset. While that is a com­pat­i­ble setup, it’s the con­cept of pair­ing the Ryzen 3 1200 with a cheaper B350 based AM4 moth­er­board that re­ally ap­peals. (The Gi­ga­byte AB350-Gam­ing 3, MSI B350 Tom­a­hawk or ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gam­ing K4 are all B350 based moth­er­boards that have been awarded APC Rec­om­mends awards.) With the abil­ity to over­clock the CPU and RAM on these plat­forms, there’s a sig­nif­i­cant value of­fer­ing that, on the In­tel side of the fence, would re­quire higher ex­pen­di­ture to get the equiv­a­lent con­fig­u­ra­tion ver­sa­til­ity.

Driv­ing that point home fur­ther, to build a sim­i­larly over­clock­able plat­form from In­tel, you’ll be pay­ing a $100 premium to get an en­try-level Z270 moth­er­board paired with a Core i3-7350K. Ad­mit­tedly, we’re still big fans of the In­tel setup as it sig­nif­i­cantly low­ers the cost of en­try for an over­clock­able In­tel plat­form, and with the right cool­ing it can reach im­pres­sive clock speeds. How­ever, the ar­rival of the Ryzen 3 1200 has se­verely damp­ened the hype on the Core i3-7350K, even on its locked, non-over­clock­able brethren, the Core i3-7100 and i3-7300. More­over, many en­try-level Z270 moth­er­boards are not ap­pro­pri­ately specced for heavy over­clock­ing, with lower phase-count VRM so­lu­tions, whereas we’ve proven in the APC labs that the AMD B350 so­lu­tions are primed and ready to han­dle even the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X, mak­ing the Ryzen 3 1200 an easy chip to drive above its stock spec.

Let’s take a closer look at the per­for­mance de­tails. The Ryzen 3 1200 fea­tures stock fre­quen­cies of 3.1GHz base clock and 3.4GHz boost clock across four cores with four threads. This de­liv­ers rea­son­able per­for­mance in sin­gle-threaded work­loads near In­tel’s al­ter­na­tives, along­side par­tic­u­larly strong multi-threaded per­for­mance. But it’s ex­plor­ing the fre­quency bound­aries that re­wards sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance gain. In test­ing we could eas­ily push the CPU to 3.7GHz across all four cores. Be­yond this point, there ap­peared to be an ar­chi­tec­tural or plat­form hard limit, as even set­ting a 37.25x mul­ti­plier for a fre­quency of 3.725GHz forced a hard-de­fault out­come of 1.5GHz op­er­a­tional fre­quency. It’s dis­ap­point­ing that the lit­tle chip couldn’t go fur­ther, but even at 3.7GHz the per­for­mance gains were sig­nif­i­cant, demon­strat­ing up to an ad­di­tional 17% in bench­marks.

The Ryzen 3 1200 has proven to be the lit­tle chip that can. With the ini­tial AM4 plat­form teething re­solved and a price of $330 for an over­clock­able CPU and moth­er­board combo, this is an ex­cep­tional-value of­fer­ing for those who need multi-thread­ing on a bud­get.

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