AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
There’s a new budget king in town and he’s wearing a crown made by AMD, Kevin Lee gives praise where it’s due.
AMD’s family of Ryzen processors has made a name for itself with high core and thread counts, but its most appealing facet has been always affordability. With the introduction of Ryzen 3, AMD’s newest processors finally dip below the £100 mark.
The Ryzen 3 1300X sits at the top of this new range of processor with four cores, and it doesn’t break the bank with its £120 price. It’s a speedy chip, too, with a base frequency of 3.5GHz that cranks up to 3.7GHz. Typically, chips at this price point offer fewer cores or lower frequencies, but Ryzen 3 1300X stands up for users on a budget with strong performance.
For a fast quad-core processor the Ryzen 3 1300X makes an exceedingly good deal. Especially when you consider Intel’s top-of-the-line Core i3 chip, the 7350K, is only dual-core and cost £150. That said, Intel has a leg up in frequency, with its part operating at up to 4.2GHz without overclocking. Users on a tighter budget can pick up the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 for just under £100. It offers the same quad-core capabilities as the Ryzen 3 1300X, even if it operates a tick slower at 3.1GHz to 3.4GHz. Meanwhile, if you want to pick up a processor with at least four cores from Intel’s camp, you’ll have to spend £155 on the Core i5-7400.
Features and chipset
Like AMD’s Ryzen 5 platform, Ryzen 3 comes built on a 14nm FinFET architecture and optimised for its current AM4 platform. Users going for this budget CPU would likely go for a budget-friendly B350 chipset motherboard (starting at around £75) that supports six lanes of PCIe Gen 2 for solid-state drives (SSDs), two USB 3.1 Gen2, but lacking support for multiple graphics cards. More priceconscious builders can also opt for the even lower-priced (starting at around £50) A320 chipset, but this choice comes with some trade-offs. Namely, overclocking is locked off, and you’ll only have one USB port with a throughput of 10Gbps and two fewer PCIe lanes for SSDs.
The Ryzen 3 1300X performs exactly as we expected it would up against the Intel Core i3-7350K. AMD’s processor has double the cores over Intel’s chip, but each die isn’t quite as quick because of the lower clocks. Benchmarks show the AMD lagging on single-core loads but beating the 7350K on multithreaded tests. Gaming performance goes to the Ryzen. It does lag – only just, mind – with some games like TotalWar: Warhammer, but soundly leads with other such as RiseoftheTombRaider. Considering the lack of any optimisation for the Ryzen, and we can only see the gaming gap improving over time.
Where the extra cores make the real difference is media creation, especially for rendering objects and encoding video. In this case, the Ryzen 3 1300X blows away the Intel Core i3-7350K in Handbrake, with a 50 per cent faster encoding speed.
The Ryzen 3 1300X is clearly the best-performing processor on paper and it’s an unquestionably great deal. For £30 less than the Intel Core i3-7350K, you’re getting a processor that outperforms it on every important metric, offers two more real cores, bigger L3 cache and a thorough thrashing at media encoding and rendering on an affordable platform, too.
AMD’s CPU is a bargain, however you look at it.