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.

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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.

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