AMD Ryzen 3 - Low Cost Quad-Cores For the Masses

AMD is continuing its quest to clay back market share from Intel today with the release of Ryzen 3 processors. AMD is only releasing two Ryzen 3 processors today, the Ryzen 3 1200 and the Ryzen 3 1300X. Both of these are quad-core processors that have just four threads. It would be nice if they had Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) technology like the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors, but these are low cost offerings that are competing with Intel Core i3 dual-core processors with Hyper-Threading technology. So, at the end of the day AMD wins on the core count, but both have a total of four threads available for the system to utilize. AMD Ryzen 3 The lowest cost part will be the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 quad-core 65 Watt processor at a paltry $109. This budget friendly 4-core, 4-thread processor has a 3.1 GHz base clock and is capable of boosting to 3.4 GHz when needed. It doesn't have the full eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) technology to reward those that use enthusiast cooling with higher clock frequencies, but AMD did allow this processor to have a 50MHz clock boost if everything is in order. You need to keep in mind that this is the budget friendly processor and the lowest priced Ryzen desktop processor. AMD Ryzen 3 Processors If you are looking for something with a little more performance you can move up to the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X for $129. This 4-core, 4-thread processor is still a 65W part although it has a higher base clock of 3.5 GHz, a boost clock of 3.7 GHz and it can get up to 3.9 GHz with XFR. AMD Ryzen Processor Lineup What is the closest competition from Intel for the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X? AMD looks to have lined the Ryzen 3 1200 to compete against the Intel Core i3-7100 dual-core 3.9GHz 51W TDP processor ($115 shipped) and the Ryzen 3 1300X is supposed to be competing against the Intel Core i3-7300 dual-core 4.0GHz 51W TDP processor ($162.70 shipped).  We say supposed to be as the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 is a 4-core, 8-thread processor at $159.99 shipped. If you are looking at spending $160, the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 would be more of a contender than any Ryzen 3 processor. AMD says that the Ryzen 3 processor series offers true quad-core performance for smooth gaming versus the Intel Core i3 series processors, but they should also do well for value-oriented business or general use computers where budgets are tight. AMD Wraith Stealth CPU Cooler Both the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X will come with the Wraith Stealth cooler in the box. This cooler doesn't have any flashy RGB lighting like the Wraith Spire, but it offer reliable CPU cooling without the need of paying more for an enthusiast class CPU cooling solution. AMD Ryzen 3 Without further ado let's take a quick look at the test system and then start benchmarking these two processors!

Our CPU Test Systems

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We tested on five different desktop platforms (Intel Z77, Intel Z97, Intel Z270, Intel X99, AMD A4 and AMD AM3+) in this article, so we'll just quickly touch on each as all shared common parts (CPU Cooler, Video Card, SSD, Power Supply) and only differed in the board, processor, memory kit and memory timings. AMD Ryzen Test System The AMD AM4 platform that we used to test the Ryzen 5/7 series processors was running the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium Motherboard with UEFI 1.50 that came out on 4/19/2017 with AGESA 1.0.0.4a. The Ryzen 3 series processors were tested on the same board with UEFI 1.70 that came out on 6/22/2017 as it has the new AMD AGESA Code 1.0.0.6. We plan on going back and re-testing the other Ryzen 5/7  processors with this AGESA at a later time. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 2933MHz with 14-14-14 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply and a Corsair Force MP500 480GB PCIe SSD. A Corsair Hydro Series H110 water cooler for this review. Core i7-7700K Test System Picture The Intel Z270 platform that we used to test the Intel 1151 processors was running the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 with UEFI F5e that came out on 12/28/2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H105 water cooler and Crucial MX300 1050GB SSDs on all of the desktop systems.
Intel LGA1151 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-7700K

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 5 Click Here

Memory

16GB Vengeance 3000MHz DDR4 Click Here

Video Card

GeForce GTX 1080 FE Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial MX300 1050GB Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H105 Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M65 Pro Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i Click Here

Monitor

ASUS VE278Q 27" Click Here

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit Click Here
Intel Z97 Platform: The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with BIOS 2801 that came out on 11/15/2015. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 11-11-11-28 1T memory timings. Intel Z77 Platform: The Intel Z77 platform that we used to test the Intel 1155 processors was running the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H (rev 1.0) motherboard with BIOS F16h that came out on 07/11/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2133 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Intel X99 Platform: The Intel X99 platform we picked to use for the LGA2011-v3 processors was the ASUS X99-E-10G WS board with BIOS 0403 and that is the initial release UEFI as no newer version has come out since the introduction of that board in 2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings. AMD AM3+  Platform: The AMD AM3+ platform that we used to test the AM3+ processors featured the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer  motherboard with BIOS 1.60 that came out on 01/14/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Laptops:  Just for fun we also included Dell XPS 13 9350 and Dell Dell XPS 13 9360 laptop results! These are retail Dell laptops with clean installs of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 installed for comparison to the desktop platforms. Let's take a look at overclocking and move onto the benchmarks!

Real World Benchmarks

Dolphin 5.0 x64 Emulator Benchmark: link

The long awaited Dolphin 5.0 release happened in 2016 and thanks to a major cleaning up of the codebase Dolphin has reached a new level of efficiency, powered by a revitalized dynamic recompiler. Dolphin is considered by many to be the best Nintendo Wii emulator for PC you can find. It also works for Gamecube. We are running the official Dolphin 5.0 benchmark as it offers closer mapping to real world Dolphin performance as the previous version was extremely floating point heavy. We feel this is a pretty good general CPU benchmark for real world performance as emulation workloads are something that most gamers will run at one point or another.  We benchmark the standard Wii homebrew application and run it with the speed limit set to 'unlimited' and the External Frame Buffer set to 'real' in case you wanted to run this on your personal system.

Agisoft Photoscan 1.2.6 x64 - 2D to 3D Image Manipulation Benchmark: link

Agisoft PhotoScan is a stand-alone software product that performs photogrammetric processing of 2D digital images and generates 3D spatial data to be used in GIS applications, cultural heritage documentation, and visual effects production as well as for indirect measurements of objects of various scales. We us the 50 images from the 'Building' sample data download page for our benchmark. We take the total time it takes to complete four steps: Align Photos, Build Dense Cloud, Build Model, Build Texture with all the default settings for each.

KeyShot 6.3 - 3D Rendering and Animation: link

KeyShot 3D rendering and animation software is one of the fastest, easiest way to create amazing, photographic visuals of your 3D data. We installed KeyShot 6.3 to do some benchmarking and real-world stress testing using the camera_benchmark.bip scene that is included with the application. This benchmark tests a 800x554 pixel image with a continuous sample rate and shows the Frames Per Second (FPS) that the scene is being rendered from. This scene has nearly 42,000 triangles and does a good job at using all available cores to render the scene.

Blender 2.78a Open Source 3D Creation Benchmark: link

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. We use the BMW CPU Benchmark (CCO, 3MB) created by Mike Pan for our testing. Real World Benchmark Results Summary: When it comes to our 'real world' benchmark tests we found the AMD Ryzen 3 performs pretty well in our benchmark suite. Our Dolphin emulation benchmark doesn't use more than 4-cores and the Ryzen 3 1300X was faster than the Ryzen 7 1700. This is because it has XFR and we were using a water cooler, so it was running higher clock speeds during this benchmark. The Ryzen 3 performance is respectable for a processor series that costs between $110 and $130 considering the Intel Core i9-7900X and Core i7-6950X that sit on top most of the benchmark results will run you $1000!

Media Encoding & Encryption Benchmarks

HandBrake v1.0.2 - link

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is popular today as it allows you to transcode multiple input video formats to h.264 output format and is highly multithreaded. We used Big Buck Bunny as our input file, which has become one of the world standards for video benchmarks. For our benchmark scenario we used a standard 2D 4K (3840x2160) 60 FPS clip in the MP4 format and used Handbrake version 1.0.1 to do two things. We used the new Fast 1080p30 preset to shrink that down to a 1920 x 1080 video clip to reduce the file size. This is something people often do to save space to put movies onto mobile devices. We also ran the workload using the normal preset as it puts the CPU at a higher load than the Fast 1080p30 preset.  

X264 HD Encoding - link

the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It’s nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test. Media Encoding Benchmark Results Summary: Our media tests showed that the AMD Ryzen 3 processors did well for a chip with 4-cores and 4-threads, but

VeraCrypt 1.19 - link

VeraCrypt is an open-source disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and is a fork based on the discontinued TrueCrypt 7.1a utility. The developers claim that weaknesses found in TrueCrypt have been resolved with the VeraCrypt project. This is a popular utility used by people that don't want to use Microsoft's built-in encyption tool for Windows 10 called Bitlocker. Encryption Benchmark Results Summary: If encryption is something you do, you'll find having more cores and threads to be very beneficial as you can see from the results above.

3DMark & Cinebench

Futuremark 3DMark 2.2.3509 - link

3DMark is a popular gaming performance benchmark that includes everything you need to benchmark your PC whether you're gaming on a desktop PC, laptop, notebook, or a tablet. 3DMark includes seven benchmark tests and we'll be running 'Sky Diver' that is aimed at gaming laptops and mid-range PCs.

Maxon Cinebench R15.038 - link 

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. 3DMark and Cinebench Benchmarks Results Summary: The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X processors did okay in these two benchmarks. The Ryzen 3 1300X turned in a multi-CPU score of 560 points and the Ryzen 3 scored 476 points on Cinebench R15. Those solid scores put both processors ahead of the Intel Core i3-7350K dual-core processor in Cinebench. When it comes to 3DMark Firestrike we found the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X was able to beat the Core i3-7350K, but the Ryzen 3 1200 wasn't and just happened to be the slowest desktop processor on that chart with regards to the physics score. The overall score had the Ryzen 3 1200 ahead of several processors, including the Core i7-7350K.

Web JavaScript & HTML5 Benchmarks

Mozilla Kraken 1.1: link

Kraken is a JavaScript performance benchmark created by Mozilla that measures the speed of several different test cases extracted from real-world applications and libraries. Kraken uses a test harness based on the SunSpider benchmark. Results are reported in milliseconds (lower is better).

JetStream 1.1: link

JetStream combines a variety of JavaScript benchmarks, covering a variety of advanced workloads and programming techniques, and reports a single score that balances them using geometric mean. JetStream includes benchmarks from the SunSpider 1.0.2 and Octane 2 JavaScript benchmark suites. It also includes benchmarks from the LLVM compiler open source project, compiled to JavaScript using Emscripten 1.13. It also includes a benchmark based on the Apache Harmony open source project's HashMap and a port of the CDx benchmark, hand-translated to JavaScript.

Web JavaScript & HTML5 Benchmarks Results Summary: When it comes to online browsing the AMD Ryzen 3 processors do okay, but are on the lower half of the performance chart.

Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 SP3 Memory Bandwidth: link

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 is a utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks. This test has been popular for CPU and memory benchmarks for well over a decade and it is one of the easiest benchmarks out there to run. Memory Bandwidth Results Summary: Memory performance on Ryzen 3 is solid with AGESA Code 1.0.0.6 on the Ryzen 3 processors. The Ryzen 5/7 processors were tested with AGESA Code 1.0.0.4a and it looks like we need to go back and re-test all of them to get the memory improvements.

Discrete GPU 1080P Gaming Performance

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, currently one of the hottest PC games, was finally released for the PC on April 14, 2015.  Developed by Rockstar, it is set in 2013 and the city of Los Santos.  It utilizes the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which Rockstar has been using since 2006, with multiple updates for technology improvements. We picked this game title for CPU testing as it is known to scale well with CPUs. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz.

Thief

Thief is a series of stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix on February 25, 2014. We picked this game title for CPU testing as it is known to scale well with CPUs. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Set in a cyberpunk-themed dystopian world in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided features the return of Adam Jensen from the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with new technology and body augmentations. The game was released on August 23rd, 2016 for PC users and we are using it to show DX12 performance on the CPUs that we tested. DX12 removed most all of the CPU overhead, so we wanted to see what happens to performance on DX12 game titles as well. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; DX12 enabled, exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, medium graphics. Discrete Gaming Benchmarks Results Summary: On the three game titles we tested with, the AMD Ryzen 3 processor gets the job done, but you can see there is room for improvement. 

Power Consumption

No review is complete without taking a look at power numbers on these 65W Ryzen 3 parts. This chart is getting too big, but it shows the numbers. The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 used 44.8 Watts at idle and at most 256 Watts in Thief while doing 1080P gaming on the GeForce GTX 1080 video card. When we moved over to the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X our idle power consumption for the system went up to 47.2 Watts and in Thief we hit 270 Watts, both of these processors are rated at 65W TDP, but there is a power draw difference between the two for sure. In the AIDA64 stress test the Ryzen 3 1200 was running at 3,100 MHz and the system used 90.6 Watts whereas the Ryzen 3 1300X ran at 3,600 MHz and used 108 Watts of power.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Overclocking

We wanted to look at overclocking on the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 processor and was trying to get over 4GHz out of the budget friendly quad-core processor. We tried straight out of the gate for 4.0GHz on all cores with stock voltage and the system wouldn't post. After a clear CMOS on the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard we tried for 3.8GHz and again failed. We bumped up the voltage to 1.4V and finally was able to get up to 3.9GHz stable. The result was a our Cinebench R15 score went from 476 to 604, which is a 26.8% performance improvement over stock settings! We were happy with the results of the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 processor at 3.9GHz. The single threaded performance went from 133 to 156, which is a 17% performance improvement. We were able to get this nice performance boost by simply increasing the multiplier and increasing the CPU voltage setting on our motherboard on 1.4 Volts. That is about as easy as overclocking gets! Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X on the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard didn't work too well. If we manually raised the multiplier the multiplier dropped to 15.5x and the processor was locked at at 1,550 MHz. This gave us a ~200 point score in the Cinebench R15 multi-CPU benchmark test and is clearly a bug that needs to be fixed. We've let AMD and MSI know about the issue with this board/processor combination! Let's wrap up this review on the Ryzen 3 processors!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

The AMD Ryzen 3 series of processors are priced below $130 and for that price the performed pretty well in our testing. These aren't exactly exciting processors, but they are quad-core processors that handle most multi-threaded workloads with ease. The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X both were able to compete against the Intel Core i3-7350K processor in out testing, so it shows that these are pretty potent processors at a budget friendly price. AMD B350 motherboards start start around $75, so you can pick up an AMD Ryzen 3 processor and B350 motherboard for $185 to $205. That is a pretty good value for the performance that you get. The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 overclocked up to 3.9GHz on our test platform, so you can get a pretty sweet little platform for under $200. AMD Ryzen 3 CPU-Z The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 is a processor that we see doing well for those that want a Ryzen series processor at the lowest possible price. The AMD Ryzen 3 1300X is a nice step up and XFR is a nice feature to have for those that plan on buying an aftermarket cooler like we tested with. With XFR the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X can hit up to 3.9GHz, which is 400MHz more than the Ryzen 3 1200 can hit. So, if you are going to invest in a better CPU cooler you might as well move up to the Ryzen 3 1300X to get the extra clock frequency. Once you move up to the $129 price range of the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X you have the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 is a 4-core, 8-thread processor teasing you at $159.99 shipped. Twice as many threads thanks to SMT for an extra $30! AMD has some good processor choices for $109, $129 and $159, so if you are building a new system be sure to take a look at these processors! All of them will make a great choice for a mainstream desktop PC and it really just depends on your budget and what you will be doing. Legit Reviews Value Award Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Ryzen 3 series are true quad-core processors that offer solid performance and won't break the bank with prices below $130!