AMD announced two new budget 3rd-gen Ryzen processors today, the $100 Ryzen 3 3100 and the $120 Ryzen 3 3300X. These are the first mainstream Zen 2 CPUs we've seen from the red team, and come considerably cheaper than the current value champion, the $200 Ryzen 5 3600.
Despite the low price, these new Ryzen 3 chips offer SMT (simultaneous multithreading) for the first time, so the four physical cores in each CPU can handle up to eight threads in parallel. This ought to give these chips a leg up in many content creation and some gaming workloads compared to their four-thread predecessors (and even Intel's six-thread Core i5 9400).
Here's how AMD's full Zen 2 line-up looks at present (note that the two 3000-series APUs, the Ryzen 3200G and 3400G, are omitted as they're not Zen 2).
|Ryzen 9 3950X||16/32||105W||3.5GHz/4.7GHz||73MB||$749|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||12/24||105W||3.8GHz/4.6GHz||70MB||$499|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||8/16||105W||3.9GHz/4.5GHz||36MB||$399|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||8/16||65W||3.6GHz/4.4GHz||36MB||$329|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||6/12||95W||3.8GHz/4.4GHz||35MB||$249|
|Ryzen 5 3600||6/12||65W||3.6GHz/4.2GHz||35MB||$200|
|Ryzen 3 3300X||4/8||65W||3.8GHz/4.3GHz||18MB||$120|
|Ryzen 3 3100||4/8||65W||3.6GHz/3.9GHz||18MB||$99|
Note that the new CPUs operate with a 65W TDP, like the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Ryzen 7 3700X, and presumably should come with the same Wraith Stealth cooler. Cache size is also notable, with L2 and L3 caches combining for 18MB of total capacity. That's about half that of the Ryzen 5 3600, but substantially larger than the Core i3 9100 which boasts just 7MB.
AMD hasn't released any concrete figures for gaming performance, but they do quote up to a 20 per cent frame-rate advantage for the Ryzen 3 3100 compared to the Intel Core i3 9100, with tests performed at 1080p and high quality settings in a range of titles from CS:GO and Civilization 6 to Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. AMD's figures also show up to a 75 per cent performance advantage for the Ryzen 3100 against the Core i3 9100 in apps like Adobe Premiere, Davinci Resolve and Cinebench.
If performance is as good as these numbers suggest, these Ryzen 3 CPUs could be excellent choices for system builders on a budget. AMD's other Zen 2 processors were considerably faster than their predecessors in both single-threaded and multi-threaded workloads, so a similarly significant leap in performance isn't beyond the bounds of possibility.
The new Ryzen 3 processors are set to arrive in May worldwide, with AMD listing a date of May 21st for widespread availability. However, the current human malware situation may mean the rollout of these processors is more gradual than usual; your mileage may vary.
AMD also announced a new chipset, B550, in the same press release. Motherboards using the B550 chipset will support third-gen Ryzen processors, as you'd expect, and will be the first budget boards from AMD (or indeed any chip-maker) to support PCIe Gen 4. That should make these motherboards more future-proof than anything Intel is currently offering, and unlocks support for currently-available NVMe drives that operate faster than PCIe 3.0 allows. There's nothing else in the press release regarding B550's capabilities, but we should learn more later this year, with the first B550 motherboards scheduled to arrive from June 16th.
If you're interested in building a new system, particularly one on the budget end of the scale, it might be a good idea to wait for these new CPUs and motherboards to see what their performance is like. We'll certainly be keen to put them through the ringer and see how they handle yet another round of Crysis 3 – so until then, stay tuned.