AMD Ryzen 3 1300X full review

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Earlier this year, AMD stole pretty much all the CPU headlines when it released its Ryzen 7 and then Ryzen 5 chips. The company even managed to overshadow Intel’s Core i9 with its own Threadripper range.

But what if you’re at the opposite end and have a limited budget to spend on a new CPU? Well, AMD has you covered there thanks to a pair of Ryzen 3 processors.

They offer many of the same features as their pricier siblings, but at a price that undercuts Intel’s Core i3 chips.

So whether you’re considering buying a pre-built PC or building your own, here’s why you’ll probably want to join the AMD camp this time around.

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X: Price

The 1300X costs £124 from Amazon (or $129 from Amazon US), while the slower Ryzen 3 1200 breaks the £100 barrier at just £98.99.

By contrast, Intel’s quickest Core i3, the 7350K, costs £149.99. This has only two cores, but the Ryzen pair both have four.

If you want a quad-core Intel chip, the cheapest in the current Kaby Lake (6th gen) range is the Core i5-7400 which costs £188.99 from Overclockers UK.

Both Ryzen 3s come bundled with the Wraith Stealth cooler in the box, too, while Intel's 'K' chips don't, so you're saving even more with the Ryzen, even if the Stealth is the basic model with no LEDs.

Ryzen 3 1300X review

Briefly, here’s how the Ryzens compare for cores and clock speeds. As you can see, the Intel 7350K has a noticeably faster core clock speed of 4.2GHz, while the Ryzen 3 1300X has twice the number of cores running 0.7GHz slower.

 

Model

Cores / Threads

Base Clock (GHz)

Boost Clock (GHz)

TDP (Watts)

Included Cooler

Price UK / US

Ryzen 3

1300X

4 /4

3.5

3.7 (3.9 with XFR)

65

Wraith Stealth

£124.99 / $129

Core i3

7350K

2 /4

4.2

N/A

60

N/A

£149.99 / $109

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X: Features and support

As well as offering a good-value quad-core CPU, Ryzen 3 is also a decent starting point in the AM4 universe. Maybe you can’t afford that Ryzen 7 1800X right now but as long as you pick the right motherboard, upgrading in the future is very simple indeed.

The Ryzen 3 chips are therefore the same size as the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 and that’s essentially because they’re identical to those higher-end CPUs but with bits turned off.

Ryzen 3 1300X review

As we said in our Ryzen 5 1600X review, all Ryzens are based on the Zen architecture and within this is the CCX – Core Complex.

A CCX is two quad-core processors joined together with AMD’s Infinity Fabric. Rather than produce the Ryzen 3 with just one quad core processor, it disables two cores from each quad-core chip – not what you’d expect.

It then disables SMT which means that each active core can process one thread. So, unlike the Ryzen 5 1500X which is a quad-core, eight thread chip, the Ryzen 1300X and 1200 are quad-core, four-thread processors.

There’s half the L3 cache at 8MB, but the 1300X gets the full 200MHz XFR boost; the 1200 has just 50MHz. XFR is on top of the boost frequency, so this means 3.9GHz for the 1300X and 3.45GHz for the 1200.

Such details are unimportant to you as a prospective buyer, of course. You’re more concerned with things like PCIe channels and memory support. And because the Ryzen 3 really does share its underlying guts with the pricier CPUs, it offers you (some) of the same features.

It supports dual-channel DDR4 2666 memory and is best paired with a B350 motherboard as that will let you overclock the chip as well as CrossFire support. You could opt for a cheaper board if you’re not interested in overclocking:  it’s not a massive priority for many given these are, after all, entry-level chips.

However, don’t forget that with an A320 or X300 chipset you’re probably going to get fewer PCIe lanes for M.2 SSDs, fewer USB 3 and SATA ports. Motherboard makers often add such features, though, so check specs, but always keep in mind the total cost of CPU + motherboard, as it could work out cheaper to get a Core i3-7350K and a decent motherboard.

Price isn’t the only consideration of course: we still need to get to the all-important benchmark results.

How fast is the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X?

As we’ve said, you can’t assume the Ryzen 3 will beat a Core i3 just because it’s a quad-core chip. The lower frequencies hurt it in applications that use only one core.

However, there are noticeable benefits – as you would expect – in more demanding apps which do use the full complement. But as you’ll see, the differences aren’t always that great, and the dual-core i3 processor still wins out in certain situations.

Note: for both systems we used 16GB of DDR4 RAM (2x 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz running at 2666MHz), a GeForce GTX 1080 and a Crucial 120GB SSD.

Cinebench is a decent place to start as gives a quick indication of the power available. When you force it to use a single core, the Ryzen 3 1300X naturally falls behind the Core i3-7350K: 148 vs 176.

But allow the benchmark to use all available cores and the tables turn: 543 for the Ryzen and only 451 for the Core i3.

It should therefore be no surprise that it’s an identical situation in Geekbench 4, despite that being a synthetic benchmark.

Oddly enough, the Ryzen can’t quite keep up the Core i3 in the more real-world PCMark 8 Home test, although the difference isn’t huge.

It’s in the gaming tests where the Ryzen proves its worth, nudging ahead of the Core i3 in most tests, including VRMark, which is a measure of how well the system as a whole can cope with VR games. Clearly the graphics card is the biggest factor here, but it shows that the Ryzen 3 should be able to handle VR titles – if you can afford a powerful graphics card.

Should I buy a Ryzen 3 1300X?

Its clock speeds might be slower than its Intel rival, but it’s also £25 cheaper and comes with a heatsink that's ready to install. And its overall performance certainly isn’t slower.

When all four cores are used, it’s a much better choice than the i3-7350K, so if you’re after a budget chip for editing video or transcoding, you’re much better off with Ryzen.

The difference in games isn’t really noticeable: it’s your choice of graphics card that will make the difference. And assuming you don’t pick a motherboard that’s £25 more than the Intel equivalent, you’ll have that money to put towards a better GPU.

Specs

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X: Specs

  • 14nm x86 processor
  • Four cores, four threads
  • 3.5GHz base clock
  • 3.7GHz boost clock (3.9GHz with XFR)
  • 65W TDP

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