AMD Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100 CPU Review – Zen 2 On The Cheap
Last year I covered the launch of the 3rd generation Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 parts, and like the rest of the PC hardware world I was incredibly impressed. Heck, something that performs like a 8700K in gaming for $199? Sign me up. Well, AMD is trying to take this even further down the line with the 3300X and 3100, two quad-core, eight-threaded parts that are $120 and $99 respectively.
Generally, the Ryzen 3 parts have been the black sheep of the Ryzen product-family, with the value proposition being the six-core Ryzen 5 parts, and the high performance Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 parts sitting in the enthusiast space. A part of this reason is how the core complexes are handled and how weak those parts were. Typically, the CPUs are split between two core complexes (CCXs) that contain 4 cores, and on Zen 2 parts, a second die.
Dividing the CPU cores like this presents some issues namely latency. I went over the architecture last year with the launch of Zen here, but to sum it up quickly a single CCX on a single chiplet would be ideal in terms of core scaling performance, especially in gaming.
Luckily, the 3300X is exactly that, a single CCX on a single chiplet all four cores are active coming in a 4+0 configuration, which aside from just its faster core clock should make it ideal for gaming. The cheaper $99 part is a 2+2 configuration, which is two CCXs with two cores active. This is the major reason for the price difference between the two parts.
AMD Ryzen 3 3100
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
AMD Ryzen 3400G
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 3600X
Intel i5 9600K
Base Clock (GHz)
Boost Clock (GHz)
Default Memory Speed
All game benchmarks are taken from a 3-run average either in-game or using the title’s built-in benchmark utility. Performance is recorded using OCAT: the open-source frontend for PresentMon, which itself is an open-source capture and analytics tool which supports modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan.
For our CPU review we received AMD’s test kit includes the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100, we did not receive retail packaging. We also used parts supplied by Western Digital, Crucial, XFX, Gigabyte, Phanteks and NZXT.
For this review I originally planned to do the entirety of the AMD testing on the MSI X570 Godlike, unfortunately the Godlike had some issues booting with original Zen CPUs, the 2600 and 3400G did not boot fortunately though Gigabyte had previously sent me a X570 mini ITX motherboard for a small form factor build that never really happened, thankfully it let me get the rest of the testing done for the 2600 and 3400G for comparative purposes. The 2600 is standing in for the 1600AF and the 3400G is also there to show you how much performance you give up for those graphics.
For the power draw test we use HWINFO64 version 6.34 for socket power draw and the load test is running the BMW 27 Blender test.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Productivity Performance
Cinebench is the benchmark version of MAXXON’s Cinema 4D software, which is used by design studios all around the world making CG scenes used in Hollywood movies and animation.
Starting off with Cinebench we can see that the 3300X and 3100X perform better than expected with the 3300X with it lacking 2 cores and 4 threads but still coming within 12% of the older 2600 and almost tying up with the 9600K. The 3400G which at this current time is still $150 trails way behind everything else.
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.
In blender we see the architectural changes allow the 3300X to literally tie the 2600, the 3100 in this task remains very close to the 3300X and narrowly beats out the 9600K, I was not expecting, but we will see happening a few more times throughout this review.
Corona is another rendering application, though this one does ray tracing. Score is listed in ray-traced pixels per second.
In Corona the Ryzen 3 parts trail by a significant margin to the AMD six cores and this time the 6 core non-hyper threaded 9600K beats the quad core SMT enabled Ryzen 3 parts, though the 3300X is almost as fast.
POV RAY 3.7
Once again in a well threaded workload the 3600X takes the cake, though this time the 9600K beats out the older Ryzen 5 2600 in a very close race. The margin between the 3300X and the 9600K once again is about 13% with the 3100 trailing by just over 23%.
For file compression, 7-Zip is open source and has become a standard CPU benchmark. For this test we use their built in benchmark at the default settings.
Honestly I do not fully understand why the 9600K performed so poorly decompressing, since it kept up with the 3600X in compressing. That being said in a lightly threaded task the 3300X floors the previous Ryzen parts and looks fantastic here.
WinRAR is one of the most popular archiving software on the market, for our testing, we simply use the built in benchmark and record compressing speeds.
Here we see the latency and memory based task how far Zen 2 has come over first generation parts and how the 3100 is within 10% of the 9600K and the i5 9600K loses by a 38% margin in Winrar, which is mind blowing.
For Handbrake we use a Samsung promotional clip at 4k of the Barcelona soccer team taken in 4k in the TS format. We render it using the YouTube preset in H.264 at default settings and the H.265 preset.
For handbrake we see the AMD 6 cores take a wide lead with the i5 trailing just behind the 3100, in terms of a productivity CPU the new Ryzen 3 parts are pretty capable.
Dolphin 5.0 Emulator
Dolphin is by far the most popular Gamecube and Wii emulator with one
of the most well developed and strong communities on the net. Emulators
have been known to be incredibly bottlenecked by single threaded
performance. This benchmark runs a Wii program that raytraces a complex
3D scene inside the emulator, which is a very intensive task on one
core. Results are given in time.
Those looking to test this benchmark on their own system please check here to make sure you set it up correctly.
In this very lightly threaded benchmark we see that the i5 takes the cake here with the 3300X and 3600X trailing slightly behind, the 3300X in some tasks will beat the 3600x simply due to the higher clock speed.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Gaming Performance
I will be testing 9 games with my XFX RX 5700XT, we will be giving the average FPS, 99th percentile and 99.9th percentile as even though its not incredibly indicative of experience, the numbers were already logged and while I don’t put as much stock into them as I once did, especially considering how things unrelated to the product can cause these (ie I/O or things related to the OS) some users would like to see the data even if it is arguable that the experience is impacted at all.
FORZA HORIZON 4
For Forza Horizon 4 we test the entirety of the benchmark in the demo with dynamic resolution/settings off at the high preset.
In Forza we see that using an AMD GPU really changes things for the better, as our frame rate is at least 30 frames higher than in previous reviews. Overall though the 3300X outperforms the 3600X by a small margin in average FPS and 99th percentile. The 3100 also performs very well against the APU and the Ryzen 5 2600.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
For Grand Theft Auto V, we test during the last scene of the in-game benchmark, beginning once the scene starts at the railway bridge to the end when the car crashes into the oil tanker.
As a heads up, there is a well known bug in GTA V with processors that hit over 180 FPS with less than eight threads in the game that causes massive stutter, this game was mostly thrown in due to the suggestions of some of our patreons on discord for latency based testing on the 3300X vs 3100
With the oddness of the 9600K out of the way, lets break down how the Ryzen 3 3300X compares to the 3100 with the 3100 getting beat by about 13% in the average and just over 20% in the 99th% it shows that as a gaming CPU the 3300X might be worth the extra investment.
For our Hitman 2 test, we test the Miami level during a single player run, walking through the busy vendor area with many NPCs. This tends to be incredibly demanding for the CPU, and the lower frame rates here will show that.
Here we see one of the examples that the 3600X takes the lead against the 3300X, and in this game it’s likely due to the fact that DX12 is a bit better in how it handles multi threaded applications. The 3300X still performs superbly and the minimums are within margin of error, but the 3100 trails behind with the i5 sitting between the two sub $150 parts.
RAINBOW SIX: SIEGE
For Rainbow Six Siege, we run the canned benchmark through the House level. The test is done for the duration of the benchmark.
Some prefer to do benchmarks in situations however I personally feel like the built in benchmark is a better overall CPU benchmark due to the amount of chaos that is scripted and feels a bit more like actual high level gameplay.
Siege is one of those games that appreciates almost amount of cores you can throw at it which is pretty impressive for a game that launched in 2015. The 3300X due to its higher clock speed and single CCX design absolutely trounces the competition performing almost exactly the same as the 3600X, the i5 part at stock trails heavily in this Vulkan powered game.
TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: BREAKPOINT
Breakpoint is using Ubisoft’s AnvilNext2.0 engine and has enabled Vulkan support earlier this year, with confirmation from many that is has improved performance.
Breakpoint shows that Intel still has some fight left in them with current gen parts. The 9600K takes a 10% lead over the 3300X though all three of our top CPUs are pretty tight in terms of minimum FPS.
For the latest entry in ID’s Doom series we test using the Ripatorum section in your base for 60 seconds.
Once again we see the 3300X coming ahead of the 3600X and the 9600K trailing behind, at least in its stock configuration. The 3100 still performs respectably though and for those on a tight budget should be a fine gaming CPU.
TOTAL WAR: THREE KINGDOMS
For the Total War Three Kingdoms test I use a replay of two large armies in a siege, the run is for 2 minutes during the most stressful peroid. This is probably my most brutal test in the suite.
Here Intel takes a win in a title that favors them, but the margin was not asa wide as I would have expected, I would assume that this has a lot to do with the latency in a single CCX design though I will be doing a follow up on this in the coming days.
Gears 5 is the latest in the mainline Gears of War titles, it features crossplay for PC players with those on Xbox and is a solid game in our suite.
We test at high settings using the in-game benchmark.
Gears 5 is a game that shows Intel still shines in some titles, though variability was still high between it and the 3600X, our 3300X under performs here getting only 76.6 average and 59.8 FPS in the 99th percentile.
This is the only case we’ve seen of the 3300X losing in gaming to the 2600, and the 99.9th percentile difference between the 3100 and 3300X makes me even more confident in dropping 99.9th percentiles after this review.
Gears Tactics is the first entry into the Gears franchise that features a tactical turn based strategy game much in the vein of XCOM, using a customized version Unreal Engine 4. I decided to add the game to the list because while featuring two Gears games may seem excessive this title is more to test the limits of Unreal rather than game specific performance.
We test using the in game benchmark in a 60 second run.
The 3300X gets the highest average overall, but its 99th percentile is not in line with the rest of the performance which is disappointing, though I suppose the 3600X does need some wins here. Unfortunately though the Intel part performed worse than even the 3100 here.
With the launch of the 3rd generation parts AMD had only Zen 2 parts at the $200 and up price point. For everything below that sat APUs on Zen+ as well as 1st and 2nd generation parts, and while as a stop gap it worked fine, but now due to what I am assuming is binning less than ideal parts they can finally attack the $100 price point with Zen 2.
The 3300X performed way above my original expectations, as originally I had thought it would sit way closer to the Ryzen 5 2600 in gaming and the quad core single CCX would not make as big of an impact as it does. While the 3100 is still a very strongly performing part, to me it gets overshadowed quite a lot by the 3300X for only being $20 more.
When comparing this to the Intel offerings, its really impressive that it beats or meets the 7700K, which I personally was rather negative on around its release, but at $120 looks rather impressive. Though currently Intel offers the i3 9100/F technically there are other i3 parts but they’re almost never available. The i3 would make things even worse as just being a true quad core without Hyperthreading and only allowing memory up to 2666.
Frankly, I figured putting the 9600K would be more interesting since the vast majority of users if they are looking at an Intel part would be looking at that one as well as the 3600/X, and in that matchup its quite solid.
As you can see in the benchmarks its quite close to the 3600X shown above, but that being said this is tested with outside a “real gaming” environment, things like discord, web browsers and other background tasks are all shut down so keep in mind that just because it’s slightly faster it isn’t necessarily a better gaming chip depending on your workload.
That being said the CPU handled a 5700XT at 1080P quite well which I think is the upper range of what someone logically would put in a system. As an entry level gaming CPU this thing is absolutely fantastic and for someone upgrading from a quad core i5, or even a Ryzen 3 1200/APU this is a fantastic upgrade, though unfortunately those who are looking at building a budget system will be looking at a B450 motherboard.
Which most of our readers will know is last generations chipset and will lack support on 4th gen Ryzen CPUs. Fortunately for those looking to build a new system the B550 motherboards will be releasing next month so those looking to put together one of these systems with an upgrade path to a higher end CPU can wait a bit for those, especially since the CPUs will see wide availability on the 21st.
Overall the Ryzen 3 3300X is the star of the show at $120 though if you only plan on gaming with a lower end GPU the 3100 can probably do just as good if your budget is just as tight. I give the 3300X our Gold award and the 3100 our Silver award.
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