The Ryzen 3000 series processors are here and they bring some serious improvements over the last generation in terms of performance, value, integrated graphics, and even power consumption. The only problem is that with so many processors to choose from, finding the right fit for you can become a tough task. There are also many factors to consider. Value, performance, cores, TDP, and more. For that reason, we have created this guide to help you decide which Ryzen 3000 CPU you should buy.
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Ryzen 3000 CPUs That Offer the Best Value
Here’s how this is going to work. We’re going to list all the Ryzen 3000 CPUs in terms of value starting from the best and going towards the worst.
While we are at it, we’re also going to explain why a CPU got its ranking and the kind of user that can best utilize it, like gamers, professionals, streamers, etc. That being said, here are the Ryzen 3000 CPUs that offer the best value:
Best value Ryzen processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The Ryzen 5 3600 is without a shadow of a doubt the best value Ryzen 3000 series processor. Its relatively cheap, powerful, and flexible in terms of the numerous computationally demanding tasks it can be used for.
This CPU offers 6 cores and 12 threads with a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock of 4.2! Which is more than enough for gaming, home users, office work, content creation such as video editing, streaming, and much more!
Overall, the Ryzen 3600 is the best choice for your average consumer. However, do keep in mind that certain titles like AC Origins can stress it quite a bit. So, maybe it’s not the best future-proof option, though you may not feel the need to upgrade for another 2 to 3 years.
When it comes to streaming, depending on your choice of games, OBS may bring you down to 720P 60 FPS or 1080P 30 FPS. Still, in most titles, there won’t be an issue. At least not at the time of writing this article. We obviously still don’t know how demanding the future games are going to be.
Let’s not forget to mention that with a TDP of 65 watts, this CPU is going to work on any compatible motherboard out there. No need to worry about VRMs, excessive cooling, or anything like that. It just doesn’t need a lot of power at stock speeds.
Still, for a CPU that retailed at 200 bucks at launch, it’s the best value that you can get and it will certainly hold its ground for at least 3 more years.
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Best performance Ryzen processor: Ryzen 7 3700X
The Ryzen 7 3700X is the sweet spot for someone who wants to do a little bit of everything without paying a fortune. Powerful, balanced, and extremely power efficient.
Office work, gaming, video editing, photo editing, streaming, heavy multitasking, you name it. This chip can do everything that your average professional, home user, and gamer will ever want!
And the most impressive part is that it can do all of that with a TDP of only 65 watts! This means that you can get a very powerful processor, on a good price, without having to spend extra money on a premium motherboard with good VRMs and cooling.
The fact that it offers 8 cores and 16 threads means that this is also a great choice for gamers who want a bit of future-proofing. After all, most titles nowadays barely utilize the 6 cores that the 3600 offers.
However, with all of that being said, do keep in mind that this CPU is the jack of all trades, master of none. This means that users who want to opt for a very specific task may want to look for something else.
For example, strictly for gaming, a 3600X will be a better value since it offers a higher base frequency and enough cores for the task at hand. Strictly for video editing and heavy workloads, the more powerful 3900X is a better choice, etc.
Best enthusiast Ryzen processor: Ryzen 9 3900X
The Ryzen 9 3900X is an absolute beast. It can satisfy your every need flawlessly and effortlessly. It’s the first 12-core CPU that we can use on consumer-level motherboards and builds.
Multitasking, gaming, heavy workloads, video editing, office work, anything goes. This processor isn’t going to break a sweat no matter what.
Now, if for any reason you need more than 12 cores and 24 threads, then the Ryzen 3000 series is quite possibly not for you. In which case, you can check out the Threadripper processors.
One thing to keep in mind is that the 3900X asks for 105 watts of power. Considering that this is a 12-core CPU, that is actually amazing. But, still, due to the increased power demands, at least a decent X470 or X570 motherboard is recommended for this one.
It goes without saying that this is completely overkill for anything other than heavy workloads. Though, if there’s only one downside to this processor then that’s definitely the high price tag. But, truth be told, this is still a fantastic Ryzen 3rd gen processor even at this price tag.
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Best entry level Ryzen processor: Ryzen 3 3200G
The Ryzen 3 3200G is quite possibly the best entry-level CPU that you can get. Coming with integrated graphics, 4 cores, and a TDP of 65 watts, this is a dream come true for budget PC builders.
Let’s start with the integrated graphics. According to the reviews, this chip’s Radeon Vega 8 graphics can handle almost every game that’s out there at 720P 60FPS on medium settings and almost everything at 1080P 30-60 at lower settings (settings may vary depending on the game of course). Meaning that you can gaming on a budget without needing a dedicated GPU.
eSports titles like CS: GO, Dota, LOL, and similar titles are barely even worth mentioning. Every budget gaming system can handle them without any issues. Especially the Ryzen APUs.
The good thing about this is that it’s very easy to add a cheap GPU and turn an entry gaming build to a very good budget or even a mid-range gaming system! That’s why despite being the weakest performance from the Ryzen 3000 series, the 3200G offers a good value for its price.
And it’s not just about entry gaming builds. Home users who want a computer for some basic stuff like web browsing, watching movies and stuff like that really don’t need anything more than 4 cores.
Now, granted, a quad-core CPU with no multithreading is a deal-breaker for lots of people. But, for such a cheap CPU+GPU setup, can we even complain?
Ryzen 3000 CPUs That Offer the Worst Value
The 3000 series is great. It really is. However, there are still a few processors that just don’t offer the best value. Of course, that’s in comparison to the other Ryzen chips and not with Intel. Those are the:
Ryzen 7 3800X Processor
We consider this to be the worst value in the Ryzen 3000 series processors. The Ryzen 7 3800X is the slightly overclocked version of the 3700X, however, it just doesn’t offer such a good value. The price difference between the two doesn’t make a lot of sense.
If you’re going to spend more money on a more power-hungry CPU and a motherboard with better VRMs to support it, why not spend a little bit more and get the 3900X instead? It’s a huge upgrade and worth every penny.
Though, for those who only want a slightly more powerful 3700X and don’t feel like playing the silicon lottery, this is a good choice. Maybe not the best value, but still a good choice.
Just like the 3700X, it can do almost everything that the average consumer may need without breaking a sweat. It’s also great for heavier workloads as well. Just do keep in mind that the upgrade isn’t a big one from the 3700X considering the price difference.
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Ryzen 5 3400G Processor
The Ryzen 5 3400G is a budget-oriented processor that is surprisingly good for gaming without a dedicated GPU. It’s just a bit more powerful than the 3200G and in terms of pricing, it generally stands between the 3200G and 3600.
However, if you are going to be buying a dedicated GPU along with a Ryzen 3000 CPU, it’s better to just save a bit more and get the Ryzen 3600 instead. With just a little bit more money, you can get the Ryzen 5 3600 which is a much better upgrade when compared to the 3400G.
Also, don’t forget that the 3400G doesn’t differ too much from the 3200G. There are primarily two big differences between it and the 3200G. The first being better multithreading and the second being a slightly better iGPU (Integrated Graphics Processing Unit). That’s probably a good excuse to justify the price difference. But, with the 3600 costing just a tiny bit more, this is a tough purchase.
Just like with the 3800X, this chip is mainly targeted towards a very specific audience: those who absolutely can’t afford a dedicated GPU. Cause if you can get a dedicated GPU, then the 3600 is no doubt the best choice here.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Processor
The Ryzen 5 3600X is not the best value you can get; unless you are a gamer or just really need those slightly higher clock speeds. For everyone else, the 3600 and 3700X are better choices value wise.
The place of the 3600X in this guide may seem harsh given that it is a very good CPU. However, this CPU is basically a slightly overclocked version of the 3600 and that’s about it. It’s the exact same thing with higher clocks and power demands.
And for those who want a gaming PC build, this isn’t such a bad choice. After all, most games don’t need any more than 6 cores while they can greatly take advantage of higher clock speeds.
There is always the choice of getting a 3600 and overclocking it to save some money. But, do keep in mind that in this case, you’ll be playing the silicon lottery while voltage tweaking is most likely going to be a must.
So, when everything is said and done, the 3600X is a good choice for those who want a gaming PC that works great out of the box without having to spend a ton of money. Just make sure to get a motherboard with good VRMs to support the 95-watt TDP. Also, if you want to be a little bit more future-proof, consider getting the 3700X instead.
Which Ryzen 3rd Gen CPU Should You Buy?
We understand that this is a lot of information to take in at once. So, to wrap things up here’s what CPU you should buy depending on what type of PC you want:
- Ryzen 3 3200G: Great for budget gaming and basic home usage such as web browsing, watching content, etc.
- Ryzen 5 3400G: Same as the 3200G, but with slightly better multithreading and iGPU performance. This allows for slightly better multitasking and gaming experience than the 3200G.
- Ryzen 5 3600: Best value. Works for a little bit of everything including streaming, gaming, content creation such as video editing, though it may struggle a little bit with heavier workloads.
- Ryzen 5 3600X: Slightly more powerful variant of the 3600. Best suited for a slightly better gaming experience.
- Ryzen 7 3700X: Great choice for almost any type of workload including gaming, streaming, video editing, content creation, and heavy workloads.
- Ryzen 7 3800X: Slightly higher clocks than the 3700X. More or less the same thing.
- Ryzen 9 3900X: A beast that can handle the heaviest of workloads. It’s suitable for almost everything that a desktop may need to do. Great for enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Overall, the best value Ryzen 3rd gen CPUs are the Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 9 3900X, and Ryzen 3 3200G. This, however, doesn’t mean the other Ryzen 3000 processors are terrible by any mean. In fact, they are all good CPUs performance-wise. However, the four CPUs mentioned above provide the best value in all aspects including price to performance ratios.
Additionally, You can learn more about the 3600 and 3600X performance and benchmarks at TechSpot. You can also find a more detailed review of the 3700X at EuroGamer. Lastly, you can find an in-depth review of the 3900X at PCGameN. We hope that you found this guide helpful and that you got a good idea about which Ryzen 3rd gen CPU you’ll be picking up.
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