After launching Ryzen 7 (high-end) and Ryzen 5 (mainstream) lineups, AMD released last week the Ryzen 3 entry CPUs. There are two new models: the Ryzen 3 1300X (3.5 GHz base clock, 3.7 GHz turbo clock) and the Ryzen 3 1200 (3.1 GHz base clock, 3.4 GHz turbo clock.) Both of them have four cores and four threads, so they differ from the Ryzen 5 models only on the lack of SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), which simulates one more logical cores for each physical one.
Ryzen CPUs are manufactured under 14 nm “FinFET” technology. These CPUs are build with “Core Complex” (CCX) modules, and each CCX has four cores. Each core has 128 kiB L1 cache and 512 kiB L2 cache, and each CCX has an 8 MiB or 4 MiB L3 cache.
The Ryzen 3 1200 has two CCXs, with two disabled cores each, so its configuration is called 2+2. Its base clock is 3.1 GHz, and it can uses a core boost clock up to 3.4 GHz. There is also another clock rate named XFR, of 3.45 GHz, which is used when only one core is being used, under good refrigeration.
Ryzen CPUs have unlocked clock multiplier, which allows the user to overclocking it simply by changing the settings on the motherboard setup, if it uses one of the chipsets compatible with this feature (B350 e X370).
The Ryzen 3 1200 comes with the Wraith Stealth cooler.
By its price, the direct competitor of the Ryzen 3 1200 is the Intel Core i3-7100, which costs ten dollars more. So, we compared these two CPUs, and also included in the comparison the Ryzen 5 1400, the Ryzen 5 1600, the Ryzen 5 1500X, the Ryzen 5 1600X, the Core i3-7350K, and the Core i5-7400.
Figure 1 shows the box of the Ryzen 3 1200.Ryzen 3 1200

Figure 1: the Ryzen 3 1200 box

Figure 2 shows box contents: the Wraith Stealth cooler, the CPU itself, a case sticker, and a small manual (inside the small black box.)

Ryzen 3 1200

Figure 2: box contents

The Wraith Stealth cooler is presented in Figure 3. Notice that it has not a copper base like the Wraith Spire model.

Ryzen 3 1200

Figure 3: the Wraith Stealth cooler

Figure 1 shows the Ryzen 3 1200 CPU.

Ryzen 3 1200

Figure 3: the Ryzen 3 1200 CPU

As the Ryzen CPUs come with no integrated video, we used a GeForce GTX 1080 video card on all tests.
Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.
[nextpage title=”The Reviewed CPUs”]
In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs included in our review.

CPU Cores HT/SMT IGP Internal Clock Turbo Clock Core Tech. TDP Socket Price
Ryzen 3 1200 4 No No 3.1 GHz 3.4 GHz Summit Ridge 14 nm 65 W AM4 USD 110
Ryzen 5 1400 4 Yes No 3.2 GHz 3.4 GHz Summit Ridge 14 nm 65 W AM4 USD 170
Ryzen 5 1500X 4 Yes No 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz Summit Ridge 14 nm 65 W AM4 USD 190
Ryzen 5 1600 6 Yes No 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz Summit Ridge 14 nm 65 W AM4 USD 220
Ryzen 5 1600X 6 Yes No 3.6 GHz 4.0 GHz Summit Ridge 14 nm 95 W AM4 USD 250
Core i3-7100 2 Yes Yes 3.9 GHz Kaby Lake 14 nm 51 W LGA1151 USD 120
Core i3-7350K 2 Yes Yes 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake 14 nm 60 W LGA1151 USD 170
Core i5-7400 4 No Yes 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz Kaby Lake 14 nm 65 W LGA1151 USD 190
Core i5-7600K 4 No Yes 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake 14 nm 91 W LGA1151 USD 240

Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.

CPU L2 Cache L3 Cache Memory Support Memory Channels
Ryzen 3 1200 4 x 512 kiB 2 x 4 MiB Up to DDR4-2667 2
Ryzen 5 1400 4 x 512 kiB 2 x 4 MiB Up to DDR4-2667 2
Ryzen 5 1500X 4 x 512 kiB 2 x 8 MiB Up to DDR4-2667 2
Ryzen 5 1600 6 x 512 kiB 2 x 8 MiB Up to DDR4-2667 2
Ryzen 5 1600X 6 x 512 kiB 2 x 8 MiB Up to DDR4-2667 2
Core i3-7100 2 x 256 kiB 3 MiB Up to DDR4-2400 or DDR3L-1600 2
Core i3-7350K 2 x 256 kiB 4 MiB Up to DDR4-2400 or DDR3L-1600 2
Core i5-7400 4 x 256 kiB 6 MiB Up to DDR4-2400 or DDR3L-1600 2
Core i5-7600K 4 x 256 KiB 6 MiB Up to DDR4-2400 or DDR3L-1600 2

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable devicand was the CPU being tested, besides the motherboard, which had to be replaced to match the different CPUs.
Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • NTFS
  • Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • NVIDIA driver version: 381.65

Software Used

Error Margin
We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”PCMark 8″]
PCMark 8 is a benchmarking software that uses real-world applications to measure the computer performance. We ran three tests: Home, which includes web browsing, writing, light gaming, photo editing, and video chat tests; Creative, that includes web surfing, video editing, group video chat, video conversion, and gaming; and Work, which runs tasks such as writing documents, web browsing, spreadsheets, editing, and video chatting. Let’s see the results.
Ryzen 3 1200
On the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 8% slower than the Core i3-7100.
Ryzen 3 1200
On the Creative benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was on a tie with the Core i3-7100.
Ryzen 3 1200
On the Work benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 9% slower than the Core i3-7100.
[nextpage title=”3DMark”]

3DMark is a program with a set of several 3D benchmarks. Fire Strike runs a “heavy” DirectX 11 simulation. Sky Diver also measures DirectX 11 performance, and is aimed on average computers. The Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance, and the Ice Storm Extreme measures DirectX 9 performance and is targeted to entry-level computers, so we don’t ran it.

Ryzen 3 1200

On Fire Strike, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 8% faster than the Core i3-7100.

Ryzen 3 1200

On the Sky Diver benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 performed similarly to the Core i3-7100.

Ryzen 3 1200

On the Cloud Gate benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was also on a technical tie with the Core i3-7100.

[nextpage title=”Performance in programs”]

Cinebench R15

Cinebench R15 is based on the Cinema 4D software. It is very useful to measure the performance gain obtained by the presence of several processing cores while rendering heavy 3D images. Rendering is an area where a bigger number of cores helps a lot, because usually this kind of software recognize several processors (Cinebench R15, for example, can use up to 256 processing cores).
We ran the CPU benchmark, which renders a complex image using all the processing cores (real and virtual) to speed up the process. The result is given as a score.
Ryzen 3 1200
On Cinebench R15 CPU benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 14% faster than the Core i3-7100.

CPU-Z

On its current version, the well-known hardware identification software CPU-Z comes with a benchmarking tool, which measures CPU performance for one core and for all available cores.
Ryzen 3 1200
On the single thread benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was similar to the Core i3-7100.
Ryzen 3 1200
On the multiple thread benchmark, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 46% faster than the Core i3-7100.

Handbrake

Handbrake is an open-source video converting tool. We converted a Full HD, six-minute long .mov video file into an .MP4 file, using the “Fast 1080p30” output profile. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Ryzen 3 1200
On Handbrake, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 14% faster than the Core i3-7100.

DivX

We used the DivX converter, a tool included in the DivX package, in order to measure the encoding performance using this codec. The DivX codec is capable of recognizing and using all available cores and the SSE4 instruction set.
We converted a Full HD, six-minute long .mov video file into an .avi file, using the “HD 1080p” output profile. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Ryzen 3 1200
On DivX encoding, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 7% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Media Espresso

Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video engine to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 1 GiB, 1920x1080i, 23,738 kbps, .mov video file to a smaller 320×200, H.264, .MP4 file for viewing on a smartphone. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Ryzen 3 1200
Here the Ryzen 3 1200 was 13% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Photoshop CC

The best way to measure the performance of a CPU is by using real programs. The problem, of course, is to create a methodology that offers precise results. For Photoshop CC, we used a script named “Retouch Artist Speed Test,” which applies a series of filters to a standard image and gives the time Photoshop takes to run all of them. The results are given in seconds, so the less, the best.
Ryzen 3 1200
In this test, the Ryzen 3 1200 was similar to the Core i3-7100.

WinRAR

Another task where the CPU is very demanded is on file compacting. We ran a test compacting a folder with 8 GiB on 6.813 files to a file, using WinRAR 4.2. The graph below shows the time taken on each test.
Ryzen 3 1200
On WinRAR, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 12% slower than the Core i3-7100.
[nextpage title=”Gaming Performance”]

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 (BF1) is a first person shooter launched in October 2016, base on the Frostbite engine. To benchmark using this game, we played the same misson on the campaign mode, in Full HD and graphic settings as “high”, measuring the framerate with FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Ryzen 3 1200
On Battlefield 1, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 25% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (or simply CS:GO) is a very popular FPS, launched in august 2012, that uses the Source engine, which is DirectX 9. We benchmarked it playing the “Inferno” map against bots, in Full HD and graphic settings as “high”, measuring the framerate with FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Ryzen 3 1200
On this game, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 18% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action RPG with FPS elements, launched in August 2016, that uses the Dawn engine, being compatible with DirectX 12. We tested it using the benchmark included in the game, with DirectX 12 enabled, Full HD, and graphic options as “medium”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Ryzen 3 1200
On this game, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 9% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Dirt Rally

Dirt Rally is an off-road racing game released in April 2015, using Ego engine. To measure performance using this game, we ran the performance test included in the game, in 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution and image quality configured as “medium” and MSAA off.
The results below are expressed in frames per second (fps).
Ryzen 3 1200

In this game, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 19% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, or simply GTA V, is an open-world action game released for PCs in April of 2015, using the RAGE engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we ran the performance test of the game, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran GTA V at Full HD, with all image quality set as “high” and MSAA off.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Ryzen 3 1200

On GTA V, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 6% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Hitman

Hitman is an action/stealth game, launched in March 2016, that uses a DirectX 12 compatible version of the Glacier 2 engine. To measure performance in this game, we ran the benchmark in it, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game with DirectX 12 enabled, with image quality set as “high”.
The results below, in Full HD and 4K, are expressed in frames per second.
Ryzen 3 1200
On Hitman, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 9% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Mad Max

Mad Max is an open-world action game launched in September of 2015, using the Avalanche engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran its intro, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game with image quality set as “high”.

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Ryzen 3 1200

On Mad Max, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 11% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical FPS game launched in december 2015, using the AnvilNext engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran its built-in benchmark, in Full HD and with image quality set as “high”.

The results below are expressed in fps.

Ryzen 3 1200

On this game, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 7% slower than the Core i3-7100.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an adventure/action game launched in January of 2016, based on Foundation engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran the benchmark included on it, using Full HD resolution and graphics quality set to “medium”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Ryzen 3 1200
On Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Ryzen 3 1200 was 5% slower than the Core i3-7100. Notice that the game received a patch where the performance problem on Ryzen CPUs was corrected.[nextpage title=”Overclocking”]
As we mentioned before, all Ryzen CPUs have unlocked clock multiplier, which means you can overclocking them just by changing its multiplier, as long as the motherboard has this feature.
Raising the core voltage to 1.35V, we were able to run the Ryzen 3 1200 at 4.0 GHz (100 MHz x 40.0) with tested stability on Prime95.
It may be possible to reach higher frequencies if you “play” with the available adjusts, as long as you have a good power supply, motherboard, and cooling system.
It is clear that the Ryzen 3 1200 has an excellent potential for overclocking. However, it is good to keep in mind that the overclock capability depends on pure luck, since two CPUs of same model can reach different maximum clocks.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Finally, the most inexpensive Ryzen CPU arrived to the market. As its only difference to the most basic Ryzen 5 CPUs is the lack of the SMT technology, it performs pretty much like the Ryzen 5 1400 (which has a similar clock rate) in some tests. Its is most perceptible in games, since most of the games don’t use more than four threads, which gives the Ryzen 3 1200 a better cost/benefit ratio than the more expensive models.
Actually, it almost reaches the excellent cost/benefit ratio of the Core i3-7100. The Ryzen 3 1200 was a sligtly slower in some programs and faster in other ones, being a little slower (between 5% and 25%) in all games. However, it costs 8% less, which makes it a great choice for budget gaming computers. It is even better if you consider its overclocking potential.
So, if you are looking for a low-cost CPU with excellent cost/benefit ratio for programs and games, the Ryzen 3 1200 is a great choice, even more if you intend to overclocking it.