AMD hasn’t released any CPUs with fewer than four cores to the masses since 1st-gen Ryzen, where we saw the likes of the Ryzen 5 1500X. Since then, only AMD’s APUs have offered very affordable ways of owning an AMD CPU, but that’s all changed with the release of the Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X.
Retailing for £99 and £120 respectively, they’re considerably cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3600, offering those who don’t need huge multi-threaded grunt a cheaper way to get a 3rd-gen Ryzen system.
However, the Ryzen 3 3300X seems to be a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It has a peak boost frequency 100MHz higher than the Ryzen 5 3600 at 4.3GHz, and a 200MHz higher base frequency too, reaching an all-core boost of 4.2GHz. Under the hood there’s a single enabled Core Chiplet Die (CCD), and only one enabled Core Complex (CCX).
This means that, rather than having eight cores, just four are enabled, limiting the L3 cache size to 16MB compared to 32MB for the Ryzen 5. However, you do still get Simultaneous Multithreading, so those four cores can execute eight concurrent threads.
The Ryzen 3 3300X also enjoys lower latency compared with the Ryzen 3 3100, as its four cores aren’t spread across two Core Complexes, so the 3300X is likely to be quicker even at similar frequencies. These prices mean the CPUs undercut Intel’s popular Core i5-9400F and Core i3-9350KF, so it will be interesting to see just how AMD’s new budget-conscious CPUs perform.
To start, we overclocked both CPUs to see if they’re made from poor-performing Zen 2 dies that have been speed-binned accordingly. However, we hit 4.6GHz on both CPUs, with the Ryzen 3 3100 needing 1.3625V and Ryzen 3 3300X at 1.375V, so they’re clearly still plenty overclockable.
At stock speed, the Ryzen 3 3300X was faster than the Core i5-9400F everywhere except our game benchmarks, where its 99th percentile minimum frame rate in Far Cry New Dawn was 15fps off the pace of the Intel chips.
However, the overclock saw the AMD CPU massively outstrip the Intel CPU outside of games, and saw it leapfrog it in Metro Exodus, and come within 6fps in the Far Cry New Dawn test, where it was also quicker than the similarly clocked Ryzen 3 3100. The 3300X was also quicker than the 3100 in a number of content creation tests, both at stock and overclocked speeds.
The AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is a stunning CPU for the cash, and even modest air coolers should enable you to achieve a decent overclock. It needs to be tweaked to close the gap on the Core i5-9400F in some game titles, where Far Cry New Dawn saw massive speed boosts, but with less powerful graphics cards or more demanding settings, the CPU has less of an impact anyway.
The lower latency also means it’s a better buy than the Ryzen 3 3100. If you’re on a tight budget, the Ryzen 3 3300X is much cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3600, and beats cheaper 6-core chips in lightly threaded software too.
PERFORMANCE: 38/50 | FEATURES: 14/15 | VALUE: 34/35
- Beats Core i5-9400F in content creation
- Blistering overclocked lightly threaded performance
- Great price
- Intel CPUs faster in some games
- B450 boards may need EFI update
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X specifications
- Base frequency: 3.8GHz
- Max boost frequency: 4.3GHz
- Core: Zen 2
- Manufacturing process: 7nm
- Number of cores: 4 x physical (8 threads)
- IGP: None
- Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT): Yes
- Cache: 16MB L3 cache, 2MB L2 cache
- Memory controller: Dual-channel DDR4, up to 3200MHz
- Packaging: AMD Socket AM4
- Thermal design power (TDP): 65W
- Features: Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE
A stunning, highly overclockable CPU for a surprisingly generous price.