AMD took the covers of Ryzen 3 by releasing its affordable quad-core R3 1300X and R3 1200 chips last month. Our day one review covered overclocking, thermals, power consumption as well as productivity and gaming benchmarks, but we only had time to throughly test three titles. More concerning to many of you was that we only benchmarked using a Pascal-based Titan X graphics card.
The Titan eliminates concerns about potential GPU bottlenecks, which is great for showing how much of a performance difference there is when gaming on various processors. However, we can all agree that no gamers will be pairing a $110 CPU with a $1,650 GPU, and it also seems unlikely that any mid-range graphics will be on par with this level of performance in the near future.
To better represent how Ryzen 3 compares to Ryzen 5 and Intel's competing processors, we've benchmarked the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080 in nine different PC games. The results should tell us a few things about these CPUs, GPUs and modern games, so let's get into it.
Ryzen System Specs
Kaby Lake System Specs
First up is Battlefield 1 and we have a lot going on here. The blue bars represent the Intel processors we tested here (the Core i5-7400 and Pentium G4560), while the red bars represent AMD's Ryzen 5 1400, Ryzen 3 1300X and 1200.
After testing five CPUs three times in Battlefield 1 using the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080, we found no variance whatsoever between these processors, with the G4560 providing the same numbers as the i5-7400 as well as all of the AMD parts.
Things start to change a little when we swap the GTX 1060 for the more powerful GTX 1070, and we know based on previous testing with high-end CPUs that the 1070 is on average 35% faster than the 1060 and it packs 50% more cores.
When pairing the Pentium G4560 with the GTX 1070 we see that the minimum frame rate is improved by just 11% for what looks like an obvious CPU bottleneck. This is confirmed by the Core i5-7400's performance boost of 31% when equipped with the 1070.
The Ryzen 5 1400 also allowed for a nice 28% bump in minimum frame rate and remember, it's possible to overclock the Ryzen CPUs. However, to the dismay of many readers I'm sure, I won't be overclocking Ryzen in this piece.
Instead, I want to establish a baseline and then explore overclocking performance separately. There was a heap of testing just to get this far: 30 benchmark runs for each of the 9 games tested, so around 270 benchmark runs just to compare these chips without overclocking..
That being said, the Ryzen 3 1200 and 1300X give us a good idea of how well these CPUs will respond to overclocking given the 1300X is already 5% faster with the GTX 1070 and compared to the G4560, the R3 1200 allowed for an 8% increase in minimum frame rate.
Once we move to the GTX 1080 it becomes quite clear that none of these CPUs are capable of extracting anywhere near the maximum performance from this GPU, though this is a game that relies heavily on CPU performance.
When equipped with the 1080 versus the 1070, the i5-7400 and R5 1400 saw a boost in minimum frame rates by just 4% and interestingly, the Ryzen 3 CPUs did a little better with around a 7% increase, but since the GTX 1080 is around 30% faster than the 1070, it's fair to say we're not anywhere near extracting maximum performance.
F1 2016 is heavy on the CPU and we see this even when testing with the GTX 1060 as the lower-end or lower clocked CPUs drop off the pace ever so slightly. The margins certainly aren't noteworthy but compared to Battlefield 1 there is a distinct difference here.
Upgrading to the GTX 1070 substantially boosted the average frame rate for all five configurations, though it was a different case for the minimum frame rate and this is where we will focus our attention.
Here the Pentium G4560 saw no improvement at all while the Ryzen 3 1200 did see a noteworthy 21% boost. Thanks to superior clock speeds, the 1300X also outpaced the SMT-enabled R5 1400, though it was Intel's Kaby Lake i5-7400 that provided the best results out of the box with a minimum of 77fps.
Moving to the GTX 1080 we again see little to no performance improvement with the faster graphics card using these low-end to mid-range CPUs.
Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal is typically GPU-bound but it provided some interesting results -- I say typically GPU-bound because this game only really taxes one thread. When using the GTX 1060, performance is similar regardless of the CPU used.
It's a similar story with the GTX 1070, well almost. For whatever reason Intel's high-clocked Kaby Lake CPUs dominate in this title and here we see the Core i5-7400 pulling well away from the pack when looking at the minimum frame rate.
That said, this is the end of the road for the i5-7400. Installing the GTX 1080 basically produced the exact same results.