The 3DMark synthetic results delivered what we would expect: Better CPUs provided higher scores. But in gaming tests, the 1200 and 1300X showed themselves able to deliver solid frame rates that were, in many cases, pretty close to much more expensive Ry zen CPUs.
This six-core, 12-thread part is rated for 3.7GHz on its base clock and able to boost up to 4.6GHz, so it has plenty of juice for gaming, video and photo editing, and even light 3D modeling. You can save $50 to $100 (depending on sales) by going with AMD’s last-gen part, and you’ll get most of the performance of the 5600X.
The two processors are equal in core and thread counts, and the base clock is even a little higher on the 3600X. However, the 5600X uses AMD’s new Zen 3 architecture, which features memory and IPC improvements over the 3000-series CPUs.
The third generation of Ry zen processors brought Zen 2, vastly improving the performance and stability of AMD’s platform. At $300, the Ry zen 5 5600X is an absolute powerhouse, able to handle gaming and productivity workloads without breaking a sweat.
The 7-series part comes with eight cores and 16 threads while featuring the same IPC and memory improvements as the more affordable CPU. In gaming, the 5800X handily beats Intel’s best while matching the more expensive Ry zen 9-series parts.
AMD didn’t pull too many punches with its 5000-series processors, and the Ry zen 9 5900X showcases that. Although the two processors look identical on paper, the 5900X has AMD’s aforementioned Zen 3 improvements.
In everything from 3D rendering in Blender to Cine bench to file decompression, the 5900X maintains a sizeable lead over the 3900X, and the 3900X already beat Intel’s best consumer offerings. AMD’s IPC improvements show in single-core benchmarks, with the 5900X taking down Intel’s top CPUs in almost every test.
And just like Intel, AMD keeps everything simple by only using a few model numbers, as well as the “X” suffix. AMD's Zen architecture brought an array of new processors to consumers on the desktop.
An X suffix simply means it's a slightly faster version of that model from the factory. The differences aren't huge and only represent a slight increase in factory-set clock speeds.
Ry zen CPUs that start with the number two are Zen+ processors (2000 series), released in 2018. And those with a G suffix for graphics include Vega video processing, much like the majority of Intel CPUs.
Ry zen 3 is designed for budget-friendly PC builds and consumers who don't use their PCs for intensive applications. The Ry zen 3 3200G is a cracking entry-level CPU from AMD with integrated graphics processing.
Not only do you not require an external GPU to get any output to a monitor, but the 3200G is a quad-core CPU with a boost of up to 3.7GHz. These CPUs are priced aggressively to take on the popular Intel Core i5 family and are incredible for gaming.
The Ry zen 5 5600X is the perfect mid-tier processor for gamers and those who need a capable CPU in general. Much like the Core i7 Intel processors, the Ry zen 7 family may be overkill for most people, but it allows for advanced computing at a somewhat affordable price point.
If you happen to have a capable GPU, you may find some benefit in picking up a Ry zen 7 CPU. Eight cores and 16 threads make easy work of most tasks thrown at the CPU, and it's unlocked for additional headroom should you have adequate cooling.
The Ry zen 9 family of CPUs is a new addition to AMD's desktop processor lineup, offering amazing performance levels with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. The 3990X is the king of Thread ripper CPUs, rocking a whopping 64 cores and 128 threads.
When looking for a new CPU, it's easy to automatically go for the more expensive options expecting a return in performance, and you'd be correct in that assumption. Right now, you should only depend on playing things that were originally supposed to release last year.
Team Red The AMD Ry zen 9 3950X is a great CPU and one that deserves an equally excellent motherboard to get the most out of the processor. When shopping for the best gaming CPU, you'll want to balance performance and features with your PC budget.
But for detailed help on picking the best processor for your gaming rig, you can check out our 2020 CPU Buying Guide. And if you're on the fence about which CPU company to go with, our AMD vs. Intel feature dives deep and comes up with a clear winner.
The company has been unable to satisfy demand on its older and newer processors alike, and we've seen egregious price scalping for the Ry zen 5000 models over the holidays. That means that many of the AMD processors listed below are currently unavailable, but we expect supply to improve as we exit the holiday season.
For now, if ordering a CPU is paramount, Intel's CPUs may be the only option for modern processors. The company has slashed pricing over the holidays, though, which is a slight consolation for the impatient that need to build a new gaming rig right away.
We also maintain a list of the best CPUs for productivity, for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation, or other tasks that benefit from high core counts. But so long as you’re considering current-generation parts, the performance debate is basically a wash, particularly when it comes to gaming.
Some most-expensive mainstream Intel processors do slightly better on gaming, and AMD handles tasks like video editing quicker (thanks largely to extra cores and threads). For gaming, clock speed is more important than core number: Higher CPU clock speeds translate to snappier performance in simple, common tasks such as gaming, while more cores will help you get through time-consuming workloads faster.
In the end, the fastest CPUs of any family of processors have the highest clock speeds. Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage, RAM and graphics.
The six-core 12-thread chip lands at $299, a $50 price hike over its previous-gen counterpart, but brings more than enough extra gaming and application performance to justify the premium. The Ry zen 5 5600X even beats the Intel Core i9-10900K at gaming, which is an incredible feat given its price point.
AMD's Zen 3 microarchitecture results in a stunning 19% increase in IPC, which floats all boats in terms of performance in gaming, single-threaded, and multi-threaded applications. In fact, the chip generally matches the gaming performance of its more-expensive sibling, the $449 Ry zen 7 5800X.
The chip also has a 65W TDP rating, meaning it runs exceptionally cool and quiet given its capabilities (the previous-gen model was 95W). Reasons to Avoid For gamers looking for the edge of performance, enthusiasts who like to tune their processors without expensive supporting components, or those who simply prefer Intel chips, the Core i5-10600K is a solid chip with a good price point.
The 10600K isn't as fast as the Ry zen 5 5600X but has integrated graphics and is competitive on a pricing basis, so it's a solid value alternative. That makes this chip a great deal for gamers who prize high refresh rates, particularly if they plan to move forward to the new AMD or Nvidia graphics cards.
The Core i5-10600K's twelve threads also reduce the gap between it and competing AMD processors in heavily-threaded workloads. Aside from high MSRPs, the chips also require expensive accommodations, like beefy motherboards and the added cost of fully populating quad-channel memory controllers.
Add in the inevitable trade-offs, like reduced performance in lightly-threaded applications and games, and any cost-conscious users who could benefit from the threaded horsepower of a HEAT chip just settle for mainstream offerings. AMD's Ry zen 9 5950X, with 16 cores and 32 threads, expands on its predecessors' mission of bringing HEDT-class performance to mainstream motherboards, lowering the bar for entry.
The 5950X carries a $799 price tag, but that’s downright affordable compared to competing HEAT processors that don't offer the same class of performance. However, if you're after a chip and platform that can do serious work seriously fast, but still be nimble enough to deliver high-refresh gameplay at the end of the day, the Ry zen 9 5950X fits the bill like no other CPU before it.
If all you care about is gaming, and you prefer Intel chips, the Core i7-10700K is a speedy chip with plenty of overclocking headroom that nearly matches the gaming performance of Intel's flagship Core i9-10900K. If you’re truly only concerned about the best gaming CPU and basic productivity tasks, you should go with the Ry zen 5 5600X and save yourself some money.
At stock settings, the Ry zen 5 3600X regularly beat the more expensive Core i5-9600K in both categories, albeit by slim margins in gaming, reversing the long-held trend of Ry zen being best for productivity while Intel ruled the gaming roost. The majority of enthusiasts looking for a fast set-it-and-forget-it processor that can handle common computing tasks with relative ease will find incredible value in the Ry zen 5 3600X.
Reasons to Reasons to Avoid The Ry zen 3 3300X unlocks a new level of performance for budget gamers with four cores and eight threads that can push low- to mid-range graphics cards to their fullest. Unlike AMD's other current-gen Ry zen 3 processors, you'll need to pair this processor with a discrete GPU, but the low price point leaves extra room in the budget for a more capable graphics card.
You can stick with the value theme and drop this capable chip into existing X470 of B450 motherboards, but you'll lose access to the PCIe 4.0 interface in exchange for a lower price point. These new motherboards support the PCIe 4.0 interface but provide lower entry-level pricing that's a better fit for this class of processor.
The Ry zen 5 3400G is a great processor for budget buyers because it comes with an integrated Radon RX Vega 11 graphics engine that enables playable frame rates in many new game titles, provided that you tweak your game to lower fidelity settings. That eliminates the need for a discrete graphics card in your new system, which equates to more money for other high-performance additives, like an SSD.
AMD’s move to the 12 nm manufacturing process, along with an optimized Zen+ design, yields solid performance improvements that include a nice bump to the CPU and GPU clocks. The more mature process paired with unlocked multipliers also facilitates higher overclocking ceilings for the CPU, GPU and memory.
That combination, along with a beefier bundled cooler and Solder TIM, makes the Ry zen 5 3400G the processor to beat for systems built around integrated graphics for low-resolution budget gaming rigs. If your budget is tight, and you're looking to build a system for modest gaming, you should check out our Best Cheap CPUs feature.
Some of those chips can deliver passable gaming performance without a graphics card, and their prices start at just $55 (£40).