When AMD announced the new Ryzen 3 processors built on Zen 2, I was under the impression that these were essentially the reject parts from AMD’s successful Ryzen 3000 line. Inside is a single chiplet with only four cores active out of eight, pushing up to 4.3 GHz; but the kicker was the low price of $120 for the high frequency version, or $99 for a bit slower. AMD has sold quad-core CPUs at $99 for a while, but this is the new core and the new manufacturing process, so would this be any different? We put them up against a $350 quad core from three years ago. It seemed like a crazy idea at the time.

AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs: Chiplets Go Mainstream

After successful launches of the Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 5 families of Zen 2 hardware, AMD has been sitting pretty at north of $200. At each price point, the company offered a compelling option against the competition, as we’ve noted in our reviews of hardware like the 3950X, 3900X, and 3700X. Others, like the Ryzen 5 3600, are some of the best sellers in Amazon’s top list. As we noted in our recent CPU buyers’ guide, out of the top 10 spots on Amazon’s best seller list for CPUs, AMD has 8 of them, and the first 5.

That’s all well and good for the higher end of the market, however in the sub-$200 category, this is where the volume often is. Intel has been neglecting this market of late, due to the abnormally high demand for Xeon silicon forcing manufacturing to spend more time on 28-core hardware than quad-core hardware. This leaves the door open for AMD, so it was always going to be interesting what the company did here. For a long time, AMD did nothing, pushing users to its Ryzen 2000 hardware or Ryzen 3000 APUs, namely because they were selling really well (the Ryzen 2600 / 1600 AF offers 6 cores for as low as $85).

With the recent launch of AMD’s latest Ryzen Mobile generation APUs, based on Zen 2 and Vega, we were unsure whether AMD would fill this sub-$200 gap with desktop versions of those APUs, or offer lower binned Ryzen 5 3000 parts. After a very successful launch of Ryzen Mobile 4000, leading to some stellar reviews, it was clear that the mobile silicon was commanding a strong premium in the market, and so we get Matisse based CPUs coming to the sub-$200 segment instead. With that, on April 21st, AMD announced its new Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 processors.

AMD 'Matisse' Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs
AnandTech Cores
TDP Price
Ryzen 9 3950X 16C 32T 3.5 4.7 8 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 105W $749
Ryzen 9 3900X 12C 24T 3.8 4.6 6 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 105W $499
Ryzen 9 3900 12C 24T 3.1 4.3 6 MB 64 MB 16+4+4 1+2 65W OEM
Ryzen 7 3800X 8C 16T 3.9 4.5 4 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 105W $399
Ryzen 7 3700X 8C 16T 3.6 4.4 4 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $329
Ryzen 5 3600X 6C 12T 3.8 4.4 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 95W $249
Ryzen 5 3600 6C 12T 3.6 4.2 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $199
Ryzen 5 3500X 6C 6T 3.6 4.1 3 MB 32 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W OEM
Ryzen 3 3300X 4C 8T 3.8 4.3 2 MB 16 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $120
Ryzen 3 3100 4C 8T 3.6 3.9 2 MB 16 MB 16+4+4 1+1 65W $99

Filling the bottom at price points of $99 and $120 is very aggressive. Here is AMD’s latest generation Zen 2 hardware, on a 7nm TSMC high performance manufacturing node, bundled with a 14nm IO die from GlobalFoundries, packaged together with frequencies up to 4.3 GHz. At the time of the announcement, we noted that AMD is going to be competing with itself a lot here, for performance and price. Suddenly that $85 Ryzen 5 1600AF only looks appetizing if you want six Zen 1 cores – four Zen 2 cores at higher frequencies and higher IPCs for $99 on paper is probably the better deal.

Both processors officially support DDR4-3200, and AMD is reiterating that DDR4-3600/3733 is a nice sweet spot for those purchasing faster memory. Both chips also have 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes from the chipset: 16 for PCIe, 4 for an M.2 drive, and 4 for the chipset. For X570 chipsets, these should be running in PCIe 4.0 mode – for B550 chipsets and others, these chipset lanes will run in PCIe 3.0 mode (see below).

AMD sampled us both the Ryzen 3 3300X and the Ryzen 3 3100 for review. These only arrived recently, so we are still in the process of benchmarking the chips on a few benchmarks.

Elephant in the Room: B550 Motherboards

One of the key points for a cheaper build is often a cheaper motherboard. AMD and Intel both supply the market with mid-range and low-end chipsets, which motherboard manufacturers then use to build something more palatable in the $60 to $120 range. Technically AMD is also launching the B550 chipset today too, offering PCIe 4.0 from the CPU and PCIe 3.0 from the chipset, however news on these motherboards has been quite thin. We haven’t received one to test with these processors, which makes an X570 + Ryzen 3 review somewhat non-real world.

AMD has provided us will a full list of motherboard compatibility charts for all of the AM4 processors aligned with all of the AM4 motherboards. Due to technical limitations around BIOS size (i.e. motherboard vendors using too small of BIOS chips), only various families of hardware are verified in different motherboards. Most motherboards will likely accept processors outside these designations, especially if the vendor has used a larger BIOS chip, however AMD is putting these guidelines in to make it easier to follow. So while AM4 is heralded as a platform that can support ‘A-Series to 16-cores’, and it does, but only across several boards - very few boards (if any) will support the full gamut of hardware.

As for B550, the chipset looks very similar to B450 but with some upgrades. Rather than PCIe 2.0 support from the chipset, we get PCIe 3.0, with a PCIe 3.0 uplink to the processor. B550 motherboards will also be engineered to support PCIe 4.0 from the CPU, which means at least the first (and perhaps the second) PCIe slot will be PCIe 4.0 enabled, and there should also be an M.2 slot.

These are the cheaper motherboards, so we’re not expecting any miracles here. B550 is designed to support 3000-series Matisse CPUs only, so AMD is suggesting that current APUs in the market (3200G/3400G) aren’t really suited for this board if they work at all.

AMD claims there are over 60 B550 motherboards in development. Some of them look very flash, which makes me wonder if there won’t be $300 B550 models on the shelves. That’s a scary thought.

A Word on Competition

With Intel staying on the Skylake microarchitecture for another generation in Comet Lake, and the competitiveness of Ryzen 3000 so far, I was keen to see if AMD is able to surpass Intel at the quad core level. Intel finally stopped giving us quad cores at the top Core i7 after Kaby Lake (7th gen Core), with the Core i7-7700 at 65 W and i7-7700K at 91 W. These were $350 parts in 2017, offering 4.2 GHz base frequency and 4.5 GHz turbo for the 7700K. That’s a frequency advantage over the 3300X, but the 3300X has a better IPC.

  • AMD Ryzen 3 3300X: Zen 2, 4C/8T, 3.9-4.3 GHz, 65 W, DDR4-3200, 24x PCIe 4.0, $120
  • Intel Core i7-7700K: Kaby Lake, 4C/8T, 4.2-4.5 GHz, 91 W, DDR4-2400, 16x PCIe 3.0, $350

Can AMD’s $120 CPU in 2020 give the same performance as Intel’s 2017 flagship CPU at only a third of the cost???

Sounds insane, doesn’t it?

There’s a Difference between the 3300X and 3100

Without probing any deeper, one might assume there’s little to separate the Ryzen 3 3300X and the Ryzen 3 3100 aside from a few hundred MHz and some cost. To our surprise, it goes deeper than that. Due to whatever binning is in place, AMD is using two different core configurations for these chips, despite both being quad core.

Both Ryzen 3 processors have a single eight core chiplet, from which only four cores are active.

On the Ryzen 3 3300X, all of those four cores come from the same quad-core CCX, providing a unified latency platform for the cores to use. It comes in a ‘4+0’ configuration, with one CCX fully active, and the other one disabled.

On the Ryzen 3 3100, the four cores come from two different CCXes, which adds extra complexity to the latency structure. If a core in one CCX wants to communicate with the other CCX, it has to send a request out through the Infinity Fabric, which adds latency. This is called the ‘2+2’ configuration.

Both designs are built with 16 MB of L3 cache, and with the 3300X that is all on one CCX, but split for the 3100.

The performance penalty this incurs is difficult to predict. Because of the lower core count than the other Ryzen hardware, the effect of this split on the Ryzen 3 3100 is going to be more pronounced than others. On our part, we ran our core-to-core latency tests.

For the Ryzen 3 3300X, as you can see, we have a unified latency topology.

Whereas for the Ryzen 3 3100, as it is slower and has the dual CCX layout, this translates to a 5+ nanosecond addition to go within a CCX, but a 50+ nanosecond additional between CCXes. Aside from the frequency difference, this will be a driving factor in our review.

For completeness, here's the Core i7-7700K, which is almost 33% faster on core-to-core transfers against core-to-core within a CCX.


Read on to find out more.

Power Consumption and Frequency Ramps


View All Comments

  • Death666Angel - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    No. Official AMD support and motherboard manufacturer support are two different things. As stated in the article. Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    I misread the paragraph below it, but in general it's weird for AMD to put out a diagram quite that misleading. The ASRock AB350 was ~$120 when I bought it and is ASRock supported for the 3900X -- surely a decent percentage of boards can support most Zen 2 processors barring power constraints for the 16 core if a cheap budget build can? Reply
  • alufan - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    Not true the AM$ socket will support all Ryzen chips however not all features are available on all boards such as gen 4 as this is a specific development that was not available when the 1 series launched, also the limitation is on the power system of the board not in AMDs specs

    "CHIPSET FEATURES: Note that not all processors are supported on every chipset, and support may require a BIOS upgrade. See your motherboard manufacturer’s website for compatibility"

    I have a 3 series running in my A320 media pc in my lounge updated the bios and it works fine however i suspect if i tried a 3900 it would not have the power circuit to support it, the other issue is the bios chips in some of the older boards cannot store enough information to allow all the chips to be used, so strictly speaking the issue is with the board supplier.
  • trenzterra - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    I'm still stuck on the i5-6600K which I built back in 2016. Thought it would serve me well for many years to come given the state of Intel and AMD at that point in time, and that my previous i5-2400 lasted me a good number of years while still being competitive. Now barely four years later it's obsoleted by a 100 dollar CPU lol. Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    It's far from obsolete, even if it's regularly beaten. I'm still using my Sandy-E processor when I'm unopposed to simultaneously running a space heater -- it's just a question of whether you need the latest and greatest. Reply
  • watzupken - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    Actually looking that the performance of these 4 cores chip, I can't wait to see an APU with it. Even the 4 core APU will be great for every day usage, without a graphic card. I just hope they give the 4 core version a decent graphic option, rather than a Vega 6. Reply
  • TexasBard79 - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    A very good review, quite in line with the others. Ryzen 3 3300X is a nasty game-changer. Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - link

    Please stop running tests that appeal to less than 5% of your audience (and I think I'm being generous here). Crysis on cpu? Who cares? What does it prove I can do today? Dwarf fortress?? WTF? Quit wasting your time and ours. AI ETH tests? What for (farms do this now)? How many tests do you need that show NOTHING to any of us?

    People should get the point. You are irrelevant at some point if you keep posting crap nobody cares to read. Ask toms hardware :) Oh, wait, you guys are toms. ;)

    How about testing 20 games at 1080p where everyone plays. :) Is it too difficult to ask a few pros to make a script for photoshop/premier/AE to test under AMD/NV (cuda vs. OpenCL or whatever is faster on AMD)? It is almost like you guys seek benchmarks that nobody could possibly find useful IRL.

    "provide a good idea on how instruction streams are interpreted by different microarchitectures."
    Your PHD project tells me how these cpus will run in WHICH PRO APP? Why not just test a PRO APP IRL? Bah...fake news. Not sure why, AMD wins everything right now. Why hunt for fake tests that mean nothing? How many people use Agisoft instead of PhotoshopCC for $10 a month?

    Still ripping at crap modes nobody would actually use. Again tells us nothing about what we REALLY do usually. Only a retard uses FAST settings in handbrake for anything but a 15fps training vid.

    "We are currently in the middle of revisiting our CPU gaming benchmarks" and upgrading to 2080ti. Can't happen soon enough, please make sure you test games that sell over 1mil ON PC or don't bother. If the sell poorly or are poorly rated, there is no point in testing them. Test what people PLAY, at settings people really use. 720p low shows what to a person who will NEVER play below 1080p? Oh wait, I just described 99% of your audience, as I'm quite sure they haven't played 720p in ages. So much wasted testing. Stop testing 4k and test more 1080p/1440p (1440p still almost useless, wake me at 10%).

    "Some of these new benchmarks provide obvious talking points, others are just a bit of fun. Most of them are so new we’ve only run them on a few processors so far. It will be interesting to hear your feedback!"

    Please quit wasting your time. It feels like all your benchmarks are "for fun" as I'm not much smarter after coming here. Off to a site that tests a dozen games and some real world stuff some of us actually use (techpowerup for example...games galore, 10 REAL games tested). THIS is how you give a well rounded idea of a cpu/gpu perf. YOU TEST REAL STUFF, instead of your PHD crap or agisoft junk. People use adobe, and play games that SELL. This isn't complicated people.

    Might as well jump off the roof with your cpu and tell us how fast you hit the ground. Just a useless as your benchmarks. Are they benchmarks if nobody uses them? Or is it just more "fun" crap tests that tell us nothing useful? If you are NOT helping me make a more informed decision (useful info) about buying the reviewed product, you have failed. A good review is chock full of useful info related to how we actually use the product, not a bunch of crap nobody cares about or use IRL.

    The devs make 3K a month from it. This is not exactly played by the world if it pulls down $35K a year. Why even bother testing this crap? Are we all going to go back to pixel crap graphics tomorrow? Heck now. Wake up. Those games (and the shite monitors we had then) are why I needed lasik...ROFL.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - link

    "Only a retard uses"
    And that's about where I realised you weren't really making a comment so much as farting into a piece of voice recognition software.
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - link

    I wonder if even one single person ever read that comment Reply

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