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AMD Ryzen 3 1300X & 1200 Performance Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
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Montreal
I’m biased when it comes to CPUs but my preference doesn’t lie with any one company. Rather, I have a love affair with certain budget processors like the i3-6100, FX 4300 and Athlon 880K. They remain among the most memorable products I’ve ever come across. Not because of any blistering performance metrics but rather due to the fact they were all over achievers in relative to miniscule asking prices. That’s why when AMD announced Ryzen 3 a few weeks ago, I was beside myself with excitement. Could these new processors hit that key combination of pricing, application performance and in-game framerates? I certainly found myself hoping so.

The reason why I mention gaming should be pretty obvious. Whereas these days gamers are spoon fed marketing shenanigans screaming “more cores are better”, the number of games that can effectively take advantage of more than four processing threads can be counted on a single hand. Lower end CPUs can also be advantageous for folks who simply want to spread their limited budgets over many components rather than dropping big time cash on the processor alone.

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Yet the appeal of Ryzen 3 and its mates from Intel’s side of the pond will be quite limited for some. Higher priced alternatives like Intel’s i7 or AMD’s own Ryzen 5 / 7 parts can act as chameleons of sorts by offering a high level of processing for everything from streaming to raw parallel processing workloads and even gaming. For some tasks they won’t have an optimal price / performance ratio but they do have quite a few more tricks up their proverbial sleeves.

Now that I’ve set the stage, let’s get under the skin of Ryzen 3 and see how AMD is going to leverage their Zen microarchitecture to steamroll Intel in the sub-$150 segment. The competition from Intel’s own Kaby Lake is fierce even though –for the most part at least- Ryzen has held a distinct feature set advantage. Also, if you want to read a lot more about the baseline Zen architecture and its various intricacies, I recommend you head over to our launch day article which has pretty much everything covered.

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At the heart of every Ryzen processor is the CPU Complex or CCX which consists of four distinct cores along with their associative L2 and L3 caching structures. If the feature is enabled, these four cores can also be set to process up to eight parallel working threads through the use of simultaneous multithreading. Basically, a processor like the Ryzen 7 1800X has two of these CCX’s working in tandem which results in eight physical cores and sixteen threads. Those complexes communicate with one another over AMD’s Infinity Fabric high speed interconnect.

Ryzen 3 goes about things a bit differently and in many ways mirrors what we saw with the 4-core, 8-thread Ryzen 5 parts. Rather than simply use a single four-core 4:0 CCX layout AMD has implemented bifurcated a 2:2 design wherein two cores and cache blocks within each CCX are effectively disabled. Not only does this allow for continued communication over the Infinity Fabric but it also insures manufacturing commonality. On Ryzen 3, SMT is also turned off in an effort to distinguish these more affordable parts from their Ryzen 5 cousins.

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For the time being AMD is launching a pair of Ryzen 3 processors: the 1300X and 1200. Each of them has four cores, a quartet of threads, 2MB of L2 cache and 3MB of L3 cache which makes them quite similar –from a baseline microarchitecture level- in scope to the Ryzen 5 1400. Even their TDP is the same at 65W.

The areas of distinction lie in two key areas: clock speeds and of course pricing. Starting with the 1300X and it looks like this affordable $129 chip could very well run head to head against the Ryzen 5 1500X in situations that don’t call for a large number of worker threads. Its Base Clock of 3.5GHz is generous and AMD says we can expect it to run at a nominal 3.6GHz on all cores provided adequate cooling is supplied. Meanwhile the 2-core Boost rate hits 3.7GHz while AMD’s Extended Frequency Range (or XFR) can pump things to 3.9GHz if the stars align in single threaded workloads.

AMD’s Ryzen 3 1200 may look the same but its frequency capabilities have been cut down significantly. Its Base Clock of 3.1GHz is quite low and unlike the 1300X which allowed for a higher “All Core Boost” speed, that baseline remains at 3.1GHz until only two cores are required. When that happens, you should see that 3.4GHz number rear its head. Since this isn’t an X-series part the 200MHz of additional headroom for XFR is cut down to just 50MHz so this CPU will run at a maximum of 3.45GHz even in single threaded tasks.

Now this may all sound confusing so here is a quick chart to recap:

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This launch may prove to be interesting for AMD since unlike more expensive Ryzen 5 and 7 processors which could leverage a sometimes-significant thread count advantage over their Intel opposites, Ryzen 3 can’t. The 1300X’s $129 price point aligns with the $139, 4-thread i3-7300 whereas the $109 Ryzen 3 1200 will find itself going toe to toe against the $115 i3-7100. In addition, with TDPs of just 51W the Intel i3 processors seem to be quite a bit more efficient.

While looking at those stats may cause things to look a bleak for Ryzen 3 from day one, there’s more here than what first meets the eye. The thread counts look quite similar, but AMD could hold an advantage since their quad thread layout is achieved through four physical cores whereas the i3 CPUs are actually dual core chips that have SMT enabled. If history is any indication, implementing SMT does cause some on-die latency increases. Ryzen 3 is also fully unlocked so you can overclock to your heart’s content (or within AMD’s predefined limits that is…) whereas on Intel’s side of the fence you’ll need to pony up $160 for the “privilege” of owning an i3-7350K.

I also need to talk about memory support quickly since it remains something of a minefield. AMD has indeed improved memory compatibility and stability with their latest microcode updates but they still support 2400MHz with dual rank DDR4 and 2666MHz with single rank modules.

If you don’t have the right kit or win the memory controller lottery, achieving stability over 2667MHz is a challenge without significantly loosening timings. Remember, these are the “officially supported” memory frequencies I’m listing for the time being, even though the latest AGESA updates allow for some single rank DIMMs to theoretically hit the 3200MHz mark through overclocking.

I actually lived this situation firsthand during the opening stages of testing the Ryzen 3 processors. By mistake I installed a Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 16GB kit and the system flat out refused to complete its POST sequence. Realizing my mistake I instead installed an identical looking 2666MHz kit and was able to boot without any problems. Naturally this experience will vary wildly depending upon which memory kit is being used but I’ll nonetheless recommend you search out one of the few Ryzen-certified kits around.

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With Ryzen 3 processors hitting such affordable levels, it should go without saying that AMD’s B350 platform is a perfect companion in the frugality game. B350-based motherboards have quickly become a mainstay for folks who want access to all the benefits that Ryzen has to offer like native NVMe storage connected directly to the CPU and a chipset that boasts USB 3.1 Gen2 capabilities. AMD also included a full stack of overclocking options on their more affordable motherboards which is a breath of fresh air when compared against Intel’s walled garden approach with Z170.

The X370 does have support for dual graphics cards at x8 speeds, a few more chipset-derived SATA ports and two more USB 3.1 Gen 1 nodes but the vast majority of users won’t need that extra connectivity anyways. B350’s real selling factor is its price with most well equipped examples going for between $80 and $110.

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Unlike some of their higher-end brethren in the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 lineups, all Ryzen 3 processors come with Wraith Stealth coolers. Many tend to discard included heatsinks and upgrade to something else. However, the Stealth is a very competent and decently quiet stock cooler that even provides some measure of thermal headroom for a bit of overclocking. This could allow buyers to repurpose some cash towards other components without the fear of sacrificing performance or acoustics.

This all leaves us with a few salient points about Ryzen 3. AMD is obviously positioning these processors as value-added propositions against Intel’s i3 series and they’re backed up by both clock speeds, overclocking potential and physical core counts. But will that be enough to compete against a bunch of very well entrenched competitors?
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Test Setups & Methodology

Test Setups & Methodology


For this review, we have prepared a number of different test setups, representing many of the popular platforms at the moment. As much as possible, the test setups feature identical components, memory timings, drivers, etc. Aside from manually selecting memory frequencies and timings, every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.

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For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 10 and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Windows HPET – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance / Ryzen Balanced
  • V-Sync – Off
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
System Benchmarks: AIDA64

AIDA64 Extreme Edition


AIDA64 uses a suite of benchmarks to determine general performance and has quickly become one of the de facto standards among end users for component comparisons. While it may include a great many tests, we used it for general CPU testing (CPU ZLib / CPU Hash) and floating point benchmarks (FPU VP8 / FPU SinJulia).


CPU PhotoWorxx Benchmark
This benchmark performs different common tasks used during digital photo processing. It performs a number of modification tasks on a very large RGB image:

This benchmark stresses the SIMD integer arithmetic execution units of the CPU and also the memory subsystem. CPU PhotoWorxx test uses the appropriate x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, 3DNow!+, SSE, SSE2, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4A, AVX, AVX2, and XOP instruction set extension and it is NUMA, HyperThreading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.


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CPU ZLib Benchmark

This integer benchmark measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library. CPU ZLib test uses only the basic x86 instructions but is nonetheless a good indicator of general system performance.

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CPU AES Benchmark

This benchmark measures CPU performance using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) data encryption. In cryptography AES is a symmetric-key encryption standard. AES is used in several compression tools today, like 7z, RAR, WinZip, and also in disk encryption solutions like BitLocker, FileVault (Mac OS X), TrueCrypt. CPU AES test uses the appropriate x86, MMX and SSE4.1 instructions, and it's hardware accelerated on Intel AES-NI instruction set extension capable processors. The test is HyperThreading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

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CPU Hash Benchmark

This benchmark measures CPU performance using the SHA1 hashing algorithm defined in the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 180-3. The code behind this benchmark method is written in Assembly. More importantly, it uses MMX, MMX+/SSE, SSE2, SSSE3, AVX instruction sets, allowing for increased performance on supporting processors.

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FPU VP8 / SinJulia Benchmarks

AIDA’s FPU VP8 benchmark measures video compression performance using the Google VP8 (WebM) video codec Version 0.9.5 and stresses the floating point unit. The test encodes 1280x720 resolution video frames in 1-pass mode at a bitrate of 8192 kbps with best quality settings. The content of the frames are then generated by the FPU Julia fractal module. The code behind this benchmark method utilizes MMX, SSE2 or SSSE3 instruction set extensions.

Meanwhile, SinJulia measures the extended precision (also known as 80-bit) floating-point performance through the computation of a single frame of a modified "Julia" fractal. The code behind this benchmark method is written in Assembly, and utilizes trigonometric and exponential x87 instructions.


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Let’s start things off with a bit of AIDA, a benchmark suite that uses high level algorithms to simulate different processing scenarios. Here we can see that the 1300X and 1200 compete pretty well against the i3 7300 and i3 7100 respectively except in Photoworxx which tends to use a single core. Other benchmarks show the usual Ryzen highlights in multi threaded environments, particularly in AES decryption and hashing algorithms.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
System Benchmarks: Cinebench / PCMark 8 / WPrime

CineBench R15 64-bit


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R15 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

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PCMark 8


PCMark 8 is the latest iteration of Futuremark’s system benchmark franchise. It generates an overall score based upon system performance with all components being stressed in one way or another. The result is posted as a generalized score. In this case, we didn’t use the Accelerated benchmark but rather just used the standard Computational results which cut out OpenCL from the equation.

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WPrime


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're squaring, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload. Below are the scores for the 1024M benchmark.

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The Cinebench multi core results have quite a strong showing for AMD’s two new chips with the 1300X handily beating Intel’s 7300 and actually coming close to the i5-7500. The Ryzen 3 1200 did pretty well too but there’s a massive gap between the Ryzen 3 CPUs due to the 1200’s very low frequencies.

Moving on to PCMark and there’s not really much different to talk about with the 1300X and 1200 trading blows with Intel’s i3 series depending on the workload. WPrime backs this up too but again the 1300X shows some amazing results while the 1200 lags quite far behind even though it does beat the 7100 by a narrow margin.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Single Thread Performance

Single Thread Performance


Even though most modern applications have the capability to utilize more than one CPU thread, single threaded performance is still a cornerstone of modern CPU IPC improvements. In this section, we take a number of synthetic applications and run them in single thread mode.

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Moving on to single core results and this is an area where AMD’s Zen architecture may have made some big inroads but it still can’t compare to what Intel can offer. It is great to see these very affordable processors competing with higher end Ryzen CPUs but Intel really does dominate here.

Next up we have some benchmarks a few more of you may be able to relate to.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Productivity Benchmarks: 7-Zip / Adobe Premier Pro

7-Zip


At face value, 7-Zip is a simple compression/decompresion tool like popular applications like WinZip and WinRAR but it also has numerous additional functions that can allow encryption, decryption and other options. For this test, we use the standard built-in benchmark which focuses on raw multi-threaded throughput.

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Adobe Premier Pro CC


Adobe Premier Pro CC is one of the most recognizable video editing programs on the market today as it is used by videography professionals and YouTubers alike. In this test we take elements of a 60-second 4K video file and render them out into a cohesive MP4 video via Adobe’s Media Encoder. Note that GPU acceleration is turned on.

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7 Zip shows the Ryzen 3 processors exactly where we would expect them ahead of the 7300 and 7100.

Meanwhile Adobe Premier really likes these two Ryzen 3 processors since they score very well in our 4K media encoder video test. As a matter of fact, with a little bit of overclocking the 1300X shouldn’t have any problem achieving results that are pretty close to the Ryzen 5 1400!
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Productivity Benchmarks: Blender / 3ds MAX Corona

Blender


Blender is a free-to-use 3D content creation program that also features an extremely robust rendering back-end. It boasts extremely good multi core scaling and even incorporates a good amount of GPU acceleration for various higher level tasks. In this benchmark we take a custom 1440P 3D image and render it out using the built-in tool. The results you see below list how long it took each processor to complete the test.

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3ds MAX Corona Renderer


Autodesk’s 3ds MAX is currently one of the most-used 3D modeling, animation and rendering programs on the market, providing a creative platform for architects to industrial designers alike. Unfortunately its rendering algorithms leave much to be desired and third party rendering add-ons are quite popular. One of the newest ones is called Corona.

In this test we take a custom 3D scene of a room with global illumination enabled and render it out in 720P using Corona’s built-in renderer.


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Blender shows the Ryzen 3 1200 just can’t keep up with the competition due to its lower clock speeds. That’s a bit of a problem since these rendering tests have been a strength for AMD. Luckily the 1300X performs very well given its price.

Corona has very much the same results as Blender with the 1200 lagging behind but the 1300X really showing some strength.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Productivity Benchmarks: GIMP / Handbrake

GIMP


While it may be open source, GIMP is actually one of the most popular free photo editors available right now. It uses both CPU and GPU acceleration for certain tasks. In this test we use an 8K image and use a script to run eight different filters in succession. This is considered a lightly threaded workload since the memory, CPU and storage drive can all play a role in performance.

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Handbrake


Video conversion from one format to another is a stressful task for any processor and speed is paramount. Handbrake is one of the more popular transcoders on the market since it is free, has a long feature list, supports GPU acceleration and has an easy-to-understand interface. In this test we take a 6GB 4K MP4 and convert it to a 1080P MKV file with a H.264 container format. GPU acceleration has been disabled. The results posted indicate how long it took for the conversion to complete.

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But when we move to a program like GIMP which uses between one and two full worker threads as it processes an image, things don’t look too good for Ryzen processors. However, this is absolutely nothing new since Intel has always been ahead in lightly threaded workloads.

Handbrake’s video conversion tools seem to be a great fit for AMD since the 1300X and 1200 both come up with some amazing results. As a matter of fact, not only does the Ryzen 3 1300X handily beat the i3 7300 but it also comes close to matching the eight core FX-8370!
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Productivity Benchmarks: POV Ray / WinRAR

POV Ray 3.7


POV Ray is a complex yet simple to use freeware ray tracing program which has the ability to efficiently use multiple CPU cores in order to speed up rendering output. For this test, we use its built-in benchmark feature which renders a high definition scene. The rendering time to completion is logged and then listed below.

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WinRAR


WinRAR is one of those free tools that everyone seems to use. Its compression and decompression algorithms are fully multi-core aware which allows for a significant speedup when processing files. In this test we compress a 3GB folder of various files and add a 256-bit encryption key. Once again the number listed is the time to completion.

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Even POV Ray shows these very good numbers so it looks like there are certain applications that really do benefit from four physical cores while others seem to prefer Intel’s higher clock speeds and SMT.

WinRAR is a bit of a mess for AMD unfortunately since it has integrated optimizations for Intel processors and it only uses a few processing threads. That’s the perfect storm for AMD and they lose by a big margin.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Gaming Performance (Synthetic)

3DMark Fire Strike (DX11)


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3DMark Time Spy (DX12)


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Starting with Fire Strike and the scores are actually very, very good indeed! The Ryzen 3 1300X keeps ahead of the i3-7300 while the 1200 does the same against the Intel 7100.

The DX12 Time Spy benchmark brings things a bit closer but even in that situation the AMD processors are still able to come out with a narrow win. But what does that really mean for in-game tests? Well let’s find out.
 
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