I'm just a small-time guy working a normal job as a physician assistant. My passion is building PCs and testing/reviewing PC hardware.
Hello everyone. Will here. Today, I am reviewing the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU. This is a relatively new CPU released on July 27, 2017 at an MSRP of $109. I have spent about 3 weeks now with this little CPU and I can confess that I am impressed.
The Ryzen 3 1200 is a processer on the AM4 platform with 4 cores and 4 threads. It comes out of the box with a 3.1GHz base clock speed and a maximum turbo core speed of 3.4GHz. As with other Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 3 1200 is unlocked and able to be overclocked. The processor is built on the Zen architecture on a 12nm die. The Ryzen 3 1200 supports DDR 4 memory in dual channel configuration at at maximum clock speed of 2667MHz.
What Does AMD Say About Their Ryzen Processors?
AMD’s high-performance x86 Core “Zen” architecture delivers >52% improvement in instructions-per-clock cycle over the previous generation AMD core, without increasing power. The “Zen” core is an all-new “clean sheet” x86 processor design that’s inspiring a new generation of high-performance AMD computing products in 2017 and beyond. “Zen” combines the latest thinking in high-throughput and low-power design methodologies to create a balanced and versatile architecture right at home in the desktop, laptop, datacenter and supercomputer. Cloud computing, enterprise productivity, immersive visual experiences, gaming and data security open up new frontiers – and demand more computing performance with maximum energy efficiency. From the very beginning, AMD engineers designed the new “Zen” core to meet those demands with a high-performance execution engine, large caches, and powerful multi-threading capabilities."Zen” cores are designed to efficiently use available microarchitectural resources for optimal compute performance. Compared to our previous architecture, three-tier cache system and new pre-fetch algorithms enable dramatically higher throughput in the cache and execution engines. Supported by X370, B350, and A320 chipset.
The Ryzen 3 1200 brings up the rear of the stack of the Ryzen 3 line, being the lowest CPU in the stack, having the lowest frequency at 3.1GHz base, 3.4GHz turbo, 3.1GHz all-core turbo, no hyperthreading and the lowest amount of L3 cache. For the troubles comes the lowest price as well at $109, and is bundled with the Wraith Stealth cooler.
As stated above, the CPU is unlocked, allowing for full overclocking on B350 and X370 motherboards. The CPU can easily reach a 3.9GHz overclock but was running a bit hot with the included Wraith stealth cooler. So, given the high temperatures of around 90 degrees Celsius, I backed off on my overclock to 3.75GHz very stable, with temperatures only touching 85 degrees celsius under load and around 30 degrees celsius idle. AMD promotes both of the Ryzen 3 CPUs as being part of their 'VR Ready' line, compared with the premium line consisting of the Ryzen 7 parts and all but one of the Ryzen 5s.
On these Ryzen 3 chips, AMD uses the same 8-core silicon design as with the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors. This is done in order to reduce costs and binning as designing a new set of 14nm masks would cost tens of millions of dollars. The argument could be made that on the binning side, these were processors that didn’t make the cut for Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 line, and by selling them cheap yet reliable, AMD’s effective yeild for the process increases and less money is thrown away. Essentially, this move allows for a better bottom line monetarily. In order for AMD to facilitate the Ryzen 3 quad core design from the 8 core chip, 4 cores are disable. The chip design consists of 2 core clusters of four cores each and are connected internally via AMD’s Infinity Fabric. AMD decided to go with the 2+2 arrangement for the quad core Ryzen parts which follows in the 3+3 arrangement of the 6-core Ryzen 5 CPUs.
Competition and Market
Intel and AMD are very competitive with each other on the B250 platform (Intel) and B350 platform motherboards as the boards are closely priced. Ryzen may be a little more intriguing to some however, due to the ability to overclock whereas the intel boards and chipsets do no allow for overclocking. At the same time, most people with entry-level gaming machines probably do not care about the ability to overclock as most will want to just plug everything up and begin gaming. Likewise, those getting entry level PC builds, particularly those using the PC for mild gaming in less demanding titles and more so for office applications, would probably prefer and benefit better from the Intel chips and the integrated graphics, eliminating the cost of a separate graphics card.
Now, let’s get down to what this article is aimed at and that is the performance of the Ryzen 3 1200 CPU. Out of the box, the processor performed admirably but felt so much better with an overclock and felt like it reached it’s potential. The processor performed well with simple programs such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and excel as well as internet browsing on Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. The PC handled games it was intended for by me like Minecraft and Roblox extremely well, though, no benchmarks were done on either game.
So, for the benchmarks, let’s take a look at the test bench and the components I used for testing. First, at the base of the test bench, we have all of the components installed into the MSI B350 Mortar mother board with 8gb of ADATA XPG RAM in dual configuration at 2667 MHz. The Ryzen 3 1200 processor is front and center and is overclocked to 3.75GHz, cooled by the Wraith Stealth Cooler. I used an MSI GTX 1080 Duke for games testing to avoid any performance decline due to GPU. Powering this test bench is an EVGA 550w 80+ bronze certified semi modular power supply. I tested a variety of programs and utilities from Adobe Reader, Dolphin 5.0 Render test, Blender Render test, Cinebench and gaming on more CPU intensive games such as GTA V and Battlefield 4.
First, I went simple and tested the speed of opening a PDF file with Adobe Reader which netted a 3.5 second time to open a PDF file. I moved onto the Dolphin 5.0 render test which completed in 7 minutes, 15 seconds. Following the Dolphin render test, I moved onto the Blender rendering test which resulted in a render of just over 17 minutes. The Ryzen 3 1200 scored 135 in Cinebench 15 single thread and 482 in Cinebench 15 multithread. Now, for what most of you look for, the gaming benchmarks. As you can see above, I only tested CPU intensive games and only 2 as they give a pretty good indication of how well this processor performs. I did not use Battlefield 1 as I do not own this game because I do not like the gameplay. However, if I get enough requests, I will be willing to purchase and benchmark it as well. Both games were tested at 1080p on very high settings and ran for a 30 minute test run. First, GTA V averaged 68fps with a 0.1% low of 47fps and only spent around 6 seconds below 60fps. Finally, Battlefield 4 netted 75fps with a 0.1% low of 62fps and only spent 6 seconds under 60fps as well.
Conclusion and Thoughts
So, as you can see, the processor is a nice little budget beast, especially when paired with a budget B350 motherboard like the MSI B350 Mortar or even better, the MSI B350 Tomahawk. I had fun with the 3 week run with this processor, especially adjusting overclocks and running Cinebench tests, watching the score improve with each overclock. Considering the build I was doing with this processor was done for playing games like Minecraft and Roblox, I’d say it’s a success and absolutely good enough to meet the demands of those games, even with an RX560 or a GTX 1050/1050ti. I can and will recommend this processor for anyone wanting to build a budget gaming PC but also want to do some other things such as light video editing or using the PC as a streaming machine for a more powerful gaming PC. All in all, it’s a great processor for a great price.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.