AMD has just launched its Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X processors, and they are basically the best thing that has happened at the price range of $ 100 to $ 150 in years. Not only are these processors extremely affordable, but thanks to the Zen 2 architecture on which they are built, they also offer quite significant performance improvements.
But AMD is not the only one here. Intel is getting a lot of hatred these days, and we totally understood that. We were stuck with 9th generation Coffee Lake Refresh processors for almost two years, and even they stopped being impressive a few months after they hit the streets.
Comet Lake-S is there, however, and although we haven't had a chance to test these processors, the entire product stack now has Hyper-Threading, as well as boost (and consumption) clocks much higher).
So basically we have reached the golden age of PC building, and there are many reasons to be excited.
Ryzen-powered CPU competition has paid off
Ever since the first AMD Ryzen processors made their way, people have said that this will encourage the two main processor manufacturers to offer better products at lower cost. And, while AMD processors were continuously improving, Intel was stuck on a 14nm process, seemingly in disregard of the progress AMD was making.
Team Blue has steadily increased clock and TDP speeds and doubled its status as “best game processor”. But it can only go so far.
Ultimately, however, multi-threaded processors were inevitable. Although Intel is not new to the marketing of processors with Hyper-Threading, it is the first time in a long time that Hyper-Threading has arrived in the whole range of offices – up to the Pentium Gold G6400T.
This means that no matter what budget you have for building a PC, you can achieve solid multi-core performance. Even if you only have a few hundred dollars, you can build a PC that is not only strong enough for the best PC games, but also good enough for video editing.
A good sign for the future
For a long time, PC games were extremely single-threaded applications. Even to this day, there are a ton of popular titles out there that will really only use one or two of your processor cores, ignoring everything else.
Because the vast majority of gaming PCs still use Intel processors – even though AMD has killed it in sales in the past two years – that hasn't really been a huge problem. Intel processors in general have very solid single core performance, which has led to Team Blue's reputation as the company behind the best game processors.
There have been a lot of games in recent years, however, that have reversed this trend. Titles like Battlefield V and Assassin's Creed Odyssey are strongly linked, which leads to much stronger performance across the board. In fact, many of the PC games we test for our performance test articles have started to spread the processing across many cores, with Doom Eternal and Red Dead Redemption 2 being the main ones.
And when you consider that the next generation consoles both have AMD Zen 2 processors with 8 cores and 16 threads, we expect that to continue in the future. With the huge installation base that consoles provide, it is impossible that games are not optimized for processors with many cores.
Even before the release of these consoles, multicore processors are quickly becoming the benchmark for gaming PCs. According to the latest Steam Hardware Survey, the amount of processor cores in gaming PCs is obviously increasing. Quad core processors are down to 48.89% of the market, against 52.49% in December.
Hexa-core processors, thanks to mainstream heroes like the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Intel Core i5-9600, went from 20.13% of the Steam user base to 22.58% during the same period of 5 months, while 6.7% are now using thin 8-core chips. If 6 and 8 core processors continue to gain popularity like this, the game will inevitably become multithreaded – that's how technology works, after all.
Now is the perfect time to build your budget gaming PC
Building a gaming PC, especially if you want to tackle the latest and greatest PC games, is an expensive endeavor. Even if you opt for solid mid-range hardware like the Ryzen 5 3600X and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, you're probably looking for a fairly large price.
Anything that can break down that entry barrier is a good thing in our books, and AMD and Intel have both released 2020 processors that have done so. We haven't had a chance to test the newly announced Intel Comet Lake-S desktop processors yet, but taking a look at the Core i3 product stack, we can just say that they will provide a great solution for people who are trying to save money on their gaming PC.
This is one of the weird moments when the two main CPU manufacturers supply very compelling products, and it couldn't have come at a better time. We anticipate that the CPU requirements will change a lot over the next two years, so we couldn't be happier that Intel and AMD provide this type of power to everyone.
So if you were about to build this “cheap gaming PC” that people on the Internet forums always tell you, it is possible, now is the time to do it. The best part, however – you no longer have to compromise on impressive processor performance to get a $ 100 processor.