AMD could unleash new Zen 2 CPUs to tackle budget Intel Comet Lake chips

(Image credit: AMD)

Rumour has it AMD is planning to release two new budget Ryzen 3 processors: the Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100. Both CPUs are listed as four-core/eight-thread processors, with moderate clock speeds in tow, and appear to be a play for the affordable CPU market ahead of Intel's Comet Lake Core i3s.

Twitter leaker momomo_us first spotted the Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100, and has listed both desktop CPUs with four cores and eight threads, 18MB of cache, and 65W TDPs. The former is reported with a 4.3GHz clock speed, likely boost, while the latter sits a touch slower at 3.9GHz.

There's no doubt that four cores—Zen 2 cores at that—at 4.3GHz would make for a capable gaming processor. In fact, you only need look at Intel's Skylake generation and the Core i7 6700K for an analogous CPU specification that at the time was touted as the best CPUs for gaming.

The two processors would be the first non-APUs to brandish the Ryzen 3 title in the Ryzen 3000 lineup, undercutting the OEM-only Ryzen 5 3500 as the cheapest. This is usually a market that AMD would target with its desktop APUs—such as the Ryzen 3 3200G and Ryzen 5 3400G.

Retailer listings for the two proposed Ryzen 3 chips (spotted by ComputerBase) suggest these CPUs will be available to purchase as individual components, unlike the Ryzen 5 3500. The Ryzen 3 3300X has been reported to feature a $120 price tag, and the Ryzen 3 3100 $104 (thanks KOMACHI_ENSAKA).

(Image credit: AMD)

Both the Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100's prices potentially put them in the firing line of AMD's Zen and Zen+ CPUs, however, which have had a little more staying power than most. The Ryzen 1600 was only recently refreshed onto the 12nm process node—under the guise of Ryzen 1600 'AF'—likely for reasons of its competitive price/performance over Intel's Pentium and Core i3 competitors at $100. The Ryzen 5 2600 is similarly a superb budget CPU and often found for $120 or less.

Both are six-core processors—at 3.7GHz and 3.9GHz, respectively—and deliver reasonable gaming performance. Any further Ryzen 3 processors will have to deliver chart-topping performance to nestle in at these high-volume price points.

Cores aren't everything, however. In fact, clock speed is a far greater boon in-game than high core count, and Zen 2's IPC improvement should deliver hearty performance irrespective of the older chips' six cores. If these processors arrive complete with all that Zen 2 has to offer, they may offer a tempting taste of AMD Zen 2 for budget builds.

Rather, if we were to speculate as to why AMD may be looking to shift its budget CPU strategy, it would be to offer an alternative to Intel's upcoming Comet Lake Core i3 10100, which is set to be announced on April 30. With four cores and eight threads at 3.6GHz base and 4.4GHz boost, it's certain to be a chip AMD's looking to match, if not undercut, on value.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.