AMD's new $100 Ryzen CPUs and B550 boards are budget gaming gold

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD today announced the Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100—two budget processors bringing the Zen 2 architecture to the entry-level market. These will be available starting in May, followed soon after by the pared-back (and long-rumoured) B550 motherboard chipset in June.

The two Ryzen chips (which were all but confirmed yesterday) both come with four cores and eight threads, and will utilise the same Zen 2 architecture found throughout the 3rd Gen Ryzen lineup—including some of the best CPUs for gaming today. The Ryzen 3 3300X will be rated to a base clock of 3.8GHz, and a boost clock of 4.3GHz. The Ryzen 3 3100 will come clocked a little lower at 3.6GHz base and 3.9GHz boost. Nevertheless, both should be amicable to budget gaming.

Even more so due to their very budget conscious price tags. The Ryzen 3 3300X will set you back $120, while the Ryzen 3 3100X will come in just under a ton at $99. 

Both chips will fall close to AMD's preexisting budget processors, such as the Ryzen 5 1600 and Ryzen 5 2600, from past Zen and Zen+ generations. While these ageing chips are hexa-core processors, and therefore will take the cake in multi-threaded workloads, the IPC increase and clock speed of the new four-core Zen 2 CPUs may see them ahead in gaming workloads.

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AMD Ryzen 3 processors
Header Cell - Column 0 AMD Ryzen 3 3300XAMD Ryzen 3 3100
TDP (Watts)6565
Base/boost frequency (GHz)3.8/4.33.6/3.9
Price (USD)12099

Your best bet for a compatible, budget-friendly, motherboard to go with one of the new chips will be one brandishing the AM4 B450 chipset. The entirety of AMD's Ryzen CPU lineup—no matter whether first, second, or third-generation—uses the AM4 socket and pin configuration, and that means you have nearly complete control over CPU and motherboard combination to meet your needs. The only exceptions are on the extremes (the least likely combinations of CPU/motherboard)—such as a 1st Gen Ryzen CPU with an X570 motherboard, or a 3rd Gen Ryzen CPU with a 300-series chipset (beta BIOS support possible, in some case). You can read the full details over at the website.

All 3rd Gen Ryzen processors support greater bandwidth through the PCIe 4.0 standard, which effectively doubles the data rate from the predominant standard today, PCIe 3.0. This can be used to increase platform connectivity, and is often touted today for super-fast NVMe SSDs. PCIe 4.0 support is currently limited to the enthusiast X570 chipset only, which would make for an odd purchase alongside a budget processor such as the two announced today.

From June 16, 2020, however, you'll be able to unlock full compatibility with your 3rd Gen Ryzen, including PCIe 4.0 support, even on a tighter budget. That's the day AMD's long-awaited B550 chipset will arrive, undercutting the enthusiast X570 board for PCIe 4.0 compatibility.

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 later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.