AMD Ryzen 3

For the past several years, many PC enthusiasts have lamented, in general, that Intel’s processors have only been advancing incrementally and that they lacked meaningful competition.  Throughout 2017, AMD released a new line of Ryzen processors which filled that void.  Now there is a two-sided sense of competition along with genuine reasons to consider both sides.

Intel Core AMD Ryzen
Higher clock speeds More cores and threads
Only the “K” versions can be overclocked. All are overclockable.
Has integrated graphics No integrated graphics
Does not require a video card. Must have a video card for it to work.
More affordable Mini ITX motherboards Better price to performance ratio.
Wide selection of motherboards Most compatible motherboards lack wifi.
Stock coolers are viewed as mediocre. Stock coolers are viewed as decent.
Each year or two Intel releases a new generation of CPU which requires a different chipset Ryzen’s chipset will be supported with additional hardware releases until 2020.
Does not benefit from RAM faster than 2400 MHz typically. Benefits from faster RAM (i.e. 3000 MHz)


Ultimately, these are my recommendations as of late 2017:

  • Office/School/BusinessPentium G4620 or  i3-8100
  • Budget GamingPentium G4620 or i3-8100
  • Budget Gaming with Light Video EditingRyzen 3 1200 or i3-8100
  • Mid-Range GamingRyzen 5 1600 or i3-8350k
  • High-End Gamingi7-7700k or i7-8600k or i7-8700k
  • Recording Studioi5-7400 or i3-8100
  • Recording Studio with Light Video EditingRyzen 3 1200
  • Semi-Pro 4K Video EditingRyzen 5 1600
  • Professional 4K Video EditingRyzen 7 1700 or i7-8700k

For Intel, their latest Coffee Lake (8th generation) CPU’s should make just enough improvements to stay competitive against Ryzen.  At the low end, the i3-8100 puts pressure on the Ryzen 3 1200.  The new i3 has four cores with high clock speeds (instead of two), as well as integrated graphics.  At the mid-end, Ryzen 5 1600 is still the best value, although the i3-8350k may be an alternative for gamers.  At the high end, it becomes a split on which company you prefer and what your needs are.

Update (Dec 2018): It appears that Coffee Lake’s i5’s do surpass much of the Ryzen line, although motherboard pricing is an issue for the Intels.  i7-8700k, while more expensive, does decisively beat out the Ryzen 7 for content creation.  Coffee Lake has offered answers to the Ryzen line-up overall, though Ryzen still offers great performing CPU’s for the price.