While other lines of AMD’s CPU’s (such as FX) have been mediocre, the Ryzen CPU’s are great.  They offer very good performance for their price and their stock cooler (while not perfect) is better than Intel’s.  Ryzen CPU’s lack integrated graphics, and thus, are only for builds which plan to use video cards (i.e. gaming and workstation builds).

I realize that I wrote this article a bit late, and AMD will be releasing their next series of Ryzen CPU’s this year.  These 3 CPU’s are still good for their price, and can be good deals even as better CPU’s come out if their price drops.

Ryzen 3 1200 (~$100)

* 4 cores
* Budget to mid-range gaming PC’s.  (If you’re not gaming at over 60 frames a second anyway, it won’t make that much of a difference)
* Light to medium intensity video/photo editing.  It probably won’t handle 4K well, but if you’re just starting out with creative work – and not doing it for a living, this should be fine.

Ryzen 5 1600 (<$200)

* 6 cores (most games don’t use 6 cores now, but some people may want to get this if they want their computer to be able to run big-budget games a several years from now)
* Mid-range gaming.  At high-ish frame rates.  Will game noticeably better than the Ryzen 3, but definitely not twice as better.
* Performs equal or better than a 6th or 7th gen i5 Intel processor
* Medium intensity video/photo editing (can handle 4K)

Ryzen 7 1700 (<$300)

* 8 cores (most apps don’t use 8 cores, so this is not for the masses)
* Great for workstations and video editing (however, Intel’s 8th gen CPU’s have also provided just as good if not better options for these tasks).
* Will only improve gaming experiences negligibly.  If you want a very high-end gaming experience, check out Intel’s i7’s.

Ryzen _ 1_00X

The “X” series of these CPU’s are basically pre-overclocked versions.  There is no need to spend the extra money because you can simply overclock the original versions yourself to get those same numbers.

Overall Verdict

Although Ryzen 5 is a great deal (compared to Intel’s i5’s) for a mid-range processor for those with powerful needs, I’m still giving Ryzen 3 the award for providing the most value per dollar.  The other two processors are better, but nowhere near double or triple as much better.  I can see a case for the Ryzen 5 for gamers that want to get an extra year or two of life out of their computer.  Ryzen 7 has a niche in video editing/3d modeling builds somewhere, but will not provide the utility compared to its price for most users.