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AMD Ryzen 3 3300X review: the $120 Core i5 killer

An incredible gaming CPU for the money

AMD really outdid themselves when they launched their Ryzen 3000 CPUs last year, and the Ryzen 5 3600 was a particular highlight. It was excellent value in the face of Intel's more expensive (and cooler-less) Core i5-9600K, and it's been my processor of choice in both my best gaming CPU rankings and my RPS Rig build ever since it came out. Somehow, though, they've managed to come up with something even better than the Ryzen 5 3600 for almost half the price. Enter the Ryzen 3 3300X, the new Ryzen 5 and Core i5 killer that costs just £115 / $120.

We've been waiting a long time for AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen 3 CPUs to pitch up, but judging by the 3300X's benchmark results, it's been more than worth the wait. As you'll soon see below, this 4 core / 8 thread processor not only goes toe to toe with the 6 core / 12 thread Ryzen 5 3600 for overall gaming performance, but it also gives the $200 Core i5-9600K a real run for its money, too.

Of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that Intel are about to release a whole new swathe of desktop gaming CPUs later this month in the form of their 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs. Only a handful of them are actually due to launch in May, admittedly, but that small number does include the Core i5-9600K's successor, the Core i5-10600K. As a result, it's difficult to say right now whether the Ryzen 3 3300X will be able to hold on to its 'killer' status come the end of the month, but given the Core i5-10600K is due to cost a comparatively extravagant $262 at launch, I'm pretty certain that its 'bargain' status will remain firmly intact.

Clocked at a sizable 3.8GHz with the ability to boost up to 4.3GHz, the Ryzen 3 3300X is, to put it mildly, an absolute beast of a quad-core CPU. As you'll soon see in the graphs below, AMD's $120 chip puts in an absolutely stonking performance when it comes to 1080p gaming, making it an excellent foundation for budget-conscious PC builders.

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Of course, as I've mentioned in previous CPU reviews, testing a processor's gaming performance is still a bit of a tricky undertaking, as a lot of in-game benchmarks either don't test your CPU properly or just aren't very accurate in the first place. Fortunately, a handful of gaming benchmarks have got a lot better at this recently, with the likes of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon 4, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and the Total War games all providing an in-depth look at your CPU's performance as well as what your graphics card is doing.

However, there are other factors that can affect gaming performance as well such as your graphics card, the type of RAM you've got and what kind of storage you've got your games installed on. I've tried to mitigate these effects as much as I can by using an NVMe SSD for my games storage as well as today's best graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. I've also tested it with my RAM's default speed of 2133MHz and at its overclocked speed of 3000MHz.

And the results... well, just look at them. In every game going, the Ryzen 3 3300X is neck and neck with the Ryzen 5 3600, and even edges in front of it in Forza Horizon 4. The Core i5-9600K is still a decent way out in front in a lot of cases, but when I tested the Ryzen 3 3300X again with my RAM clocked at 3000MHz, it closed the gap quite considerably, hitting an average of 114fps in Tomb Raider, 113fps in Total War, 147fps in Forza Horizon 4 and an identical 71fps in Assassin's Creed.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test the Core i5-9600K at this RAM speed last year, so it's difficult to say whether it would have received a similar kind of lift. All things considered, though, the Ryzen 3 3300X still puts in a mighty impressive performance if you ask me, and is definitely a much better buy than its equally new sibling, the Ryzen 3 3100.

The Ryzen 5 3600 still comes out on top for general desktop performance, but again the gap isn't as large as you might think. Indeed, when I ran Cinebench R20's single core test, it was the Ryzen 3 3300X at the top of the pile, finishing the test with a score of 498 compared to the Ryzen 5's 452 and the Core i5-9600K's 429. It couldn't catch the Ryzen 5 3600 on multicore performance (which isn't surprising, given the Ryzen 5 3600 has 6 cores and 12 threads at its disposal), but its score of 2460 is still faster than its Core i5 competition.

That's an incredible feat for a £115 / $120 CPU, and it's arguably one of the most impressive CPUs I've ever tested. As I said earlier, I'll be waiting with bated breath to see how Intel's 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs stack up by comparison, but AMD have very much thrown down the gauntlet here with the Ryzen 3 3300X, and I'll be very surprised indeed if any of their similarly-priced Core i3 CPUs will be able to match it. Yes, the Core i5-9600K still wins the numbers game when it comes to overall gaming performance, but in terms of value for money, the Ryzen 3 3300X has it beaten hands down. It's so good, in fact, that it's my new CPU of choice in the RPS Rig, and my new budget AMD CPU champion in my best gaming CPU rankings.

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About the Author
Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.