AMD has unleashed a pair of new Ryzen 3 budget processors with simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), alongside a new B550 chipset that will have a raft of wallet-friendly motherboards based on it.

AMD’s Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 benefit from SMT, meaning that they are quad-core CPUs with 8-threads. They are the first Zen 2-toting Ryzen 3 processors that AMD has released, sporting a TDP of 65W and 18MB of on-board cache, the difference being that the 3300X has faster clocks.

To be precise, the Ryzen 3 3300X runs with a base clock of 3.8GHz with boost to 4.3GHz, whereas the Ryzen 3 3100 runs at 3.6GHz with boost to 3.9GHz. The specs were previously leaked by this rumor, which proved bang on the money.

Both processors are set to be released in May, with the 3300X coming with a recommended price of $120 (around £98, AU$190), and the 3100 weighing in at $99 (around £80, AU$157). Note that there is no integrated GPU in these models.

You will, of course, be able to plunk these fresh budget conscious models in AMD’s new B550 motherboards, which boasts support for PCIe 4.0 and twice the bandwidth of B450 boards. Motherboards with the B550 chipset are expected to emerge starting from June 16 from all the usual big-name manufacturers (at least 60 models are in the pipeline, by the way).

Interesting timing

The timing of this launch is interesting from AMD, given that Intel is purportedly about to reveal its next-gen Comet Lake (10th-gen) desktop processors very soon – on April 30, so the rumor mill reckons – so it looks like AMD is attempting to get in a pre-emptive strike at the budget end of the CPU market with this announcement.

AMD has taken the opportunity to compare the new Ryzen 3 3100 to the existing 9th-gen Intel Core i3-9100, and is claiming that the Ryzen chip is up to 20% faster in games. That’s going by AMD’s own lab tests run at 1080p resolution across a variety of games with high graphics settings, including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, GTA V, PUBG, Assassin’s Creed Odysssey, CS:GO and more.

For creative workloads, the Ryzen 3 3100 is up to 75% faster than that Intel processor, AMD claims (across a suite of benchmarks that includes PCMark 10 and Cinebench).

Currently the cheapest Ryzen 3000 processor is the Ryzen 5 3600 which costs $199 (around £160, AU$315). There are, of course, also cheaper APUs for desktop in the form of the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3300G, but those aren’t 7nm Zen 2 (they’re 12nm offerings – although they do have integrated Vega graphics). And don’t forget, new Ryzen 4000 desktop APUs have been leaked in recent times, too…

The new Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 look like great choices for someone building a cheap gaming PC, although do note that the lack of integrated graphics will mean the need to buy a discrete GPU, of course (but that’s a move you may want to make anyway, realistically).

When Intel does finally come through with its Comet Lake reveal, it’ll be really interesting to see how these new AMD chips will stack up price-wise with whatever arrives in the 10th-generation’s Core i3 range.

Sadly, what we’ve been hearing regarding price and how competitive Intel’s incoming chips – and the new motherboards they require – might be is a little shaky, but it’s too early to judge yet, naturally.

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