How to Pick the Right AMD Ryzen CPU for your PC


Over the past few years, the AMD Ryzen series has leapt ahead over Intel in both general and hardcore performances offered for lower prices. In most of the builds, AMD processors can be found which means that Ryzen has become a go-to option for many gamers. In the CPU market, both Intel and AMD are competing with each other to be the best and offers more powerful performances to its users. But when buying a CPU there is more than one option that suits your budget even though it’s from the same brand. This guide will help you out how to pick the right AMD Ryzen CPU for your PC to get the optimum performance from it.

When looking for a nice and well-performing AMD CPU, the most common lineups that you’ll see is the Ryzen 3 series, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7 and the latest Ryzen 9. All these numbers are just like Intel’s “Core” term which doesn’t mean actually anything. Both Intel and AMD use these number 3,5,7 & 9 just because they feel more to the users in that way rather than using the typical numbering order from 1 to 4.

But to get an idea about the age and the architecture of the specific CPU that you are about to pick after referring to this number. The AMD Ryzen 3 series came to the market in the year 2017 and within a few years back at the end of 2020, AMD managed to release the Ryzen 9 series to the users.

Architecture and Overview

All the AMD Ryzen lineup is developed with AMD’s Zen architecture and the Ryzen 3 is the most affordable solutions for many people and it’s built with the lowest core counts. But this won’t be a huge impact of you are building a PC with this CPU especially for gaming as it can perform well if you can combine it with a mid-range GTX 1660 a higher RAM capacity even with the most demanding AAA titles in high or ultra settings depending on the optimizations of that specific game.

AMD Zen CPU Architecture
AMD Zen CPU Architecture

If someone is looking for a recommendation, the Ryzen 5 series is the best one that you must choose even though it costs a little bit more than 3 series but it offers more performances value to the extra price you are paying. If you are going to buy a CPU that can hold for the next couple of years, then Ryzen 5 is the best. Apart from that both Ryzen 7 and 9 series are far more expensive and exceeds the limits which need for modern gaming.

Ryzen 7 will be only a better option only if you are planning to build a workstation to fulfil some heavy tasks from it. You should pick one from Ryzen 9 only you are planning to build a PC with RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 or else it will be useless in most cases. The Threadripper is also another cool CPU that offers more performances but these aren’t that much common in gaming. The reason is that all these CPUs are designed for high-end workstations.

Brief Overview of Cores and Threads

The vast increase of the core and thread count on AMD CPUs is what pushed it to be the best. When comparing the modern Ryzen CPUs with old AMD CPUs are like comparing a supercar with a classic car from the 1960s. By the time AMD 3 series features 4 cores with 8 threads, Ryzen 5 features 6 cores with 12 threads, Ryzen 7 features 8 cores with 16 threads and the last the legendary Ryzen 9 models come with 12 cores and 24 threads.

There can be some other variants on each and every series that have more cores and threads according to different versions such as extreme versions(Ex: Ryzen 9 3950x comes with 16 cores and 32 threads). This only refers to the basic core and thread counts only.

Core i9 vs. AMD Ryzen
Core i9 vs. AMD Ryzen

You don’t have to be a tech enthusiast to understand that you can get more performances with a CPU with 8 cores rather than one with 4 cores. If you want to know, cores are the small unit that handles all the functionality of the commands that’s given. Threads are far more advanced to get understand but the basic theory is that it refers to the number of tasks that can be handled at once.

The more cores and threads you have means the CPU can handle more tasks one time which allows the users to multi-tasking. But for gaming having an excessive number of cores on your CPU doesn’t mean that you’ll get smooth chunky gameplay at all. You do need to meet all the other requirements which the game was optimized in the first place.

Buying a Ryzen 3 moel will only help you to save few bucks but it lacks future-proofing although it can handle demanding titles. According to the experiments, having 6 cores is better all the time you are building a gaming PC. But for general use, Ryzen 3 won’t be a bad choice at all. Both Ryzen 7 and 9 are beyond the limits so make sure you are going to buy one of those models only if you need that much performances.

Clock Speeds and Overclocking

Clock speed refers to how many operations can be carried by a single core within a single second and it’s measured by Gigahertz. It’s essential to look into this number in gaming because most of the games are optimized to use a single core so the more speed you can get from a single core can result in juicy and awesome gameplay. All the Ryzen model CPUs carry a base clock around 3.5 GHz to 3.9 GHz which can be varied according to the model and the boost clock is something around 3.9 GHz to 4.7 GHz.

Motherboard Compatibility - how to pick the right AMD Ryzen CPU
Motherboard Compatibility

If you are a hardcore fan of overclocking, you might know that all the AMD CPUs can be overclocked which means you can push them more further than the speed they were designed in the first place. But the overclocking potential is less when comparing to an unlocked model CPU from Intel. This makes AMD models are not good for hardcore overclocking tasks but in most cases, this isn’t a big issue because most of the cases, users overclock just to increase the performances only a little bit more than it performs by now. All the modern CPUs are well enough to handle all the modern games so users don’t need to worry that much about overclocking these days.

CPU Cache is a small memory that used to store data that’s used in the system frequently. All the Ryzen CPUs come with similar caches most of the times and this isn’t that much effective especially for gaming.

What About APUs in the Ryzen Lineup?

APU is a CPU that features a GPU inside it which can be used inside the builds instead of buying a discrete graphics solution. This is quite similar to intergraded graphics although there’s a technical difference between them. However these aren’t capable of performing at a level of a discrete graphics card but with the improvements of the technology, it can be well enough to get a true gaming experience. You may need to lower the resolutions and some other setting but it is doable with intergraded graphics as well. If you aren’t going to use the integrated graphics that much, buying an APU will not be the best option as they feature lower core counts.

Check AMD Ryzen APU List From Here

Game Library - how to pick the right AMD Ryzen CPU
Game Library

On the other hand, all the AMD CPUs use the same AM4 sockets but not the Threadripper models. But not all chipsets support all the CPUs and you do need to make sure the CPU is compatible with the motherboard chipset. Furthermore, when buying a CPU if you find some letter designations a the end they are just to differentiate them from others.

Like Intel’s K designation, AMD’s X means extreme version which has the potential of overclocking and more overall performances but still the Intel is the king for serious overclocking. the G is to define the APU models which we described above. And always try to go for one from the latest generation and seek reviews to find in-depth details about each one of them to find out which suits you the most.

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