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Cheapest AMD CPU run 4K Gaming with New RTX 3080 and RTX3090

Updated: Jan 13

Would you consider pairing a 100 dollar chip with a top tier graphics card a good idea and can we squeeze great gaming out of it? We were curious enough, so we set out on a journey to test and compare Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and 9 while using RTX 3080 and 3090.


Before we get into the benchmarks, let’s quickly talk through our bench. CPU wise we have Ryzen 3 3300X, Ryzen 5 3600XT, Ryzen 7 3800XT and Ryzen 9 3900XT. These are  running on ASUS ROG STRIX B550-E GAMING motherboard. We are running all of these using stock settings with performance enhancement turned off to keep things fair.

Jumping into the benchmarks and in Shadow of the Tomb Raider while at 1080p we see Ryzen 3 is between 5 and 15% slower on average and about 20% slower on the 1 percentiles. When it comes to Ryzen 5 and 7 the difference is about 5% on average fps and almost no difference on 1 percentiles. Ryzen 9 on the other hand sees about a 5% improvement on average score and almost no difference on the 1 percentiles. If you look closely – at this resolution the graphics card doesn’t really affect anything.

Moving on to 1440p and we see Ryzen 3 lagging behind but with GPU upgrade the performance is consistently increasing, this is because the CPU is able to push more work to the graphics card and therefore being less of a bottleneck. Moving up the chart we see very small spread between Ryzen 5 through Ryzen 9, at most the average difference is just 10% and 4% on the 1 percentiles. 

In the 4k league things are starting to get interesting. We can analyse this b ased on a graphics card tier and immediately see at RTX3080 level the average frame rate performance is very similar, with Ryzen 7 taking the lead by about 1%. When it comes to 1 percentiles, we see 11% spread with Ryzen 3 being the slowest and Ryzen 7 being the fastest. This is mostly due to the boost speeds that the 3800XT CPU delivers. 


At RTX3090 level we see identical average FPS and now only 8% difference between Ryzen 3 and the rest. To be fair, in this game any of these chips will deliver great 4k gaming experience. 

The next game we have is Horizon Zero Dawn. Looking at 1080p, as expected we have Ryzen 3 down at the bottom with average scores of up to 82 FPS and 1 percentiles under 60 even using RTX 3090 graphics card. When we examine the performance of the new cards, we can see around 10% jump in average frame rates and 7% on 1 percentiles between Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7. Upgrading to Ryzen 9 while using RTX3080 grants us about 5% average FPS and 7% 1 percentile improvement. Additionally RTX3090 is actually performing about the same because of CPU bottleneck. 

When moving on to 1440p gaming, we see a similar story – Ryzen 3 is about 11% behind Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 5 is about 7% behind Ryzen 7. While at the top of the chart – the difference between Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 is only 8% on average FPS but it raises to 11% on the 1 percentiles.

When we jump up to 4k, the frame rates are more influenced by the graphics card and we see Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 trading blows on the average FPS, but Ryzen 5 has about 11% higher 1 percentiles and they stay above 60 FPS making it very much playable with maxed out settings (providing you have RTX3090 that is). Upgrading to Ryzen 7 gains us about 5% improvement and Ryzen 9 further 6%.

Next game is Total War Three Kingdoms, starting with 1080p. We have Ryzen 3 struggling at the bottom, with the rest being on average a few percent difference between each other. When looking at 1 percentiles, Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 have about 11 to 17% lead over Ryzen 5. Just like other games we have a bottleneck at 1080p, this is why Ryzen 9 is not right at the top of the chart.

Moving to 1440p we see Ryzen 3 doing great work at average FPS but falls short when it comes to 1 percentiles, about 26% short of Ryzen 5 and 45% from Ryzen 7. The rest of the chips have about 1% difference between them on average and up to 5% difference while at 1 percentiles.

When we move to 4k, all the CPUs even out completely and now it is 100% based on GPU performance, the CPU here does not matter. Unfortunately with all of these combinations – the 1 percentile performance is too low to play this game but it is still an interesting test.

Lastly we have Metro Exodus.  At 1080p resolution we see a very nice scaling based on the graphics card but overall the results are too close to call any of them a clear winner.

Moving to 1440p and we see exactly the same trend.

What do you think will happen at 4k??? 

It is exactly the same. To be fair with this set-up you can only play 1080p on maxed out settings, anything higher would be stuttering.

We have also tested this game with Ray tracing enabled as well as ray tracing together with DLSS and results are very similar. The difference is about 1% on most of the examples which is expected run-to-run variance. Ultimately if you want to play this game without ray tracing or DLSS then 1080p is about as high as you can go, if you want Ray tracing then you can do it with any one of these CPUs at 1440p but only with DLSS enabled.

Moving on to productivity tasks. In this Blender BMW test we see Ryzen 3 is just 1 second behind and it is because the maximum boost speed is lower against the other CPU’s.

When we run the Classroom test, we see the same thing, but here Ryzen 9 is also one second behind. In this benchmark the additional cores don’t really make a difference, the most important parameter here is the high clock speed.

Next we used Puget Systems Davinci Resolve Studio benchmark to see how well these CPU’s perform and here as long as we have at least 8 cores and good boost speed it will do well. In video creative workflow CPU and GPU are working simultaneously and it is best to have a balanced system. As you can see Ryzen 9 is ahead as it should be but Ryzen 7 is just behind it and is actually able to keep up while using RTX3090. When we drop down to RTX3080 the difference between Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 5 is only about 11% even though there are double the cores. And Ryzen 7 is only 5% behind.

To sum it all up: if you wanted to get yourself a cheap Ryzen 3 CPU and pair it with RTX3080 and call it a day – then under very specific conditions and only in certain games you may be able to game at 4k without losing too much performance, but realistically a lot of games now optimise for the higher core count. It may do as a short term bandage while you save up for the better chip. If you want the best gaming performance then Ryzen 7 is a great choice due to its higher boost speed. Also having 8 cores makes it much easier to cool down in comparison to Ryzen 9. If the focus is value then Ryzen 5 is the perfect chip, it does loose out but overall still performs really well across the board. And lastly if you have some more budget; you do gaming, maybe even streaming and on top of that carry out some productivity tasks such as video editing then it would be justified to look at getting Ryzen 9 to have plenty of performance for proper multitasking.


Something to consider – in the next few weeks AMD will be releasing new CPUs, and with those we will have performance increase as well as price drop on existing items. So this is a great time to look for an upgrade regardless of your budget. I hope this helps and good luck in your hunting!

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