Ryzen 3 has shaken up budget PC building and created a gap Intel has neglected for years. Enthusiasts and gamers tend to measure how well their PCs operate on how well games perform, while others just want the best bang for their buck. Ryzen 3 fills a void that merges those two ideas together. Ryzen 3 is the last Ryzen lineup for AMD and will fill gaps for many system builders looking for a respectable PC for less. Today we're going to build a budget-oriented PC around overclocking and see what type of performance we can expect while saving some money on parts. We will be focusing on maximizing the parts we have and hoping to squeeze every bit of performance we can from our list.
With complete system builds you have to keep in mind everything you need on top of your new shiny rig. You have to consider an OS (Operating System), and peripherals. You can always recycle your old parts, but check out guides on the best gaming mice, monitors, and keyboards as well.
In this current build, we will be using a B350 motherboard for our Ryzen 3 CPU which makes the most sense for people looking to start with Ryzen 3. you can use an X370 chipset but B350 is the target that works best with Ryzen 3 due to pricing and feature sets. X370 seems to be better equipped for Ryzen 5 and 7.
Why Ryzen 3 and Zen?
AMD has been working on Zen for over four years. The goal of Zen is to transition to a faster instruction-per-clock throughput and provide a significant boost over their old excavator design choices. The Zen core is what fundamentally makes Ryzen a success story. It takes advantage of SMT ( simultaneous multithreading) support and allows each core to operate in parallel. This is important because it allows more resources for your hardware.
AMD's goal of reaching significant performance gains has been accomplished by Zens new architecture. IPC (instructions per clock) improvements can be seen because of the new branch prediction, larger instruction scheduler, and faster cache times. This has created about a 52% total gain in performance over excavator.
Ryzen 3 processors can deliver responsive and unlocked performance for everything you do. The CPUs feature SenseMI machine intelligence and use a default TDP of 65W. There are two chips in this lineup, the Ryzen 3 1200 and 1300x. The two chips use the same architecture except the 1300x uses XFR for the extended frequency range, while the Ryzen 1200 does not. Ryzen 3 uses the "Zen" core architecture for increased performance and sets a new standard for AMD. Even Ryzen 3 is VR ready and allows full overclocking for true quad-core performance.
the Ryzen 3 chips do NOT include any integrated graphics and should be used with a discrete graphics card.
B350 & Socket AM4
Ryzen gen series CPUs require the socket AM4 platform and support future-proof technologies. AM4 supports DDR4, PCIe 3.0, NVMe, USB 3.1, and the flexibility to configure a leading edge PC for the most demanding of tasks. AMD offers 4 class of motherboards but we are going to focus on the first two which support gamers and enthusiasts. X370 and B350 are going to be the best two choices for building a Ryzen PC.
B350 is perfect for power users who value the flexibility and overclocking but don't need the maximum PCIe bandwidth required by multi-GPU configurations. If you're looking for good performing board but use a single GPU, then the cost saving is worth using B350 over X370. The X370 chipset is the flagship class and is designed for overclockers and tweakers that need a robust platform. X370 offers multi GPU configurations and has two PCIe 3.0 slots.
I will do my best to keep current links for these parts and prices, but some of these items are new and hard to find in databases like from the PCPARTPICKER website.
- CPU: Ryzen 1300x $: 129.99 @ NewEgg
- Motherboard: MSI B350 Tomohawk $: 99.99 @ NewEgg
- Memory: Corsair Vengance LPX 3000MHz $: 159.99 @ NewEgg
- Video Card: Zotac GTX 1050 $: 129.99 @ NewEgg
- Storage: Plextor S3C $: 98.00 (N0 links yet)
- Case: Enermax Ostrog Lite $: 52.00 @ Amazon
- Cooler: CoolerMaster Master Liquid lite 240 $: 80.00 (No links yet)
- PSU: Lepa N500 500W $: 67.00 @ NewEgg
- Total: $: 816.00
Just be careful with DDR4 RAM selection for Ryzen because it's very finicky right now. It may be best to stick with what works well with the platform. The Corsair modules are not the only Ryzen compatible modules but they do seem to work the best. Look for what you can find on sale and at the very least look at DDR4 2133MHz. The best tip I can give is if you plan to purchase memory at a rated speed, get the next level up for any overclocking headroom.
There is certainly an argument to be had here in the CPU section. I'm using the 1300X because AMD had said that the X parts should be better-overclocking parts than the non-X series parts. The argument is that you could just buy the 1200 and overclock the CPU to 1300X speeds, or if you're lucky beyond. That is certainly up to you and would be a good choice if you're looking to save a little more from the final bill.
We will be going over the 1300x here, but keep in mind that the Ryzen 1200 is still most likely the best bang for your buck choice, especially if you plan to overclock. CPUs have become very limited in expansion due to the reality of physical space and die of the CPU. Extreme CPUs exist with some offering 10 or more cores but many people don't even take advantage of the 4 core parts still. Gaming has a sweet spot and if gaming is your thing then a 4 core part will suit your needs just fine. The Ryzen 3 parts are true quad-core parts and can deliver the performance that's needed for today's demanding games and applications.
The other important thing to keep in mind when considering performance is the ability to overclock your CPU. While today, 5GHz isn't unheard of, you will want to consider the amount of heat the CPU will add to your overall system temperatures. This is where your cooling choices will matter and the amount of airflow your case fans can provide. Most games, unless they are CPU bound, will see negligible differences in a higher overclock, but overclocking your CPU is a great way to get more for free out of your system. The 1300X can boost to 3.7GHz but is known for reaching 3.8 and 3.9 if you're lucky when overclocked. Of course, cooling will play a key role in keeping your CPU cool, which is why I opted for a cheaper AIO water cooler for this 1300x build.
The two Ryzen 3 CPUs do come with a stock Wraith cooler and should allow for lite overclocking. If you're looking to save money on the total budget this may be the best area for savings, but keep in mind if you want to overclock as much as possible it may be best to get an aftermarket cooler.
There are a few options when considering a motherboard for AMD's Ryzen CPUs. Your best two options are going to be B350 or X370 which both allow overclocking. These new chipsets offer more PCIe lanes for NVMe drives and future-proof AMD technology. This particular board used in the build is from MSI and is called the B350 Tomahawk. This board has all the features you would want for overclocking and offers a unique look. The board also features MSI's latest technologies like DDR4 Boost & Click BIOS 5. This is one of the rare B350 boards that will offer multi-GPU support with crossfire. Typically with B350 it doesn't support multi-GPU setups. If you're looking for SLI/Crossfire support you should consider X370.
This B350 option is a bit more expensive than some of the other B350 boards but does offer more features that can help with future upgrades. It also has video connections for when the 7th Gen Athlon AM4 CPUs will be released with integrated graphics. Also, especially with Ryzen make sure you're using the latest BIOS. There have been several fixes to the AM4 platform that enhances memory stability and overclocking performance.
Features of the MSI B350 Tomahawk:
- Supports AMD® RYZEN Series processors and 7th Gen A-series / Athlon™ Processors for socket AM4
- Supports DDR4-3200+(OC) Memory
- DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
- VR Ready: Best virtual reality game experience without latency
- GAMING LEDs: Ambient LED lights for an awesome look & feel
- Lightning Fast Game experience: Turbo M.2
- Audio Boost with Nahimic 2: Reward your ears with studio-grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
- GAMING LAN with LAN Protect: The best online gaming experience with the lowest latency and bandwidth management
- Military Class 4, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high-quality components for best protection and efficiency
- MULTI-GPU: With Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports AMD Crossfire™
- Mystic Light Sync: Synchronize other RGB solutions with your gaming rig and control all LEDs in one click
- In-Game Weapons: Game Boost, GAMING Hotkey, X-Boost, Xsplit Gamecaster
- EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
- Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high-resolution scalable font, favorites, and search function
- GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game and motherboard testing by eSports players
- WHQL certified for Windows 10
RAM is one of those parts you have to pay close attention to, especially with Ryzen. You're probably wondering why I chose a more expensive kit in what's supposed to be a budget friendly build. There are a number of reasons for this. First, Corsair LPX has been tested to be one of the best compatible kits with Ryzen from launch. Second, this kit has gone on sale several times and you should keep a close eye on RAM prices. Lastly, this particular LPX kit runs at 3000MHz, and Ryzen loves faster RAM. Having the faster kit should allow for potential better overclocking and much better performance with Ryzen. Another important thing to consider is your potential for future upgrades, and this kit will last you through those investments.
Most modern gaming systems have a sweet spot of 16GB running in dual channel. 8GB can be okay for most games but at the comparison of cost, 16GB is really affordable. 32GB is more important if you're getting into the server space, video encoding, or video production. This Corsair LPX kit is 16GB with 2x 8GB sticks.
When it comes to pure gaming performance try and find a good kit for your budget as RAM is in high demand right now. DDR4 which is used in this system build is what's used with Ryzen CPUs. The LPX kit used here is plenty enough for multiple chrome tabs and a perfect smooth gaming experience. The 3000MHz kit will have a big impact on overall overclocking performance and keep your systems running really smooth for a long time.
Now that AMD Vega has launched it shows that these cards can stand up against the Nvidia the GTX 1080 and 1080ti. Considering this is more of a budget build we will try and focus on savings where we can. If you do light to moderate gaming than the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti can offer decent performance for a compelling price. Video cards are very critical to your gaming experience, but you have to consider a few things before deciding your purchase.
You have to consider what size monitor and what resolution your games will run at. If you're typically running games at 1080p (192×1080) then a Geforce 1050 Ti is an excellent choice. If you are running higher resolutions all the way up to 4k then you will want to consider a more power GPU to push those pixels. What's great about this Zotac GTX 1050 is it requires no additional power, and is powered by the B350 PCIe slot. As an entry-level gaming card you can expect good performance with eSPORTS titles like DOTA, CS: GO, Leauge of Legends, and Overwatch.
The Zotac GTX 1050 offers:
- 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5
- Core Clock 1354 MHz
- Boost Clock 1455 MHz
- 1 x DL-DVI 1 x HDMI 2.0b 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
- 640 CUDA Cores
- PCI Express 3.0
When it comes to the cooling choices for this build I went with an AIO liquid cooler to really help achieve better-overclocking results. You can save money here by using the provided Wraith cooler and should allow for lite overclocking. The AIO I chose is the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Lite 240. This AIO performs well without breaking the bank and works with AM4 out of the box. The included 2x 120mm Air Balance Master Fan's help push a large volume of air through the radiator which helps keep your CPU cool during heavy loads.
The MasterLiquid Lite 240 offers:
- CPU Socket: Intel® LGA 2066 / 2011-v3 / 2011 / 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 1151 / 1150 / 775 socket AMD® AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1 socket
- Radiator: Material- Aluminum / Dimensions- 277 x 119.6 x 27mm (10.9 x 4.71 x 1.1")
- Fan: Dimensions- 120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1") / Speed- 650 ~ 2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10% / AirFlow- 66.7 CFM ± 10% / AirPressure- 2.34 mmH2O ± 10% / MTTF- 160,000 hours / Noise Level- 6 ~ 30 dBA / Conector- 4-Pin (PWM) / Rated Voltage- 12VDC
- Pump: Diminesions- 80.3 x 76 x 42.2 mm (3.2 x 3.0 x 1.7") / MTTF- 70,000 hours / Noise Level- <15 dBA / Connector- 3-Pin / Rated Voltage- 12VDC
- Warranty: 2 Years
Power supplies provide critical power to your PC, and it's important to find one with a good rating. Typically using lower rated PSUs are fine for gaming and can also save you some money. I generally look for Gold certified but Bronze is an option if you want to save even more money. The lower the standard the less efficient the PSU is at 100%.
The Lepa N500 is a pretty basic PSU with Ketchup & Mustard cables. It does offer 500W of continuous power which is more than enough for this build. There is often a misconception that people require high wattage PSUs and that it can even benefit for better overclocking but this is simply false. This PSU does offer a 2-Year warranty and all the connectors that you would need for putting together modern PC.
The N500 LEPA PSU offers:
- High-efficiency 5Vsb circuit helps system to meet EU ErP Lot 6 2010 standby low power consumption requirements
- 12cm Fan with thermal programmed speed controller providing silent cooling performance
- PCI-E 6-pin and 6 + 2-pin connectors support for extreme graphics cards
- Protected by Over Power, Over Voltage, Over Current, Short-Circuit, and Brown Out protections circuits
- CPU 12V connector rail with >18A output to support next-generation >6 cores processor structure
- Extended CPU connector cable to 60cm facilitates installation with bottom-mounted-PSU chassis
- SATA power connector with 3.3V rail to support new generation SSD
- Over Power, Over Voltage, Over Current, Short-circuit, and Brown Out protection provide great safety to your system.
- 8P PCI-E connector for extreme graphics cards.
- Powerful single +12V design provides maximum power and compatibility to latest CPUs and high-end graphics cards.
- Two-year warranty
If you're a stickler for having the best looking PC, then those ketchup & mustard cables must go. I intentionally left this out of the Budget above because this comes down to looks and is not a necessity for building a PC.
To go along with my Black/Red Ryzen PC I'm using Thermaltake's custom sleeved extension cables. Custom sleeved PSU cables or extensions can really add an aesthetically pleasing look and cohesion to your overall PC theme. You can choose from a variety of colors but this will set you back $54.00. The investment is worth it because you can hook the extensions up to any PSU and the kit comes with all the extensions and cable combs you will need to make your PC look awesome.
The Thermaltake custom PSU extensions offer:
- 1 x 24 Pin ATX Extension Cable
- 1 x 4 + 4 Pin EPS Cable
- 2 x 8 Pin PCI-e Cable
- 2 x 6 Pin PCI-e Cable
- 4 x 24 Pin Cable Comb
- 12 x 8 Pin Cable Comb
- 8 x 6 Pin Cable Comb
- Compatibility: Universal Power Supply
When considering system storage for the best performance you should be looking at an SSD. Prices of SSDs have come way down and is an excellent way to add performance to a slower PC. Most people will typically buy an SSD for their OS volume and then use a mechanical hard disk as a secondary drive.
The Plextor S3 drives offer 3 variants of 128/256/512. I'm using the 256Gb version as it offers a good balance of space and performance for the price. This particular drive uses 14nm TLC NAND to help keep the cost down, but also offers SLC caching for increased performance. It takes advantage of Plextor's exclusive technologies like PlexNitro and PlexTurbo. You can expect excellent SSD performance for less and see speeds up to 550MB/s Read & 520MB/s Write.
The Plextor S3 256GB drive offers:
- Performance: Sequential Read Speed* Up to 550 / Sequential Write Speed* Up to 510 / Random Read Speed* Up to 90,000 / Random Write Speed* Up to71,000
- Physical: Capacity- 256GB / Controller- SMI SM2254 / NAND Flash- Hynix 14nm TLC / DRAM Cache- 512 MB DDR3 / Form Factor- 2.5 inch form factor / Interface- SATA 6.0 Gb/s, compatible with SATA 3.0/1.5Gb/s / Power Connector- 15-pin SATA connector for DC 5V input / Data Connector- 7-pin SATA Connector / Dimension (L x W x H) 100 x 69.85 x 6.8 mm / 3.94 x 2.75 x 0.27 inch / Weight- 60g / 2.12oz
The Ostrog Lite case was used for this build due to its design and cost savings. I've had plenty of opportunities to build with a lot of different cases. The OSTROG lite offers a ton of room for cooling and a modular design and doesn't break the bank.
The most important things to consider when choosing a case is size, cable management, and PSU placement. The OSTROG lite offers all of that and more. At only $53 dollars you should expect some lacking features. The included red LED Vegas fan is a nice addition and has plenty of room for cooling options. This is the perfect budget case for anyone looking for a cheaper case with plenty of room and cooling options.
The Ostrog Lite offers:
- Hairline surface front panel for premium looks; Simple yet premium low-profile design; Removable filters for easy cleaning; PSU-Tunnel Design
- Easy access top I/O panel; Ostrog Lite includes 1 x USB 3.0 and 2 x USB 2.0 with HD audio on the top to conveniently satisfy your peripheral needs
- Tinted acrylic side panel; Provides low-profile mysterious look for your interior rigs
- Complete support for SSD/HDD drives; Up to 3 x 3.5" HDD and 4 x 2.5" SSD supported for flexible installation (1 x 5.25" to 3.5" converter included); Support 120mm radiators;
- Support for high-end power supplies (Approx. 180mm Max. length); Support the latest long VGA card (390mm Max.); CPU cooler installation support up to 152mm in height
Before you overclock your system, I can take no responsibility for any damaged hardware that may result from overclocking. There are risks involved with pushing your system further than its intended and also causes more system heat as a result. You need adequate cooling for overclocking, and decent hardware to achieve anything decent.
Also, keep in mind that overclocking your system will vary across different types of hardware, and even using the same hardware I used may not provide the same results. I would definitely suggest you go through and read the entire AMD Master Overclocking Guide which can be found here.
I was able to clock my 1300x to 3.8GHz, and memory was stable with a RAM speed of 2800MHz. I was able to boot at the 3000MHz, but I didn't pass overnight tests of AIDA64 Extreme. I set all fan curves in the UEFI to about 80% load and to drop during minimal loads.
There are a few problems to keep in mind when using this particular hardware and Ryzen in general. Alway's make sure you're using the latest BIOS and keep in mind that Ryzen still has some bugs to work out. One of the first issues I noticed was no matter what manual multiplier and voltage I put in, the motherboard locked the CPU to a 15.5X multiplier. If you use AUTO voltage it would correct the issue but this is not the best option when overclocking because the voltage is overcompensated. If your motherboard provides an offset voltage then that will be your best bet. I let AMD and MSI know about this bug, and hopefully, a future BIOS update will correct it.
Also, check your power saving options in the UEFI. Depending on your motherboard you may or may not have the zen common options or whatever your motherboard calls C-States. Ryzen for now, when you enter a manual multiplier and voltage is locked to that speed. There are options and guides that cover P-State overclocking, but we won't get into that here. Supposedly if you enable power savings and use offset voltage, then the voltage will at least drop when idle. I have not seen this to be the case but it may be different across motherboard manufacturers.
Some important information regarding Ryzen and using the latest software. Ryzen will only officially support Windows 10 and above, and you can read more about that here.
Windows 10 has been optimized for Intel for some time, and as a result, has caused some launch issues for Ryzen. There has been plenty of speculation why power saving isn't working correctly or why people's overclocking would not scale correctly. The original response was to run your Windows power plan on performance, but AMD has officially launched a new AMD power plan that optimizes Windows 10 for Ryzen. These drivers and power plan will help eliminate core parking as an issue with the new architecture. You can read more about core parking here and download the AMD plan. I also noticed that this plan wouldn't install for anything below the Windows 10 creators update.
Gaming on Ryzen 3 is definitely a good place to start when considering a budget build. At 1080P resolutions, which is still considered the most used resolution according to the latest Steam hardware survey, I was getting healthy FPS levels and good performance. I would say on average depending on the game, GPU, and overclock settings, you can expect about 50 FPS at the very least. The titles above are demanding enough to show that the GTX 1050 and Ryzen 1300x were able to maintain a very playable experience.
The SSD performance is as expected. You will notice that the numbers are a bit lower than what's advertised. AMD has always typically had a bit slower I/O than Intel but has been much improved with Ryzen. Your storage performance on Ryzen is good and you shouldn't notice any performance problems. If you're wondering why you don't see advertised speeds from your NVMe drive or SSD this is due to how the Infinity fabric of Ryzen handles your storage and I/O. This may be worked out with future driver and BIOS updates. If you would like to further investigate this, check out this pcper article here.
When it comes to PC gaming, peripherals are often overlooked for several reasons. Some things I can't suggest enough is a good mechanical keyboard, headphones, and mouse. There are way too many individual products in these categories to go through but I will go over a few new products that are noteworthy. Thermaltake has taken a strong share of the peripheral market with their Tt eSports set of peripherals. Tt eSports is a division of Thermaltake dedicated to bringing out the most personalized and highest quality gear for competitive gaming.
The Meka PRO mechanical keyboard uses Cherry MX blue switches and provides a tactile feel rated for 50 million clicks. This particular keyboard uses red illumination with no RGB, but if RGB is your thing there are several keyboards to choose from. The red illumination has 7 stunning effects, different lighting zones, and 100% anti-ghosting support. You can buy the Meka PRO for $89.99 here.
The Meka PRO offers:
- DIMENSION- 449.8 X 142.6 X 37.7 MM
- COLOR- BLACK
- NO. OF MACRO KEYS- 6
- NO. OF GAME PROFILES- ONE
- GRAPHICAL UI- NO
- WEIGHT(G)- 1200 GRAMS
- GOLD-PLATED USB- YES
- INTERFACE- USB
- ANTI-GHOSTING KEYS- YES / N KEY ROLLOVER (USB)
- ON-BOARD MEMORY SIZE- 256 BIT
- POLLING RATE- 1000 HZ
- BACK-LIGHT- YES, FULL RED LED
- WRIST REST- NO
- ON-BOARD AUDIO JACKS- NO
- SMART CABLE MANAGEMENT- NO
- USB CABLE DETACHABLE- NO
- MULTIMEDIA KEYS- 7
- ON-BOARD USB PORT- NO
- CABLE LENGTH- 1.8 M
If eSports is your thing and you love complete control then look no further than the Ventus X. This is labeled as a smart mouse and is designed to work over Bluetooth to enable sync with the Tt eSports Plus+ app through your mobile device and the Tt data management platform. This enables key mouse tracking with statistics and is saved via cloud sync. It offers an adjustable weighting system with an AVAGO 9500 sensor. This mouse also uses red LED lighting but Tt does have several RGB options for its gaming peripheral line of products. you can buy the Ventus X gaming mouse for $49.99 here.
The Ventus X offers:
SHAPE- ERGONOMIC DESIGN
NO. OF BUTTONS- 6
NO. OF MACRO KEYS- 30
NO. OF GAME PROFILES- 5
USB CABLE LENGTH- 1.8M
OMRON SWITCHES- 20 MILLION CLICK LIFECYCLE
WEIGHT-IN DESIGN- 4.5G*3 WEIGHTS (REMOVABLE)
GRAPHICAL UI- NEW TT ESPORTS GUI
GOLD-PLATED USB- YES
DIMENSION- 128.8 X 71 X 42.6 MM
LED COLOR OPTIONS- RED
LIGHTING EFFECT- PULSE AND GAME MODE
- SWITCH NAME- AVAGO 9500
- SWITCH TYPE- LASER
- DPI- 10000 DPI
- DEFAULT DPI- 400, 800, 1600, 3200
- IPS- 150
- ACCELERATION- 30G
- POLLING RATE- 1000HZ, 500HZ, 250HZ, OR 125HZ (1MS, 2MS, 4MS OR 8MS).
I have to throw this last product in for fun and you crazed RGB fanatics. Tt offers two versions of this with a hard or soft surface. If you love RGB and want every part your PC covered with it, then this product is for you. This is a mouse pad that has illuminated RGB and gives your desk space an improved look. Tt calls this the DRACONEM RGB mouse surface and offers easy control of lighting through hardware control or software. I have tested the hard tuned surface and it does feel good when playing fast paced games like shooters. Most people often overlook things like their mouse pad, but with RGB as the main selling point now, RGB can help personalize the color and look of any setup. You can buy the Draconem RGB mouse surface for $39.99 here.
The Draconem RGB hard edition Mouse Surface offers:
- DIMENSION- 355 X 255 X 4 MM, 13.98 X 10.04 X 0.16 IN
- SURFACES- SPECIAL OPTIMIZED SURFACE COMPATIBLE
- BASE- NON-SLIP RUBBER BASE
- FEATURES- ON-THE-FLY CUSTOMIZABLE COLOR OPTIONS / FULL LIGHT WITH RGB COLORS / TWO BUTTON CONTROL
- WEIGHT(G)- 420G
Building a PC like this has its ups and downs. You have to consider every part in order to keep up with your expectations and your budget. If you have the time and money its always better to custom build your PC and tailor it to your needs. When it comes to gaming it's important to put your money into your GPU and if you simply want the best then make sure you understand what that means for you. With all these system parts this system build only totals $817.00 Dollars. Ryzen 3 is definitely worth your time and money considering it stands as a true quad core part against Intel's budget parts with Hyper-Threading.