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If you want the best gaming computer under 1000 dollars you can’t buy a pre-built computer. You MUST find the best components that fit this budget and build the PC yourself.
The question is… Ryzen or Intel?
Best $1000 Gaming PC Builds
I put the builds here so you can easily navigate to them in case you already know what you want.
For those whose aren’t 100% sure about what to choose between Intel and AMD, keep reading!
Best Gaming PC Under $1000 - ULTRA 1440p - Ryzen Ed. (June 2018)
Best Gaming PC Under $1000 - ULTRA 1440p - Intel Ed. (June 2018)
Intel Or AMD? Coffe Lake VS Ryzen 5
In order to get a real perspective of what each CPU can do, I’ve prepared a couple of tables with some critical information of both processors families.
Intel Core i3-8350K
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
So, we will start taking a look at the basics: the technical specs. What differences can you see at first glance?
Note: for the $1000 build, we are mainly concerned about the i3-8350K and the Ryzen 5 2600. I’ve added the other two processors to the tables to show you a more global image of the different CPU families.
|Ryzen+ 5/7 VS Coffe Lake i3/i5 - Technical Specifications|
|Ryzen 5 2600||Ryzen 7 2700||i3-8350K||i7-8700|
|Base Frequency||3.4 GHz||3.2 GHz||4.0 GHz||4.0 GHz|
|Turbo Boost||3.9 GHz||4.1 GHz||-||-|
|L3 Cache||16 MB||8 MB||9 MB|
|TDP||95 W||65 W||91 W||95 W|
Before you ask, I know there is a price difference of around $30 between the i3 and the 2600. But we really don’t have any other option until AMD release the remaining Ryzen+ models (Ryzen 5 2500X, Ryzen 3 2300X y Ryzen 3 2100).
So, for now, the Ryzen build will be a little bit more expensive than the Intel’s.
Due to the higher number of threads, Ryzen CPUs are especially recommended for multi-core applications, such as video editing, deep learning, graphic design, … but will it be also better for gaming?
- The Ryzen 5 2600 CPU has 2 extra cores + 8 extra threads!!! (Question is how important this really is for gaming PCs)
- Although both the Ryzen 2600 and the i3-8350K can be overclocked, you can do that on Ryzen CPUs with any motherboard. You need a Z370 mobo, which are really expensive, to overclock Intel processors
- Boost frequencies and higher cache. The i3 doesn’t have boost clock.
- In the long term, games will make use of the extra cores/threads (future proofing)
- The performance per core is higher
- Best performance in older games and most of newer games
We’ve seen that the main difference between the two processors is that the Ryzen 5 2600 offers more cores and threads than the Coffe Lake i3-8350K.
But we still have one question to answer: how do they perform on some of the most popular games?
Here you will find some game benchmarks tested with 16GB DDR4 memory and a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card with quality settings set at Ultra.
|Ryzen+ 5 VS Coffe Lake - Games Benchmark (Avg. FPS)|
|Ryzen 5 2600||Intel Core i3 8350K|
|Star Wars Battlefront 2||90||98|
|Forza Motorsport 7||108||139|
|Ghost Recon Wildlands||65||66|
As we could expect from the higher performance per core of the Coffee Lake, this CPU performs slightly better than the 2600 in most of the games. Exceptionally better in some cases, I would say (Forza or COD).
In general, it seems there is an average FPS difference between 2-15 FPS which is not big deal if you consider the other use cases where the Ryzen outperforms the i3-8350K.
If you read the comparisons I made for lower budgets, especially in the $600 and $800 budgets, you can see that the Ryzen advantage vanishes as the budget increases and the final decision is harder to take.
With $1000 you can build a PC with the latest Intel processors, the Coffee Lake generation, and given it has fewer cores/threads, it’s still the most powerful option for gamers.
But, what do you value the most: performance or scalability? In my case, I will always prefer future proofing my rig for the coming years so I can still use the computer for other purposes other than gaming without needed to upgrade any component.
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