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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. (Feb 2018)
Best Gaming PC Under $1000 - ULTRA 1440p - Intel Ed. (Feb 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 1600X
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 1600x. 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 1600X||i3-8350K||Ryzen 7 1700||i5-8600K|
|Base Clock||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||3.0 GHz||3.6 GHz|
|Boost Clock||4.0 GHz||-||3.7 GHz||4.3 GHz|
|Total Cache||16 MB||8 MB||16 MB||9 MB|
|TDP||95 W||91 W||65 W||95 W|
Before you ask, I know there is a price difference of $40 between the i3 and the 1600X. This is on purpose, as Coffe Lake’s motherboards start at $110, while a decent Ryzen compatible motherboard costs around $65.
So the initial price difference of the CPUs is compensated by the MOBOs.
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?
- Ryzen 5 1600X CPU has 2 extra cores + 8 extra threads!!! (Question is how important this really is for gaming PCs)
- Both the Ryzen 1600X and the i3-8350K can be overclocked
- 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)
- AMD will support the AM4 socket in the next generations (Ryzen 2 at least), so you can reuse the motherboard in case you upgrade the CPU.
- 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 1600X 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 GTX 1080 graphics card.
|Ryzen 5 1600X VS Coffe Lake i3-8350K - Gaming Benchmark (avg. FPS, 1080p)|
|Coffee Lake i3-8350K||Ryzen 5 1600X|
|Rise Of The Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High)||139||114|
|GTA V (Ultra)||123||107|
|Total Warhammer (Ultra)||129||125|
|Watch Dogs 2 (High)||75||86|
|Hitman (DX12, Ultra)||110||106|
|Far Cry Primal (Very High)||106||93|
As we could expect from the higher performance per core of the Coffee Lake, this CPU performs slightly better than the 1600X. Exceptionally better in some cases I would say (Rise Of The Tomb Raider or Far Cry Primal).
In general, it seems there is an average FPS difference between 5-15 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 is increased 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 its scalability issues, it’s still the most powerful option.
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 be sure that if I have to upgrade any part I could do it without any hassle.
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