When selecting a CPU for gaming, the most important characteristics are the clock speed (or frequency), number of cores and threads, cache size, and type of memory it supports. Additional considerations like integrated graphics and overclocking needs may also influence your selection.
In addition to discussing how good the 1200 AF is for gaming, this article will discuss our recommended:
When using AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU for gaming, you can expect mediocre game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or poor game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler.
Check out our Recommended AM4 Coolers below.
This performance assessment is based on the following characteristics of the CPU and their relevance to the latest graphics-intense games:
- 8 MB of L3 cache is poor for performance
- 4 cores allow for mediocre performance
- 3.1 GHz base frequency
- 3.4 GHz single-core max boost frequency is mediocre for performance (requires a high-end cooler)
- Max stock DDR4 speed of 2667 MHz can be mediocre for performance
- Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)
- PCIe 3.0 support can be poor for performance (limits potential of fastest SSDs and GPUs)
A CPU's cache is a small amount of memory, close to the CPU cores, containing recently used data.
Games performance can improve as cache size increases, as it will reduce delays when retrieving commonly used game assets from memory.
An L3 cache capacity of at least 20 MB is ideal for game performance.
The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 AF has an L3 cache capacity of 8 MB.
The 1200 AF's lackluster 8 MB of L3 cache is poor for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Increased core counts can improve the performance of games that use them, but most modern games don't benefit from having more than 6–8 cores. Remember that cache sizes often increase along with core counts, so if you want to increase your L3 cache, you may need to get a CPU with more cores.
AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPUs have 4 cores.
The 1200 AF's 4 cores allow for mediocre performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Single-core performance is essential for some games, as many don't take full advantage of multiple cores.
Boost frequencies are only achieved under ideal circumstances. The safest strategy for consistent gaming performance with a basic cooler is to get a higher base clock speed processor. However, with adequate cooling, you may be able to maintain speeds near the max boost frequency.
When using a high-end cooler, the 1200 AF CPU's support for overclocking can be excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
The processor has a 3.1 GHz base frequency and supports a 3.4 GHz single-core max boost frequency.
The 1200 AF has a 3.1 GHz base frequency, which is the speed before boosting. You can reach these base frequencies even without a high-end cooler.
With a high-end cooler, the 1200 AF's 3.4 GHz single-core max boost frequency is mediocre for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. You can maintain these frequencies with a high-end cooler.
Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies.
The 1200 AF CPU's support for DDR4 with a max stock speed of 2667 MHz can be mediocre for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Faster PC memory can improve game performance and frame rates, but using the fastest RAM may not have as much of an impact as upgrading your CPU and graphics card or adding more RAM.
Learn about our recommended RAM for the 1200 AF in Choosing the Best RAM for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU.
|Processor Name Suffix||Meaning|
|AF||"AF" is technically part of the product ID rather than its name. Zen+-based Ryzen processors with "AF" in the product ID are created using a 12 nm fabrication process, compared to the 14 nm Zen-based CPUs. A few CPUs use an otherwise indistinguishable product name, so the "AF" in the product ID is used to determine which variant is the refreshed version.|
The 1200 AF model name doesn't have a G suffix. Non-G CPUs do not contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card is required.
A CPU cooler's TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating indicates how much heat it can dissipate in watts. If the cooler can't keep your CPU cool enough, your CPU may throttle (slow down), and your cooler will constantly run at full speed.
AMD CPU specifications indicate this power dissipation number as "TDP."
The Ryzen 3 1200 AF has a TDP of 65 watts.
A CPU cooler can still work with a lower TDP rating than the TDP of a CPU. However, the CPU will eventually throttle itself to a lower frequency to allow itself to cool.
The CPU may not achieve or maintain maximum boost speeds without adequate cooling.
Learn more in What is the Best Type of CPU cooler for a Gaming PC?
For AMD's Zen+-based Ryzen 3 1200 AF processor, you'll need a motherboard with an AM4 socket and a compatible chipset.
Motherboards for AMD processors are made with chipsets provided by AMD. Each chipset offers a unique set of capabilities. However, motherboards must explicitly support features and capabilities for you to use them. Verify that a motherboard supports the features and capabilities you desire.
Ryzen 1000-series CPUs, which includes the Ryzen 3 1200 AF, are compatible with all 300 and 400-series consumer chipsets. Supported chipsets include the X470, B450, X370, B350, and A320.
The X470 and B450 are our recommended chipsets for the Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU, as they provide the most functionality among compatible chipsets.
Note that the Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU only supports PCIe 3.0.
For a detailed comparison of these chipsets and PCIe speeds, check out my article Which Chipsets Work With AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU?.
- Find Zen+ X470 Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find Zen+ B450 Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Our recommended B450 motherboard to pair with the Ryzen 3 1200 AF:
- PCIe 3.0 graphics card support
- One Gb Ethernet port is faster than most Internet speeds
- Two NVMe M.2 slots both run at PCIe 3.0 speeds
- 802.11AC Wi-Fi provides support for a wireless network setup
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 offers 10 Gbps USB speeds
- Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO Wi-Fi on Amazon (affiliate link).
Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF, for more info about how to choose the best CPU cooler.
The boxed version of the Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU comes with the Wraith Stealth CPU cooler. While stock coolers will prevent your CPU from overheating, your CPU will throttle its performance during games and other intensive tasks. Higher TDP coolers will keep your CPU at turbo speeds for longer durations. Stock coolers are often quite loud at their maximum speed.
Best All-in-One Liquid Cooler
- Check the latest price of the CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD on Amazon (affiliate link).
- This cooler is designed to fit Intel and AMD sockets, including the following models: Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM5, AM4, sTRX4, sTR4 (Intel LGA 1700 is supported with CW-8960091 or CW-8960093 kits).
- 350-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
- It provides powerful low-noise cooling and RGB lighting with a customizable LCD display which can display your CPU temperature or other graphics.
- It has 120mm CORSAIR ML RGB ELITE magnetic levitation fans for great CPU cooling performance.
- Make sure your computer case dimensions support this, as it will take up a decent amount of space!
Runner-Up All-in-One Liquid Cooler
- Check the latest price of the Thermaltake TOUGHLIQUID 360 ARGB Sync on Amazon (affiliate link).
- TOUGHLIQUID Series is designed to fit Intel and AMD sockets, including the following models: Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-v3, 2066 and AMD AM5, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2, FM1.
- We estimate that this supports roughly a 250-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
- This Liquid cooler supports 5V RGB compatible motherboards.
- Equipped with TOUGHFAN 12 2000RPM and supports ARGB lighting on the waterblock.
- Make sure your computer case dimensions support this, as it will take up a decent amount of space. There is a smaller version available, if needed.
Best Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15
- Dual 140 mm fans provide 220-watt TDP (183 NSPR) of cooling capability.
- Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM2, FM2+.
- Quiet operation at 24.6 dBA.
Runner Up - Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510
- This CPU cooler doesn't have any fancy LED lights, but the dual 120 mm fans do a great job of cooling AM4 CPUs.
- Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM2, FM1.
- Suppose you think this cooler will take up too much space. In that case, Thermaltake has a few single-fan TOUGHAIR variants which use different orientations.
- This CPU cooler has a 2000 RPM max speed for optimal cooling.
- 180-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
Before purchasing memory, review your motherboard specification to verify which speeds are supported. For example, if a DDR4 motherboard stated that it supports "DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000," that would mean that it could support DDR4-3400, DDR4-3333, and DDR4-3300 with memory overclocking, and DDR4-3200 and DDR4-3000 at stock speeds. Motherboard specifications also indicate the maximum capacity per stick of RAM (DIMM) and across all slots.
Recommended Stock-Speed DDR4
- At an effective frequency of 2666 MHz, this memory hits the fastest DDR4 speed supported by AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU without overclocking.
- The low-profile form factor ensures that the heat spreaders don't get in the way of other devices, including your CPU heatsink.
Recommended DDR4 for Overclockers
- This DDR4 memory is designed for overclocking to an effective frequency of 3600 MHz.
- Compact heat spreaders avoid conflicting with a CPU cooler.
- Which Chipsets Work With AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU?
- Choosing the Best Power Supply for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU
- Choosing the Best Motherboard for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF
- Is the Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU Good for Gaming?
- Choosing the Best RAM for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU
- Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 AF
- What Is the TDP of the Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPU?
- How Many Cores Do AMD Ryzen 3 1200 AF CPUs Have?
Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles:
- CPU Coolers:
- Graphics Cards:
- Power Supplies: