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Is the Ryzen 3 1200 CPU Good for Gaming?

Find out if AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 processor is good for gaming.

1200 Good for Gaming Chuck Fortner / Unsplash

Last Updated: August 25, 2022

Written by Kevin Jones

When selecting a CPU for gaming, the most important characteristics are the frequency (clock speed), core/thread count, cache size, and supported memory type. Additional considerations, such as integrated graphics and overclocking needs, may also influence your selection.

In addition to discussing the characteristics of the 1200 for gaming, this article will discuss recommendations for compatible motherboards, CPU coolers, and memory.

Check another CPU:

Is the 1200 Good for Gaming?

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When using AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 CPU for gaming, you can expect poor game performance with either a high-performance CPU cooler or a stock CPU cooler. This performance 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 is mediocre for performance (when not boosting)
  • 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
  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance
  • PCIe 3.0 support can be poor for performance (limits potential of fastest SSDs and GPUs)

The 1200 has integrated graphics support, but this performance assessment assumes you will use a graphics card. Integrated graphics support is mediocre or worse with the latest graphics-intense games.

Check out these AMD CPUs that are Good or Excellent for gaming:

Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies.

Is the Cache Size of the 1200 Good for Gaming?

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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 has an L3 cache capacity of 8 MB.

The 1200's lackluster 8 MB of L3 cache is poor for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Is the Core Count of the 1200 Good for Gaming?

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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 CPUs have 4 cores.

The 1200's 4 cores allow for mediocre performance with the latest graphics-intense games.

Is the Clock Speed of the 1200 Good for Gaming?

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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.

The 1200 CPU's lack of support for overclocking cannot benefit 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's 3.1 GHz base frequency is mediocre for performance with the latest graphics-intense games, when not boosting. You can reach these base frequencies even without a high-end cooler.

With a high-end cooler, the 1200'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, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies.

Is the DDR Support of the 1200 Good for Gaming?

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The 1200 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 in Choosing the Best RAM for AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 CPU.

What Does the Lack of a Suffix in the 1200 Name Mean?

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The 1200 model name doesn't have a G suffix. Non-G CPUs do not contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card is required.

Cooling the 1200

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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 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?

Motherboard Requirements for Ryzen 3 1200 Processors

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For AMD's Zen-based Ryzen 3 1200 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, 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 CPU, as they provide the most functionality among compatible chipsets.

Note that the Ryzen 3 1200 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 CPU?.

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B450 Motherboard: GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO Wi-Fi

  • Our recommended B450 motherboard to pair with the Ryzen 3 1200 is GIGABYTE's B450 AORUS PRO Wi-Fi Motherboard: GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO Wi-Fi GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO Wi-Fi Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • 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).
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The boxed version of the Ryzen 3 1200 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 AIO Liquid Cooler: Enermax Liqmax III 360

  • This Enermax liquid cooler has an excellent cooling capability with a 360-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
  • Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 2066, 2011-3, 2011, 1700, 1200, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150 and AMD AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1.
  • Quiet operation at 14-27 dBA.
  • Make sure your computer case dimensions support this, as it will take up a decent amount of space! Enermax Liqmax III 360 Enermax Liqmax III 360 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

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. Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

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). Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
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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.

Learn More About the AMD Ryzen 3 1200

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Other Considerations When Building a PC

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Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles: