AMD’s FX processors back then were hit and miss and while there are some people that love them, most of the people would flock to Intel for their gaming CPUs.
Then, in 2017, AMD re-emerged with a new line of CPUs called ‘Ryzen’. Just like Intel, AMD follows the same naming conventions with some slight differences.
I know that choosing the right Ryzen CPU is challenging for the layman, so in this article, I will explain AMD’s mainstream Ryzen processors. Read further to find out everything there is to know about them.
Just like Intel’s Core i3-i9 series, AMD follows a similar naming scheme but instead of using the letter ‘i’, the company went with the word ‘Ryzen’ followed by the model of the CPU.
The first number after the word Ryzen signifies what family of processors it is from. The next four numbers will signify the particular SKU and if it comes with the letter ‘X’ in the end, that will tell you that it is the same CPU, albeit it’s clocked higher than the base version.
So for example, the Ryzen 5 3600X comes from the Ryzen 5 family of CPUs, the 3500 is the product name, and the letter ‘X’ in the end signifies that it has a higher base and boost clock frequencies compared to the base 3600.
You might also find that there are some Ryzen 3 processors that come with the letter G after the end of the product code. Well, that tells you that it has onboard graphics in the CPU itself so that you will no longer need a discrete graphics card to play games (but you can still add one if you have the money.
The great thing about AMD is that the company will use the same AM4 socket to support up to the Ryzen 4000 series of desktop processors. That means that you can buy, say, any x570 motherboards on the market and it can support the upcoming Ryzen 4000 processors via a BIOS update.
This makes it ideal for people to go for a relatively inexpensive CPU for now and have the chance to upgrade to a better chip later down the line.
Of course, we do not know if AMD would still support Ryzen 5000 processors on the same socket, but even if the support stops at the 4000 series, that would still provide excellent value to consumers nevertheless.
The Ryzen 3 processors from AMD are what constitutes the entry-level CPUs from the company. These are the processors to get if you are planning to build your own budget PC.
That being said, the first-generation Ryzen 3 processors did not have any SMT feature at all. SMT just stands for Simultaneous Multi-threading which is basically the same as Intel’s hyper-threading feature, but only with a different name.
However, the Ryzen 3 3300X has SMT which means that this 4-core processor effectively has 8-threads for better performance.
That is why a lot of system integrators and DIY PC builders love to use the 3300X for budget systems mainly because it has enough juice to handle any PC game out there without any issues.
I wouldn’t pair this with a high-end graphics card, though, since it is not equipped to handle a behemoth like that. The highest you can go with this one, at the time of writing, would be a vanilla 2080 or the RTX 2070 Super from Nvidia.
The Ryzen 5 CPUs aim to go against Intel’s Core i5 processors. You will typically know that it is a Ryzen 5 chip if it has six physical cores and 12 threads thanks to SMT.
If you want to build a mainstream PC and you’re on a budget, I highly recommend that you get this one over the others. That is because it has the right core count that can handle any PC game and it has enough threads that will make it somewhat competitive in multi-threaded workloads as well.
The newly released Ryzen 5 3600XT is pretty competitive. It has a base clock of 3.8GHz and it can boost up to 4.5GHz, provided that you have adequate cooling and your motherboard is up to the task.
If you want a slightly cheaper option, you can opt for the base version 3600 and still get considerably good performance out of the box. You can save as much as $50 depending on the retailer which is money that you can put in a good aftermarket cooler or a beefier graphics card.
The thing that you need to know about Ryzen 7 processors is that they have 8 physical cores and 16 threads thanks to the Simultaneous Multi-threading feature of any B450 or X570 motherboard.
Ryzen 7 processors are often considered if you do certain tasks other than gaming. For instance, you can also do streaming with this chip and you can also do some transcoding and editing tasks with it as well.
Seriously, most people actually flock to the Ryzen 7 processors simply because it provides the best price-to-performance among any other CPU from AMD.
Not only can you play your favorite games without your graphics card getting bottlenecked, but you can actually do some editing and rendering tasks without any issues at all. Plus, it trumps any mainstream processor from Intel in terms of multi-threaded workloads.
The Ryzen 7 3800XT was recently released and you get a processor that can boost up to 4.7GHz. This is pretty impressive, making it a better CPU for gaming if that is what you intend to do. You can also stream while you play as well and you will have no problems with stuttering or whatnot.
If the 3800XT is a bit expensive for you, you can choose the Ryzen 3700X processor as it is still an 8-core, 16-thread chip. Its maximum boost frequency is only 4.4GHz but that should be enough for any daily task or games.
AMD’s Ryzen 9 lineup is where you get the top of the line processors from team red. Here, you will find CPUs with insane physical core counts, and whenever you are looking for a chip that can handle any multi-threaded tasks with aplomb, look no further than this brand from team red.
The Ryzen 9 3900XT was also released at the same time as the 3600XT and the 3800XT and provides a slight boost in frequencies from the original 3900X.
The said chip has 12 physical cores and a whopping 24 threads with SMT. Its max turbo frequency is 4.7GHz and although it is 500MHz slower than Intel’s current i9 CPU, it definitely has the performance to handle any task you throw at it.
If that is not enough for you and you still want more power, then I recommend that you go balls to the wall and get the Ryzen 9 3950X.
It has a whopping 16 physical cores and 32 threads thanks to SMT. It has a boost frequency of 4.7GHz which, for a 16-core chip, is pretty impressive, to say the least.
Of course, you will need a beefy cooler to pair with a behemoth such as the 3950X but it is understandable considering its computing prowess.
If you are going to spend your money on getting a Ryzen 9 CPU, I highly recommend that you go for the x570 motherboards as they are well-equipped for the job.
When you are going to buy a Ryzen CPU, you will also be able to unlock its features, provided that it is supported by the processor itself. Here are just some of the features that you can expect with Ryzen CPUs:
When you look at the specs of some Ryzen processors, you might find that it supports XFR. That is just an acronym that stands for Extended Frequency Range and what this does is it effectively stabilizes boost frequencies, provided that you have ample cooling in your PC.
To illustrate this in action, let’s take the Ryzen 7 3700X as an example. It has a maximum boost frequency of 4.4GHz. When you are running a video render, the frequency might not boost to its max, especially if the temperature of the chip is above a certain threshold.
When you have more than adequate cooling, however, the motherboard can unlock more performance by boosting the chip higher during stressful workloads.
Keep in mind that this feature will not boost the CPU beyond the maximum frequency that is stated on the box.
2.Precision Boost Overdrive
Otherwise known as PBO, think of Precision Boost Overdrive as an AMD-sanctioned overclocking feature that can be enabled in the BIOS or using the company’s Ryzen Master utility.
What this does is that you can set certain limits up to a higher threshold so that the board can effectively give the CPU a bit more juice, thus allowing it to boost higher than usual.
Keep in mind that the boost frequency does not exceed AMD’s spec, but rather, it boosts the frequencies more consistently than XFR at the cost of higher power draw and higher temperatures.
For those reasons, you will need a beefier cooling solution because PBO is basically an automatic overclocking mechanism that is allowed by AMD.
With the advent of the Ryzen 3000 processors and x570 motherboards, come PCIe 4.0 support. It provides more data throughput than the previous-generation PCIe 3.0 and if you intend to use a fast SSD, you can use those lanes as well.
PCIe 4.0 is still not fully utilized by any PC component that you can buy today, but it will certainly future-proof your system to cater to better components in the near future.
As mentioned above, SMT stands for Simultaneous Multi-threading. Because Intel has patented the use of Hyper-threading, AMD settled for SMT. Despite its differences in the name, it is effectively the same as Intel’s implementation.
Basically, what this feature does is that it tells the system that it has more cores than it can use than the actual physical core count in the CPU. More threads mean better performance, though you will also have to factor in CPU frequencies as well.
5.Faster USB Ports
AMD’s Ryzen processors can support USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB ports which can provide more data and more consistent performance across the board. Intel was only able to follow suit with the release of Intel’s Z390 motherboards and the latest Z490s.
To be honest, when it comes to the battle of the processors, AMD provides so much better value compared to what Intel has to offer.
You get more cores and more threads for a relatively cheaper price than any comparable Intel chip you can find on the market.
Now, to recap, if you are building a budget system, you should either go for the Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 processors. They are great for mainstream setups.
If you want the best overall, I would suggest that you turn your attention to the Ryzen 7 CPUs. The 8-core, 16-thread CPUs provide better performance- both in gaming and multi-threaded workloads.
If you want the best of the best, the Ryzen 9 processors should provide you with everything that you need. The 3950X is so much more powerful than the Intel Core i9-10900K and it runs relatively cooler, provided that you have adequate cooling in your PC in the first place.
I hope that this guide has helped you know more about AMD’s mainstream Ryzen CPUs. So, which processor are you going to buy?
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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