AMD has launched their new Ryzen 3 3300X for $20 less than Intel’s i5-9400F, so let’s see what the differences are in games and applications at stock and while overclocked to see which is worth it.
Starting out with the specs, the new Ryzen 3300X is a 4 core 8 thread part, while the Intel i5-9400F has 6 cores 6 threads, so no hyperthreading there. The 3300X has higher base and boost clock speeds as well as more cache, and both are listed with a default 65 watt TDP.
I’m comparing these two CPUs because they’re only priced $20 apart, the 3300X is launching at $120 USD, while the Intel i5-9400F is currently selling for $140 USD on Amazon.
It’s worth noting that Intel is about to launch their 10th gen 10400F which does have hyperthreading, so if the price ends up being in this ballpark then it will change things. Both CPUs were tested in the same system, however I’ve obviously had to change motherboards. For the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X I’ve tested with the ASRock X570 Taichi and for the Intel i5-9400F I’ve used the MSI Z390 ACE motherboard. The rest of the components were otherwise the same, I’ve tested with 16gb of DDR4-3200 memory running in dual channel at CL14 and with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks.
Although both chips come with a stock cooler, I haven’t tested with that. I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H1 paste for both CPUs so we can get an apples to apples temperature comparisons.
Testing was completed with the latest version of Windows and Nvidia drivers along with all BIOS updates available installed. With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications, as well as power draw and thermals, followed by gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p resolutions afterwards, then finish up by comparing some performance per dollar metrics. I’ve tested both CPUs at stock to start with, but the 3300X can be overclocked which we’ll check out later. Starting with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the Intel i5-9400F processor in the top bar, and the new AMD Ryzen 3 3300X in the bottom bar. The 3300X is almost 13% faster in terms of multicore performance, however there’s a larger 21% boost to the single core performance, an area where Intel has traditionally had a lead. I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use it, and the single core performance was similar, with the 3300X scoring 19% higher than the 9400F, however the multicore score had a higher 21% boost here. I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks, and as a test that works better with more threads it’s another win for the 3300X which was completing both tests faster. It was 15% faster for the classroom test, then 12% faster in the shorter BMW test. Handbrake was used to convert 4K videos to 1080p with the HQ 1080p30 preset, and there was less of a difference between the two processors this time around. The 3300X was just 4% faster in this particular test, one of the smallest differences out of all applications tested. Adobe Premiere was used to export video at 4K, and I’ve used VBR 2 pass so both were running for over an hour. In this test the 3300X was able to complete the task about 11.5% faster than the 9400F, so another win for the Ryzen processor. Premiere was also tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool, and in this test the 3300X had a 13% higher score than the i5, and this score includes more than just export times which is what we saw in the last graph, it also tests things like live playback. I’ve also tested the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere which is a less threaded workload and is used to smooth out a video clip. The 3300X was completing the task 30% faster, which was one of the better results out of all applications tested. Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the benchmark from Puget systems, and the 3300X was almost scoring 17% higher than the i5-9400F. 7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds, and there were some fair gains to be had with the Ryzen processor, which was 15% faster at compression, and almost 26% faster when it came to decompression. VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds, and this workload saw the largest improvement out of everything tested with the 3300X, which was over 43% faster in both tests. The V-Ray benchmark uses the CPU to render out a scene, and as another test that sees a benefit from more threads, there’s a 12% higher score with the 3300X. The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene, again as another test that scales with additional threads the 3300X was able to complete the task 16% faster than the 9400F. I’ve used the Hardware Unboxed Microsoft Excel test which was kindly provided by Tim, and the 3300X was able to complete the big number crunch test almost 36% faster than the 9400F. GeekBench 5 hardly saw much difference between the two when it came to multicore performance, with just a 2% higher score from the 3300X, however the single core score saw a larger 17% boost with the 3300X.
These are the differences between the Ryzen 3 3300X and Intel i5-9400F in all of these applications tested. As we can see, results can really vary based on the specific workload, however the 3300X was coming out ahead in every single one of these tests, so both single and multicore workloads, which I think is a fair result considering it’s also a cheaper option.
When we look at the total system power draw from the wall however, the 3300X is chewing through almost 7% more power while running the blender test. When you consider that the blender test was completing 12 to 15% faster on the 3300X though, a 7% higher power draw doesn’t seem so bad.
Although not exactly directly comparable, the 3300X was running at higher clock speeds during this same test. Higher speeds and higher power draw results in the Ryzen 3 3300X running hotter too. With the same 360 AIO in use with same thermal paste, it was running 14 degrees warmer when compared to the 9400F. This is a pretty processor intensive test, but I can’t say I have an issue with 66 degrees Celsius either way, granted this is a pretty beefy cooler, things would be different with the stock air coolers.
As for overclocking, honestly I only got like 15MHz higher speeds using the automatic overclocking feature in Ryzen Master, and this resulted in a 1.5% higher multicore score for Cinebench, and a 2.6% higher single core score, so a little boost but nothing major. It seems that the 3300X is already running close to the limit out of the box, which I think is good for the majority of people that will probably end up buying a lower end processor like this. The 9400F does not support overclocking.
Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested 17 games at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. As a reminder I’m using the RTX 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks, the goal of these numbers is not to show you what sort of frame rates to expect from these processors with more reasonable GPUs, it’s to compare the processors against each other. Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode. I’ve got the 1080p results down the bottom, and the 1440p results above that. In this game the 9400F was about 5% faster when it came to average FPS at either resolution, however the gap was smaller in terms of 1% low performance. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, and the results were a little strange. I ended up using an average of 8 runs rather than the usual 3 while I was verifying them, so these results were consistent. The 3300X was ahead in average FPS at 1080p, but then slightly behind at 1440p, however more interesting was that the 9400F saw a 29% boost to the 1% low in this test. Call of Duty modern warfare was tested in campaign mode, and the results were quite interesting here too. Although the average frame rates were pretty similar between the two, the 3300X had a huge advantage when it came to the 1% low results, so it’s providing a more stable experience in this test. Borderlands 3 was tested using the games built in benchmark, and the results were much more minimal here. The 1% low performance was ever so slightly ahead on the 3300X, then average FPS went either way by a frame or two, so kind of margin of error stuff at the end of the day. Apex Legends was tested with the Season 4 World’s Edge map running through the same section of the game. This game saw the biggest gain for the i5-9400F out of all 17 titles tested, with a 12.5% higher average FPS at 1080p, rising to a 14.5% lead at 1440p. Control was also tested by performing the same test pass through the game in all instances, and there was basically no difference between the two processors here at either resolution, just an ever so slight lead by the i5. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and the 9400F was ahead at either resolution, it was a 3% lead at 1080p, and a higher 5% average FPS at 1440p. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool, so no 1% low data here unfortunately. The average FPS is basically the same in this test, this game saw one of the smallest differences out of all titles tested. Fortnite was tested using the replay feature with the exact same replay file on both processors. The 9400F was ahead again with a similar 3% higher average FPS at 1080p, however there was a smaller 1% boost at 1440p. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the built in benchmark with Vulkan. The average frame rates were basically the same at 1080p with a one frame lead to the 3300X, though the 3300X had a higher 6% 1% low result. At 1440p though the i5 had larger gains, only a 3% higher average FPS, but much higher comparatively 14% boost to 1% low. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and interestingly there was a nice win for the 3300X. This game generally performs better on Intel processors, but that generally seems to be due to superior single core performance, and as we saw in the previous tests the 3300X does have an edge in single core tests, so it would appear that translates well here. Likewise Dota 2 was seeing higher performance from the 3300X, though strangely the 1440p performance was actually ahead of 1080p with both chips - no I haven’t accidentally reversed the data, this was just how the test performed on both processors. Overwatch was tested in the practice range, and while this runs better than actual gameplay, it more easily allows me to perform the exact same test run, which is ideal for a comparison like this. The i5 was a little ahead in all cases, but it’s honestly so close I doubt you’d notice the difference one way or the other when actually playing. The Division 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and results were quite close from either processor once more. The 1% lows were slightly ahead with the 3300X at both resolutions, basically the same average FPS at 1080p, though the i5 had a 2.6% higher average FPS at 1440p. The Witcher 3 was tested running through the same section of the game, and average FPS was 4% ahead with the i5 at 1080p. While that doesn’t sound like much, this game has the 4th highest improvement on the i5 out of all 17 games tested. At 1440p the average FPS difference shrinks, but the i5 still offers a nice improvement to 1% low. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games built in benchmark, and this was another test where the 1% lows were ahead with the 3300X, however the average frame rates were in front with the 9400F. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games built in benchmark, and this game saw the second biggest improvement with the i5 out of all titles tested, it was about 12% faster in terms of average FPS at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions.
On average over these 17 games tested, the Intel i5-9400F was just 0.7% faster at 1080p on average when compared to the Ryzen 3 3300X. As you can see, the results really vary by game, CS:GO was seeing huge gains from the 3300X, while others like Apex ran better with the Intel chip. Many games saw minor differences though, but yeah once we average things out the i5 only has a small lead, so unlike the applications previously, it’s more competitive when it comes to gaming.
When we look at the 1440p results the 9400F is now 2.5% faster on average, with fewer games performing better with the 3300X now. Again many games are quite close regardless of the processor, but titles like Apex and Far Cry continued to see fair gains from the i5 processor. Based on this, the i5-9400F does perform better in most games, however when we take the total costs of each processor into consideration, the 3300X is offering better value in terms of cost per frame. Basically if you’re only gaming, the 9400F is $20 USD more, or 16% more money, for 0.7% higher 1080p gaming performance on average, or 2.5% higher performance at 1440p. Although the 3300X was behind in most titles, it's also offset by its lower price tag.
If you’re not gaming, or otherwise doing a mixture of gaming and core heavy workloads, as we saw earlier the 3300X offered some nice gains in the more productivity focussed workloads.
All things considered, based on these results and the current prices, the 3300X appears to be the better option for the most part, unless you’re only gaming and don’t mind spending $20 extra or perhaps otherwise just play a lot of Apex or some other game that gets modest gains from the i5.
In terms of future upgradability, the 3300X also seems to offer the most options. As it uses the AM4 socket, technically if you buy a good motherboard you could upgrade to the 3950X 16 core processor in future. The 9400F could be upgraded to the 9900K 8 core processor at best, as Intel are moving to the new LGA 1200 socket for the 10th generation. AMD on the other hand are rumoured to be supporting Ryzen 4000 with the AM4 socket too, but even if that doesn’t happen there will be some nice upgrade possibilities when currently pricey processors are cheaper years from now.
As hardware unboxed have shown, the 3950X can run well in fairly priced B450 motherboards. On the Intel side, if you get a B360 board then memory for the 9400F will be capped at DDR4-2666 speeds, you need to go for a Z390 board like I tested with to use the faster 3200 speeds, which could be more expensive, whereas faster memory and overclocking is supported with the lower tier Ryzen boards.
It’s worth noting that at the time of the 3300X launch, Intel 10th gen isn’t too far away from launching. Once Intel launches the 10th gen i5-10400F with hyperthreading, I’d expect the story to change if the price isn’t too much different. I’ll test it out in a future once it’s available, but with the higher thread count it will likely outperform the 3300X in most tests, so it will just come down to the price difference.
At the end of the day, I think we as consumers are winning here. AMD’s competitive processors are clearly one of the main reasons that Intel has brought back hyperthreading with their 10th generation processors, as it was missing from the 9th gen in all but the top end i9 series. Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, Intel’s i5-9400F or AMD’s Ryzen 3 3300X? Granted at this point it’s probably worth waiting to see how Intel’s 10th gen stacks up, this seems to be the best comparison that can be made on the 3300X launch day.