PC upgrade time. Ryzen R7 1700 to R7 3800X.

[Image from AMD.com]

There’s a lot happening in the AMD world. Some of the third generation Ryzen chips have just received a slightly faster sibling, in the form of the XT models, and Zen 3, in the form of the desktop Ryzen 4000 CPU’s (don’t get me started on the mobile chip model designation convention) can’t be too far away, with the expected release to be towards the latter of 2020. I’ve been umming and arring about what my next upgrade was going to be but when Amazon cut the price of the 3800x to £280, albeit temporarily, the decision become much easier.

I built my main PC, with a Ryzen R7 1700, 370x Asus motherboard, and 32GB RAM, around the start of 2018. It’s served me extremely well since; handling multiple virtual machines with ease, and decreasing video encoding times massively. However, as with all things PC, you do start looking towards what to upgrade to next. It’s not as if I was particularly unhappy with the R7 1700, but with second and third generations, the platform has matured nicely, showing large speed gains, over the initial chips.

Thanks to AMD’s commitment of being able to buy a motherboard that would support at least 3 generations of CPU, I was looking at a couple of possible options for the upgrade path:

  1. Wait for Zen 3 to be released. Get a Ryzen 4000 and a new motherboard. That’s was a pretty pricey option, and may also involve waiting for the ‘early adopters’ price to come down, before buying. But it seems the only real benefit would be PCIe 4, which I have no real need for.

  2. Due to the above commitment, keep the current motherboard and pop a 3000 series Ryzen in there. Less future proofing, than a complete platform refresh, but certainly cheaper. Maybe wiser, too, since Ryzen 5000, and accompanying chipsets should be the first to support DDR5, and that be the better time to consider a complete refresh.
Ryzen 1700 box on the right. 3800X on the right. Yes, I keep the boxes. Helps with resale.

Regardless, whatever I did, I wanted to have an 8 core minimum CPU. That discounted anything under a 3700 model, and presumably similar for the 4000 series, as it’s looking like there won’t be a core count upping for the 4700/4800 chips. Whilst I was deliberating what to do, AMD went and launched the 3000XT range. Although this seemingly shouldn’t have had an effect on the counterpart X part’s prices, as they were already somewhat discounted from the original MRSP, and the new XT’s were launch at those original MRSP’s (so, not discounted), Amazon went and dropped the price of the Ryzen 3800X to £280* – pretty much the same price as the 3700X, and £120 lower than the new 3800XT, which doesn’t even have a cooler. My mind was quickly made up; I’d get a 3800X and stick it in my current motherboard. That should see me good for at least three years, and probably more, save for a future graphics card upgrade.

Amazon’s sudden dropping of the Ryzen 3800X price, which had me opening the wallet.

* At time of writing, Amazon UK quickly sold out of the 3800X, at that price, and do not appear to have replenished them; only being available via third party sellers, at a higher price. Does seem I bagged a bargain, there.

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