With the release of AMD’s two new entry-level Ryzen CPUs, namely the Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X, AMD aims to please the demographic looking for a budget CPU that can sufficiently handle entry to mid-end gaming needs, 4K streaming for HTPCs, and light workstation loads, at the $99 and $120 marks respectively.
Suffice to say that, after reviewing Intel’s newly announced 10th generation i3 processors, AMD is poised to conquer this market as well, seeing as how Intel’s equivalent options are much pricier (especially as the i3-10100 does not have an F variation which would relieve it of integrated graphics), have the same or lesser specifications, and carry an LGA-1200 chipset, meaning that a new motherboard must be purchased to house their CPUs. On the other hand, these new Ryzen 3 CPUs come with the well-known AM4 chipset, and can be plugged into any B350/X370 to X570, or upcoming B550, motherboards.
The Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X are devoid of integrated graphics, giving space for better overall specifications. These processors both have 4 cores and 8 threads, 16 MB level three caches, the Zen2 7nm lithography, and PCIe 4.0 compatibility. The Ryzen 3 3100 has operating speeds of 3.6 GHz, and can be overclocked to 3.9 GHz (though TSAIK was able to overclock it to a crazy 5.92 GHz with LN2 cooling) and uses a 2+2 configuration, with two 2-cores, 4-threads, and 8MB caches, in two different CCXs in the CCD. On the other hand, the Ryzen 3 3300X uses a 4+0 layout, with only one CCX containing all 4 cores, 8 threads, and 16MB cache, meaning less core to core latency. The 3300X has 3.8 GHz operating speeds, and 4.3 GHz of max boost speeds.
Now, both of these CPUs have the same 65W TDP, on par with the Ryzen 7 3700X, but both do come with an inferior CPU cooler: The Wraith Stealth. This stock cooler can be both noisy, and lacking in cooling performance, as can be seen from Techspot’s benchmarks. Luckily enough, there are some great aftermarket cooling options for CPUs which (depending on your needs) can provide sufficient airflow at decent prices. Considering how the two Ryzen 3 CPUs are budget dependent, the CPU coolers listed will include two different budget options: one a cheaper 92mm option, and one a slightly more expensive, silent, option. We’ve also included a low-profile selection, and a slightly more expensive cooling choice catered to overclocking enthusiasts. Remember, even if you end up upgrading your CPU, your cooler can be reused, so it is an investment worth making.
Best CPU Coolers for 3300X & 3100- My Recommendations
Best Budget CPU Cooler for Ryzen 3300X/3100
At just under $20, the Arctic Freezer 7X cooler is one of the best options to substitute AMD stock coolers for the 3300X and 3100, at a decent price.
Usually, it’s hard to recommend 92mm fan CPU coolers, but the Arctic Freezer 7X has proven itself in real life benchmarks and, in the end, this is what matters most. In fact, when the YouTuber, Ponchato, ran them against the very CPU cooler that accompanies the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X out of the box, the Wraith Stealth, we see that when supplied with 1.35V the Arctic Freezer 7X will have the CPU at temperatures of almost 20 degrees less that of the stock cooler. This is also apparent when regulating the cooling to be in accordance to a 40 dB noise level. Here, we see that the Arctic Freezer 7X maintained a temperature of 44.5 degrees, versus the 65.3 degrees of the stock cooler. When the fans both ran at max speed, we see a difference of 19.7 degrees, which again is quite remarkable.
The Arctic Freezer 7X accomplishes this feat by using two double sided six-millimeter, direct touch and offset copper heatpipes that work in unison with pre-applied MX-2 high performance thermal paste to dissipate the heat radiating from the CPU using the cooling supplied by the PWM fan-cooled 44-fin heatsink. The fact that it comes with the thermal compound pre-applied also makes for an easy installation of the cooler. That being said, at max fan speeds, the benchmarks did show noise levels of 46.5 dB, so if low noise output is a must for you, this may not be your best option.
You will usually be able to find the Arctic Freezer 7X at around the $19 price range, making it an overall excellent deal to be made for its efficient cooling and quality build. A great option to replace the stock Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100 cooler at a budget.
Best Silent Budget CPU Cooler for Ryzen 3 3300x & 3100
Slightly more expensive than the aforementioned budget cooler, the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 provides an option for those looking for a quiet build, devoid of the annoying humming and buzzing sounds emanating from the fans.
Techreport’s benchmarks for this quiet CPU cooler show us that it will emit only 27.7 dB at idle – which is pretty much silent – to 31.5 dB during higher loads, which is equivalent to the loudness of a whisper, ultimately being unheard from a foot away. When overclocking the CPU under high load, the noise levels from the Thermaltake Contac Silent 12 peaked at 39.5 dB, which is about the ambient noise level of a library. If your case is also optimized for silent use (i.e. does not have tempered glass panels), then you can overclock the Ryzen 3 3100 or 3300X with little-to-no audible interference. Note that this cooler also comes with a “low-noise” cable which allows you to throttle the fan speeds in order to regulate the maximum noise output of the cooler. This will most likely not come in use, but still a neat addon.
The Contac Silent 12 uses a 120mm PWM controlled fan (500-1500 RPM), and an all-aluminum heatsink with four copper, direct touch, heatpipes. Under the same benchmarks mentioned above, the Contac Silent 12 had the CPU idle at 22 degrees, and reached peak temperatures of 68 degrees while running a 20-minute stress test. Even if you do plan on overclocking frequently, these temperatures and noise levels are sufficient, though it would not be advised to do so for long stretches of time.
If you, too, value the increasing value and rarity of silence, then this CPU cooler is a fine purchase for its $29 price tag – a great paring for the Ryzen 3 3100 or Ryzen 3 3300X CPUs.
Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for Ryzen 3300X & 3100 SFF Builds
The name of this cooler is, admittedly, quite misleading, as the Scythe Big Shuriken 3 is only 69 millimeters tall and is small enough to fit in almost any small form factor case. According to TweakTown, this cooler kept a 91 TDP CPU at only 65 degrees while handling stock loads, and up to 75.5 degrees while under overclocked loads, which is quite competitive for a low profile cooler. Important to note that the noise levels maxed out at only 35 dB, which is also impressive.
These results are, of course, using the stock fan of the Big Shuriken 3: the 15 mm thick Scythe Kaze Flex slim PWM fan. This fan can be replaced with a thicker 25mm fan, such as the Noctua NF-A12x25, which will provide lower temperatures and even lower noise levels. The fan is used to provide cooling to a cut-out, and offset, designed heatsink which connects to the CPU via five sintered heatpipes and a copper base. The offset heatsink design allows for better compatibility with motherboard and cases, avoiding interference with other PC components, such as RAM sticks.
Overall, this CPU cooler allows for easy installation, will adequately cool the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X even during overclocking loads, will probably not output noise levels much above 40 decibels, and allows for a potential upgrade via the switching out of the stock fan it is equipped with.
Though it may cost a bit more than the previous budget coolers, the Scythe Big Shuriken 3 is still a great deal at $46, and a worthy investment for SFF enthusiasts.
Best Air Cooler for Overclocking the Ryzen 3300X / 3100
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for your cooler, then Noctua’s NH-U12S airflow cooling is bested only by their own, higher-end, NH-D15. Benchmarks from TechPowerUp show us that the NH-U12S when paired with a Ryzen 7 3700X running a blender stress test, had the CPU at only a 66-degree temperature, so it will more than suffice for the new Ryzen 3 series CPUs set to release shortly. The noise levels this cooler emits are also incredibly low for its performance, as once again TweakTown shows us that the sound pressure emitted caps at 40 decibels when supplied with 12V.
It accomplishes such feats by using Noctua’s NF-F12, PWM controlled, 120 mm fan to supply the heatsink with thorough cooling via the incredible 2.61mmH2O static pressure the fan outputs. The aluminum heatsink then connects directly to the CPU via five nickel plated heatpipes, adequately dissipating the heat and cooling the processor. The fan uses a low-noise adaptor and anti-vibration mounts to keep the noise levels low while it supplies the high levels of cooling previously mentioned. The Noctua NF-U12S will allow you to overclock the Ryzen 3 CPUs to your heart’s content, while also giving you the option to later upgrade your CPU without the need of replacing the cooler. You can even slightly upgrade this cooler by adding a second fan if you desire.
The Noctua NH-U12S will currently cost you a modest $65, so depending on your build and budget, it will make a great choice for cooling your CPU and futureproofing your build. Surely, a worthy purchase for the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X.