Intel Pentium vs. AMD Ryzen 3 Performance For Linux Gaming

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 23 January 2018. Page 1 of 5. 77 Comments

For those that may be looking to assemble a new low-end Linux gaming system in early 2018, here is a look at the Linux gaming performance of an Intel Pentium (Kabylake) processor to an AMD Ryzen 3 while testing with the GeForce GTX 1050 and Radeon RX 560 graphics cards.

Along similar lines to the recent Linux Gaming For Older/Lower-End Graphics Cards In 2018 that was looking at lower-end and older graphics cards, this comparison is looking at the Intel Pentium G4600 to AMD Ryzen 3 1200 processor performance for Linux gaming while using the Radeon RX 560 as a low-end graphics card on the AMDGPU+RadeonSI/RADV driver stack and on the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GTX 1050 with the 390.12 Linux driver.

This testing was done with a variety of Linux games using both the OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or less given the focus of this article. In a follow-up article is a closer look at directly the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance for available Linux games.

The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 is the current lowest-end Ryzen/Zen processor. The Ryzen 3 1200 is a quad-core processor with a 3.1GHz base frequency and 3.4GHz boost clock frequency. This Ryzen 3 CPU has 2MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. The TDP of this processor is 65 Watts and it retails for about $100 USD.

The closest Intel Pentium processor I have for comparison is the Pentium G4600. The Pentium G4600 is a dual-core part with Hyper Threading to have four logical cores and has a 3.6GHz base frequency but no turbo/boost ability. The G4600 has a 3MB cache and has a 51 Watt TDP while this CPU retails for about $80 USD. With not getting many low-end CPU review samples (and the G4600 in fact being one I had purchased), this was just the closest CPU I had available for testing to the slightly more expensive Ryzen 3 1200, but still should make for an interesting Linux gaming look at Intel Pentium vs. Ryzen 3 with the latest Linux software and drivers.

Low-End CPU Linux Gaming: Intel Pentium vs. AMD Ryzen 3

Obviously there is the motherboard differences between Ryzen 3 and the Kabylake Pentium but besides from that the specifications of the system were basically the same of 2 x 4GB DDR4-3200 memory, Intel 120GB SSD and a 525GB Crucial CT525MX3 being used for the Steam Linux game archive, and testing the Sapphire Radeon RX 560 4GB and GeForce GTX 1050 2GB graphics card as two low-end GPU options. On the software side was Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64 with the latest Linux 4.15 Git kernel and given the low-end focus was using the Xfce desktop environment. The Radeon driver stack was Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 7.0 SVN via the Padoka PPA while the NVIDIA driver was the 390.12 release.

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