AMD has a wide range of processors to cater to the entire computer market. Today we’re looking at two of the popular models in their third generation of processors, the Ryzen 5 3600x and the Ryzen 7 3700x. The Ryzen 3000 series started dropping in 2019, so these are both quite modern processors that make a great upgrade to any desktop, but they weren’t made equal.
The Ryzen 7 3700x is what is referred to as a performance processor by AMD, against the mainstream Ryzen 5 3600x. Both are fairly popular, of course, but those categories refer more to the cost and the performance you can expect from each.
Buying the higher price point CPU isn’t always the best idea, so we’ve created this breakdown of the two processors. Here you’ll find out about their specs but we’ve also taken into account real-world considerations, like cost or whether the upgrades are worth it if you have a similar model.
The foremost spec you’ll usually see with CPUs is their core and thread counts. This is because cores are physical differences between the processors that have a demonstrable effect on the performances they offer, to the point that generations of CPU are categorized based on how many cores they use. The threads are virtual implements that manage how the cores handle large amounts of data processing. This means that along with general performance, more threads also help with multitasking, but we’ll go into that in more detail later.
The Ryzen 3000 series is a large rollout of CPUs that have as little as 4 or as many as 64 cores, so where do the 3600x and 3700x lie and how do they compare? The Ryzen 5 3600x has 6 cores and 12 threads while the Ryzen 7 3700x has 8 cores that support 16 threads.
When playing some of the most popular and frequently updated games of today, namely Overwatch, Fortnite, and GTA V, the 3700x performed slightly better than the 3600x, if not identical in the case of Overwatch.
Where the real difference comes into play is with the average memory latency and core speed when tested. The latency is similar, the 3600x’s 78.6 Pts to the 3700x’s 78.8 Pts, but during an 8-core stress test, the 3700x was obviously superior. Hitting 925 Pts and 1026 when overclocked, this dwarfed the 6-cored 3600x which hit 820 and then 883 Pts, never exceeding 900.
What this means is that they’re strikingly similar to each other in supporting frames but, if you expect to have a lot going on on your desktop, the 3700x is better at heavy-lifting data.
The clock speed is the next important factor to consider as this determines how fast your CPU can run, which is directly related to the quality of performance it will give you. If you’re gaming, the clock speeds are much more important, especially if you plan on overclocking to achieve a higher-end performance. A low clock speed will cause games to run poorly and stutter, which makes single-player gaming time-consuming and frustrating and multiplayer games unplayable.
Ryzen 5 3600x
- Base Clock Speed – 3.8 GHz
- Boosted Clock Speed – 4.4 GHz
Ryzen 7 3700x
- Base Clock Speed – 3.6 GHz
- Boosted Clock Speed – 4.4 GHz
Here you can see the Ryzen 5 3600x actually has a slightly higher base clock speed than the Ryzen 7 3700x. Will you notice this difference during gameplay? Probably not, but it’s an example of how closely matched these two processors are when the technically inferior one can achieve the same or better clock speeds.
Belonging to the same generation of Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 3600x and 3700x CPUs are made with AMD’s Zen 2 microarchitecture. Zen 2 covers a lot of AMD processors, however, because the Zen 2 platform was designed to be future-proofed against AMD’s future releases. With that in mind, it’s more accurate to say that the mainstream Ryzen 3000 series chips are often known as Matisse, their pre-release codename.
Both the 3600x and the 3700x have a 7 nm FinFET fabrication process pioneered by TSMC, who make the nanotechnology features in the latest AMD, Intel, and Nvidia releases. The smaller construction of these CPUs makes them more efficient at processing.
The Zen 2 architecture uses a combination of “chiplets” to achieve their performances. The 3600x and the 3700x both use 1 Core Complex Die and 1 Input/Output chip. They also both have AM4 chipset sockets, which is the secret to the Zen 2’s future-proofing that we mentioned since we can expect AMD products for the near future to remain in this chipset classification.
The similarities between these two CPUs continue with the following cache setup:
- L1 – 32 KiB per core
- L2 – 512 KiB per core
- L3 – 16 MiB per CCX (four cores)
As you can see, the cache configuration depends on the number of cores present, which differs between the 3600x and the 3700x. This means that while they’re the same on paper, that per core caveat results in the 3700x having the larger cache.
Multitasking is pretty much expected of any decent CPU nowadays. As the computer systems we run become more advanced, the CPUs at the heart of our desktops need to be able to manage more and more information in record time, otherwise, the performance starts to suffer.
Many people will listen to videos or music when playing games and, while you’re multitasking by playing and listening, your CPU needs to multitask by processing both the videogame and the tabs you have open in the background.
The more cores, and more importantly threads, are packed into your CPU, the more programs your computer can handle at once. With current commercial CPUs, you’ll find that they pack two threads per core, hence why the thread count will be twice as much as the core count.
The two extra cores that the 8-core 3700x has over the 6-core 3600x grants it four extra threads that are helpful in multitasking. This places the 3700x at 16 cores and the 3600x at 12. The question is whether you’ll be multitasking enough to appreciate this difference.
That brings us to our final comparison and judgment. The Ryzen 5 3600x and the Ryzen 7 3700x are very similar CPUs, boasting similar frame rate performances, clocking speed, and microarchitecture fabrication processes. The primary difference between them is their core and thread count.
More cores are always better if we’re speaking in a purely technical sense, and the 3700x has a few more cores and threads than the 3600x, but that doesn’t mean you should jump onto the 3700x right away.
If you’re building a computer and haven’t got a CPU yet, then you need to decide how much you want to buy one for. Compared to other computer parts out there, the price jump between the 3600x and 3700x isn’t that great, so we expect that most will be able to comfortably afford and enjoy the 3700x but know that you’ll get a lot of the same performance from the 3600x.
If you already have a CPU and you’re upgrading, you’ll want to get the best-priced processor that gives you a satisfying performance jump from what you’re currently operating with. In that case, it’s up to you if you want to buy the 3600x or the 3700x.
In both cases, the 3700x is your best bet if you plan to do a lot of multitasking with your new desktop processor.