3700X vs. 9900K

Let's compare AMD's 3700X and Intel's 9900K to find which one is best for your next PC build.

3700x vs 9900k min

We know how important choosing the correct processor is. Especially for those gamers in the room, your CPU has a large part to play in your games performance.

The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and the Intel Core i9 9900K processors are some of the most sought after on the market. The processors are similar in price and are aimed at providing speed and peak gaming performance.

Today we will look at both processors in detail and compare them to help find the best one for you.

Specifications

Let’s take a brief look over the differences between the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and the Intel i9 9900K.

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  • CPU
AMD
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Speed

3.6GHz/ 4.4GHz

Core (Threads)

8/16

Socket

AM4

TDP

95W

Unlocked?

Yes

PCIe Version

PCIe 4.0 x16

Total L2 Cache

4MB

Total L3 Cache

32MB

CMOS

TSMC 7nm FinFET

Max Temps

95°C

Pros

Superb value for money

Solid for gaming and excellent for multi tasking

Bundles with cooler

Cons

Intel equivalent is slightly better for gaming

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  • CPU
INTEL
Intel i9-9900K

Speed

3.6GHz/ 5GHz

Core (Threads)

8/16

Socket

LGA1151

TDP

95W

Pros

Unrivaled Clock Speeds

Great for gaming

Good overclocking performance

Cons

Requires aftermarket cooler

Pricey in terms of value

 

 

Features

Both the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Intel i9 9900K processors are great options for gamers, but let’s dive into a look at their features a little closer.

Cores and Threads

Both the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Intel i9 9900K processors come with an eight-core processor and 16 threads.

The Ryzen 7 3700X uses a hyperthreading system (SMT), which allows 16 threads to be processed simultaneously. This benefits titles that support multithreading but improves multitasking performance in day-to-day applications. The 3700X does have a lower boost clock of 4.4 GHz, which results in slightly lower performance in games as they benefit from higher single-core performance.

The 9900K will offer better performance in games due to Intels lower inter-core latency and a higher turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. The 14% increase compared to AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X will provide you with faster speeds and enhanced gameplay. We should note the full overclocking potential of the 9900k; you will need a new Z390 chipset motherboard and sufficient cooling.

When compared against one another on benchmark testing, the 9900K came up on top. It beat the 3700X in 5 of the six tests that we ran. The 9900K outperformed in the cinebench R20 single and multi-core tests, PassMark CPU single-core, Geekbench 5 single and multi-core tests.

In most of these tests, the win was marginal, with as little as 1 and 2%. The most noticeable difference was the Passmark CPU single-core, where the 9900K performed better by a whopping 11%. However, when testing the multi-core PassMark CPU, the Ryzen 7 won by a staggering 22%.

These numbers show how little difference between the two in terms of performance, although the 9900K would seem to have the edge.

Architecture

Like the series, architecture is how we categorize design changes across CPU groups, ranging from essential core and thread counts to the more practical logistical side of things.

The Ryzen 7 3700X uses a Zen 2 build, made from a 7nm chipset silicon process node. It delivers consistent performance at higher overclocking speeds and is generally compatible with most existing motherboards.

This is where Coffee Lake Refresh comes in. It is used in the Intel 9900K to assist in the hyper-threading technology, which doubles the power each thread can handle. The Coffee Lake Refresh attaches to the motherboard through an LGA 1151 socket, so you will need to make sure you have the compatible chipset before purchasing this.

Clock Speed

The Ryzen 7 3700X offers a base clock of 3.6GHz and a max boost clock of up to 4.4GHz. Builds with aftermarket cooling solutions can use Precision Boost Overdrive to increase the power delivered to the CPU by the VRMs, and AutoOC to increase the max clock speed by 200Mhz. The extra clock speed will only be achieved if the Precision Boost algorithm determines sufficient power and thermal headroom.

The Intel 9900K offers an identical base clock of 3.6GHz but boasts a higher turbo frequency of 5GHz. This is reflected in benchmarks, where the 9900K pulls ahead due to the higher core frequency. The 1% lowest average frames are much higher than the 3700X, which could be a deciding factor if you use a 144Hz/240Hz monitor.

Overclocking

Both the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Intel i9 9900K are fully unlocked, allowing you to push for those faster speeds.

The 3700X is packaged with two handy tools for overclocking. The Precision Boost Overdrive increases the power delivered from VRMs to the processor. This, in turn, allows higher boost clocks if both power requirements and core temperatures are within predefined limits.

AutoOC is an offset of the maximum boost clock, allowing up to 200MHz more headroom on the default max boost clock. However, enabling both PBO and AutoOC doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve higher boost clocks. This is dependent on your motherboard’s VRM’s ability to deliver the extra power and your cooling system’s ability to maintain low temperatures.

Overclocking the Intel i9 9900K is easy to do and can result in up to a stable 5.1GHz, which is pretty impressive. The i9 9900K can be overclocked higher than the 3700X using air and water cooling but will require a decent cooling solution to dissipate the generated heat.

Overclocking will allow you to achieve better performance, but it is worth noting that overclocking can void your warranty.

Cache

The Ryzen 7 3700X features an L1 cache of 512KB, an L2 or 5MB, and an L3 of 32MB. The memory types support these we have just looked at. As gaming usually requires 16MB of cache, this extra cache will provide excellent speeds and performance for your games.

The intel 9900K is fitted with a single L3 smart cache that has a 15MB capacity. This means that it won’t hold as much at the same time as the Ryzen, but in terms of gameplay, there is very little difference between both CPUs. Opting for the Ryzen 7 will provide you with more cache to play with, handy with larger games.

PCIe

The latest x570 motherboards support PCIe 4.0, allowing up to 64 GB/s between slots, increasing from 32GB/s for PCIe 3.0. A welcomed increase for those with SLI GPUs or rely heavily on M.2 SSDs.

PCIe 4 will provide outstanding communication speeds from your video cards to the rest of your computer, an excellent win for gamers!

The latest Z390 motherboards do not support PCIe 4.0. However, this is unlikely to pose a bottleneck though regular gaming. PCIe 4.0 delivers a noticeable benefit when running SLI GPUs or extensive file processing with an M.2 SSD.

The Ryzen 7 has 20 PCI express lanes, more than Intel’s 9900K, which boasts 16. The difference here is small, but for those after the extra lanes, the Ryzen is the better choice.

Compatibility

The intel i9 9900K is compatible with Z370 and Z390 motherboards; however, to realize the full potential of the 9900K, a Z390 motherboard is recommended. If you wish to upgrade your CPU in the future, you will need to upgrade your motherboard when upgrading to a 10000 series or later CPU.

The Ryzen 7 3700X can support PCI4 on x570 motherboards and is expected to be compatible with multiple CPU releases. The precision boost overdrive for overclocking needs a compatible motherboard to enable.

Performance

One noticeable difference between these two processors is heat output, which can throttle overclocks if not sufficiently cooled. The 3700x comes with an AMD wraith prism cooler, which provides excellent cooling performance for stock speeds and modest overclocks.

The 9900K is not supplied with a cooler and has a significantly higher TDP of 95W than the 3700X 65W TDP. AMD’s lower TDP is thanks to their 7nm manufacturing process, which has increased energy efficiency and a 15% increased Instructions Per Clock.

On the other hand, Intel has stuck with their older 14nm manufacturing process, which dates back to Q4 2014. As a result, the energy-hungry 9900K’s extra energy needs to be dissipated, so be sure to buy a high-performance cooler if choosing the 9900K!

When overclocking the Intel, you can quickly draw 200W or higher. Those on the market who cannot justify the extra cooling expense will be better off with the 3700X as it generates significantly less heat.

The latest titles performed exceptionally well on the 9900K. In almost every test we ran, the 9900K beat the 3700X with the number of frames per second! Some of these wins were substantial too, World War Z performed 2% faster, stocked, and overclocked than the Ryzen.

Despite the speeds, Ryzen’s 7 3700X is still fast, and on a range of games, the speed difference was virtually unnoticeable.

Performance

Support

Specs of components don’t always paint the full picture. Warranty and support from manufacturers are essential as pieces last for many years.

The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X comes with a three-year limited warranty, which does not cover overclocking. They also offer excellent customer service should you require any over the phone support.

On the other hand, Intel offers a three-year warranty. There is customer service available should you require additional help or support. It is worth checking the warranty, as, on newer products, Intel is only offering a 12-month warranty with an optional “Performance Protection Tuning Plan” to extend further.

Pricing and availability

Both processors are readily available on Amazon, either sold by Amazon or third-party sellers. The AMD Ryzen is the slightly more affordable option! The processor can be purchased here.

The Intel i9 9900K is a little more costly but still decently priced when you consider it is top of the line. You can purchase the Intel i9 9900K processor here.

Both processors are available separately or as bundle deals to purchase additional cooling fans or RAM/Motherboard/CPU bundle. This option can help you to save some money when making your purchase. It is always worth checking the sales or for any lightning deals or flash sales to get even better value for your money.

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Final words

Those looking to keep their existing motherboards for the next few years should strongly consider the 3700X. It also has the added benefits of more affordable pricing and better multi-core performance.

The Intel i9 9900K is a good option for those who want the best gaming performance possible. The overclocking potential makes it a more powerful processor than the Ryzen 7 3700X, but you will need to be sure your cooling system can cope with the extra heat.

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