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AMD Ryzen 7 2700X vs Ryzen 5 3600X: Which Ryzen Processor is Better?

AMD’s Ryzen processors have been gaining traction as the best processor for the money since its first release. Although the market share of AMD in the processor segment says otherwise, owning just a third of all shares, it has been on the upwards trajectory. Since then, it has been the go-to processor for people on a tight budget because of its impressive price to performance ratio compared to its Intel equivalent.

In this article, are going to look at two AMD Ryzen processors that are perfect for productivity and gaming use cases. We are going to compare Ryzen 7 2700X which is the top of the line processor back in its day, and Ryzen 5 3600X the middle offering in its product line. If you are looking to build a computer and contemplating which of these you are going to pick, you are I the right place. Let’s see how the Ryzen 7 2700X perform against the Ryzen 5 3600X, and in the process, pick which one is better.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X vs Ryzen 5 3600X – Similarities

The following comparison chart will help to see the specifics of the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 3600 alongside each other.

Comparison Chart

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Image
Microarchitecture Zen+ Microarchitecture Zen 2 Microarchitecture
# of CPU Cores 8 Cores 6 Cores 
# of Threads 16 Threads 12 Threads
Base Clock 3.7 GHz 3.8 GHz
Max. Boost Clock Up to 4.3 GHz Up to 4.4 GHz
Unlocked Yes Yes
Motherboard Socket AM4 AM4
PCI Express Version PCIe 3.0 x 16 PCIe 4.0 x 16
Thermal Solution Included Wraith Prism with RGB LED Wraith Spire
TDP 105W 95W
Cache Memory 16 MB 32 MB
Max. Memory Capacity 64 GB 128 GB
Memory Frequency Up to 2933 MHz Up to 3200 MHz
Memory Type DDR4 DDR4
Memory Channels 2 Channels 2 Channels
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AM4 Motherboard Compatibility

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 3600X have the same AM4 motherboard compatibility. Therefore, you can choose among 9 different socket AM4 chipsets such as X570, X470, B450, A300, and many more. These chipsets have different form factors and features, so you better know how to choose according to your needs. Although the 2700X and 3600X can fit in all of the AM4 chipsets, you should take note of its motherboard compatibility because they may not be compatible with some motherboard out of the box. Otherwise, if you have already bought the motherboard, you can always update its bios to accommodate either the 2700X or 3600X.

Overclockable Processors

AMD made it easier for consumers to know which of its processors are overclockable and which are not. All the X-versions of AMD Ryzen processors are overclockable. Therefore, both the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 3600X are overclockable. You just have to get a more efficient air or water cooler for these processors to reach a higher processor frequency. But for daily use cases without overclocking, the included Wraith air coolers out of the box will suffice. In fact, you can reach a comfortable 4.0 GHz on all cores with the stock Wraith coolers. Some users even attained 4.1 – 4.2 GHz, but your mileage may vary.

DDR4 Memory and Memory Channels

DDR4 memory sticks have higher frequencies compared to DDR3. Thus, improving the overall performance. The DDR3 runs fastest at 1866 MHz, while the slowest frequency of DDR4 memory is 2133 MHz. Both these Ryzen processors are designed for DDR4 memory sticks. However, the fastest channel configuration that both Ryzen processors can run on is only dual-channel configuration. Quad-channel configuration is not possible, but you can still use four DDR4 memories with both Ryzen CPUs.

Now we will look at the features that make the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 3600X different.
 

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X vs Ryzen 5 3600X – Differences

Zen Architecture

Zen architecture is AMD’s latest processor design which is more energy-efficient and can execute more instructions per cycle than their previous Bulldozer architecture.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

The Ryzen 7 2700X runs on the Zen+ architecture which is the refinement of the original Zen architecture. The second-generation Ryzen and Threadripper processors, including the Ryzen 7 2700X, carry this 12 nm microarchitecture which offers higher clock speeds and improved power consumption than its predecessor.


AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 3600X runs on the Zen 2 architecture, the successor to the Zen+ architecture. While the Zen+ architecture is just a refinement of the original Zen microarchitecture, the Zen 2 is its true, next-generation microarchitecture. AMD made a lot of improvements over the previous Zen+ architecture to improve instructions per clock, single-thread performance, multi-thread scaling, and power efficiency.

The Winner Is- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X


 

Performance

Upon looking at the comparison chart, you can see a huge difference between these Ryzen processors. The Ryzen 7 2700X has 2 more cores, 4 more threads, but a running on marginally lower clock speeds. Does this mean that it performs better? Let’s see if this holds some truth to it.


AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

The Ryzen 2700X is an octa-core processor with 16 threads running at a slightly lower base clock speed of 3.7 GHz. More physical cores, in theory, are always better even though it is running a lower frequency. You can easily overclock these processors, after all. However, let us remember that the Ryzen 7 2700X is built around the older Zen+ architecture. In terms of gaming, it is marginally inferior to the 3600X. However, it shines in productivity tasks that use more cores such as streaming and rendering.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Although the Ryzen 5 3600X has lower cores and threads, it has a higher base clock speed of 3.8 GHz. The 3600X is also built on newer architecture, resulting in faster and superior performance. You can enjoy an average of 10% more frames per second in games such as CS:GO, GTA V, PUBG, and Fortnite. It also has a faster single-core, dual-core, and quad-core performance than the 2700X. It’s even faster when you consider overclocking the 3600X.

The Winner Is- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

 

PCI Express Version

Solid-state drives and graphics card with PCIe 4.0 support have been introduced to consumers fairly recently. 

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

The Ryzen 7 2700X, unfortunately, only supports PCIe 3.0 devices. Therefore, it cannot take advantage of the speeds that the PCIe 4.0 offers. However, does it matter? In the state of things right now, you are better off with PCIe 3.0 since PCIe 4.0 is not that widespread yet. 

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

In contrast, the Ryzen 5 3600X can exploit PCIe 4.0 for faster overall performance with its wider bandwidth. Although there are only limited PCIe 4.0 devices, your system is now future proof when you go with the 3600X. Perhaps, down the line, you can get a PCIe 4.0 GPU to improve your system’s performance. Take note that only the 500-series motherboard from AMD has this support. 

The Winner Is- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

 

Thermal Solutions


Another thing that separates AMD’s processor from Intel’s is its included air cooler out of the box. AMD’s stock air coolers are chunkier and more robust than their Intel counterparts. Moreover, they are known to have a capability to overlock which is impossible with Intel’s air coolers.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

AMD bundled the Ryzen 7 2700X with the Wraith Prism. Since the Ryzen 7 processor has a higher TDP of 105 watts, it needs an equally beefier air cooler to cool it down. This air cooler weighs in at 580 grams which makes it heavier than its competitor. In terms of cooling performance, it is no surprise that the Wraith Prism that comes with the 2700X cools it better. You can see that there is a 7-degree differential in both non-overclocked and overclocked situations. The Wraith Prism has RGB lights that can be controlled by third-party RGB management such as Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and Razer Chroma.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

The Ryzen 5 3600X comes with a Wraith Spire which weighs only 372 grams. Although the Wraith Spire is 36% lighter, it also features a copper slug at its base. As mentioned above, the Wraith Spire does not match Prism’s performance, but the Spire still is a great thermal solution for the 3600X considering its lower TDP of 95 watts. The Wraith Spire also has addressable RGB if you are into that.

The Winner Is- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

 

RAM Support

RAM is also an integral part of a computer. Without it, the computer will never run. Faster and higher-capacity memory directly translates to an overall better performing system.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

Ryzen 7 2700X can support DDR4 memory up to 64 GB with speeds up to 2933 MHz. Although it supports just 64 GB of memory, this is more than enough for gaming and even video editing. What concerns me, however, is the slower frequency. Memory sticks with 3200 MHz frequency are getting cheaper now. There are DDR4 memory sticks that run on 5000 MHz! Unfortunately, the 2700X does not support those speeds. But then again, 64 GB of RAM with 2933 MHZ frequency is more than enough for most use cases.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 3600X supports higher capacity and faster memory. You can partner the 3600X with RAM up to 128 GB running at 3200 MHz. RAM sticks with a frequency of 3200 MHz is considered the sweet spot nowadays.

The Winner Is- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

 

Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X will help us to determine which processor is the better option.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X


Pros:

  • The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X has a higher core count and thread count which makes it better for productivity overall.
  • It comes with a beefier and better-performing air cooler.
  • Performance is still on par with the 3600X even it’s a previous generation processor.

 
Cons:

  • Although performance is still respectable, you are no longer future proof because of its PCIe 3.0 and lower memory capacity.

 

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600X


Pros:

  • The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X performs better overall in games, single-core, and multi-core performance.
  • Its PCIe 4.0 support and higher memory capacity make your system future proof.
  • You can overclock the 3600X with the included Wraith Spire.

 
Cons:

  • While the Spire is a capable air cooler, it has inferior thermal performance compared with the Wraith Prism.

 

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The Final Verdict

It is a great time to build an AMD-based system, either for gaming or productivity. AMD makes the processor market competitive with its Ryzen lineup. In this comparison between the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 3600X, we saw their strengths and weaknesses. The Ryzen 5 3600X is no doubt the better Ryzen processor boasting better overall performance and more power efficiency. Looking at their prices, it is expectedly more expensive, but it is worth the extra dollars. If you intend to build a PC yourself, I recommend getting the Ryzen 5 3600X over the Ryzen 7 2700X.