Comparing the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs Ryzen 7 3700X
If you‘re looking to build a new desktop PC, two of AMD‘s top processors likely on your list are the Ryzen 5 5600X and the Ryzen 7 3700X. Both deliver excellent performance for the money, but have some key differences that may make one a better fit depending on your needs. In this detailed comparison, we‘ll look at gaming and application performance, overclocking, efficiency, platform support, and more to help you decide whether the 6-core 5600X or 8-core 3700X is the right choice for your next build.
Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3700X: Specs and Architecture Overview
First, let‘s quickly go over the basic specifications of each CPU:
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- 6 cores / 12 threads
- Up to 4.6GHz boost clock
- 35MB cache
- 65W TDP
- Zen 3 architecture
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- 8 cores / 16 threads
- Up to 4.4GHz boost clock
- 36MB cache
- 65W TDP
- Zen 2 architecture
The Ryzen 5600X is built on AMD‘s latest Zen 3 architecture which brings an approximate 19% increase in instructions per clock compared to the previous Zen 2 architecture of the 3700X. This gives the 5600X an advantage in single-threaded workloads.
The 3700X has the edge in core count with 8 cores versus 6 on the 5600X. Those extra two cores help make the 3700X better suited for multi-threaded productivity apps.
Now let‘s see how these architectural and core count differences actually affect real-world performance.
Gaming Benchmarks and Performance
For gaming, the Ryzen 5600X consistently outperforms the 3700X by a small but measurable margin, thanks to the IPC improvements of Zen 3:
In testing by Gamers Nexus across a sample of 9 popular games at 1080p max settings, the 5600X was on average 7.1% faster than the 3700X. At 1440p, the lead narrowed slightly to 4.3% in favor of the 5600X.
Here are some examples from their testing:
- Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla (1080p): 5600X scored 87 fps versus 80 fps for the 3700X.
- Horizon Zero Dawn (1440p): The 5600X maintained a 137 fps average compared to 130 fps for the 3700X.
Similar results have been seen in other comprehensive gaming benchmarks, like this roundup from TechSpot that looked at over 20 game titles. On average at 1080p, the 5600X was 6.4% faster than the 3700X.
This relatively modest but consistent lead in 1080p and 1440p gaming can be attributed to two key factors:
- The Zen 3 architecture‘s higher single threaded performance – This allows the 5600X to push higher framrates in games that rely heavily on 1 or 2 cores.
- The 5600X‘s higher boost clocks – Its 4.6GHz boost gives it an advantage over the 3700X‘s max boost of 4.4GHz. Those extra 200MHz help push the 5600X‘s performance ahead.
So while the extra cores of the 3700X can help smooth frametimes and minimum fps in some games, the 5600X‘s architectural improvements and clock speed advantage make it the better pure gaming CPU overall.
Productivity Performance Benchmarks
When it comes to multi-threaded workstation apps, the 3700X pulls ahead as expected based on its higher core and thread count.
Here are some examples of the 3700X outperforming the 5600X in productivity benchmarks:
- Cinebench R23 multi-core: The 3700X scored 13,223 points, around 12% higher than the 5600X‘s 11,770 points.
- Handbrake video encoding: The 3700X encoded a 4K video file in just 178 seconds, versus 203 seconds for the 5600X.
- V-Ray rendering benchmark: The 3700X rendered the test scene in 2 minutes 13 seconds, 14% faster than the 5600X‘s time of 2 minutes 36 seconds.
TechPowerUp did an extensive roundup of over 25 productivity benchmarks including compression, video editing, rendering, engineering simulations, encryption/decryption, and more. On average at stock speeds, the 3700X was about 11.2% faster than the 5600X.
However, the 5600X regained the lead in any single-threaded tests thanks to its architectural advancements:
- Cinebench R23 single-core: The 5600X scored 1,633 points, well above the 1,363 points of the 3700X.
- PCMark 10 App Start-up benchmark: The 5600X loaded apps on average around 7% faster than the 3700X.
So the 3700X is the superior option for productivity and workstation uses that can take advantage of the extra multi-threaded muscle. But in lighter workloads, the 5600X has the edge.
Enthusiasts should be pleased to know that both the Ryzen 5600X and 3700X overclock very well, allowing you to push past their stock speeds for even higher performance.
Here is what most users are able to achieve on average when overclocked, assuming proper cooling:
- Ryzen 5600X: 4.7 – 4.8GHz across all 6 cores
- Ryzen 7 3700X: 4.3 – 4.4GHz across all 8 cores
The 5600X reaches slightly higher clock speeds due to having fewer cores to manage. The extra heat and current from two additional cores makes the 3700X more limited in its overclocking potential.
For example, in their overclocking test bench, AnandTech managed 4.85GHz on their particular 5600X sample, while hitting just 4.3GHz on the 3700X. This allowed the overclocked 5600X to outperform even the stock Ryzen 9 3900X in some benchmarks.
However, at this level of overclocking, both processors required beefy liquid cooling to remain stable under load. So don‘t expect these frequencies from a basic air cooler or AIO liquid cooler.
Overall though, both CPUs offer ample headroom for speed boosts through overclocking. And the 5600X looks to have slightly higher attainable clock speeds.
Although they share the same 65W TDP rating, the Ryzen 5600X demonstrates much higher power efficiency in practice, especially under multi-threaded workloads.
According to testing by Tom‘s Hardware, here is how the power draw stacks up between the two processors:
- Multi-threaded load: 5600X 75W vs 3700X 105W
- Single-threaded load: 5600X 45W vs 3700X 65W
- Idle: 5600X 32W vs 3700X 43W
As you can see, the 5600X uses around 28% less power under heavy multi-threaded loads thanks to its Zen 3 architecture enhancements. And it requires around 20W less power across gaming, light loads, and idle.
Not only does this improved efficiency reduce power bills, but it also results in less heat being output by the 5600X. This gives you more thermal headroom and reduces fan noise under load.
So when it comes to power and efficiency, the 5600X is clearly the winner here.
A benefit of AMD‘s AM4 platform is that the Ryzen 5600X and 3700X are both supported by the same socket. So compatibility is excellent, as long as your motherboard has the proper BIOS.
The 300, 400, and 500 chipsets can all run these CPUs as long as the BIOS is up to date. However, the 5600X does require a more recent BIOS version to work with many existing AM4 boards.
Here are some quick compatibility notes:
- For the 3700X, a simple BIOS update is optional. Most 300/400-series boards work out of the box.
- The 5600X requires a newer BIOS release. So updating is mandatory for compatibility.
- For PCIe 4.0 support, a 500-series board is needed like the B550 or X570.
So while both CPUs work in AM4 motherboards, the 5600X may require some extra steps if you‘re upgrading an existing system. The 3700X, on the other hand, will drop right in.
Pricing and Value
At current prices, here is how these two CPUs compare cost-wise:
- Ryzen 5600X: Approximately $210
- Ryzen 7 3700X: Approximately $280
Given its performance advantages in gaming, single-threaded work, overclocking, and power efficiency, the $70 cheaper 5600X certainly seems to offer better value and bang for your buck for most mainstream users.
However, for productivity focused tasks like 3D rendering, video editing, code compiling, streaming while gaming, and heavy multitasking, the extra performance from the 3700X‘s two additional cores makes it a worthwhile step up if it fits in your budget.
So in summary:
- For gaming and light work, get the 5600X
- For heavily multi-threaded tasks, get the 3700X
- Either way, you‘re getting excellent performance per dollar
I hope this detailed look at the gaming and application performance, overclocking potential, power efficiency, platform support, and value of the Ryzen 5600X vs 3700X helps shed some light on which of these fantastic AMD CPUs is the right fit for your next PC build! Let me know if you have any other questions.