The Ryzen 7 2700x vs Ryzen 5 3600x debate has been going on for quite some time now. However, the discussion gained even more traction when stores all around the globe started running out of stocks. The newer processor, the Ryzen 5 3600x, was nowhere to be seen. On the other hand, the Ryzen 7 2700x, was still widely available, but often passed on due to it being older.
With that said, stocks have stabilized in most parts of the globe right now. You can easily get the Ryzen 5 3600x these days, just as you could the Ryzen 7 2700x.
However, this only led to the debate to further intensify. This is because a lot of new system builders realized one thing that the older ones knew all along: that older but still perfectly good tech selling for a discount when newer tech gets launched is an actual thing.
This brings us to our discussion today, if you’re building a new PC in 2020, should you buy the Ryzen 7 2700x? Or should you go a generation newer and get the Ryzen 5 3600x?
Read on more below to find out our thoughts on the 3600x vs 2700x debate.
Ryzen 7 2700x vs Ryzen 5 3600x: Technical Specifications Rundown
Unlocked for Overclocking: Yes + Precision Boost Overdrive
In Box Cooler: Wraith Prism
Current Market Price: $199 (from $329 MSRP)
A quick glance at the spec sheet tells us just how much value the former king of mainstream processors still currently possess.
While it does lose out in GameCache (20M vs 35MB), the Ryzen 7 2700x does have more cores and threads (8/16 vs 6/12) and comes with a much better-looking cooler with better thermal performance right out of the box.
In terms of CPU performance, the newer tech in Ryzen 5 3600x helps give it a slight edge.
According to UserBenchmark, the Ryzen 5 3600x beats the Ryzen 7 2700x in single, dual, and quad-core performance by an average of 7%. It’s also slightly more energy-efficient (95W vs 105W) with support for PCIe 4.0 on newer motherboards.
Why the Ryzen 7 2700x Is the Better Buy
The common expression, “aging like a fine wine”, refers to something or someone that only gets better with age.
This doesn’t always apply to technology. Usually, the older the technology is, the more likely it is superseded by its successors. However, the Ryzen 7 2700x finds itself in a rather unique position.
The Ryzen 7 2700x is a huge step-up compared to its predecessor, the Ryzen 7 1700x. It’s an eight-core processor with sixteen threads, which is a lot of performance, or so to speak. But, at the same time, its price has gone down so much from its original retail price. As a result, its value has only gone way up since it was first released.
It also benefits from AMD’s decision to use the same AM4 platform for all the Zen-based processors they have released so far.
What this means is that you’ll still be able to enjoy future upgradeability if you buy a Ryzen 7 2700x processor right now. If you pair it with one of the newer X570 motherboards, you could nab yourself a newer Ryzen 7 5800x down the line, which also has 8 cores and 16 threads, but is based on much newer, faster, and better architecture.
Now that the Ryzen 7 2700x has been out for years, there’s tons of information available out there detailing how you can squeeze the most performance out of your processor.
The conventional method of doing this is by overclocking.
The Ryzen 7 2700x is overclockable right out of the box, even if you decide to stick with the stock air cooler. You can overclock it via the “Ryzen Master” application, but it’s always best to overclock via the system BIOS.
Now, while you can overclock the Ryzen 7 2700x, it doesn’t really make that much difference in terms of performance. There are gains, but it’s not worth it. You can choose to run your Ryzen 7 2700x to around 4.2Ghz, which is doable for most chips. However, if you want to get the most performance out of your processor, you’re better off pairing it with faster memory sticks.
The Ryzen 5 3600x finds itself in a peculiar position of having fewer cores and threads than a less expensive processor on the same platform.
Of course, six cores and twelve threads are still plenty. You won’t be missing the extra cores and threads you’ll be giving up if you went with the Ryzen 5 3600x as far as conventional gaming is concerned.
We still haven’t reached a point in gaming where a six-core CPU is not enough.
The only problem here is that more and more games in the future are only going to make use of more cores and threads.
The benefit of having 8 cores and 16 threads just cannot be understated, especially once next-gen games start being released. Most next-gen games are optimized to run on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which have 8-core processors.
It’s not just in gaming that the Ryzen 7 2700x shines. It’s also a brilliant choice for multi-threaded applications. Video rendering and streaming, for example, are two applications where the Ryzen 7 2700x has become the go-to choice for those who are on a budget.
If you plan on building a PC today and want to try your hands on streaming or video rendering, the Ryzen 7 2700x is the most cost-effective solution today.
The Case for the Ryzen 5 3600x
We’ve only sung the Ryzen 7 2700x praises so far, but don’t take this to mean that the Ryzen 5 3600x is not worth buying.
The 6-core and 12-thread processor from AMD is a formidable processor and ranks as one of the best gaming CPUs available today. However, one of the biggest issues is that the Ryzen 5 3600x costs roughly just about the same as the Ryzen 7 2700x today. In some cases, it’s even more expensive.
The fact that you’re giving up on both core- and thread-count, as well as a better cooler, for a less expensive processor, drastically drags down the value of the Ryzen 5 3600x.
Still, there’s something to be said for getting a newer processor.
For starters, the Ryzen 5 3600x is supported by the more affordable newer B550 motherboards. This means that you can offset the cost difference between the 3600x and the 2700x by buying a cheaper motherboard. Also, the Ryen 5 3600x supports PCIe 4.0, which means that you don’t have to buy an expensive motherboard to be an early adaptor.
Now, as for whether or not PCIe 4.0 is worth the money is a discussion for another day.
What we’re trying to say here is that, if you value newer technology but don’t necessarily want to get a Ryzen 5000 series processor, the Ryzen 5 3600x is still plenty powerful and futureproof as well.
In terms of head-to-head performance and value, the winner in the Ryzen 7 2700x vs Ryzen 5 3600x argument is obvious.
The Ryzen 7 2700x is hard to beat. It is the king of value performance right now, which isn’t that bad when it was considered the king of mainstream performance when it first launched. Because of how it now costs nearly half of what it did when it first launched, the value presented by the Ryzen 7 2700x is hard to beat.
The best part is that you don’t even have to overclock the Ryzen 7 2700x to get the most money out of it.
The mere fact that you’re buying it means that you’re getting your money’s worth already.
The Ryzen 7 2700x makes it possible to create a performance-oriented gaming PC at an affordable price point, which doesn’t exactly happen often.