AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: Which CPU should you buy?

Ryzen 5 3600X
Ryzen 5 3600X (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 7 3700X are pretty similar, though the major differences between the two are price, cores/threads, and thermal output. The Ryzen 5 3600X is more affordable, but you have just six cores and 12 threads with a thermal design power (TDP) rating of 95W. The Ryzen 7 3700X comes with eight cores and 16 threads and a lower TDP of 65W. The choice is yours, but it's difficult to make the wrong decision.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Ryzen 5 3600XRyzen 7 3700X
ArchitectureZen 2Zen 2
Clock speed3.8GHz
Launch Price$249$329

Both processors are worth considering

Regardless of which Ryzen 3000 series processor you end up purchasing, your PC will be able to do plenty of tasks, including gaming. Both the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 7 3700X are mid-tier processors that are more powerful than the Ryzen 3, but fall short against the Ryzen 9.

The Ryzen 5 3600X is the more affordable processor of the two. This CPU comes equipped with six cores and 12 threads, thanks to multi-threading. The base clock speed comes in at 3.8GHz with a boost of 4.4GHz. The available cache is 35MB, and TDP rating is 95W. What all this jargon means is it's a solid processor for usual PC tasks and gaming.

AMD Ryzen 7

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

But for intensive applications like video editing, you'll likely want more cores to crunch all that data being sent by the software. This is where the 8-core and 16-thread Ryzen 7 3700X processor comes in. It may have a slightly lower base clock speed, but on the flip side, the Ryzne 7 3700X has a lower TDP rating of 65W.

Go with the Ryzen 5 3600X if you want the best value

The Ryzen 5 3600X offers the best value since it's more affordable. For the price, you get six cores and 12 threads, which is pretty crazy. These new AMD processors aren't like the old FX processors from a few years back. These are seriously good and on par with Intel offerings.

The Ryzen 7 3700X is the better choice for performance

If you need a processor that's able to do more than the Ryzen 5 3600X, the Ryzen 7 3700X is an excellent next step up without substantially increasing the price. Still, for less than $300 for an 8-core processor is a seriously good deal. It's also rated lower in terms of TDP at just 65W.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.