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AMD Ryzen 7 3700X vs Intel i7-9700K – Which 8 Core CPU In 2019?

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AMD has launched their new 8 core Ryzen 7 3700X CPU at a lower price than Intel’s 8 core i7-9700K, so let’s see what the differences are and find out how they perform in games and applications, both at stock and while overclocked Let’s start out with the specs

The major difference between the two is that the AMD 3700X has 8 cores and 16 threads, while the Intel 9700K is 8 cores and 8 threads, it doesn’t have hyperthreading like the more expensive 9900K Based on this we’re expecting the 3700X to come out ahead in multicore performance due to the higher thread count Both CPUs have the same base clock, while the 9700K has a higher boost clock, though as both are based on different architectures this can’t really be directly compared Otherwise the 3700X has more cache and both are unlocked for overclocking I’m comparing these two CPUs because they’ve both got 8 cores and while the price points are roughly the same, the Intel chip costs more

The 3700X is launching at $329 USD, while at the time of recording the 9700K is going for $365 USD While there should be a cheaper KF version available without the integrated graphics, it either wasn’t available or cost more at the stores I checked in the US There was recently news that Intel may lower prices though, so check the description for updated pricing Both CPUs were tested in the same system, however I’ve obviously had to change motherboards For the AMD 3700X I’ve tested with the MSI X570 ACE motherboard and for the Intel 9700K I’ve used the MSI Z390 ACE motherboard

The rest of the components were otherwise the same, I’ve tested with 16gb of DDR4-3200 memory running in dual channel at CL14 and with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks Although the 3700X comes with a cooler included in the box I haven’t tested with it I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H1 paste for both CPUs so we can get an apples to apples comparison Testing was completed with the latest version of Windows and Nvidia drivers along with all BIOS updates available installed I’ve tested both CPUs at stock, and with the 9700K overclocked to 5

1GHz and 3700X overclocked to 43GHz, so we can see how overclocking helps improve performance with both With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications, as well as power draw and thermals, followed by gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p resolutions afterwards, then finish up by comparing some performance per dollar metrics Let’s start out with Cinebench R20 I’ve got the overclocked results on the upper half of the graph while the stock results are on the lower half

As expected the 3700X is coming out ahead in the multicore workload due to the higher thread count, as the 9700K has no hyperthreading At stock the 3700X was actually slightly ahead when it came to single core, however the score went down once it was overclocked to 43GHz on all cores This is a trend we’ll see as we continue, basically the 3700X would boost higher than this in single core at stock, so by manually overclocking all 8 cores to this speed we’re actually lowering single core performance, but we’ll see later how precision boost overdrive helps improve this While Cinebench R15 has been replaced by the newer R20 just covered, I wanted to also include the results of this one too

Again the 3700X is beating the 9700K in the multicore score, though this time the 9700K was ahead in single core performance, while again the 3700X saw a lower single core result due to the 43GHz all core overclock I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks, and as a test that works better with more threads it’s another clear win for the 3700X At stock the 3700X is completing the BMW test 32% faster than the 9700K and 36% faster in the Classroom test This gap closes a little once we overclock both CPUs, with the 3700X reduced to a 27% lead in the BMW test, while coming out 33% ahead for the Classroom test

Handbrake was used to convert a 4K file to 1080p, and then a different 1080p file to 720p This is another workload that benefits from more threads, so at stock settings we’re seeing the 3700X complete the 4K conversion 27% faster than the 9700K and 30% faster for the 1080p file Again once overclocked the gap narrows in a bit, with the 3700X now 22% ahead for the 4K conversion and 26% faster for the 1080p file Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my laptop review videos at 1080p, and the results between the two CPUs were very close in this particular test At stock the 3700X was completing the task around 4% faster than the 9700K, and while overclocked this lowers to a 2

5% lead due to the higher overclock on the 9700K, however I’d expect 4K results to show a larger gap I’ve also tested the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere, basically this processes a video file to smooth it out, and in this test the 3700X was 95% faster than the 9700K Once both are overclocked though the playing field evens out, the 3700X only speeds up by 2 seconds while the 9700K saw a much more impressive 16 second improvement due to its better overclock, putting the 3700X now just 2% ahead I’ve used 7-Zip to test compression and decompression speeds, and this test saw the largest difference between these two chips out of all applications tested

With stock configurations the 3700X was performing compression operations 34% faster than the 9700K, and a massive 50% faster for decompression Once overclocked the the 3700X is now 40% ahead for compression speed, as the overclock appears to have negatively affected the 9700K Meanwhile the 3700X performed worse at decompression with the overclock, so the difference there drops down to a 41% lead over the 9700K VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds, and in this test the 3700X was ahead of the 9700K, an interesting result considering the 9900K beat the 3900X in this test The Intel chip did see an improvement once overclocked though, while the 3700X backtracked slightly

At stock the 3700X was performing encryption operations 20% faster than the 9700K and 22% faster in terms of decryption With both overclocked the margin drops a fair bit, with the 3700X now 9 and 10% ahead in decryption and encryption respectively The V-Ray benchmark is another that relies on thread count to boost performance, and as a result the 3700X is 26% faster than the 9700K at stock, and then with both CPUs overclocked it’s just slightly further ahead with almost a 27% lead The Corona benchmark uses the CPU to render out a scene, and as another test that scales well over multiple threads it’s giving us one of the highest improvements with the 3700X, with a 37% lead over the 9700K at stock With both overclocked though the 9700K narrows the gap, as the 3700X is 34% ahead now, and we can see the overclock only sped up the 3700X by 4 seconds while the 9700K saw a larger 9 second improvement

These are the differences between the 3700X and 9700K CPUs in all of these applications, as we can see it really depends on the specific workload At stock in almost all cases the 3700X is coming out ahead, as most of these tests are multi core workloads On average over all of these tests, the 3700X was almost 23% ahead of the 9700K Once overclocked things change a little, these are the differences between both CPUs with the 3700X overclocked to 43GHz on all cores and 9700K overclocked to 5

1GHz on all cores In most cases the gap between them narrows a bit as we’re able to squeeze out more performance from the overclocked 9700K, however the 3700X is still 19% faster on average in these specific tests I’ve also measured total system power draw from the wall while running the Blender benchmark At stock the 3700X is using almost 12% less power, and this is while it’s completing the task 32% faster, so this seems to be showing off Zen2’s efficiencies Once both are overclocked the 9700K needs much more power, though to be fair it is also a higher overclock

While overclocked the 3700X is using 28% less power than the 9700K but is still completing the Blender test 27% faster than the 9700K These are the CPU temperatures with the same blender tests running Both at stock and while overclocked the AMD chip was running a little warmer, and this was despite it using less power It’s worth remembering that these blender tests are completing 32% faster at stock on the 3700X and 27% faster once overclocked, so it’s getting more work done which to me seems to justify the slightly warmer temperatures Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested these games at all setting levels at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions, and just as a reminder I’m also using a 2080 Ti to reduce GPU bottlenecks as much as I can

We’ll start off with stock results, then look at overclocked and precision boost overdrive results afterwards Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark In all upcoming gaming graphs I’ve got Intel’s 9700K shown by the blue bars and AMD’s 3700X shown by the red bars I’ve also tested all setting levels, which are shown on the left hand side of the graph In this game the 9700K was ahead at all setting levels, and at highest settings this equates to a 9% improvement over the 3700X at 1080p

Stepping up to 1440p and the difference at higher settings closes in between them, presumably as we get more GPU bound At highest settings there’s just a single frame difference, but a wider gap at lower settings Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was also tested with the built in benchmark, and the Intel CPU was ahead in all regards here This test saw the largest boost with the 9700K, which was scoring 18% higher average FPS at ultra high settings, with also a larger 21% boost to 1% low At 1440p the results don’t really drop down too far, however there is less of a difference between the two now, with the 9700K now less than 14% ahead at maximum settings, and even smaller 12% increase to 1% low

Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, I prefer testing this as I can more precisely perform the same test run with less variance, however multiplayer does seem to be more CPU intensive Overall at 1080p there wasn’t too big of a difference in 1% low performance, while at ultra settings the 9700K was 9% ahead of the 3700X in average FPS At 1440p the 1% lows are even closer together now, and the average frame rates too for that matter, with the 9700K now just 3% ahead in terms of average frame rate at max settings Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark, and at 1080p we’re seeing the second largest improvement with the 9700K out of all games tested At ultra settings the 9700K was 15% ahead of the 3700X in terms of average FPS, while the 1% low was 17% higher

When we move up to 1440p this difference narrows in a bit, with the 9700K now 12% ahead of the 3700X with regards to average FPS, though the difference was larger at lower settings, with a 16% lead by the 9700K at low settings Watch Dogs 2 is a game that loves CPU power, yet is a game that I can personally play just fine with a stable 30 FPS, so from a practicality perspective either CPU is giving insane performance and I honestly couldn’t notice a difference while actually playing the game We’re here for the details though, so at ultra settings there was a 10% higher average FPS from the 9700k, then at 1440p the gap actually widened further, with the 9700k now with a 16% lead over the 3700X, but again both still completely playable no problem CS:GO is a game that’s well known for performing better on Intel CPUs, so I just had to try it out I’ve tested it with the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and there wasn’t that big of a difference in terms of 1% lows, while low and medium settings were quite close in average FPS too

At maximum settings though the 9700K was 7% ahead of the 3700X At 1440p I saw this difference rise to an 11% lead with the 9700K, though I don’t think this is a great game in terms of representing what to expect in a general sense I’ve also tested out Rainbow Six Siege with the built in benchmark At 1080p we’re looking at almost a 10% higher average frame rate at ultra settings with the 9700K, but a higher 17% 1% low, arguably more important for a first person shooter like this Once we go to 1440p the difference in terms of percentage was quite similar, with a lower 8% higher average frame rate at ultra settings with the 9700K now, with bigger margins seen at lower setting levels

Out of all 7 games tested we’re looking at an 11% higher average frame rate with the 9700K at highest setting levels at 1080p Some CPU heavy games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey saw a massive improvement with the 9700K, while others like CS:GO were much more minimal, it really varies by game At 1440p as we typically start to become more GPU bound the difference between the two CPUs lowers slightly to around a 95% improvement with the 9700K, but again it really depends on the specific game and even how it was tested That’s stock settings, so what about with both CPUs overclocked? As testing every single setting level takes a long time I’ve just picked one setting to test overclocked results at 1080p

I’ve also tested the 3700X with Precision boost overdrive enabled, noted as PBO onwards, which essentially boosts power limits Speeds of each core are also controlled for us here, so in general we should see better single core performance when compared with our manual 43GHz all core overclock, which was better for the workloads that smashed all cores previously, but generally less useful for gaming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey saw a nice improvement to 1% low with the 9700K At stock the 9700K was 9

5% ahead of the 3700X, however once we overclock the 9700K it goes further ahead Even with the best case result from the 3700X with PBO enabled it’s now 11% faster, though PBO did at least improve upon our manual overclock Battlefield 5 saw nice improvements from both the AMD and Intel CPUs once overclocked, particularly in terms of 1% low, however the 9700K’s 1% low rose up a lot more in my test In terms of average frame rate, at stock the 9700K was 10% ahead of the 3700X, but then once overclocked the gap closes in a bit as the 9700K is now 8% faster than the 3700X with PBO enabled Far Cry New Dawn didn’t really see a difference with or without overclocking, in both instances the 9700K was around 14% faster in terms of average frame rate

It’s worth noting that I did use the built in benchmark here, I’ve seen that the difference in actual game play varies a bit more Shadow of the Tomb Raider didn’t change too much with and without the overclocks, just a one to three FPS boost with the 3700X and a three FPS boost to the 9700K, so either stock or overclocked the 9700K was close to 14% faster than the 3700X Watch Dogs 2 was another game that didn’t really see a change to the 3700X, the manual overclock and PBO were just a few FPS ahead of the stock result, while the overclock on the 9700K saw a much larger increase to frame rate in comparison In CS:GO we’re seeing a much larger improvement with the overclock on the 9700K, and again PBO with the 3700X was performing better than my manual overclock in this game The higher single core speed from the 9700K made quite a large difference here, at stock the 9700K was just 2

5% ahead of the 3700X in average FPS, then when overclocked this rises to a 75% lead Rainbow Six Siege saw basically no change between the 3700X at stock compared to my manual overclock, however PBO was able to give us a little boost, a larger boost compared to the overclock on the 9700K at least These are the differences between these games at stock, shown by the purple bars, and with best case modifications, shown by the red bars, so the 51GHz overclock on the 9700K and the 3700X with PBO enabled

With PBO enabled we saw equal or better performance in games from the 3700X compared to our manual overclock, so it appears to make more sense to just turn that on in games These results depend on the game, some saw the gap narrow once the 3700X has PBO enabled, while other games preferred the overclock on the 9700K When it comes down to it I don’t think we’re seeing that big of a difference in gaming performance at stock To be fair I have only tested 7 games here, however from what I’m seeing you can get decent gaming performance with both, I honestly can’t say I personally was able to notice the extra FPS from the 9700K while testing Despite this though, it was the clear winner in the games tested in terms of raw performance

If you only care about gaming then at first glance it appears that the 9700K is the better choice, however we need to factor in overall costs These are the dollar per frame values at 1080p averaged out over all 7 games tested at maximum settings I’ve got the 3700X shown up the top in red, with a couple of different options for the 9700K in blue The bottom bar represents the CPU only, however it doesn’t come with a cooler so is essentially useless like this The 3700X comes with a decent stock cooler which is a great advantage here

Even without the cooler though, in terms of dollar per frame value the 3700X is ahead, but the 9700K falls further behind once we add on even a cheaper cooling option I haven’t added the 9700KF here, while that’s meant to be a cheaper solution on paper, at the time of recording it actually costs more in the US than the 9700K and doesn’t make sense Here are the results with both CPUs overclocked In general we saw the overclock from the 9700K give us better performance compared to the 3700X, so we’re seeing the dollar per frame values from it close in Again the 9700K is still more money per frame in games even without a cooler, while the additional cooler cost again makes it cost more

Using PBO with the 3700X either gave equal or better performance in gaming to our manual 43GHz all core overclock, and we’re seeing that reflected here, though only very slightly It’s not all about gaming though, as we saw earlier, many applications benefit more from the extra threads with the 3700X compared to gaming These are the cost per frame values while exporting a 4K video file to 1080p with Handbrake I’ve chosen this particular test as it completed 27% faster on the 3700X, which was quite close to the 24% average improvement that we got from all applications tested, plus it’s a very real and common workload

The 3700X is giving us far better value here due to those extra 8 threads While this appears to have made less of a difference with gaming it’s a huge improvement to multithreaded applications like this Once both CPUs are overclocked we see the 9700K results improve more than the 3700X due to the higher levels of performance we were seeing from the 9700K’s overclock Despite this though, the 3700X is the clear winner here in terms of value and performance, and it’s worth mentioning that if you plan on running the 9700K at 51GHz under a workload like this I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you need to spend more than $50 for a good cooling solution, so take the $50 example as a best case for illustrative purposes, but better cooling will of course make the 9700K more expensive

With that said, I do acknowledge that the cooling I’m using with the 3700X is most likely better than the stock cooler, so with the stock cooler we may see slightly different results, but I wouldn’t expect them to be wildly different It’s likely that the 8 cores on offer from either CPU are going to be enough for gaming for the foreseeable future, however if you’re someone that also uses your machine for productivity tasks, as we saw earlier the higher thread count from the 3700X does have some nice advantages Speaking of the future, it’s also worth mentioning that AMD’s AM4 socket will also support the 12 core 24 thread 3900X CPU and 16 core 32 thread 3950X CPU, so there are some further upgrade paths, not even including anything we may get next year The 9700K on the other hand can be upgraded to the 8 core 16 thread 9900K, however at this time it’s not clear if Intel will be progressing beyond this without requiring either a new socket or chipset If you need higher core counts for productivity tasks the AMD lineup is definitely looking a lot better in terms of value and performance

If you only care about gaming and want the best performance in terms of raw FPS, then you’re of course better off getting the 9700K, though it does cost more for the CPU alone before you even begin factoring in the necessary cooling to run it If you overclock it with a decent cooler the performance per dollar does get a bit better, however the 3700X is still winning in this regard in both gaming, then with a much larger gap in productivity workloads that better utilize its additional threads, making the 3700X a better well rounded CPU in my opinion For me personally the frame rates I was getting from both CPUs were high enough and the games were playing well with either I’d be more than happy to sacrifice on average 11% FPS in gaming and take the better performance in more threaded applications, but that’s just me It’s also possible that over time we may see the 3700X start performing better in terms of gaming performance, as future titles and game updates continue to make better use of more threads, so perhaps a revisit in a year or two would be worthwhile

Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, Intel’s i7-9700K or AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X? I’m really interested to hear which you’d go for I’ve got more CPU comparisons on the way, so if you’re new to the channel you’ll definitely want to get subscribed for those

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