Runs hot at idle - It's fast.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 July 2019
Update 20th January 2020:
I upgraded to a 3900x. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and l'm loving it. A few things to note for those of you Ryzen 3rd Gen. users and prospective buyers:
1. Voltage offset is your friend. In my case and with my specific MOBO (Asus C6H - x370) the different Ryzen CPUs I had (3600x, 3700x and now 3900x) behaved in the same way:
- High voltage at idle up to 1.5V
- (Thus) 'high' idle temps: around 37-45ºC
- Around 1.2-1.3V at load, temps around 60ºC (ranging from 55 to 65ºC on a Corsair H150i Pro, quiet pump and all fans spinning around 800 RPMs).
I don't care what "Robert" from AMD says and I surely don't trust him; I trust the numbers I get on my PC. So, if you want a quieter, more efficient, longer lasting (probably) Ryzen 3rd. Gen. CPU, I advise to go the 'voltage offset' route. Personally, I have my chip set to -1.0V so the 3900x never has more than 1.4V fed to it (I did the same on the 3700x; l actually had this CPU with a 1.250V undervolt and it did just as good as stock. I haven't tried to go so 'low' on voltage on the 3900x yet. I bet it'll work just fine, but until I try it I won't know for certain). I have run benchmarks (games, Cinebench) and I get slightly better results with the offset voltage. YMMV.
2. If you want a totally silent PC experience (and have the appropriate components you'll need for it), I suggest you set a fan curve where fans won't spin up until the CPU reaches 62-63ºC AND you set the fans to have around 3 to 5 seconds response delay (you can actually set normal fan curves as long as you have a 5 seconds response delay. Just observe the CPU behavior and you'll understand the *rational for this).
*This is all about trying to get around the 'low usage' and 'high voltage' Ryzen 3rd. Gen. behavior. Open an app and it'll boost up to its max., having the voltage fed to it to its max., too. This causes the temps to go much higher than at idle but just for literally a couple/few seconds. I've noticed the CPU won't care whether my fans are spinning at 2000 or 700 RPMs: it will still reach such temps. and settle there.
Thus, the way to go is what l mentioned above. That way, your fans won't bother what the CPU is doing and will only spin up when the CPU truly needs it (beyond 62-63ºC). Funny enough that will hardly ever happen (almost never in my system) as, unless you don't have the appropriate airflow, your 3rd Gen. Ryzen CPU will hardly go beyond the aforementioned temps. Sure enough, again, your temps will vary according to the airflow in your case and ambient temps.
3. I don't think l have noticed a significant improvement when going from the 3600x to the 3700x and then to the 3900x (as expected). All these CPUs are pretty snappy and a joy to use (once it's all properly configured). Unless you have a workload that requires more than 6 cores OR you are an enthusiast like me who gets thrilled just by thinking you have a 12 cores and 24 threads CPU, you're probably better off with the 3600 (even the non x).
If you aren't planning to change the CPU until 3 years or beyond (and you like gaming) l'd probably buy the 3700x. Games like Battlefield V do use those 8 cores and even 12! I've seen "BV" using 54% of the 3900x (that's using those 12 cores fully and some of one thread) and I see up to 64% usage when 'loading' the game "COD MW 2019" or the next level. That is insane.
If you aren't a gamer, an enthusiast and/or you won't utilize applications that take advantage of extra cores, then, really, go and get a 3400G. It's an excellent CPU (on daily, 'normal' usage you wouldn't notice a big difference between that one and the 3900x. Of course there is a difference, but not the one you may have in mind; not a 4 VS 12 cores difference.
I got a 3400G for my wife and she can't be happier. Mind you, l would've gotten her the best available in the market had l thought a difference was to be found (for her PC usage). The 3400G will save you money (cheaper, no GPU needed, less powerful PSU required... even the electricity bill will be cheaper... ;-)
Girls and boys, if you have questions, down in the comments. I hope this helps!
Update 1st October 2019:
I switched to a 3700x. The only difference l notice between the 3600x and the 3700x is when looking at MSI Afterburner OSD overlay while playing Battlefield V. Now, CPU usage is a lot less than before. If you're just a gamer you should be more than fine with the 3600x, l surely was. It just that seeing that high CPU usage while playing BV was bugging me (YMMV, as ever).
The 3700x at stock (PBO off) is hitting advertised clocks in most cores. More importantly, idle voltage and temps are now settled after upgrading to BIOS 7501 (on an Asus C6H x370). I'm using Ryzen Balanced Windows Power Plan.
So yeah, so far so good. Boy this's been a journey!
I guess l'll now wait for an offer on the 3900x, not because l need it (not by any means!) but because l can and l am a PC enthusiast. Having 6 cores is good, 8 is great and 12 is awesome. 16 cores, l hear you say? Yeah, bring them on baby!
Update 18th September 2019:
- Upgraded to 5 STARS. At this price (I paid GBP 220, bought from Amazon), this CPU is amazing.
- Added picture showing 2 cores reaching 4468MHz (HWinfo).
- Waiting for BIOS update of 30th September.
I continue being very happy with this CPU. It's snappy and fast. I have observed games like "Battlefield V" using it up to 90%. The game runs as smooth as you would want it (paired to a MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio) and it's a joy to play.
Now, my plan is to upgrade to a better Ryzen CPU next year and hopefully keep it for a few years (I'd buy an 8 cores minimum). If you buy a CPU having in mind to keep it for 3+ years, and you like playing games that utilize 8 or more cores if available (like "BV" does) then I would suggest you going for a 3700x instead. It'll be a better buy in that case scenario.
Update (a week after purchase):
I got into terms with this CPU and decided to keep it.
After a week of daily usage l can tell this processor is faster and snappier than the one it’s replacing, a firstname.lastname@example.orgGhz.
The only problem I found is the idle temperatures are ‘somehow’ hotter than the 1700x (even when OC). Basically, when idling, the 3600x temperature jumps from around 35°C all the way to 60-63°C. It is a strange, ‘restless’ behavior (see my system’s specs at the bottom).
I have come into terms with this by readjusting the fans’ curve. In any case, the fans every now and then rev up to speeds they never reached before (past 2000Rpms in the case of the CPU fans when the latter occasionally reaches 73°C for a few seconds while loading a game). This happens rarely, but I’ve seeing it.
In most cases, while gaming or stress testing, the CPU tends to sit at 60-63°C with an ambient temperature of around 20°C. For example, playing Battlefield V (3840x1200@120Hz), as you can see in the (lousy) uploaded pictures. I’d happily say this CPU is pretty cool under load.
Another ‘weird’ thing I observed is the voltage. At idle, 1.4V; under load 1.3V. I think this is why the CPU is hot and jumpy when idling VS cooler and more stable under load. I researched online and found that the higher idle voltage is meant to ‘assist’ the 1-2 cores higher clock speed, whereas the lower voltage under load is because of the slower 6 clocks core speed.
Speaking of clock speed, my processor has no problem reaching the advertised 4.4Ghz and even 4.450Ghz occasionally. While playing games it sits at 4.275-4.3Ghz, often speeding up to 4.375Ghz. I used “GPU Tweak II” to see the CPU’s behavior ‘while playing games’ and “HWmonitor” to monitor it in general.
One thing to notice is the CPU cooler l’m using: an AIO 360mm Corsair H150i PRO with 3x Be Quiet Silent Wings 3 fans. Keep in mind your clock speed and you temps may vary when pairing the 3600x with a different, less efficient cooler.
I’ll try to take and add new, more informative pictures when l have the time.
All in all, if you’re coming from a 1700x/2700x or slower, I’d recommend the upgrade if you’re looking for a faster ‘Single Core (SC)’ speed and a snappier feeling when using the PC (e.g. opening programs, loading websites, etc.). (Bear in mind, around half a year ago I tried the 2700x on my rig but l sent it back due to not noticing any improvement compared to my 1700x.)
I keep the 4 stars rating due to the 'weird idle behavior'. Otherwise this CPU would completely deserve 5 stars. Price to performance it is a 5 stars CPU.
- C6H (x370)
- RTX 2080 Strix
- Corsair H150i PRO (with 3x Be Quiet Silent Wings 3)
- NVME Samsung 960 PRO
- 3200Mhz – 16GB RAM – Corsair Dominator Platinum
- EVGA T2 - 850w
- Be Quiet Dark Base 900 Pro
(*As a side note and in order to help prospective buyers decide between this CPU and the 3700x.)
If your usage is like mine (Word, 20+ tabs/two windows internet browsing, gaming AAA games, listening to music and watching movies) then this CPU will surely serve you very well. I would certainly also explore Intel options (specifically the 9700K if on offer).
I’ve had an 8 cores CPU (the aforementioned 1700x) and trust me, if you want a fast, snappy feeling on your PC, you want high SC performance. Leave all those 8 cores for ‘video editors’ and other users of applications that utilize a high core/thread count.
‘Future proofing,’ I hear you say? I laugh at that concept. My beloved 1700x bought in the best region of the world (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in May 2017 (yeah, I was a Zen early adopter) is already outdated by a 6 cores CPU, 2 years later. There is no ‘future proofing’ in technology. Now, if you can’t afford an upgrade every 2 years or you just don’t bother, then surely, aim at the best you can buy today. I would then pay the extra 80 GBP and get the 3700x because those extra 2 cores may come handy in the coming 4-5 years. If your PC usage is like mine and you’re like me in that you’re already thinking of the new Ryzen CPU (Zen 5?) then get this one and save those 80 GBP for the next Ryzen generation.
‘Some games use 8 cores,’ you say. Well, check games benchmarks and tell me what the difference is: 5fps? 8fps in the best case scenario? Will you notice that? I surely won’t.
I have mixed feelings about the 3600x.
On one hand it 'feels' snappier and faster than my old and trusty 1700x (even when OC to 3.9Ghz), on the other hand the 3600x runs hotter when idling.
My PC was silent until upgrading to the 3600x. I can now hear the 3x Be Quiet Silent Wings 3 fans revving up (installed on a 360mm AIO Corsair 150i PRO) at idle. Ambient temperature: 19°C.
The CPU reaches the advertised speed and l have seen it surpassing it, too (see pictures attached). When all cores are in use it seats at 4.09 while aleatory changing the speed of 1 core to 4.124Mhz (when benchmarking Cinebench r15 MC).
So far it gets 4 stars because it runs significantly hotter than the 1700x (3.9Ghz OC) at idle. When gaming (BV) it sits at around 63-65°C (see attached pictures) (Front door of my case opened, 3x 140mm Be Quiet Silent Wings 3 located at the case front running at full speed).
Conclusion, after a few hours of testing (To be updated):
- It feels snappier/faster than a 1700x (OC to 3.9Ghz) when opening programs and ‘normal usage’. This time it’s not only about ‘numbers’ (benchmarks) but you can ‘feel’ the difference.
- It runs hotter than a 1700x (even when OC to 3.9Ghz).
- Metro Exodus Benchmark: l get the very same results with the 3600x and the 1700x on this benchmark. I guess l’m GPU limited/bottlenecked (but just to say).
One star off because of the temps at idle. l'll conduct further testing and come back to update this review in a week.
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