Question Dilemma: buying AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or waiting for desktop Intel Ice Lake

Jan 12, 2019
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#1
A little bit about myself and my situation. I'm a very price conscious person (let's say the average wage in my country is six to ten times lower than in the US), I'm also very strapped for money and at the same time I want to upgrade because ... I don't really know why since my current PC still works just fine and it runs all the games and tasks I throw at it. My current build is Intel Core i5 2500K + NVIDIA 1060 6GB and I'm gaming at 1080p. I'm thinking about upgrading to Ryzen 3700X and some time in the future I'll upgrade either to the next gen Navi or NVIDIA's 7nm GPU. The current offerings don't really look exciting in terms of performance/power and I never buy GPUs with TBP above 150W. The reason why I haven't upgraded to previous Intel/AMD CPUs is because they don't offer enough increase in IPC. The Ryzen 3000 series, on the other hand, looks extremely exciting for the first time ever since 2011.

This upgrade will serve me for the next 7-10 years just like the current one has already done (8 years). I'm OK with waiting for a year or a little longer. I don't need fancy features like super-fast SSD/M.2 disks, USB 3.2 gen 2, Wi-Fi or anything for that matter. I have a single SATA 3.0 SSD disk I'm perfectly content with its performance.

So, the question is: should I upgrade right now to AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or should I wait for the next gen Intel desktop CPUs? I don't want to purchase Core i7 9700K since it's rife with vulnerabilities, the platform overall is done and dusted and Ice Lake is considerably faster (~18% IPC increase), so knowing that a much better uArch is around the corner doesn't inspire confidence in current Intel offerings.
 
Apr 27, 2000
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#2
Seen the Intel roadmaps lately? Intel 10nm desktop CPUs may never happen. Ever.

It looks like Intel desktop is: 9900KS -> Comet Lake-S (14nm) -> Rocket Lake-S (14nm, Sunny Cove?) -> ??? (probably 7nm Golden Cove in 2022).

Your immediate choices are Zen2 today or 10c Comet Lake-S in 2020. Zen3 should show up about a year from now.
 

tamz_msc

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2017
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#3
I would suggest that you wait for a while so that the teething problems with the Ryzen 3000 platform are sorted out.
 

epsilon84

Senior member
Aug 29, 2010
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#4
I'm not trying to be a smartass here, but Intel IPC has been stagnant since 2015 (Skylake) and AMD has only just caught up in that respect with the Ryzen 3000 series. So if that was your rationale for not upgrading from a 2500K (due to lack of IPC gain) how is that any different now? Compared to the 2500K, the current 9th gen Core / Ryzen 3000 chips will be about 25-30% faster clock for clock, substantial but not really earth shattering. You'll actually see larger gains than that in games because a 4C/4T CPU like the 2500K will often bottleneck modern titles, so (without GPU bottlenecks, at least) you should expect to see a doubling in performance in many modern titles.

To answer your question though, if money is tight, I would look at the Ryzen 3600 rather than the 3700X. Invest the extra money into the GPU instead, if you really want to spend the same amount. The 3600 is within 5% of the 3700X in gaming, and games won't be thread limited on a 6C/12T CPU anytime soon. If the 3600 gets a bit slow in a few years time, you can probably upgrade to a next gen Ryzen CPU on the same motherboard.
 
Mar 10, 2004
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#5
You have a 2500k / 1060 and game at 1080P and are price conscious, so you are fine for a while as far as I can see. You don't need an upgrade yet.
 

Shivansps

Platinum Member
Sep 11, 2013
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#6
The 2500K was hit with a ton of brinks called security patches, ill say the IPC diff today is really significant.
 

epsilon84

Senior member
Aug 29, 2010
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#7
The 2500K was hit with a ton of brinks called security patches, ill say the IPC diff today is really significant.
You're probably better off not installing those patches if that is the case, most of these security exploits don't really affect desktop users that much, though I'm no expert in this area admittedly.
 

inf64

Platinum Member
Mar 11, 2011
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#8
I agree with epsilon84 and LTC8K6, you are good for now. You can wait another cycle and see what is on the market in 2020-2021.
 
Jul 15, 2006
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#9
I'm not trying to be a smartass here, but Intel IPC has been stagnant since 2015 (Skylake) and AMD has only just caught up in that respect with the Ryzen 3000 series.
Price happened. In AMD Bulldozer times, and even in Ryzen 1 times, Intel has a big price disadvantage. Now that Ryzen 2 appeared, there is much more cpu power at lower price brackets. A 3600 should serve him well. A 3700x as his wish is even better, 8c/16t is a good performance to keep you for a long time.

But if you are price conscious, a 3600 and a mild overclock should let you invest that 100€ difference in a better gpu.
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
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#10
If the 2500K is still doing okay then perhaps consider a 3600 instead of a 3700X since you still get a big performance uplift and it’s $130 less expensive (price differentials may be different for you) which can be used on other components.

8 cores would be more future proof but unless you really have need of them it just seems like overkill.
 
Jun 3, 2011
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#11
uh ... i game at 1080 and my 4670k @ 4.2 delid on liquid metal + AIO 240 is reeeeally struggling. Maybe you guys dont really know what a 2500k is like on modern systems?
 
Aug 17, 2002
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#13
Stick with your 2500k + 1060; its a well balanced system that should be good for a couple more years.

Since your pretty price sensitive; then I would certainly hold out and see how Intel responds. Either they will come out with something better (I expect nothing in the near term; but anyone guess 18 months from now) or have to compete better on price.

I doubt that there is much your current system can't run? (possibly with dialing back some high end settings a tad)
 
Jan 12, 2019
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#14
Thanks everyone! I haven't yet made my mind but I'm 50% certain I'll upgrade to 3700X.

uh ... i game at 1080 and my 4670k @ 4.2 delid on liquid metal + AIO 240 is reeeeally struggling. Maybe you guys dont really know what a 2500k is like on modern systems?
Perhaps you're running something like RTX 2080? My GTX 1060 6GB is not that much affected by my slow CPU.

I'm not trying to be a smartass here, but Intel IPC has been stagnant since 2015 (Skylake) and AMD has only just caught up in that respect with the Ryzen 3000 series. So if that was your rationale for not upgrading from a 2500K (due to lack of IPC gain) how is that any different now? Compared to the 2500K, the current 9th gen Core / Ryzen 3000 chips will be about 25-30% faster clock for clock, substantial but not really earth shattering. You'll actually see larger gains than that in games because a 4C/4T CPU like the 2500K will often bottleneck modern titles, so (without GPU bottlenecks, at least) you should expect to see a doubling in performance in many modern titles.

To answer your question though, if money is tight, I would look at the Ryzen 3600 rather than the 3700X. Invest the extra money into the GPU instead, if you really want to spend the same amount. The 3600 is within 5% of the 3700X in gaming, and games won't be thread limited on a 6C/12T CPU anytime soon. If the 3600 gets a bit slow in a few years time, you can probably upgrade to a next gen Ryzen CPU on the same motherboard.
3700X (8 cores + SMT + Sky Lake level IPC) will be significantly faster than Intel Core i5 2500K even in single threaded mode and Ryzen also supports AVX2 instructions which make certain workflows dramatically faster. The Ryzen 2000 series was a very mild upgrade in terms of IPC and it was quite limited in terms of frequency and thermals.

I agree with epsilon84 and LTC8K6, you are good for now. You can wait another cycle and see what is on the market in 2020-2021.
For my current build (CPU + 16GB RAM + decent mobo) I'll get less than $150 and in two years time this combo it'll cost even less ;-) that's why I'm willing to finally upgrade. For the first time in 12+ years I've decided to go AMD 'cause Intel has many things against it: 9700K dissipates more watts, it has a huge number of HW vulnerabilities, and I'm 99% confident Socket 1151 is a dead end 'cause Intel has never been interested in preserving compatibility. Features-wise CL chipsets offer more features than B450 but like I've already mentioned I'm not really looking for them.

Stick with your 2500k + 1060; its a well balanced system that should be good for a couple more years.

Since your pretty price sensitive; then I would certainly hold out and see how Intel responds. Either they will come out with something better (I expect nothing in the near term; but anyone guess 18 months from now) or have to compete better on price.

I doubt that there is much your current system can't run? (possibly with dialing back some high end settings a tad)
That's correct however my build even struggled to run The Division (1) smoothly so I had to dial down quite a few settings.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#15
I kind of agree, then I decided to disagree, with those that say "wait".
That's correct however my build even struggled to run The Division (1) smoothly so I had to dial down quite a few settings.
That means that you have a NEED, NOW, for an upgrade. You can't really afford to "wait", if it's going to hold back what you want to do with your PC.

I agree, if you do any productivity with your PC, besides gaming, get the 3700X. If you strictly JUST game, get the 3600 or 3600X (3600X comes with a better cooler, and boosts to 4.4Ghz, rather than 4.2Ghz).

It is a decent time to consider buying. At least in the USA, RAM and SSD prices are at nearly all-time lows. Ryzen 3rd-Gen has been introduced at a great time.

I'm currently running a 3600, having been running a 1600 for the last 2+ years, and it's quite a nice noticeable step up, for desktop usage. I don't really game much anymore, so I can't comment on that, but benchmarks put it up against the 9400F and 8700K, and it does quite well.

Being 7nm, and having 32MB of L3 cache (per chiplet, there's 64MB of total L3 cache and two chiplets in the 3900X and soon, the 3950X), it really excels at scientific-computing tasks. Also, AVX/AVX2 bandwidth internally has been increased to match Intel's AVX units, so it really is faster than most Intel chips, at say, Prime-number finding.

Edit: If you do decide to upgrade, get some DDR4-3600 RAM too. Word on the street is that Micron E-die is great and cheap.
 
Sep 9, 2017
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#16
Nah, your setup is still decent. Make do with what you have, turn settings down, wait for next-gen games, then upgrade.
 
Jan 12, 2019
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#17
Nah, your setup is still decent. Make do with what you have, turn settings down, wait for next-gen games, then upgrade.
I have a sneaking suspicion we're now enjoying the last pieces of IPC increase, so I believe waiting even further doesn't make too much sense. Also, it's not exactly clear new nodes (10nm and smaller) can reach the frequencies we enjoyed in the past (~5GHz).

Besides in single threaded mode we're now just two times faster than we were ten years ago aside from the tasks which take the advantage of new instructions (AVX, AVX2).

It's all become pretty bleak on the CPU side of progress. Some algorithms just cannot be parallelized.
 
Mar 10, 2004
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#18
What's the best CPU your current board will take?

Perhaps there is a cheap 8 thread upgrade path that way, that will keep you from spending much money now?

3770K? 2700K?
 
Jan 15, 2017
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#19
Ice Lake wont be coming to desktop in few years. Intel can't get the clocks up enough on 10nm process. The roadmaps show that. All the nice IPC increase will go only to the laptop space.
 

teejee

Senior member
Jul 4, 2013
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#20
Don't buy 3600/3600x since you plan to keep your computer for 5+ years. Next gen Xbox/PS4 will arrive end of next year and both will be based on 8 core Zen 2 CPU.
So 3600/3600x will be slower than the gaming consoles in 1.5 year.
And this also means that 8 core Zen 2 CPU's will be the main development platform for a lot of games the next 5 years or so.
 

HurleyBird

Golden Member
Apr 22, 2003
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#21
Don't buy 3600/3600x since you plan to keep your computer for 5+ years. Next gen Xbox/PS4 will arrive end of next year and both will be based on 8 core Zen 2 CPU.
So 3600/3600x will be slower than the gaming consoles in 1.5 year.
Smart money is that the next gen xbox and PS4 will be crippled (relative to desktop and server Zen 2 brethren) in either clockspeed or cache size. Likely both.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
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#22
Don't buy 3600/3600x since you plan to keep your computer for 5+ years. Next gen Xbox/PS4 will arrive end of next year and both will be based on 8 core Zen 2 CPU.
So 3600/3600x will be slower than the gaming consoles in 1.5 year.
And this also means that 8 core Zen 2 CPU's will be the main development platform for a lot of games the next 5 years or so.
Scarlett is rumored to have 12 cores actually but how many cores developers will be given is another story. Eiter way the frequency and L3 cache is going to be much lower regardless of the final core count.
 

maddie

Platinum Member
Jul 18, 2010
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#23
Scarlett is rumored to have 12 cores actually but how many cores developers will be given is another story. Eiter way the frequency and L3 cache is going to be much lower regardless of the final core count.
There are also rumors that AMD is going to more threads/core (3-4) versus more cores next round of Zen. It's possible some are hearing 24 threads and thinking 12 cores.
 

moinmoin

Senior member
Jun 1, 2017
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#24
Since you consider waiting for desktop Ice Lake, may I suggest doing just that, and once it arrives buy a Ryzen 7 3700X instead? Chances are that it will take more than a year for any desktop Ice Lake to arrive, and (looking at 1700X and 2700X prices now) at that point the 3700X will be significantly cheaper then.
 
Jun 11, 2019
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#25
There are also rumors that AMD is going to more threads/core (3-4) versus more cores next round of Zen. It's possible some are hearing 24 threads and thinking 12 cores.
they do 12c/24t already... I think you're referring to SMT being able to utilise more than 2 threads per core as is outlined in AMD's roadmap for Ryzen 3/4 where you would have 1 physical core that could utilise 3/4 extra threads
 

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