With Ryzen 5000-series CPUs currently in short stock, the Ryzen 7 3700X remains a popular choice at the $300 price point. It offers 8 cores and 16 threads of powerful performance, all in a neat 65w TDP package.
Cooling is a hotly debated topic. And while the 3700X does come with a Wraith Prism cooler, the question remains: Is the stock cooler enough for a Ryzen 3700X? The short answer is: The stock cooler is enough as long as your ambient temperatures are low and your case has good airflow. However, better cooling may be beneficial for better performance.
Below, we’ll go through different usage scenarios where you may need more than stock cooling for your Ryzen 7 3700x, the benefits of using a better cooler, and the pros and cons of different types of cooling.
How Hot is Too Hot for a Ryzen 3700X?
Heat kills. No matter what you’re doing in the computing world, this is a reality we all have to face. Higher temperatures lead to components wearing out faster through degradation, as well as slower performance.
It is important to keep these temperatures in check to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your components, especially the CPU.95°C is the maximum temperature specified by AMD. Going any higher than this will lead to a severe decrease in your CPUs lifespan.
The stock cooler, while sufficient in most cases, is still a part that is made to be cost-effective and cheap to produce. While it does its job and keeps the Ryzn 7 3700x CPU below this threshold, it still has its limitations when it comes to performance.
Thankfully, the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X does have built-in thermal protections that start throttling the CPU (purposely slowing it down) so that it won’t exceed this temperature. You can disable this temperature limit, but it is not recommended to do so. We’d recommend staying under 78c for better performance and for longevity of the CPU.
How Much Cooling Does a Ryzen 7 3700X Need?
Depending on your ambient (room) temperatures, case airflow, and intended use, you can get away with using the stock cooler in some cases. Better cooling will lead to better performance, however.
The way AMD’s CPU frequency boosting algorithm works, lower temps will give you a higher all-core boost frequency, with reasonable scaling all the way down to 60c.
But you don’t have to go that far to see noticeable gains. Even dropping temps from 80c to 70c will give you a 100-150 MHz boost in sustained all-core boost frequency. A $25-$40 cooler with quality paste will see your temps drop by up to 8-10c over the stock cooling solution, while also being quieter.
Does the 3700X Need Liquid Cooling?
Liquid cooling can offer advantages over conventional air cooling and better overall cooling performance. But this comes with added cost and a few drawbacks. A properly sized setup can also offer more thermal headroom for overclocking, better cooling capacity in hotter conditions, or more stable temperatures over long durations of high CPU load.
While liquid cooling can outperform a heatsink. Air cooling is almost always a better choice vs 120mm/140mm liquid coolers as it offers a better price/performance ratio. A similarly priced air cooler will outperform these smaller liquid coolers.
Coming to the 240mm/280mm/360mm and above sizes is where liquid coolers can really stretch their legs. A good, high-end liquid cooler will see your temperatures in the low-mid 60s when not overclocking, or around 70c with a good overclock.
Liquid cooling is also attractive thanks to neat packaging, fewer RAM clearance issues, and in some cases, better aesthetics compared to air coolers.
The drawbacks of liquid cooling are that some solutions may be noisy, either due to fan noise or pump hum. Leaks may also be a concern, however, chances are extremely low on high-quality models. Pump failure is also something to look out for, as most AIOs only last for about 5-6 years.
What Cooler Do I Need for the Ryzen 7 3700X?
What cooler you need will ultimately come down to your usage and conditions. Do you live in a place with hot room temperatures? Do you want to overclock? Will you be rendering, editing, or otherwise see high CPU utilization for long periods of time? Your answer to these questions will determine your needs.
Other things to consider are the size of the case you have or intend to build in, and whether or not you want air or liquid cooling. Below, we have some of the best cooling options for your Ryzen 7 3700X at their respective price points.
For a baseline upgrade over the stock Wraith Prism, we recommend the Deepcool GAMMAXX 400 v2. This will give you a good improvement in temperatures, as well as offering a boost in performance thanks to the boosting algorithms mentioned before. Anything lower than this and you might as well just use the stock cooler.
For a more understated and sleek look, there’s the ever-popular Hyper 212 Black Edition. Offering similar performance to the GAMMAXX 400 v2
For those considering a small form-factor build, like a mini-ITX case, the Noctua NH-L12s is the perfect low-profile cooler. It offers premium build quality, quiet acoustics, and good thermal performance for such a compact design.
If you’re wanting to overclock the Ryzen 7 3700x some, or if you are using your CPU for extended periods at high load, the Scythe Fuma 2 is one of the best bang for buck air coolers on the market. It offers serious cooling performance, quiet acoustics, and is designed with RAM clearance in mind. This will be the best option for most since it offers excellent thermal performance while still keeping costs reasonable.
Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2 is a solid entry-level liquid cooler that has the performance to back up its looks.
Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 280 is one of the best price to performance liquid coolers available on the market today. It is the epitome of “form follows function”. For a serious overclock, this would make a perfect choice.
If you want a more flashy look, check out Corsair’s H115i RGB Platinum, which offers good performance, quiet operation, great aesthetics, and is backed by a 5-year warranty and solid customer service to boot.
EK also offers a premium and unique solution with their 360mm AIO for those wanting the best of the best with no compromises.
After thoroughly going over the limitations of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700x stock cooler and the benefits of better cooling, the bottom line is this;
The stock cooler can be used just fine in most cases, but a better cooling solution is recommended to get the most performance and stability out of your Ryzen 7 3700x CPU. We’ve considered almost every price point and made recommendations we feel are the best options for the money.
If you are planning a 3700x build from scratch you should have a look at the 5 best motherboards for the Ryzen 7 3700x.
James Cosgrove has been the lead writer at GizmoFusion since 2019. He has a huge passion for the latest technology and gadgets. He loves to talk and write about this interest. He hopes that visitors to the website will find his reports informative and helpful when it comes to making the best choices for their needs.