AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor review: 2019's best mid-range choice!
If you are following us closely, you have already heard about the new premium processors built by AMD: the Ryzen 9 3900X with its 12 cores, and the octa-core Ryzen 7 3700X. Sure, they're great marvels of processor engineering, but they cost quite a lot. The good news is that AMD also launched a few more affordable computer processors. One of them is the excellent AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, which has six physical cores and 12 processing threads, the same amount of Level 3 Cache memory as the Ryzen 7 3700X, and a high boost clock of 4.4GHz, which means that it should be great for productivity, but most of all for gaming! Does all that appeal to you too? If you want to find out more about the new king of affordable mid-range computer processors, read this review:
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X: Who is it good for?
You should not hesitate to buy the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X if you:
- Are passionate about satisfying gaming experiences
- Need an excellent processor for productivity tasks
- Want to spend a reasonable amount of money
Where To Buy
Pros and cons
After testing and using the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, here is what we love about it:
- It offers terrific single-core performance, which makes it great for games
- Its six cores and 12 threads are more than enough for any productivity task
- It comes at the right price for a great mid-range processor
- AMD builds it on the 7-nanometer manufacturing process, using their latest CPU architecture
- It has a high 3.8 GHz base clock and 4.4 GHz boost clock
- It is unlocked so you can try to overclock it if you want
- It offers support for PCI Express 4 and high-speed DDR4 memory
- Its power consumption is moderate
- AMD bundles a Wraith Spire cooler with it
- Its performance and features are better than what you get from Intel at the same price
As for downsides:
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X tends to heat up too much when using the stock cooler. You must buy a separate cooler that is more efficient
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is one of the best mid-range desktop processors on the market. We are thrilled by its single-core performance. It makes it an excellent choice for gaming, and we are also pleasantly surprised by how good it proved to be for productivity, although it has only six cores, not eight or more, like its more expensive brothers. If you are a gamer or if you want a fast processor, at a moderate price, AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is the processor that you should buy.
Unboxing the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X comes in a rather large box for a processor, and that is because you also get a stock cooler with it. The box is not made of fancy cardboard, but it looks good, nonetheless. Its name and some of the features and specifications are printed on all sides, using white and orange colors on a gray pattern background. On one of the sides of the box, you can also see the actual processor, through a cutout.
Inside the box, you find the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor, an AMD Wraith Spire cooler, the installation instructions, and a Ryzen 5 sticker to put on your PC case or anywhere you like.
Unboxing the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor is a pleasant experience, and it's great to see that you also get a stock cooler with it. That means that you can immediately mount the processor into your computer and start using it.
The Ryzen 5 3600X processor belongs to the latest lineup of CPUs made by AMD. Codenamed Matisse, the 3000 processors series is built on the smallest manufacturing process in the desktop world: 7 nanometers. These processors, including the Ryzen 3600X, use a radically new architecture, called Zen 2, which allows them to offer more speed and performance than any previous Ryzen processors, and one that can easily compete with Intel's processors.
In North America, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is sold at about 250 US dollars and offers six cores and twelve processing threads. The processor is clocked at a 3.8 GHz frequency and can go up to 4.4 GHz in turbo mode. By looking at these essential specs, you might say that this processor is a stripped-down version of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, with two cores less and with a 200 MHz slower boost clock. Fortunately, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X has the same amount of Level 3 cache memory: 32 MB. A direct consequence of the high boost frequency is that the Ryzen 5 3600X should be great for games, which usually require excellent single-core performance.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X has a default TDP of 95 watts, and it comes with a stock cooler also made by AMD, called Wraith Spire. It is not a fancy cooler with RGB lights, like the Wraith Prism you get with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X or 3700X, but it should do a decent job at keeping the processor from overheating. However, from our experience, we can tell you that this cooler can become quite noisy. If you want a silent PC, you might want to invest in another cooler.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X supports fast DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz in dual-channel mode. However, for the best price per performance ratio, you might want to consider using DDR4 DIMMs running at 3600 MHz.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X uses the same AM4 socket and, being a part of the third generation of Ryzen processors, it also offers support for PCI Express 4. However, at least for now, you can get PCI Express 4 only on motherboards with the X570 chipset (Intel does not have any processors that support PCIe 4). The downside is that the X570 mainboards are quite expensive at the moment of writing this review. On the other hand, if you do not want or need PCI Express version 4, the good news is that you can also use the 3600X on older motherboards with chipsets such as X470 or X370, albeit with PCI Express 3.
The hardware specifications of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X tell us that this is a powerful desktop processor, that should offer excellent performance in games as well as in productivity applications.
Performance in benchmarks and games
We tested the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor on a PC with the following hardware and software:
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)
- Memory: HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB Memory (2 x 8GB, 3600MHz)
- Graphics Card: ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1660 Ti GAMING OC
- Storage: ADATA XPG Gammix S11 Pro SSD
- Monitor: ASUS ROG Strix XG32VQ Curved Gaming Monitor (32-inch WQHD 2560 x 1440, 144Hz)
- Power Supply Unit: ASUS ROG Thor 850W Platinum
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro x64 with May 2019 Update
To get a better idea about the performance offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, we compared its benchmarks results with its bigger brothers, the Ryzen 9 3900X and the Ryzen 7 3700X, and also with the older AMD Ryzen 7 2700 processor.
We started with running the Cinebench R20 benchmark, which evaluates the processor performance at rendering. In the multi-thread test which uses all the processor cores, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X obtained a score of 3521 points, which is impressive for a 6-core CPU. Although it's 27% slower than the Ryzen 7 3700X, and almost 50% slower than the Ryzen 9 3900X, it is normal to see that, as this test uses all the processor cores. The 3600X only has six cores, while the 3700X has 8 and the 3900X has no fewer than 12 cores. On the other hand, the 3600X was six percent better than the older Ryzen 7 2700, which has eight cores (2 cores more than the 3600X).
Then, we used CPU-Z and measured a Single Thread score of 502 points. It is a fantastic single-core performance, and that means that it's a great processor if you are interested in gaming. The Ryzen 5 3600X is only 3% slower than the Ryzen 7 3700X and six percent slower than the beastly Ryzen 9 3900X. Its performance is also similar to what you would get from an Intel Core i5-9600K, which also has six cores.
In CPU-Z's Multi-Thread test, we got a score of 4018. As it has fewer cores than its big brothers, the Ryzen 5 3600X does not match them. The Ryzen 9 3900X with its 12 cores is twice as fast, but it also has twice the cores. The Ryzen 7 3700X is 28% faster, but it also has two more cores, and a 200MHz faster boost clock. The Ryzen 5 3600X is 39% faster than the Intel Core i5-9600K, which only gets a score of 2846.
Blender Benchmark renders two different scenes, called bmw27 and classroom, and measures the time of completion. This evaluation means that the faster processor needs less time, so lower results are better. Again, due to its fewer cores, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X needed 22.17 minutes to finish the tasks. It was 32% slower than the 3700X, and almost twice slower than the 3900X. However, it was almost as fast as the Ryzen 7 2700 processor which, although part of the previous Ryzen generation, has eight cores.
We also used the PCMark 10 benchmark to measure the performance of the processor in daily activities. By that, we mean web browsing, video conferencing, apps start-up times, productivity, and digital content creation. This time, the Ryzen 5 3600X scored much closer to the Ryzen 9 3900X or the Ryzen 7 3700X.
7-Zip is file compression software that we use for getting an idea of how fast the processors are. The file compression and decompression speeds are excellent indicators for the CPU performance. Using the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, we measured a compression speed of 40 MB/s, which is the same as the one reached by the AMD Ryzen 7 2700.
The decompression speed in 7-Zip was 760 MB/s, once again similar to that of the Ryzen 7 2700. Both the compression and decompression speeds are lower than the ones we obtained with the 3700X or the 3900X, which both have more cores.
For many users, gaming performance is one of the essential aspects of any processor. That's why we also checked what the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X could do for gamers. We tried to avoid any possible video bottlenecks, so we only ran the games in 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and with the lowest graphics quality set.
The benchmark from Shadow of the Tomb Raider told us that the Ryzen 5 3600X could render 255 frames per second. That is a lot more than the Ryzen 7 2700, and, amazingly, it is even more than the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 9 3900X, although by a small margin.
In Metro Exodus, one of the most demanding games right now, both in terms of video and CPU performance, we measured an average frame rate of 114. It is only 3 to 4% slower than the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 9 3900X. Once more, we are amazed by the performance offered in games by the Ryzen 5 3600X processor!
In World War Z, using the Ryzen 5 3600X, we had 209 frames per second (FPS). It is a great result, although it is moderately slower than its bigger brothers (3700X and 3900X). We expected that, as this is a game that has been optimized for multi-core processors. Therefore, the more cores, the merrier. :)
To test the temperatures reached by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, we ran Prime95 to stress it, and we monitored it with HWiNFO. As usual, we did not choose to use a custom cooler, but the stock one bundled with the processor. The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X comes with a cooler called Wraith Spire. Unfortunately, the 3600X CPU that we had reached high temperatures, getting as hot as 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit). That is too much in our opinion, and, although it may be that our sample had a manufacturing issue, we have to assume that it did not. For safety and the best performance you can get from the Ryzen 5 3600X, we recommend that you buy a better cooler than the stock Wraith Prism.
We used HWiNFO again, but this time to measure the power consumption of the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. The maximum we've witnessed was of only 73 watts, which is less than its advertised TDP. However, when the CPU drew this power, it also reached the worrying temperature of 95 degrees Celsius, which might mean that it was throttling.
The performance that we have witnessed at AMD Ryzen 5 3600X during the tests and benchmarks is top-notch and demonstrates that its destiny is to be the best mainstream processor for both gaming and productivity. Unless you have the money for the more premium Ryzen 7 3700X or Ryzen 9 3900X, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is a great buy.
What is your opinion about the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X?
We like the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X a lot, in capital letters! It is a great desktop processor that AMD sells at the right price, and we consider it an excellent choice for any gamer or user who wants a great performing processor. Do you agree with our perspective? Comment below and let's discuss.