The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor has base and boost clocks that are only 200 MHz faster than the ones offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, and is sold at 50 dollars more. Some users prefer to save some money, buy the cheaper model, and overclock it to match the more expensive AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. Is this a good idea? What kind of performance do you get when overclocking the AMD Ryzen 5 3600? How does it compare to Ryzen 5 3600X? Will it draw a lot of power when overclocked? We answered these questions, and more, in this analysis:
The differences between AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Both the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and the Ryzen 5 3600 are impressive mid-range processors that offer incredible performance at a reasonable price. With its 4.4 GHz boost clock and 3.8 GHz base frequency, the Ryzen 5 3600X is the fastest of the two. However, the Ryzen 5 3600 sits very close to its more powerful brother, with boost and base clocks that are only 200 MHz slower. The TDPs and bundled coolers of these two processors also differ: while the Ryzen 5 3600X comes with a TDP of 95 Watts and a Wraith Spire cooler, the Ryzen 5 3600 comes with a low 65 Watts and a Wraith Stealth cooler.
The Ryzen 5 3600 CPU appears to be a better choice for users who want low power consumption, but also for those who want to save money to buy a better cooler than the stock one, and attempt overclocking the processor.
Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 5 3600
We wanted to see how much we could overclock the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor, how much faster it would become, and whether it could match the performance offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. This is the computer that we used for overclocking and benchmarking the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, and also to review the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X:
- 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
When we decided to overclock the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, we knew that the bundled Wraith Stealth cooler could not dissipate heat efficiently, from our initial review. Instead, we used a liquid CPU cooler from ASUS: ROG Ryou 120. However, even a cheap cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO should do a better job than the Wraith Stealth cooler that you get bundled with the processor.
We chose to overclock the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor by increasing its multiplier from the motherboard UEFI BIOS. We managed to overclock the processor up to a speed of 4.15 GHz. More than that and our test system became unstable.
As you can see, the speed of our overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 (4.15 GHz) is higher than the base clock speed of the Ryzen 5 3600X (3.8 GHz). However, the Ryzen 5 3600X still has a higher boost clock (4.4 GHz). To see how the two processors compare at these frequencies, we ran the same benchmarks that we run for our reviews.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked at 4.15 GHz
We started with the CPU-Z Single Thread benchmark, which tests the single-core performance of the processor. With the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked at 4.15 GHz, we got a score of 497, which is close to what we got from AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. It is a difference of only 5 points or 1%. On the other hand, when overclocked, Ryzen 5 3600 was 5.5% faster than when using its factory clocks.
In CPU-Z Multi Thread test, the overclocked AMD Ryzen 5 3600 got a score of 4093 points, which is much more than when using its factory clocks, and it is even higher than what we got with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. The Ryzen 5 3600 at 4.15 GHz is about 2% faster than the 3600X, and about 11% faster than when running at stock frequency. This is a remarkable performance boost!
We saw the same improvement in the rendering benchmarks. In Cinebench R20, the Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked at 4.15 GHz was 11% faster than its factory version, and almost 3% faster than the 3600X!
In Blender, another rendering benchmark, the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 was again faster (by approximately one minute) than when running at factory clocks or compared to the Ryzen 5 3600X.
PCMark 10 tells us how good a processor is in regular computing activities such as web browsing, video conferencing, apps start-up times, productivity, and digital content creation. In this benchmark, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked to 4.15 GHz was close but not quite as fast as the AMD Ryzen 3600X (which was 1.5% faster).
However, in normal use, you would not notice this insignificant difference. Compared to the Ryzen 5 3600 clocked at factory speed, the overclocked 3600 was 7% faster.
Using 7-Zip's benchmark tool, the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 was slightly faster at compressing files than both the Ryzen 5 3600X and the factory clocked Ryzen 5 3600.
We noticed the same speed improvement in 7-Zip's decompression test: the Ryzen 5 3600 running at 4.15 GHz was faster than the 3600X and the 3600 running at stock speed.
Next, we ran JetStream 2 in Google Chrome, to see how fast the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 processor is when browsing the web. It was almost the same as fast as the Ryzen 5 3600X, and better than when running at factory frequency.
Most overclockers are gamers, so that's why we also ran a few games. For each of them, we used the 1080p resolution and the lowest graphic details available, so that the video card did not bottleneck the processor. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the CPU Render measurement showed us that the Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked at 4.15 GHz was capable of rendering 250 FPS. That's 5 frames less than the Ryzen 5 3600X, which still has a faster boost clock, but it's also 23 frames more than what the Ryzen 5 3600 could render at factory clocks.
We witnessed the same thing in Metro Exodus: the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 was faster than its non-overclocked version, and almost as fast as the Ryzen 5 3600X.
In World War Z, running on Vulkan, the Ryzen 5 3600 at 4.15 GHz rendered 5 frames more than its factory version, and 9 frames less than the Ryzen 5 3600X.
In the end, we also took a look at the temperatures and power consumption. The Ryzen 5 3600 overclocked at 4.15 reached its 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit) maximum temperature, but only when we ran Prime95. Otherwise, we never saw it go higher than 80 degrees Celsius (or 176 degrees Fahrenheit) using our ASUS ROG Ryuo 120 cooler.
As for the power consumption, HWiNFO 64 showed that the overclocked AMD Ryzen 5 3600 drew a maximum of 123 Watts when running Prime95. It's a significant increase! However, in our original review, we used the stock Wraith Stealth cooler, which meant that the processor might have been throttling due to high temperatures.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a fantastic desktop processor. If you are not afraid of overclocking it, you can improve its performance. In some situations, it is faster than the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, while in others, it offers a similar level of performance.
Will you choose to buy an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and overclock it?
Or do you prefer spending more money on the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X? Sure, the 3600X is faster from the factory, and you do not have to overclock it. However, if you overclock the Ryzen 5 3600, even if you buy a new cooler, you can still save a few dollars. What do you prefer? Comment below and let's discuss.