AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor review: The best price/performance ratio!

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

AMD's new lineup of Ryzen processors has made some exceptional performance improvements compared to its predecessors. And it also provides excellent value compared to similar processors sold by Intel. With the release of the Ryzen 5 3600, AMD has reached new heights and conquers the mainstream and value processors market. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 offers six cores and twelve threads clocked at a base speed of 3.6 GHz and a maximum boost clock of 4.2 GHz, paired with 32 MB of Level 3 Cache memory and support for PCI Express 4.0. All that technology for a price that's under 200 dollars. Does it sound like the best processor you can get for a reasonable amount of money? If you want to know more about the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, read our review:

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Who is it good for?

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the processor you should buy if:

  • You are a gamer, and you are looking for a processor that can handle any modern game
  • You have a limited budget and do not want to spend more than 200 dollars for the processor
  • You want a mainstream processor that offers great performance in any kind of activity

Pros and cons

This is what we like most about the new AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor:

  • Excellent performance in games, thanks to its 4.2 GHz boost clock
  • Thanks to its six cores and twelve threads, it handles any productivity task effortlessly
  • It costs less than 200 dollars
  • It uses the 7-nanometer Zen 2 architecture and has a low TDP of only 65 Watts
  • Although it costs 50 dollars less than the 3600X, its base and boost clocks are only 200 MHz slower
  • It supports PCI Express 4 and fast DDR4 RAM
  • You also get a stock cooler (Wraith Stealth) bundled with it

On the down side, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 reaches high temperatures if you use the stock Wraith Stealth cooler on it. That means that, to get the best performance, you should use a different, better cooler.

Product Rated
5/5

Verdict

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 might just be the best mainstream processor of 2019. For its price, you get both excellent single-core and multi-core performance, support for PCI Express 4.0, and a low TDP. If you want a processor that can run any game or app flawlessly, but do not want to spend a fortune on it, you should buy the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor. It is a great choice for all types of users.

Unboxing the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor arrives in a smaller box compared to the ones of other Ryzen 3000 CPUs. It has a rectangular shape, and although it's made of regular cardboard, its design looks good: shades of orange over gray patterns.

The package of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

On one side of the box, there is a cutout through which you can see the Ryzen 5 3600 processor that you just bought.

You can see the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 through a cutout in its box

When you open the box, you find the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor, as well as an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, a printed installation manual, and a Ryzen 5 sticker.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 - What's inside the box

The unboxing experience offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor is pleasant and straightforward. We appreciate that AMD also bundled a cooler, and we're sure that many users do too. That means that, theoretically, you do not have to spend additional money on a separate cooler.

Hardware specifications

Just like all the Ryzen 3000 processors that AMD released in 2019, the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is built on AMD's new architecture called Zen 2, on a 7-nanometer manufacturing process. Zen 2 comes with huge improvements in speed and efficiency compared to the previous generations of AMD processors, but also compared to similarly priced Intel processors.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is sold at just under 200 USD in the United States, and for this price it offers plenty of performance: six cores and twelve threads, clocked at a base frequency of 3.6 GHz and with a maximum boost frequency of 4.2 GHz. It is essentially a slightly lesser version of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor, with the same number of cores and threads, but 200 MHz slower base clock and boost clock. However, the amount of Level 3 cache memory is the same as the one on the 3600X and also as the one on the eight-core Ryzen 7 3700X. The price difference between the Ryzen 5 3600X and the Ryzen 5 3600 is about 50 USD, which is significant, so many people might prefer to buy the 3600 and attempt overclocking it by themselves to reach the same speeds as the 3600X.

CPU-Z details about the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 processor has a default TDP of 65 Watts and can officially reach a maximum temperature of 95 degrees Celsius. The bundled Wraith Stealth cooler should be enough to dissipate the heat of this CPU in normal conditions. However, while testing it, we found out that the processor heats up quite a lot, especially during stressful situations like playing demanding games or running benchmarks.

The Wraith Stealth cooler bundled with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is designed to work with dual-channel DDR4 RAM at a default frequency of 3200 MHz. However, if you can afford to spend the money on it, the processor works best with 3600 MHz DDR4 RAM. The processor uses the same AM4 Socket as the older AMD Ryzen processors, and that means that you can use it not only with the new X570 motherboards, but also with motherboards based on older chipsets such as X470 or X370. The Ryzen 5 3600 also has support for PCI Express 4, but only if you mount it on an X570 mainboard; on older chipsets it is limited to PCI Express 3.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 uses Socket AM4

After looking at the official hardware specs of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor, we know that its six cores, twelve threads, and above-average base and boost clocks should be enough to run any software or game. Considering its great price, low TDP, as well as its support for PCI Express 4, the Ryzen 5 3600 appears to be an incredibly powerful competitor to Intel's mid-range processor lineup.

Performance in benchmarks and games

We tested the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor on a PC with the following hardware and software:

To get a clearer impression about the performance offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, we compared its results in benchmarks with those of the Ryzen 5 3600X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 9 3900X, and also with the older AMD Ryzen 7 2700 processor.

We started by running the benchmark offered by CPU-Z. In the Single Thread test, which measures the single-core performance, the Ryzen 5 3600 scored 470 points, which means that it is only 6% slower than the Ryzen 5 3600X. This result tells us that this processor should perform well in games: great news for gamers who do not have the budget for high-end processors!

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in CPU-Z Single Thread

In CPU-Z's Multi Thread test, which measures the multi-core performance of the processor, the Ryzen 5 3600 got a score of 3658. It is about 9 percent slower than the Ryzen 5 3600X, which, although it has the same number of cores and threads, has 200 MHz faster base and boost clocks. Nonetheless, it is an excellent result.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in CPU-Z Multi Thread

Next, we moved to the rendering benchmarks and started with Cinebench R20. AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 processor got 3221 points, 300 points or 8.5% less than the Ryzen 3600X.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in Cinebench R20

In Blender, which measures the time needed by the CPU to render two different scenes, the Ryzen 5 3600 was only 3 percent slower than the 3600X. Both processors proved to be faster than we expected in this benchmark, although both of them only have six cores and the rendering performance in Blender scales directly to the number of cores and threads. If you take a look at the graph below, you can see that the Ryzen 5 3600 was just one minute slower than the Ryzen 7 2700 which, although is part of the previous generation, has eight cores.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in Blender

Then we ran PCMark 10, a benchmark that aims to measure the processor performance in daily activities. That means web browsing, video conferencing, app start-up times, productivity, and digital content creation. The Ryzen 5 3600 scored 5636 points. Although it's almost 9 percent slower than the 3600X, it is still an excellent result, which shows that this processor can easily handle any regular computing activities.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in PCMark 10

We also used 7-Zip, a file compression app that includes a benchmark whose results are excellent indicators for the CPU performance. For the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, we measured a compression speed of 40 MB/s, the same as the one we got with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in 7-Zip Compression

7-Zip's benchmark also revealed a decompression speed of 712 MB/s, a bit slower than the 3600X. To be more exact, the Ryzen 5 3600 was about 6 percent slower than its slightly more expensive brother.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in 7-Zip Decompression

Web browsing is one of the most common activities for anyone using a computer. That's why the speed at which your web browser can render websites is essential. To measure the performance of the Ryzen 5 3600 when surfing on the internet, we used JetStream 2, which uses JavaScript and WebAssembly. The higher the score, the faster the processor. Just like for the Ryzen 5 3600X, we were surprised to get a slightly better score than we did for the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 9 3900X..

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in JetStream 2

There is a good chance that you are also a gamer. That's why we also benchmarked the Ryzen 5 3600 processor in a few games. To avoid potential graphics card bottlenecks, we ran the games in 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and with the lowest graphics quality set.

The first game we played was Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Its benchmark tool showed that the Ryzen 5 3600 processor was capable of rendering 227 frames per second. As we expected, this number is a bit lower than the one we got with the 3600X processor (255 frames). Although the difference is not meaningful, it shows that the slightly higher clocks of the 3600X give slightly better performance in games. On the other hand, if you have a good cooler, you can just overclock the 3600 processor and probably get the same results as with the 3600X, for 50 dollars less. :)

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

In Metro Exodus, which has some of the steepest hardware requirements right now, both in terms of video and processor performance, we measured an average frame rate of 109. It is only 4% slower than the Ryzen 5 3600X, and it is the same as we got with the octa-core Ryzen 7 2700 processor from the previous generation.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in Metro Exodus

In World War Z, using the Vulkan API, we measured an average frame rate of 195, slightly less than with the 3600X. However, we are looking at about 200 FPS, so this small difference is rather insignificant.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Benchmark results in World War Z

As for the temperatures reached by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, the news is not good, unfortunately. Just like its faster brother, the 3600X, the Ryzen 5 3600 also heats up a lot. AMD officially specifies that the maximum temperature is 95 degrees. Using the bundled Wraith Stealth cooler, the Ryzen 5 3600 reached this high temperature regularly, and in a few benchmarks (Blender, Cinebench R20, Shadow of the Tomb Raider) it was too much: our computer rebooted. To be able to finish all the benchmarks, we had to use a different cooler.

Temperature readings for the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

To get an approximate idea of how much power the processor draws, we used HWiNFO. Using the stock cooler, we saw a maximum consumption of 70 Watts. However, the amount of electricity consumed can go higher if you use a better cooler, that allows the processor to sustain its boost speed for longer times.

The power consumption of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Although it seems to have some issues with high temperatures when using the stock Wraith Stealth cooler, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a great processor. The results it obtained in all our benchmarks, for productivity, digital media creation, and gaming, are excellent. For a reasonable price, you get a powerful processor.

What is your opinion about the AMD Ryzen 5 3600?

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is probably the best processor you can get for less than 200 dollars right now. There's nothing to match it at the same price, so it is definitely an excellent choice for anyone, including gamers, wanting a processor with a great value for money. Do you agree? Comment below and let us know.