According to a report by Ancient Replays on YouTube, Romanian retailer Intend, has a new CPU listing featuring the model name Ryzen 5 3600 AF - indicating its a Ryzen 5 3600 with upgraded Zen 3 cores. Assuming this naming scheme isn't a typo, it marks the return of the "AF" nomenclature for AMD, which is great news for budget PC gamers. The listing shows the Ryzen 5 3600AF as valued at 639.77 Romanian Lei, or roughly $126 USD as of this writing.
The AF nomenclature originally started with the Ryzen 5 1600 AF, which featured upgraded Zen+ cores compared to the original Zen counterpart. This chip was a bargain at the time, featuring a lower price than the Ryzen 5 2600, but offering nearly identical performance thanks to the Zen+ architecture.
But, rather than being an actual model name, the "AF" terminology originally came from the box identification name on these upgraded 1600s. Since both the original Ryzen 5 1600 and the Zen+ powered Ryzen 5 1600 had the same model name, the only way users could tell the difference, was with the box identification number. This number featured the the letters "AF" at the very end for the Zen+ version, which was different from the "AE" model name on the original 1600. So the Ryzen 5 1600AF is actually a non-official model name, created by the community as a way to distinguish between the two parts.
If Intend's retailer listing is real, the Ryzen 5 3600 AF will follow the same recipe, by stripping out the Zen 2 cores in favor of Zen 3 cores. This will put the 3600AF in a similar - if not equal, performance tier to the Ryzen 5 5600 and 5600X, while costing less money. The retailers listing price seems to back up this up at more than 30% cheaper than the Ryzen 5 5600.
We have to take this listing with a grain of salt, since this is the first listing we've seen with the new model name, and the box identification number does not have the letters "AF" in them. AMD is probably using a different box number to identify Zen 3 3600's from Zen 2 versions, but if that is true, then why is Intend using the community made up "AF" terminology in the first place.
It will be great if this Ryzen 5 3600 AF turns out to be true, but there's still a chance it might be a typo and not come to fruition.
EDIT: At a closer look, the picture is identical to the one used and reused in several websites from Eastern Europe, like this one. I guess it's still possible that they've got a real 3600AF and they are just using the stock picture because they are lazy, but I'm quite sceptical about it.
E.g. (Boxed versions):
Ryzen 7 1800X: YD180XBCAEWOF
TR 1950X: YD195XA8AEWOF
R7 2700X: YD270XBGAFBOX
A Ryzen 5 3600 with an "AF" would logically be a Zen+ chip - a 2600 in disguise - in a reversal of the 1600 "AF" situation.
Also, the cache amount doesn't match either the 3600 or the 5600: 36 MB would require a 8-core CPU: 32 MB L3 cache + 0.5 MB L2 cache per core.
I'd wager this is either a bogus entry used as a placeholder for the storefront development and testing, or the store is trying to swindle customers. If they let people imagine they're getting a good deal without lying, they can get a better price, or at least get the unsold products moving; Having this now meaningless nomenclature - but one that has a good reputation among enthusiasts - must mean it's a 5000 series in disguise, right?