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AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU Review: Efficient And Affordable

6 cores for a budget price

Overclocking

So far, all of the Ryzen 2000-series CPUs we've tested offer similar overclocking capabilities, albeit with slightly different voltage requirements. We pushed AMD's Ryzen 5 2600 to 4.2 GHz using 1.4V Vcore, 1.2V SoC, and automatic Loadline Calibration (LLC) settings. The bundled heat sink and fan are capable enough if you're only gunning for a moderate overclock. However, it struggled to maintain 4 GHz at 95°C. If you want to match our best effort, top the 2600 with a capable closed-loop liquid cooler.

Like the other Ryzen 2000-series CPUs we've reviewed, we overclocked this platform's memory (DDR4-3466 at 14-14-14-34 timings) with minimal effort.

Precision Boost Overdrive

AMD isn't giving us much detail about its Precision Boost Overdrive feature, though we know it increases maximum boost voltage and boost duration. Nevertheless, we know that Precision Boost Overdrive is an AMD-sanctioned feature. Because this is a standard capability for Ryzen 2000-series processors, we leave it enabled. Conversely, we disable the Multi-Core Enhancement BIOS option found in many Intel-based motherboards because it overclocks beyond the company's specifications.

MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC

Our MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC has a PCI Express 3.0 slot with a x16 link, a slot with a x8 connection, and another PCI Express 2.0 slot with a four-lane link for graphics cards. Its four RAM slots support DDR4-2933 and scale quite a bit higher through overclocking.

The motherboard also provides two M.2 slots with PCIe connectivity. The I/O panel has a USB 3.1 Type C connector. The USB 3.1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports support fast charging for smartphones and tablets. If RGB is your thing, MSI has you covered. The integrated RGB Mystic lighting allows customizable effects with several software-controlled zones.

Comparison Products

Test Systems

Test System & Configuration
HardwareAMD Socket AM4 (400-Series)AMD Ryzen 7 2700, Ryzen 7 2700X, Ryzen 5 2600X, Ryzen 5 2600 MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2933, DDR4-3466Intel LGA 1151 (Z370):Intel Core i7-8700K, i5-8600K, Core i5-8400MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2400, DDR4-2667, DDR4-3466AMD Socket AM4 (300-Series)Ryzen 5 1600X, Ryzen 7 1600 MSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium2x 8GB G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-2667, DDR4-3200All EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE 1TB Samsung PM863 SilverStone ST1500-TI, 1500W Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703 - All Spectre and Meltdown mitigations
CoolingCorsair H115i


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Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.