AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Review: the New Mid-Range CPU Leader

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Rendering

As we can see throughout this series of tests, AMD's Ryzen processors undoubtedly sit atop the multi-threaded benchmark throne. The six-core -9600K, which lacks Hyper-Threading, is out of its element in these tasks. Meanwhile, the 12-threaded Ryzen 5 3600X dominates in these types of workloads with convincing wins across the board. Intel's overclocking advantage is a boon for gamers, but it isn't enough to level the playing field in threaded rendering tests: Cranking away at 5.0 GHz, the Core i5-9600K lags the stock 3600X in nearly every multi-threaded test. 

Encoding

The SVT-AV1 encoder is an Intel- and Netflix-designed software video encoder that became available earlier this year. This new encoder is more scalable than other encoders, thus offering faster encoding times paired with efficient compression. While it may seem counter-intuitive to use an Intel-designed encoder for testing AMD processors, consider that most encoders are inherently reliant upon per-core performance, which is a strength of Intel, while SVT-AV1 exposes the power of threading, a strength of Ryzen. Here we can see AMD's Ryzen 5 3600X going toe-to-toe with the stock -9600K.

Our LAME and FLAC tests, like many encoders, rely heavily upon per-core performance. That means Intel's frequency advantage comes into play, allowing the -9600K to take the lead. The -9600K's advantage at stock settings is slight, but overclocking propels the -9600K into the upper echelons of the chart.

Intel processors traditionally leverage high frequencies to dominate the HandBrake x265 test, which relies heavily on AVX instructions, and the H.264 test. But Intel's higher clock speed isn't too much of an advantage in these tests when the similarly-priced competition has twice the number of threads, so the Ryzen 5 3600X carves out nice leads in both x265 and x264 encoding.

Compression, Decompression, Encryption, AVX

Our threaded compression and decompression 7-Zip and ZLib tests work directly from system memory, removing storage throughput from the equation. The combination of Ryzen 5 3600X's improved memory subsystem and generous helping of cores helps it take an easy lead over the -9600K.

We can also see the vast improvement in Ryzen's AVX performance in the y-cruncher tests: We would never have imagined such a massive generational leap, particularly in single-threaded performance. The work AMD has done here, along with the substantially larger caches that can feed the demanding AVX instructions, is truly impressive and benefits a wide range of applications.


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Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

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