Skip to main content

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

Editor's Choice

Rendering

Image 1 of 9

Image 2 of 9

Image 3 of 9

Image 4 of 9

Image 5 of 9

Image 6 of 9

Image 7 of 9

Image 8 of 9

Image 9 of 9

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

Image 1 of 5

Image 2 of 5

Image 3 of 5

Image 4 of 5

Image 5 of 5

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

Image 1 of 10

Image 2 of 10

Image 3 of 10

Image 4 of 10

Image 5 of 10

Image 6 of 10

Image 7 of 10

Image 8 of 10

Image 9 of 10

Image 10 of 10

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.


MORE: Best CPUs


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy


MORE: All CPUs Content

  • SgtScream
    The regular 3600 is going to be an absolute steal for black friday deals.
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    SgtScream said:
    The regular 3600 is going to be an absolute steal for black friday deals.
    Shhhhhhhh. You're going to get everyone to buy one at that time and possibly screw us up from getting one. :p However, you can grab one through Google's store right now and save $20 off the price by applying their promo code. I'm just not ready right now.
    Reply
  • Gurg
    You are really trying way too hard in your AMD sales pitch. Seriously how many gaming enthusiasts buy their CPUs at Walmart especially when its prices are $17 higher than Amazon? Amazon 3600x costs a McDonald's double quarter pounder more than the the 9600k. As for competitive pricing, my local Microcenter sells the 9600k for $219.99.

    The overclocked and similarly cooled 9600k shows a 10.5% advantage in average gaming FPS and an 11.5% FPS advantage in 99th percentile gaming FPS over the 3600z. Even more the OC 9600k also whips the 3900x, 3800x and 3700x by convincing margins. Note the AMD cpus also lack igpus. In the value charts you used the three double quarter pounder and diet cokes higher Walmart pricing for the 9600k rather than Amazon to make a value basis for 3600x.

    If your emphasis is not gaming or MS Office but rather workstation usage then the 3600x should be recommended. Why would anyone not planning on overclocking and at strictly value bother to buy pay extra for an X or K? If the 3600x is the new gaming king---the king has no clothing.
    Reply
  • TCA_ChinChin
    You know it's good when people start accusing Tom's of being AMD shills when usually people call them Intel shills. I'll agree with @Gurg in that the i5-9600k is still better in gaming against Ryzen 3000 in many cases though so calling 3600x the winner in gaming (against the i5-9600k) is a stretching it a little. The difference is now small enough that the extra cores are probably worth more to the average buyer than the increased FPS the 9600k offers, NOT because Ryzen 3600x is strictly better in gaming.
    Reply
  • AlistairAB
    Gurg said:
    You are really trying way too hard in your AMD sales pitch. Seriously how many gaming enthusiasts buy their CPUs at Walmart especially when its prices are $17 higher than Amazon? Amazon 3600x costs a McDonald's double quarter pounder more than the the 9600k. As for competitive pricing, my local Microcenter sells the 9600k for $219.99.

    The overclocked and similarly cooled 9600k shows a 10.5% advantage in average gaming FPS and an 11.5% FPS advantage in 99th percentile gaming FPS over the 3600z. Even more the OC 9600k also whips the 3900x, 3800x and 3700x by convincing margins. Note the AMD cpus also lack igpus. In the value charts you used the three double quarter pounder and diet cokes higher Walmart pricing for the 9600k rather than Amazon to make a value basis for 3600x.

    If your emphasis is not gaming or MS Office but rather workstation usage then the 3600x should be recommended. Why would anyone not planning on overclocking and at strictly value bother to buy pay extra for an X or K? If the 3600x is the new gaming king---the king has no clothing.

    With a 2080 ti at 1080p and an OC for the 9600k you might get 4 percent better avg fps. With a 2080 at 1440p? Exactly the same FPS. For the same price you'll buy the 3600x and a 2060 and easily beat the 9600k and a 1660 ti by 25%. The Spire Cooler is included with the AMD CPU, and that's the good one, and you can use a cheap motherboard also. The whole computer industry is kind of ridiculous that you even need to explain to people why the 3600x is better when it is so obvious.
    Reply
  • DavidDisciple
    Gurg said:
    Even more the OC 9600k also whips the 3900x, 3800x and 3700x by convincing margins.

    Notice you said OC 9600K. Isn't it something that a 3rd generation Ryzen is on par and sometimes defeating a 9th generation Intel chip insomuch that you have to overclock it to compete with a 3rd generation Ryzen at stock speed. That says a lot about how good Ryzen's architecture is compared to 9 generations of Intel. The Ryzen architecture is so well refined now that there isn't much overclocking room to begin with. I am not an overclocker to begin with and don't want to overclock contrary to your belief that everyone plans to do it. If I buy a high performance chip to begin with, why would I need to do it? If I need to overclock my chip to compete against others, obviously I didn't buy a competitive chip out-of-the-box to begin with or my chip is inferior in architecture.
    Reply
  • SethNW
    Midrange CPU king? Only reason you can say that is because you haven't tested 3600, if you did you would learn that is is about 1-2% slower than 3600X and last time I checked, paying good 50USD extra isn't worth that small uplift. And reason for this is in Percision Boost, which will boost CPU based on temperature and power headroom. Keeping two CPUs really close. And better cooler just isn't worth it with 3600X. So I am not sure if this was done to bait clicks or if it was done to sell clicks of affiliate links of more expensive item. But what I can say for sure, it definitely wasn't done for good of the reader. Sorry, but you will see when you review 3600.
    Reply
  • Gurg
    AlistairAB said:
    With a 2080 ti at 1080p and an OC for the 9600k you might get 4 percent better avg fps.

    TH tested with a 2080ti @ 1080p and the Conclusion chart showed an average gaming fps of 136.4 vs 123.4 a 10.53% difference between OC 9600k and PBO OC 3600x, both using the same h115i closed loop cooler. If the 3600x is using the spire cooler the difference goes to 11.26%.
    Reply
  • djayjp
    Anybody buying less than 8c/16t for gaming is a fool--next gen consoles will have this (will basically be a 3700x at 65W) so this will become the new minimum requirement.
    Reply
  • SgtScream
    djayjp said:
    Anybody buying less than 8c/16t for gaming is a fool--next gen consoles will have this (will basically be a 3700x at 65W) so this will become the new minimum requirement.
    Dude relax. Not everyone can afford an 8 core 16 thread chip and that doesn't make them a fool.
    Reply