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

Editor's Choice

Test Notes

Test results annotated with "PBO" reflect performance with AMD's auto-overclocking Precision Boost Overdrive feature activated. As noted in the charts, we tested the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600X with two cooling solutions, the Corsair H115i watercooler and the bundled Wraith Spire cooler. We did not include overclocked results for the Ryzen 7 3700X, as those are largely identical to the overclocked 3800X.

VRMark, 3DMark

We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of horsepower available to game engines.

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The DX11 and DX12 CPU test results expose the full threaded heft of the Ryzen 3000 series processors, so there are few surprises here. The Ryzen 5 3600X offers enough compute power in threaded workloads to unseat even the impressive overclocked Core i5-9600K. If games were coded to lean more on the threaded horsepower of the processor, it would equate to more performance in gaming. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

Adding a beefier cooler, in this case, the Corsair H115i, allows the auto-overclocking algorithms to expose an additional 1.47% and 0.5% of performance in the DX12 and DX11 tests, respectively. For most enthusiasts, that likely isn't worth the additional $140.

The VRMark test benefits heavily from per-core performance, and the Ryzen 3000 processors have made great strides compared to the first- and second-gen models. The Ryzen 5 3600X offers 50% more performance than the first-gen Ryzen 5 1600X, and ~29% more performance than the second-gen Ryzen 5 2600X. The beefier Corsair cooler extracts less than a single percentage point of extra performance. 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is a computationally intense title that scales well with thread count, but clock speeds and per-core performance play a big role. The 3600X lags the overclocked Core i5-9600K by a mere 1.3 FPS, but kicking in the automated overclocking feature allows it to take the lead.


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  • 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