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

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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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Paul Alcorn

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