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AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Review: The Mainstream Knockout

Kill the body and the head will die

Ryzen 5 5600X
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Ryzen 5 5600X Gaming Performance — The TLDR

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Ryzen 5 5600X Gaming Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Gaming Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Gaming Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Gaming Performance

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Here you can see the geometric mean of our gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p, with each resolution split into its own chart. We tested with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 to reduce the impact of graphics-imposed bottlenecks. You'll find the game-by-game breakdowns below. 

We tested the Ryzen 5 5600X with both the bundled Wraith Stealth cooler (marked as HSF in the charts above) and the Corsair H115i 280mm liquid cooler (AIO) to measure the difference in gaming. As you can see, less than 1% separates the two coolers in gaming (those deltas are larger in our application testing), so we only included the tests with the H115i in the game-by-game breakdown below. Overall, the Wraith Spire cooler provides the same level of gaming performance in our test suite as the beefier AIO cooler. 

For those leery of the Ryzen 5 5600X's $300 price tag, look no further than Intel's 10900K to see AMD's justification. On a price-to-performance basis, the $300 Ryzen 5 5600X absolutely wrecks Intel's halo $490 Core i9-10900K in our 1080p gaming suite. The 5600X even takes away the absolute performance crown, too. The 10900K is a bit more impressive in our 1440p suite, but not by much - it trails the 5600X at stock settings, and overclocking the 10900K only yields a scant 1 fps 'advantage.' Which is to say the chips are effectively tied. 

The 5600X is even more impressive compared to chips in its price range. At stock settings, the Ryzen 5 5600X beats the stock Core i5-10600K in both 1080p and 1440p gaming by ~25% and 13%, respectively, both significant gains. Overclocking the Core i5-10600K to 5.0 GHz doesn't help - the Intel chip still trails the stock 5600X by 7% at 1080p and effectively ties the 5600X at 1440p. As you would expect, overclocking the 5600X (PBO) yields an even larger advantage over the overclocked Intel chip. 

The $300 Ryzen 5 5600X is $35 more expensive than the Core i5-10600K, though, so we turn to Intel's higher-end alternative, the $375 Core i7-10700K, to see how it fares against the 5600X. If gaming is your primary goal, paying $75 more for the 10700K than the 5600X is a waste of money. The stock 5600X beats the stock 10700K by 15% at 1080p, and ~8% at 1440p. Overclocking the 10700K doesn't help, either – the stock 5600X ties the overclocked 10700K at 1080p and trails by a mere 3 fps at 1440p. Overclocking the Ryzen 5 5600X gives it the lead over the pricey 10700K silicon. 

Finally, if you step up a tier to the $450 Ryzen 7 5800X, you won't get much extra over the 5600X, at least as far as gaming is concerned. The Ryzen 5 5600X matches the overclocked Ryzen 7 5800X at both stock and overclocked settings in both resolutions, making it the new mainstream gaming champ. 

One thing of note - the bottom four entrants of each chart cover AMD's previous four generations of Ryzen 5 processors. Impressively, the Ryzen 5 5600X notches the largest performance delta over its immediate predecessor than any other Ryzen processor. 

3D Mark, VRMark, Stockfish Chess Engine on Ryzen 5 5600X

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3DMark, VRMark, Stockfish

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3DMark, VRMark, Stockfish

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3DMark, VRMark, Stockfish

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3DMark, VRMark, Stockfish

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We run these synthetic gaming tests as part of our main application test script. We use an RTX 2080 Ti for these tests to facilitate faster testing, but we use an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 for all other gaming benchmarks (we don't include these tests in the preceding cumulative measurements). 

As we've come to expect, AMD's core-heavy processors dominate in threaded synthetic tests, like the Stockfish chess engine and 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU benchmarks. The stock Core i5-10600K can't hang with the stock Ryzen 5 5600X, and even overclocking the 10600K doesn't allow it to keep pace in the DX11 and Stockfish tests. The overclocked 10600K does scrape past the 5600X in the DX12 CPU test, which leverages threading more effectively than the 3DMark DX11 benchmark. 

As one would expect, the Core i7-10700K and Ryzen 7 5800X both lead the Ryzen 5 5600X in the DX12 and Stockfish tests, a byproduct of their higher core counts, but those gains don't translate well (if at all) to the real-world gaming tests below.  

Perhaps the Ryzen 5000 processors are most impressive in VRMark. This benchmark leans heavily on per-core performance (a mixture of IPC and frequency), and as you can see from the previous-gen Ryzen processors, AMD has traditionally trailed in this benchmark. The Ryzen 5 5600X corrects that issue as it reaches the upper echelons of the chart, beating even the overclocked 10700K and 10600K by 20% and 8%, respectively – but that's with the 5600X at stock settings. Overclocking the Ryzen 5 5600X yields a 24% and 14% advantage, respectively, over the tuned Intel processors. 

Borderlands 3 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Borderlands 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Borderlands 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Borderlands 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Borderlands 3

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AMD says that the Ryzen 5000 processors offer leading performance in a large number of titles. However, there will likely still be a period of time before we see targeted game updates to expose the best of Ryzen 5000, just like we saw with previous-gen Zen chips, so the gains don't apply to all titles. 

The Core i5-10600K trails the Ryzen 5 5600X by 4.6 fps at 1080p and 2.8 fps at 1440p. Overclocking the Ryzen 5 5600X delivers small gains at both resolutions, while the 10600K profits more from its 5.0 GHz clock speed, thus taking the lead in both benchmarks.

Far Cry 5 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Far Cry 5 finds the Ryzen 5 5600X beating the Core i5-10600K across the board in both 1080p and 1440p benchmarks – and by significantly impressive margins. The Core i7-10700K also lags the 5600X significantly at stock settings, but effectively ties the 5600X after overclocking. Given the higher up-front pricing and pricey components needed to extract the best of the 10700K's overclocking prowess, the tie actually isn't very impressive. 

Again, a quick glance at the previous-gen Ryzen models, all of which populate the bottom of these charts, highlights the explosive performance gains of the Zen 3 architecture. AMD has come a long way since the 1600X, which was the first Ryzen 5 chip to hit the market. 

Hitman 2 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Ryzen 5 5600X Far Cry 5

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Hitman 2 doesn't seem to scale well from 1080p to 1440p, at least not at the heightened fidelity settings we use for the benchmark. We stuck with the 1080p test for this title because the same trends carry over to 1440p. 

The Ryzen 5000 processors dominate this benchmark - even the mighty Core i9-10900K, propelled by a prodigious amount of voltage and heat to 5.1 GHz, can't match the overclocked Ryzen 5000 processors. Perhaps more impressively, the stock Ryzen 5 5600X beats all the Intel chips at stock settings, and ties the overclocked 10700K. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

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Ryzen 5 5600X Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

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We're just as excited as anyone else about Microsoft's long long-overdue release of Flight Simulator, and we're sure that serious flight sim fans will want to crank up the resolution on this title. Hence our tests at 1440p, which typically bring graphics bottlenecks into play. Expect these deltas to widen with 1080p testing. 

Impressively, the stock $300 Ryzen 5 5600X beats the stock Core i5-10600K and i7-10700K and matches Intel's halo $490 Core i9-10900K. Turning the overclocking knobs on the Ryzen 5 5600X only cements its lead - the chip beats all of the Intel competition after overclocking, too. 

Meanwhile, the Ryzen 7 5800X ekes out a small win over the 5600X at stock settings, but overclocking both chips yields an effective tie. Looking at this through the price-vs-performance prism, the Ryzen 5 5600X is the undisputed champ. 

Project CARS 3 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Project Cars 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Project Cars 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Project Cars 3

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Ryzen 5 5600X Project Cars 3

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Project CARS 3 scales well with additional host compute, and the title obviously responds well to the Zen 3 architecture.

The stock Ryzen 5 5600X beats the Intel competition handily at the 1080p resolution. Again, we see the trend of the power-sipping stock Ryzen 5 5600X easily trouncing the overclocked Intel processors. The 5600X even scales well after tuning, propelling it near the top of the chart. 

The trends we see at 1080p largely transfer over to the 1440p resolution, but the GPU bottleneck becomes apparent. Here the overclocked 10900K takes a slight edge, but the delta between it and the stock 5600X is fairly meaningless - you certainly won't notice a little over 1 fps of difference. The looming graphics bottleneck also restricts the 5600X's scaling with overclocking. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Red Dead Redemption 2

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Ryzen 5 5600X Red Dead Redemption 2

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Ryzen 5 5600X Red Dead Redemption 2

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Ryzen 5 5600X Red Dead Redemption 2

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A glance at the bottom of these charts shows the clear progression of AMD's architectures as it iterated on the Zen design. Still, in most of the titles we tested, the Ryzen 5000 series represents AMD's biggest generational leap by far. 

Again, we see no-compromise 1080p gaming performance with the 5600X - even the heavily-overclocked Intel processors can't overcome the advantages of the Zen 3 architecture paired with the 7nm process. A graphics bottleneck forms in the 1400p testing, but the 5600X still carves out a win over the Intel processors. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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AMD's chips take a sizeable lead at 1080p, but Intel's overclocked chips deliver better 99th-percentile measurements. Flipping over to 1440p, Intel's 10900K reaches the top of the chart, but it took quite a bit of voltage for it to surpass the stock Ryzen 5000 chips. 

The Division 2 on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Ryzen 5 5600X Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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  • Erik3135
    Why is not having integrated graphics listed as a con?

    If you're buying basically the top gaming processor why in the world would you ever consider using integrated graphics.

    If anything, it's a pro that it doesn't have integrated graphics as this way you're not paying for something you'd never use.
    Reply
  • glitch00
    Erik3135 said:
    Why is not having integrated graphics listed as a con?

    If you're buying basically the top gaming processor why in the world would you ever consider using integrated graphics.

    If anything, it's a pro that it doesn't have integrated graphics as this way you're not paying for something you'd never use.
    Because not everyone will be buying it for gaming. Tom's Hardware does application benchmarks after all.

    Lack of integrated graphics is a dealbreaker for me. I need something that can run multiple VMs for my ITX system and I care a lot about idle power consumption so having integrated graphics is super beneficial. I suppose AMD isn't as focused on the HTPC community since their latest APUs are OEM only. So for now, have no choice but to wait for Rocket Lake / Alder Lake / Cezanne .
    Reply
  • deesider
    Erik3135 said:
    Why is not having integrated graphics listed as a con?

    If you're buying basically the top gaming processor why in the world would you ever consider using integrated graphics.

    If anything, it's a pro that it doesn't have integrated graphics as this way you're not paying for something you'd never use.
    I used to think Intel iGPUs were a con, but when they left them out the price didn't really change
    Reply
  • Droidfreak
    Much of Ryzen’s early success stemmed from industry-leading core counts and plenty of freebies for enthusiasts, like bundled coolers and unrestricted overclockability paired with broad compatibility.
    "Bundled cooler" and "enthusiasts" used in one sentence? I guess we need to rethink the definition of "enthusiasts" 😁
    Reply
  • dennphill
    From an old man that probably nobody listens to...I think AMD is laughing all the way to the bank on this price increase for the 5600X and its shortage. (I suspect they will intentionally keep stocks down to milk this shortage for all they can get!) For one, though I really liked and have always been a supporter of AMD, in this case there is no way - less a price drop to around $250 or so in the next few months - I would ever buy one of these. In protest, I woun't even consider a 3600X or a 3700X no mattert how they lower the price. I will just protest by going back to Intel when i decide I need to upgrade. AMD be cursed to the lowest level of Dante's Inferno for this trickery. That's my take on this "Knockout."
    Reply
  • ozzuneoj
    So now we're calling a $299 CPU mainstream?

    When the 3600 was by far the best CPU purchase 4-5 months ago and was down to $165, what was it? Entry level??

    The 5600X offers amazing performance at what used to be i7 prices... But I wouldn't call it mainstream.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    anyone else notice the typo on page 2 3rd paragraph?
    "Corsair H115i 280mm air cooler "

    was unaware they had an air cooler sharing same name as their aio :sneaky:

    ozzuneoj said:
    When the 3600 was by far the best CPU purchase 4-5 months ago and was down to $165, what was it? Entry level??
    yes.
    it was the best overall cpu and everyone recommended it for balance of work and gaming.


    compare its price to the price intel was use to charging for its chips.



    angiven time the 5600x WILL drop to prolly around $200 which is crazy good.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    dennphill said:
    From an old man that probably nobody listens to...I think AMD is laughing all the way to the bank on this price increase for the 5600X and its shortage. (I suspect they will intentionally keep stocks down to milk this shortage for all they can get!) For one, though I really liked and have always been a supporter of AMD, in this case there is no way - less a price drop to around $250 or so in the next few months - I would ever buy one of these. In protest, I woun't even consider a 3600X or a 3700X no mattert how they lower the price. I will just protest by going back to Intel when i decide I need to upgrade. AMD be cursed to the lowest level of Dante's Inferno for this trickery. That's my take on this "Knockout."

    You are free to do whatever silly thing you want to do. The competition has been raping the public for years and you’re going to go back to them? Have fun Wasting your time and your money and getting far less performance
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    dennphill said:
    From an old man that probably nobody listens to...I think AMD is laughing all the way to the bank on this price increase for the 5600X and its shortage. (I suspect they will intentionally keep stocks down to milk this shortage for all they can get!) For one, though I really liked and have always been a supporter of AMD, in this case there is no way - less a price drop to around $250 or so in the next few months - I would ever buy one of these. In protest, I woun't even consider a 3600X or a 3700X no mattert how they lower the price. I will just protest by going back to Intel when i decide I need to upgrade. AMD be cursed to the lowest level of Dante's Inferno for this trickery. That's my take on this "Knockout."
    first bit:
    you realize AMD gets the base cost paid and not the scalped prices right?

    they LOSE $ by purposeful keeping stock low.
    It has no benefit for them.

    it's a bad time for tech (covid making worse than normal) and they have their cpu, gpu, and 2 consoles using their stuff.

    fabs only have limited amount per customer.



    second bit:

    claism to be supporter of amd yet disses em for wanting to raise rpice a tiny bit when their cpu are THE best ones out?

    and then saying you are goign back intel in future? THE intel who price gouged EVERYONE for a decade? they had price increase EVERY generation. on top of new MB required AND small increases in performance. (whereas ryzen 5000 is a HUGE increase for 1 generation)


    forget supported your talking liek an intel fanboy.

    "I dont like price increase for great performance so ill go to the company who nickle and dimes everyone every new cpu worse than amd ever has"
    Reply
  • sidesw1pe
    glitch00 said:
    Because not everyone will be buying it for gaming.
    Right, so some will buy it for gaming, some will not buy it for gaming, yet it is a "con".
    Reply