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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
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Ryzen 5 5600X Application Performance - The TLDR

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Ryzen 5 5600X Application Testing

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Ryzen 5 5600X Application Testing

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This geometric mean of both the most lightly- and heavily-threaded tests in our application suite speak volumes. We're quite accustomed to seeing AMD's chips lead in the multi-threaded rankings while trailing, sometimes by sizeable margins, in the single-threaded performance ranking. That isn't the case anymore, and Zen 3 easily leads both rankings. 

Again, we tested the Ryzen 5 5600X throughout our test suite with both a Corsair H115i water cooler (marked as AIO in the charts above) and the bundled Wraith Stealth cooler (HSF). As we saw in our gaming tests, there is little to no difference between single-threaded performance with the two coolers, but we see a bigger difference in our threaded applications. We recorded a 4% boost to performance with the H115i in our cumulative measure, but it's important to note that this delta varies based on workload. The deltas range from 1% to 8% (worst case in one workload - y-cruncher), but to keep the charts clean, we've charted performance with our H115i cooler throughout the rest of the application testing. 

However, regardless of the cooler, one thing remains true - the Ryzen 5 5600X easily beats the 10600K in threaded applications and even challenges the 10700K that comes with two more cores and a $75 premium, making the 5600X a solid bang-for-your-buck for heavy applications. If you need more performance and want to step up a tier, the Ryzen 7 5800X provides a solid boost through its additional two cores. 

Moving over to the single-threaded performance rankings really highlights the 5600X's strengths - the stock Ryzen 5 5600X beats the full roster of Intel chips, including the Core i9-10900K, in our ranking - and that's even after we overclock the Intel chips to the limits of their 14nm silicon. The stock Ryzen 5 5800X is a nice step up from the 5600X for lightly threaded work, but overclocking both chips yields a small 1.5% advantage for the Ryzen 7 5800X. That isn't a difference you'll feel in any lightly threaded app, making the Ryzen 5 5600X the price-to-performance champ for lightly-threaded work, too. 

Rendering Benchmarks on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Rendering Benchmarks

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Cinebench has long been AMD's favorite benchmark for a simple reason; the Zen microarchitecture has always performed extremely well in the threaded benchmark. However, AMD has steadily improved its performance in the single-threaded benchmark and slowly worked its way up the chart. 

The 5600X flexes its single-threaded muscles in the Cinebench benchmark, and while it's not as impressive as the 5800X, we also see significant uplift from overclocking. Meanwhile, the Intel chips can't keep pace and trail by large margins, even after overclocking. Things change with the multi-core Cinebench test, which finds the 5600X outstripping the 10600K, but trailing Intel's 10700K and the Ryzen 7 5800X by appreciable margins. That isn't entirely surprising given those chips' core count advantages. 

Intel's 10600K takes the lead in the single-threaded POV-Ray test, but the remainder of these tests favor the Ryzen 5 5600X, with Blender and v-ray being particular areas of strength.

We recently integrated the Intel Open Image Denoise Benchmark into our suite. This ray-tracing test uses Intel's oneAPI rendering toolkit, so it provides an interesting take on performance. Here we can see that the 5600X beats the stock Core i5-10600K at stock settings in this admittedly Intel-favorable test. Overclocking grants the 10600K a slim lead. 

Encoding Benchmarks on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Ryzen 5 5600X Encoding Performance

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Our encoding tests include benchmarks that respond best to single-threaded performance, like the quintessential examples LAME and FLAC, but the SVT-AV1 and SVT-HEVC tests represent a newer class of threaded encoders. Regardless of the type of encoder, though, AMD's Zen 3 chips impress. The Ryzen 5 5600X is no exception – it easily beats its nearest Intel competitor, the 10600K, across the board. The 5600X's performance in HandBrake, in both AVX-light x264 and AVX-heavy x265 flavors, is incredibly impressive as it trades blows with the more expensive 10700K. 

It's quite shocking to see AMD's reversal of fortunes in benchmarks like LAME and FLAC; a glance at the previous-gen Ryzen processors at the bottom of the chart shows the company's rapid improvements over the last few years. 

Web Browsing on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Web Browser Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Web Browser Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Web Browser Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Web Browser Benchmarks

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Ryzen 5 5600X Web Browser Benchmarks

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We test all of these benchmarks in a version-locked Chrome browser, with the notable exception of the Edge test. Intel has really taken quite the performance haircut in web browsers over the last two years, largely due to mitigations for its nagging security concerns. 

Regardless, these benchmarks are almost exclusively lightly-threaded, so Intel has long held the top of the charts despite the mitigations. This series of benchmarks makes a powerful statement about Zen 3's improved single-threaded performance, though. From the AI-heavy ARES-6 to WebXPRT3's Javascript tests, and even extending to Jetstream 2, the Ryzen 5 5600X beats every overclocked Intel chip - but at stock settings. 

Edge stands out as the lone exception - this browser leverages threading more effectively, so more cores generally equates to more performance. Intel's heavily-overclocked 10700K nudges past the stock 5600X, but that's not a meaningful victory -  the overclocked Ryzen 5 5600X leads by a comparatively large margin. 

Office and Productivity on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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Ryzen 5 5600X Office and Productivity

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AMD's Ryzen 5000: Come for the gaming and rendering performance, but stay for the Office experience? OK, probably not. If you're looking to build a screaming-fast computer, you're probably not doing it to run office applications like Word at breakneck speeds. However, these types of applications are ubiquitous the world over, and snappy performance is important for daily tasks. This is another area that AMD has long offered middling performance, but Zen 3 climbs the ranks impressively. 

For a perfect example of how the Ryzen 5000 chips deliver new levels of snappiness, look no further than the application start-up benchmark. The Ryzen 5 5600X, again at stock settings, delivers a snappier experience than Intel's overclocked chips. Given the performance we see from the prior-gen Ryzen chips in this chart, that's nothing short of phenomenal. 

You'd be hard-pressed to find any weakness with the Ryzen 5 5600X in this roster of tests - there simply isn't one. Sure, it trails Intel's far more expensive chips in a few threaded workloads, but that's hardly a concern given the price point. 

Compilation, Compression, AVX Performance on Ryzen 5 5600X

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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Ryzen 5 5600X Compilation, AVX, Compression, Decompression

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The LLVM compilation benchmark stresses the cores heavily with branchy code. Here we see that, like with the Ryzen 9 5950X and 3950X, the Ryzen 5 5600X doesn't offer much performance uplift over the previous-gen Ryzen 9 3900XT. These muted gains imply that the bottleneck lies elsewhere, and we imagine that future software optimizations could yield larger performance deltas.

The threaded y-cruncher benchmark also revealed limited scaling for the 5950X over the 3950X. Given the memory-heavy nature of this workload, we theorized this boils down to the same limitation on both chips — a dual-channel memory controller that restricts feeding the 16 hungry cores. The Ryzen 5 5600X doesn't suffer the same fate, though - it provides a more substantial amount of performance uplift over the previous-gen 3900XT, which likely stems from its better balance of per-core memory throughput. 

We also see a strong uplift in NAMD, the gold standard for testing the performance of simulation code. Here the stock 5600X easily beats the overclocked 10600K, but we see a slight performance decline after engaging PBO. That isn't entirely surprising, as this tendency does manifest in some workloads with prior-gen Ryzen chips, too. Particularly if they respond exceedingly well to higher clock rates. 

You'll also notice that the Ryzen chips outstrip the Intel series by massive margins in the hashing and AES encryption benchmarks. This comes as a byproduct of AMD's hardware-accelerated encryption support, a feature that didn't make its way into Intel's Skylake microarchitecture.

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