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AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU Review: Efficient And Affordable

6 cores for a budget price

Adobe Creative Cloud

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Ryzen 5 2600 delivered an incredible performance boost compared to its predecessor in our Adobe Creative Cloud suite. With that said, Intel's CPUs still lead through most of these lightly-threaded applications. We also saw larger performance differences between the stock and overclocked Ryzen 5 2600 compared to the 2600X, mostly due to the 2600's lower stock frequencies and similar overclocking limit shared between most Ryzen 2000-series models.

In the end, a stock Ryzen 5 2600 beat Intel's Core i5-8400 and AMD's Ryzen 7 2700 in the overall score. That's impressive for such a value-oriented chip.

Web Browser

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The Meltdown and Spectre patches imposed performance penalties on Intel's CPUs in our web browser tests. However, they still lead through these lightly-threaded tests.

AMD's Ryzen 5 2600 easily beat the stock Ryzen 5 1600, which took a last-place finish among the models we benchmarked. As expected, overclocking helped put Ryzen 5 2600 on par with the more expensive Ryzen 5 2600X.


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The application start-up metric measures load time snappiness in word processors, GIMP, and Web browsers under warm- and cold-start conditions. Other platform-level considerations affect this test as well, including the storage subsystem. Intel's snappy performance in these lightly-threaded apps put its Core CPUs ahead of the competing Ryzen chips.

Our video conferencing suite measures performance in single- and multi-user applications that utilize the Windows Media Foundation for playback and encoding. It also performs facial detection to model real-world usage. Cores and threads benefit this workload greatly, so Ryzen 5 2600's six cores naturally fared well.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries using the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized, so Ryzen 5 easily beat the Core i5 models.


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

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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.

  • joeblowsmynose
    Really grasping at straws to come up with some cons, eh? "needs better than stock cooler for serious overclocking", "slower than a faster, more expensive CPU", lol. Those cons apply to ever CPU ever made.
  • Gillerer
    Now I know you want to use 1080p in order to get differences between CPUs and not be GPU limited. The problem is, those differences are therefore artificially inflated compared to some enthusiast gamers' hardware.

    It'd be nice to have one middle-of-the-road (in terms of GPU/CPU-boundness) game benchmarked in 1440p and 4k, too, as a sort of sanity check. If the differences diminish to rounding error territory, people looking to game in those resolutions with good settings might be better off getting a "good enough" CPU and putting all extra money towards the GPU.

    Not only that, if there actually *was* a distinct advangage to getting the best IPC Intel mainstream processor for high-res, high-settings gaming, finding that out would be interesting.
  • Blytz
    I chucked a basic corsair liquid cooler on my 1600X and it runs all cores @ 4.0 I hope the clock for clock is worth the upgrade for those making that step
  • 1_rick
    I did the same thing (except I used an NZXT AIO) with the same results. It seems like a 4.2 OC means the 2600 isn't a worthwhile upgrade from the 1600X, but that's what I expected.
  • Giroro
    Right now the price difference between the 2600x and 2600 is $229 vs $189 , so a $40 difference.
  • theyeti87
    I would love to know whether or not the Indium (I) Iodide 99.999% anhydrous beads that I package for Global Foundries at work is used for the solder in these chips.
  • Dugimodo
    I'm not sure if it does but I think the 8400 needs to include a basic cooler in the cost analysis after seeing several reviews that show it thermal throttles on stock cooling and loses up to 20% performance depending on load and case cooling etc. These charts make it look better than the 2600 when in reality the difference may be almost nothing. Not that I'm buying either :) too much of a performance junkie for that.
  • derekullo
    21009625 said:
    Really grasping at straws to come up with some cons, eh? "needs better than stock cooler for serious overclocking", "slower than a faster, more expensive CPU", lol. Those cons apply to ever CPU ever made.

    On the flipside the last con "Only $20 cheaper than 95W Ryzen 5 2600X" does make a lot of sense.

    For only $20 you get noticeably better performance with "you may even say because" a much better cooler.

    Even if I was building a computer for my grandmother who only wanted to use it to do Facebook and free casino games, I'd still go with the 2600x

  • Dugimodo
    I think for Granny I'd go the 2400G and save on a graphics card myself.
  • derekullo
    21011262 said:
    I think for Granny I'd go the 2400G and save on a graphics card myself.

    True, but between the 2600s I'd choose the X.