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Review: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

by Tarinder Sandhu on 16 July 2019, 14:01

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaebsu

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Introduction

Been a busy few weeks, hasn't it? AMD released a tech jamboree at the start of the month, headlined by all-new Navi-based Radeons and six Ryzen 3000-series CPUs touting the latest Zen 2 architecture and 7nm production.

On launch day, we took a look at two higher-end parts seeded by AMD - the Ryzen 9 3900X (£480) and Ryzen 7 3700X (£320), and both offered a decent performance uplift over their predecessors.

Though impressive, their asking price puts them outside of the volume mainstream market. This is where the Ryzen 5 duo comes in. We've got our mitts on the Ryzen 5 3600X, retailing for $250 (£240), so let's take a closer look.

AMD Ryzen product range

Model
Cores / Threads
TDP
L3 Cache
Base Clock
Turbo Clock
Process
PCIe
DDR4 Support
Package
Price
AMD Ryzen 9
Ryzen 9 3950X
16 / 32
105W
64MB
3.5GHz
4.7GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$749
Ryzen 9 3900X
12 / 24
105W
64MB
3.8GHz
4.6GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$499
AMD Ryzen 7
Ryzen 7 3800X
8 / 16
105W
32MB
3.9GHz
4.5GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$399
Ryzen 7 3700X
8 / 16
65W
32MB
3.6GHz
4.4GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$329
Ryzen 7 2700X
8 / 16
105W
16MB
3.7GHz
4.3GHz
12nm
24
Dual 2933
AM4
$329
Ryzen 7 2700
8 / 16
65W
16MB
3.2GHz
4.1GHz
12nm
24
Dual 2933
AM4
$299
Ryzen 7 1800X
8 / 16
95W
16MB
3.6GHz
4.0GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$349
Ryzen 7 1700X
8 / 16
95W
16MB
3.4GHz
3.8GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$309
Ryzen 7 1700
8 / 16
65W
16MB
3.0GHz
3.7GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$299
AMD Ryzen 5
Ryzen 5 3600X
6 / 12
95W
32MB
3.8GHz
4.4GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$249
Ryzen 5 3600
6 / 12
65W
32MB
3.6GHz
4.2GHz
7nm
24
Dual 3200
AM4
$199
Ryzen 5 2600X
6 / 12
95W
16MB
3.6GHz
4.2GHz
12nm
24
Dual 2933
AM4
$229
Ryzen 5 2600
6 / 12
65W
16MB
3.4GHz
3.9GHz
12nm
24
Dual 2933
AM4
$199
Ryzen 5 1600X
6 / 12
95W
16MB
3.6GHz
4.0GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$219
Ryzen 5 1600
6 / 12
65W
16MB
3.2GHz
3.6GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$189
Ryzen 5 2400G
4 / 8
65W
4MB
3.6GHz
3.9GHz
14nm
16
Dual 2933
AM4
$169
Ryzen 5 1500X
4 / 8
65W
16MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$174
Ryzen 5 1400
4 / 8
65W
8MB
3.2GHz
3.4GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$169
AMD Ryzen 3
Ryzen 3 2200G
4 / 4
65W
4MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
14nm
16
Dual 2933
AM4
$99
Ryzen 3 1300X
4 / 4
65W
8MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$129
Ryzen 3 1200
4 / 4
65W
8MB
3.1GHz
3.4GHz
14nm
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$109


Making sense of Ryzen 5 3600X

AMD follows the core-and-thread strategy laid down by previous generations, which translates to Ryzen 5 housing six cores and 12 threads. The latest iteration keeps the 95W TDP associated with the X-nomenclature parts and increases frequencies over the models it replaces.

There's an extra 200MHz on base and boost speeds when compared to Ryzen 5 2600X, memory is supported at the faster DDR4-3200 standard, there's double the L3 cache, and the cumulative benefits of Zen 2 over Zen+ and original Zen offer an extra 10-15 per cent more IPC.

Ryzen 5 3600X is ideally paired with an X570 motherboard, though there's every reason why many, if not most, 300-series and 400-series boards will support it, too. Be sure to check for applicable BIOS updates if you are already committed on the Ryzen ecosystem and fancy upgrading to the new chips for extra oomph.

One problem that Ryzen 5 3600X faces is rather close to home. The non-X part ships with a meagre 65W TDP, making it arguably a better choice in small-form-factor systems and for those that want to build a near-silent PC. Its quoted frequencies are also pretty close to the X model, though it may not run quite as high when stressing all cores because retail models ship with the simpler Wraith Stealth cooler rather than the chunkier Wraith Spire in the Ryzen 5 3600X's box.

The kicker is that the Ryzen 5 3600 is £50 cheaper, which is a big deal when building a base unit for, say, a grand. That extra cash can go towards increasing storage capacity or even opting for the next GPU up in the stack. Decisions, decisions. AMD's recent promotion applies to this model, where you receive a three-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass. Further details on qualifying products are available at amd.com.

Our sample, cooled by a capable Noctua NH-D15S running with a single fan, averaged 4.11GHz across all cores under prolonged load - a figure that's right in the middle of the base and boost speeds. Peak temperature was reported as 67C.

A few questions need to be answered in the benchmark section. Is it worth investing in the Ryzen 5 3600X if you already have a Ryzen 5 from an older generation? How does it compare to, say, the 8C16T Ryzen 7 1800X from the original Zen family? Cores and threads vs. architecture and frequency. Last but not least, how does it shake up against the blue team? Let's find out.