AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU Review

We covered the launch of AMD’s new 7 nm CPUs just a couple of weeks back when we reviewed the 3900X and the 3700X. Today we’re dropping down in core count and price and taking a hard look at the Ryzen 5 3600X.

The 3600X is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU very much like the Intel i7-8700K but one hundred dollars cheaper and comes with its own heatsink from AMD. These two CPUs are about to square off against each other, who will be the winner and which offers the most value for your hard-earned cash? Let’s dive in a have a good look at the two.

Specifications and Features

Looking at the specifications table below, we see the new Ryzen CPUs are produced using the 7 nm process from TSMC foundries and have 3.9 billion transistors per 74 mm² CCD. There’s also a 12 nm IO/memory controller on the package with 2.09 Billion transistors on a 125 mm² die. AMD is still using solder between the die and IHS on the Ryzen CPUs for improved thermal transfer. The Ryzen 5 3600X has 32 MB shared L3 Cache and 512 KB L2 Cache per core for a total of 3 MB.

The Ryzen 5 3600X has a base frequency of 3.8 GHz and a maximum boost of 4.4 GHz with a 95 W TDP. During stress testing, I noticed an all-core boost clock which hovered between 4.1 GHz and 4.2 GHz during heavy load situations. Like all AMD Ryzen CPUs, the 3600X comes bundled with the Wraith Spire cooler, maybe not as robust as the Prism but still capable.

All the new Ryzen CPUs support 3200 MHz JEDEC in dual-channel configuration out of the box. They also support up to 128 GB capacity and ECC memory with much of this is dependent on your choice of motherboard, however.

Windows 10 is the officially supported platform for the Ryzen CPUs however it does appear as if Windows 7 installations will again be possible with the right drivers for those still hanging on or competitive benchmarking where every clock cycle available counts. To date, I haven’t been able to locate a proper AMD XHCI driver for Windows 7. Using motherboards with a PS/2 input for the mouse installation will work and the chipset drivers will install but there isn’t any USB functionality which there was for X470. Asmedia ports or an add-in card will be needed for USB at this time.

For more details on the new Zen2 architecture and changes that AMD made to the new Ryzen CPUs have a look at our launch review of the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X.

Specifications below supplied by AMD:

CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3600X
# of Cores6 (1 CCD)
# of Threads12
Base Clock Speed3.8 GHz
Boost Clock Speed4.4 GHz
Instruction Set64-bit64-bit
Instruction Set ExtensionsSSE 4.1/4.2/4a, AES, AVX2, FMA3, SHA
Lithography12 nm (IOD) and 7 nm (CCD)
Transistor Count3.9 billion per CCD and 2.09 billion IOD
TDP95 W
Thermal Solution SpecSolder
L1 Cache32 KB I-cache, 32 KB D-cache per Core
L2 Cache3 MB (512 KB per core)
L3 Cache32 MB Shared
Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size128 GB
Memory TypesDDR4-3200
# of Memory Channels2
ECC Memory Supportyes

The table below is a list of the third-generation Ryzen desktop CPU lineup:

Ryzen 9 3950XRyzen 9 3900XRyzen 7 3800XRyzen 7 3700XRyzen 5 3600XRyzen 5 3600
MSRP$749$499$399$329$229$199
Silicon7 nm “Matisse”
SocketAM4
Cores/Threads16-core/32-thread12-core/24-thread8-core/16-thread6-core/12-thread
Clock Speed3.5 GHz3.8 GHz3.9 GHz3.6 GHz3.8 GHz3.6 GHz
Boost Speed4.7 GHz4.6 GHz4.5 GHz4.4 GHz4.4 GHz4.2 GHz
CoolerWraith Prism RGBWraith Prism RGBWraith Prism RGBWraith Prism RGBWraith SpireWraith Stealth
L2 Cache512 KB per core
L3 Cache64 MB shared32 MB shared
UnlockedYes
TDP105 W65 W95 W65 W
MemoryDual-Channel DDR4-2933 JEDEC up to 64 GB
PCIePCIe Gen 3.0 x16 PEG (x16 or x8 + x8) + x4 M.2 + x4 Chipset
ChipsetAMD 400 and 500 Series

Product Tour

The Ryzen 5 3600X comes in the familiar AMD cube-shaped box type packaging. On the exterior, we see the CPU details located on the tamper-proof seal and AMD’s “swoop” type logo and the Ryzen 5 naming. AMD has also included a window where we can see more details of the CPU including the production date, place of manufacture, and serial number.

Once inside we have the information pamphlet which outlines the warranty and authenticity. It also has the installation instructions for the CPU and different cooler styles which could be included in the package. This is a generic pamphlet covering all options including socket TR4/SP3.

The Ryzen 5 3600X is contained in a plastic clamshell case between the side of the box and the included cooler. For this model of CPU AMD has included their Wraith Spire heatsink which is a step down from the Wraith Prism RGB included with the higher-end CPUs.

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Benchmarks

All benchmarks were run with the motherboard being set to optimized defaults with XMP setting enabled. I would also like to add that the Ryzen 5 3600X CPU was tested with the included Wraith Spire cooler and for the overclocking results the EVGA CLC was used. All tests were done at the time of this writing with the most recent Windows 10 May 2019 update with the newest updated chipset drivers and BIOS files.

Ryzen 7 2700X Ryzen 5 3600X i7- 8700K
MotherboardASUS ROG Crosshair VII WiFi MSI MEG X570 GodlikeASUS ROG Maximus APEX X
 MemoryG.Skill FlareX 2×8 GB DDR4-3200 MHz 14-14-14-34
 Graphics CardRADEON RX 5700 XT
 HDDToshiba OCZ 480 GB TR200 SSD
 Game StorageSamsung T5 1 TB Portable SSD
 Power SupplyEVGA 750 W G3
 Cooling EVGA CLC 240 AMD Wraith Spire EVGA CLC 240
 OS Windows 10 x64

Benchmarks Used

CPU Tests
  • AIDA64 Engineer CPU, FPU, and Memory Tests
  • Cinebench R20 and R15
  • HWBot x265 1080p Benchmark
  • POVRay
  • SuperPi 1M/32M
  • WPrime 32M/1024M
  • 7Zip

All CPU tests were run at their default settings with XMP enabled. An overclocked result was also included with the Ryzen 5 3600X running at 4.25 GHz on all cores, turbo boost is disabled when overclocking.

Gaming Tests

All game tests were run at 1920×1080p with all CPUs at defaults. Please see our testing procedures for details on in-game settings.

  • 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
  • F1 2018
  • Far Cry 5
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

AIDA64 Tests

Just a note here, I used the latest AIDA64 Engineer Beta for testing and the team at AIDA have replaced some of the benchmarks we have used in previous reviews in favor of some newly updated benchmarks. New this time around is the SHA3 test in the CPU portion and FP-64 ray tracing test in the FPU section.

AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark
CPUReadWriteCopyLatency
Ryzen 5 3600X 46759255994433573.6
Ryzen 5 3600X OC46794255994429472.8
Ryzen 7 2700X 48976477714317965.9
Intel i7-8700K47015461294232943.4

As you can see the Ryzen 5 3600X does well in the bandwidth tests with one outlier Write test score is about half of what you would expect. This was covered earlier in the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700 X review. It also appears as though there has been another slight increase in latency compared to the Ryzen 7 2700X, likely a result of the core and IO separation. Up next the AIDA64 CPU benchmarks.

AIDA64 CPU Tests
CPUQueenPhotoWorxZlibAESSHA3
Ryzen 5 3600X 7646222117632556901852
Ryzen 5 3600X OC7749522118646573861921
Ryzen 7 2700X 9474425704768715132288
Intel i7-8700K7253125755578294122530

 

The CPU tests show the Ryzen 5 3600X is holding up well compared to the i7-8700k despite a speed disadvantage. The Ryzen7 2700X was quite dominant throughout the testing with the AIDA64 CPU benchmarks because of its thread-count advantage.

AIDA64 FPU Tests
CPUFP64-RTJuliaMandelSinJulia
Ryzen 5 3600X6663600283188010767
Ryzen 5 3600X OC6905622333306511007
Ryzen 7 2700X4289417382181113766
Intel i7-8700K617054910282367785

The floating-point tests show off the strength of the new Ryzen 3xxx CPUs. AMD did a lot of work in this area and it looks like it really paid off. As you can see even with an extra two cores the 2700X struggled to compete here and the 8700K was left behind in every test easily bested by the 3600X.

Real-World Tests

Next, we will move on to something a bit more tangible/productivity-based with compression, rendering, and encoding benchmarks.

Cinebench R20/R15, POVRay, x265 (HWBot), 7Zip – Raw Data
CPUR20R15POVRayx2657Zip
Ryzen 5 3600X 37251633334550.4661879
Ryzen 5 3600X OC3850169834805263088
Ryzen 7 2700X 40641807369645.1467515
Intel i7-8700K34021404295147.6854266

Here again, the extra threads gave the Ryzen 7 2700X a slight advantage over the other CPUs in all benchmarks but HWBot X265 where the 3600X pulled ahead. The 8700K put up a good fight but wasn’t able to pass the Ryzen 5 3600X in any of these tests.

Pi-Based Tests

Moving on from all the multi-threaded goodness above, we get to some Pi and Prime number based tests. SuperPi and WPrime, specifically.

SuperPi and wPrime Benchmarks – Raw Data
CPUSuperPi 1MSuperPi 32MwPrime 32MwPrime 1024M
Ryzen 5 3600X9.469532.2233.39195.741
Ryzen 5 3600X OC9.656540.8473.29892.491
Ryzen 7 2700X9.87547.3483.3685.22
Intel i7-8700K7.952453.6323.468100.713

This time Intel pulled ahead in the Super Pi tests, partly due to their much higher single-core boost speeds but this has always been a good benchmark for Intel even when at the same clock speed.

WPrime, on the other hand, even with the matched core counts for the 3600X and 8700K the Ryzen CPUs pulled ahead with the 2700X in the lead due to its extra cores.

Looking back over all these results we can see that the slight, stable overclock on the Ryzen 5 3600X only gained it approximately 3% in most of the results and in the single-core benchmark actually performed worse since it wasn’t able to boost to 4.4 GHz.

Game Results

As far as the games go, tests were done at 1920 x 1080p according to our Graphics Testing Procedure which was linked earlier. The CPUs are all at defaults with the exception of the overclocked results and running 3200 MHz FlareX memory set to XMP to give a better display of real-world results.

As you can see above in the gaming results, AMD has made some nice improvements over the last generation of Ryzen CPUs. The results are pretty tight across the board between the 3600X and the 8700K except for Far Cry 5 where the 8700K took a slight lead. Paying attention to the overclocked results we see that overlocking the 3600X has very little effect on the gaming results one or two FPS but titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider had zero increase in frame rate.

On to the synthetic benchmark, 3DMark Fire Strike, you can see the results are very close across the board except for the Physics test. You’ll notice the 3600X edging out the 8700k they scored nearly the same in the graphics portion but the higher physics score gave the 3600X  the lead.

Power Consumption and Temperatures

In the graph below we tested power use of the system across multiple situations from idle, to Prime 95 Small FFT (with FMA3/AVX). The 3600X  pulled the most power during the Prime 95 Small FFT test with the system pulling 175 W from the wall. The power usage increased a full 35 W once the 3600X was overclocked topping out at 210 W. Keep in mind this is full-system power usage.

Temperatures were well-controlled with the included Wraith Spire cooler, I saw no throttling despite the fact we were hitting 95° C during Prime95 Small FFT test. This shows that the stock cooler is adequate for the 3600X at stock settings. The overclocked results were done using the EVGA 240 CLC which did improve thermals even though the CPU was using 1.4 V.

Pushing the Limits

For overclocking we used the EVGA 240 mm CLC to give things some headroom. The Wraith Spire cooler is adequate for stock operations but really isn’t suited for overclocking the Ryzen 5 3600X. Despite the additional cooling, the CPU was practically tapped out before we even started. Under load, the CPU would boost between 4.1 and 4.2 GHz when left on auto. Manually overclocking only inched it up a bit further to 4.25 GHz while using 1.4 V to do so. It was possibly just this sample but regardless, it was still a bit disappointing that it couldn’t hit the 4.3-4.4 GHz range and remain stable.

The CPU did run stable at these settings and completed almost 40 minutes of Prime 95 small FFTs before one core dropped out a better cooler would have kept the test running. This test really hammers a CPU and some may consider it to be excessive but it’s still my go-to software for quick stress testing. Judging by the overclocked results included in the graphs above pushing the CPU this hard didn’t bring a lot more to the table and you’d likely be better off leaving it on auto.

Ryzen5 3600X 4.25 GHz 1.4 V 3200 memory CL14
Ryzen 7 3600X 4.35 GHz 1.45 V 3200 memory CL14

Above is our pushing the limits shot, this isn’t a stable overclock but it was able to finish every benchmark. We squeezed another 100 MHz out of it by maxing the voltage at 1.45 V. There were some additional gains to be had at this speed. With a better cooler or better CPU, this overclock would be worth the extra effort to achieve.

Conclusion

Overall, the performance of AMD’s third-generation Ryzen CPU is quite impressive, partly due to the 7 nm process and improvements in the front end while the doubled L3 Cache has big benefits of its own. This is quite apparent by the boost the new Ryzen has gotten in the gaming tests where we saw roughly on par performance when compared to the 8700K. Even throughout our real-world tests, the Ryzen 3600X was outpacing the 8700K despite its higher boost clocks.

The new Ryzen CPUs are widely available now except for the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X which is to launch in September of this year. Pricing for the full line-up was listed above in the specifications section these are MSRP prices and may not reflect real-world pricing. A good example is Amazon and Newegg are both selling the Ryzen 5 3600X $20 over MSRP at $249.99. Even with the slightly inflated price the 3600X still comes in $100 lower than the Intel i7-8700K at $349.99 making it a serious bargain. That extra $100 can be spent on an upgraded graphics card, a new SSD, or maybe some RGB bling to make that new PC standout.

A bit more overclocking headroom would have been nice to see but even at stock settings the CPU performed very well and outperformed its competition. The Ryzen 5 3600X also comes with its own cooler saving you a bit more green on top of the lower retail price. When it comes to performance per dollar the 3600X is a real winner giving it a big thumbs up and Overclockers Approved!

Click here to find out what this means.
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Shawn Jennings – Johan45

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  1. "The new Ryzen CPUs are widely available now except for the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X which is to launch in September of this year."
    This is patently false. Neither Newegg nor Amazon have the 3900X in stock (Amazon has 3rd party sellers at $800) and the 3700X goes in and out of stock at Newegg while Amazon only has 3rd party sellers priced at $50 over list price. I know some of us here are big fans of AMD, but lets just stick to the truth.
    DaveB
    "The new Ryzen CPUs are widely available now except for the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X which is to launch in September of this year."
    This is patently false. Neither Newegg nor Amazon have the 3900X in stock (Amazon has 3rd party sellers at $800) and the 3700X goes in and out of stock at Newegg while Amazon only has 3rd party sellers priced at $50 over list price. I know some of us here are big fans of AMD, but lets just stick to the truth.

    3900X is the only CPU out of stock on newegg... the majority of the product stack is in stock. I would say that saying they are widely available is patently true. :sly:
    It's true. They are. Just because one sku sells out fast does not make it false. I was in Microcenter last night and they had to s of 3700x's as well as everything else but the 3900x. I seen 3700x's in stock all the time for the past week or so.
    Nice write up Johan..... as always.
    Edit ..... I think the last time I looked canada computers had the complete line up in stock with the exception of the 3950X, now that was a couple weeks ago so things could of changed since.
    Good review, I know the 3700X, 3800X and the 3900X are real beast, only one I didn't get is the 3600X but will get one for the grand kid, he is still on a 2 core cpu:)
    bmwbaxter
    3900X is the only CPU out of stock on newegg... the majority of the product stack is in stock. I would say that saying they are widely available is patently true. :sly:

    It depends on when/where you look. Best thing to do is to have newegg or whatever reseller notify you. One reseller I checked said they have over 4000 3900X CPUs back-ordered. They are getting 3900x cpus in, they are just trickling in low quantity. Lisa Su said they are working on addressing the issue. The lower end SKUs are generally available though.
    Don't you find it a bit disappointing they had any stock issues at all? even their GPU line had a bit of lack on stock!
    Considering Intels prices and their long lasting stock issues of late and Nvidias pricing.
    AMD basically had a sure thing for a lineup all they had to do was keep stock full and they could just wheel in the $ trucks.
    It really must drive their R&D team nuts they create winner products for the first time in years and lack of stock lol.
    SF101
    Don't you find it a bit disappointing they had any stock issues at all? even their GPU line had a bit of lack on stock!
    Considering Intels prices and their long lasting stock issues of late and Nvidias pricing.
    AMD basically had a sure thing for a lineup all they had to do was keep stock full and they could just wheel in the $ trucks.
    It really must drive their R&D team nuts they create winner products for the first time in years and lack of stock lol.

    There is a big gap between R&D and implementation, especially when you don't own the FAB and have to glue multiple chips together.
    Also, die shrinks are not as easy as turning the dial down from 14 to 7 to 5 as some people seem to think. Rumor is that AMD is getting a 70% yield on the 7nm process which is good but not great. If you combine that information with the experience most people have with the chips underperforming the marketed performance (4.6+ GHz Max Boost) and that points to the fact that they are probably ending up with a lot more slow chiplets and very few that will approach or meet 4.5+ GHz.
    I have a friend that shelled out for a 3900x and only 2 of his cores will make 4.5 GHz. The other 10 will only get to 4.3 GHz. None of them will ever get to 4.6 which is what is on the label. I told him to RMA the chip.
    Considering the 3950x is scheduled to launch in September, I'd bet that they are binning their little buts off right now trying to meet demand on the high end (3950x is marketed at 4.7 GHz MB), while there seems to be no issue getting your hands on one of the lower-end chips.
    Label says max boost not boat. If he's not hitting 4.6 then it's one of the limiting factors that pbo watches to control the boost. Or the bios for his mobo. I'm guessing it's heat.
    Yup he's got a defective 3900x. Tell him to send it back because he should be doing an 4.6ghz all core oc with the stock heatsink on a b350 mobo at 1.25v I have yet to see a 3900x not pull 4.7 GHz on all cores
    Shawn, in the Pushing the Limits section, you dont really say what you did to try overclocking. Can you walk me through your settings? Did you just increase voltage and multiplier? Do you still have this chip to try some more testing? I've had great success getting mine stable north of 4400mhz under 1.45v, but I'm battling voltage drop issues on my cheap PG4 board (went cheap after all the reviews stated it couldn't overclock thinking a beefy vram setup wasn't needed then, kicking myself now). Id love to run some settings by you if you still have it to test on a decent board. There's a chance I got really lucky on the silicone, but I'm leaning more towards the correct combination of settings so I'd like to see if others can duplicate it. I'm only on a 360mm rad with my 1600mhz 980ti in the loop as well, and cooling is definitely going to be the limiting factor. 4400mhz @1.42v was pushing 65c during stress testing, runs daily at high 50s/low 60s during gaming sessions.
    bignazpwns
    Yup he's got a defective 3900x. Tell him to send it back because he should be doing an 4.6ghz all core oc with the stock heatsink on a b350 mobo at 1.25v I have yet to see a 3900x not pull 4.7 GHz on all cores

    lol. Apologist.
    pgdeaner
    Rumor is that AMD is getting a 70% yield on the 7nm process which is good but not great. If you combine that information with the experience most people have with the chips underperforming the marketed performance (4.6+ GHz Max Boost) and that points to the fact that they are probably ending up with a lot more slow chiplets and very few that will approach or meet 4.5+ GHz.
    I have a friend that shelled out for a 3900x and only 2 of his cores will make 4.5 GHz. The other 10 will only get to 4.3 GHz. None of them will ever get to 4.6 which is what is on the label. I told him to RMA the chip.
    Considering the 3950x is scheduled to launch in September, I'd bet that they are binning their little buts off right now trying to meet demand on the high end (3950x is marketed at 4.7 GHz MB), while there seems to be no issue getting your
    hands on one of the lower-end chips.

    RMA?!… If your friend RMA's that chip for not meeting AMD's max boost then he will most likely get back another chip with ~ similar performance.
    You think AMD has a bunch of cherry binned 3900X on the RMA shelf that will do PBO between 44x and 45x all core along with a 46x boost on the strongest two cores?
    Look at the Silicon Lottery binning for 3900X: Bottom bin... [email protected] < 40.5x @1.212v < 41x @1.225v < 41.5x @1.237v < Top bin... 42x @1.250v.
    Your friends chip most likely falls some place within those five bins... Highly unlikely that he has a defective chip.
    bignazpwns
    Yup he's got a defective 3900x. Tell him to send it back because he should be doing an 4.6ghz all core oc with the stock heatsink on a b350 mobo at 1.25v I have yet to see a 3900x not pull 4.7 GHz on all cores

    Hah!! Some trolling here. ;)
    bignazpwns
    Yup he's got a defective 3900x. Tell him to send it back because he should be doing an 4.6ghz all core oc with the stock heatsink on a b350 mobo at 1.25v I have yet to see a 3900x not pull 4.7 GHz on all cores

    A lot has to do with the BIOS not the chip I see 4.6 boost on only one of the boards I have tested so far. You just got lucky or the review samples are a bit dogish
    Jeff G
    Shawn, in the Pushing the Limits section, you dont really say what you did to try overclocking. Can you walk me through your settings? Did you just increase voltage and multiplier? Do you still have this chip to try some more testing? I've had great success getting mine stable north of 4400mhz under 1.45v, but I'm battling voltage drop issues on my cheap PG4 board (went cheap after all the reviews stated it couldn't overclock thinking a beefy vram setup wasn't needed then, kicking myself now). Id love to run some settings by you if you still have it to test on a decent board. There's a chance I got really lucky on the silicone, but I'm leaning more towards the correct combination of settings so I'd like to see if others can duplicate it. I'm only on a 360mm rad with my 1600mhz 980ti in the loop as well, and cooling is definitely going to be the limiting factor. 4400mhz @1.42v was pushing 65c during stress testing, runs daily at high 50s/low 60s during gaming sessions.

    If you're running stable at 4400 I'd say you're doing quite well Jeff, This CPU I have hasn't been able to do that, not stable anyway.
    Johan45

    If you're running stable at 4400 I'd say you're doing quite well Jeff, This CPU I have hasn't been able to do that, not stable anyway.

    Do you still have your chip and a x570 board to test on? I'd love to know if it's just a good chip, or a combination of my settings. I can send you the settings I used if you want to try it, see if maybe that's all it needs?
    Jeff G
    Do you still have your chip and a x570 board to test on? I'd love to know if it's just a good chip, or a combination of my settings. I can send you the settings I used if you want to try it, see if maybe that's all it needs?

    I still have the CPU and boards, doing a Gigabyte review ATM. I typically use only the multi and voltage (LLC if necessary) I also test with P95 small FFT which really hammers the snot of the CPU.
    Johan45
    I still have the CPU and boards, doing a Gigabyte review ATM. I typically use only the multi and voltage (LLC if necessary) I also test with P95 small FFT which really hammers the snot of the CPU.

    The friend in question dropped $700 for an Asus Formula. I understand that Asus is still working on BIOS while MSI seems to have things sorted. Is that your experience? :shock:
    Isn't the memory test faulty... someone didnt pay attention to the clock settings being on par. Only if you misfit the uclk and mclk such bad results come up.
    If you test systems, do your homework first.
    Not a good review, it's one that misleads to false assumptions.