AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU Review


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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:

CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
# of Cores 6 (1 CCD)
# of Threads 12
Base Clock Speed 3.8 GHz
Boost Clock Speed 4.4 GHz
Instruction Set 64-bit64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions SSE 4.1/4.2/4a, AES, AVX2, FMA3, SHA
Lithography 12 nm (IOD) and 7 nm (CCD)
Transistor Count 3.9 billion per CCD and 2.09 billion IOD
TDP 95 W
Thermal Solution Spec Solder
L1 Cache 32 KB I-cache, 32 KB D-cache per Core
L2 Cache 3 MB (512 KB per core)
L3 Cache 32 MB Shared
Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size 128 GB
Memory Types DDR4-3200
# of Memory Channels 2
ECC Memory Support yes

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

Ryzen 9 3950X Ryzen 9 3900X Ryzen 7 3800X Ryzen 7 3700X Ryzen 5 3600X Ryzen 5 3600
MSRP $749 $499 $399 $329 $229 $199
Silicon 7 nm “Matisse”
Socket AM4
Cores/Threads 16-core/32-thread 12-core/24-thread 8-core/16-thread 6-core/12-thread
Clock Speed 3.5 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz
Boost Speed 4.7 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.2 GHz
Cooler Wraith Prism RGB Wraith Prism RGB Wraith Prism RGB Wraith Prism RGB Wraith Spire Wraith Stealth
L2 Cache 512 KB per core
L3 Cache 64 MB shared 32 MB shared
Unlocked Yes
TDP 105 W 65 W 95 W 65 W
Memory Dual-Channel DDR4-2933 JEDEC up to 64 GB
PCIe PCIe Gen 3.0 x16 PEG (x16 or x8 + x8) + x4 M.2 + x4 Chipset
Chipset AMD 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
Motherboard ASUS ROG Crosshair VII WiFi  MSI MEG X570 Godlike ASUS ROG Maximus APEX X
 Memory G.Skill FlareX 2×8 GB DDR4-3200 MHz 14-14-14-34
 Graphics Card RADEON RX 5700 XT
 HDD Toshiba OCZ 480 GB TR200 SSD
 Game Storage Samsung T5 1 TB Portable SSD
 Power Supply EVGA 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
CPU Read Write Copy Latency
Ryzen 5 3600X  46759 25599 44335 73.6
Ryzen 5 3600X OC 46794 25599 44294 72.8
Ryzen 7 2700X  48976 47771 43179 65.9
Intel i7-8700K 47015 46129 42329 43.4

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
CPU Queen PhotoWorx Zlib AES SHA3
Ryzen 5 3600X  76462 22117 632 55690 1852
Ryzen 5 3600X OC 77495 22118 646 57386 1921
Ryzen 7 2700X  94744 25704 768 71513 2288
Intel i7-8700K 72531 25755 578 29412 2530

 

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
CPU FP64-RT Julia Mandel SinJulia
Ryzen 5 3600X 6663 60028 31880 10767
Ryzen 5 3600X OC 6905 62233 33065 11007
Ryzen 7 2700X 4289 41738 21811 13766
Intel i7-8700K 6170 54910 28236 7785

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
CPU R20 R15 POVRay x265 7Zip
Ryzen 5 3600X  3725 1633 3345 50.46 61879
Ryzen 5 3600X OC 3850 1698 3480 52 63088
Ryzen 7 2700X  4064 1807 3696 45.14 67515
Intel i7-8700K 3402 1404 2951 47.68 54266

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
CPU SuperPi 1M SuperPi 32M wPrime 32M wPrime 1024M
Ryzen 5 3600X 9.469 532.223 3.391 95.741
Ryzen 5 3600X OC 9.656 540.847 3.298 92.491
Ryzen 7 2700X 9.87 547.348 3.36 85.22
Intel i7-8700K 7.952 453.632 3.468 100.713

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!

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Shawn Jennings – Johan45

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