Introduction

Today we are going to directly compare performance between the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU and AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU.  If you haven’t already, also check out our performance comparison between the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. In a similar fashion today, we are going to take these two Ryzen 5 CPUs and compare them directly on the same test setup configuration.  The same motherboard, with the same memory, and the same configuration with the only difference being the CPU.  In this way, we can directly see how the Ryzen 5 3600 compares with the Ryzen 5 3600X in 2020. 

With Zen 3 on the horizon, now is a great time to see how these two CPUs really compare to each other directly on the current AMD X570 chipset.  Prices on these CPUs are competitive, and we want to know which one is the better value here in the summer of 2020.

Should you spend more money on the Ryzen 5 3600X or can you save a little and stick with the Ryzen 5 3600 instead?  Let’s find out.

SpecificationRyzen 5 3600Ryzen 5 3600X
NodeTSMC 7nmTSMC 7nm
ArchitectureZen 2Zen 2
Cores / Threads6 / 126 / 12
Base Clock3.6 GHz3.8 GHz
Boost Clock4.2 GHz4.4 GHz
L2 Cache / L3 Cache3MB / 32MB3MB / 32MB
TDP65W95W
MSRP$199$249

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X was launched alongside the Zen 2 series launch in the summer of 2019.  In July 2019 AMD launched its Ryzen 3000 series Zen 2 architecture CPUs.  The Ryzen 5 3600X is aimed at being a mid-range CPU.  The MSRP at launch was $249.  The CPU is based on the Zen 2 architecture at 7nm.  It has 6 cores/12 threads.  The TDP of the CPU is 95W.  The base clock is 3.8GHz and the turbo clock is 4.4GHz and supports PCIe 4.0.  It has a cache setup of 32MB for L3 and 3MB for L2.  The CPU supports DDR4-3200 officially. 

In the box, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X comes with the Wraith Spire fan/heatsink.  It is due to this particular heatsink and fan inclusion that allows the 3600X to be a 95W TDP CPU. 

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 was launched at the same time as the Ryzen 5 3600X.  The CPU is based on the Zen 2 architecture on the 7nm manufacturer process, the same as the other Ryzen 3000 series CPU launches in the summer of 2019.  What makes the 3600 unique though is that it has a lower TDP of 65W compared to the 95W of the 3600X.  This is because in the box a Wraith Stealth fan/heatsink is included, which has a maximum TDP capability of 65W. 

This begs the question if using an AIO cooler with a higher potential TDP capacity, how will the Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600 really compare?  Will the Ryzen 5 3600 be able to do a lot better?

The Ryzen 5 3600 also has a lower MSRP at $199.  Yet, it still has 6 cores/12 threads like its big brother the Ryzen 5 3600X.  It has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a turbo clock of 4.2GHz.  Therefore, it runs about 200MHz less in Turbo frequency compared to the 3600X.  It also has the same L3 cache size of 32MB and the same L2 cache size of 3MB just like the 3600X.  The Ryzen 5 3600 also supports PCIe 4.0 and DDR4-3200. 

Comparisons

At the end of the day, the CPUs are $50 apart in pricing.  They are both 6 core/12 threads, but the 3600X does have a higher turbo frequency at 4.4GHz vs. 4.2GHz.  The TDP is 65W on the 3600 while it is 95W on the 3600X.  Otherwise, the CPUs are identical. 

One thing that is going to make our performance comparison unique today is that we are comparing both CPUs on the X570 chipset platform.  With the X570 chipset which was released alongside the Ryzen 3000 Zen 2 series, we have the best possible performance setup for the CPUs.  The X570 officially supports DDR4-3200 and has PCIe 4.0 support to peripherals.  However, we will be running the RAM at DDR4-3600 for all tests.

The motherboard we are testing on is the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi X570.  This motherboard will ensure the absolute best performance on both CPUs.  We are using the default “optimized defaults” BIOS settings on both CPUs.  The only manual thing we changed was to enable DOCP on the RAM so that it runs at DDR4 3600MHz 16-19-19-1T.  We also have the latest BIOS on this motherboard installed which is version 2103 dated 6/29/2020 and based on AMD AM4 AGESA V2 PI 1.0.0.2. 

The final thing that will make our performance comparison unique is that we are using a Corsair H115i Pro AIO cooler on both CPUs.  We are not using the Wraith Stealth or Spire cooler.  This means we have a cooler able to take on a high TDP, so the Ryzen 5 3600 can perform as good as it possibly can with cooling not being a factor holding it back.  In this way, with all these things combined, we will see how these CPUs compare in 2020 with the latest software and AGESA BIOS versions.  

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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4 Comments

  1. Wow… for that kind of performance boost Intel would want you to buy a whole new kit. New motherboard, new ram and a new CPU altogether in order to support the ‘newer faster cpu’. I mean… not TODAY but 5 years ago… 3-7% would have been considered a generational bump. ;)

    Yea I still have oodles of snark vs Intel. ;)

  2. It seems that when ever Intel introduces a new line you have to buy a motherboard with it!

    I used to be a big fan of AMD back in the Athlon days and started going Intel. However, now I’m seriously rethinking my choices. :p

  3. The 3600X just doesn’t make sense, similar to the 3800X (or any of the recent “XT” chips for that matter). I mean, sure, they’re a little tiny bit quicker, but for the difference in price and not to mention thermals, the plain 3600 is the obvious choice.

    There’s four options that make sense to me in the Zen 2 lineup: 3600, 3700X, 3900X, and 3950X depending on your requirements.

  4. I did a trade deal for a 3600x .. and doggone it! .. my little 11 year old princess is worth that 3 to 5%!!

    If I were to actually of had to pay out of pocket, I would have gone with the 3600.

    It’s been touched on in this thread knocking Intel for whole new chipsets for that type of performance bump .. but man, look at the performance gains we got with AM4 .. and it’s still going with B450’s and up.

    My daughter went from a 2200g to 2700x to her now 3600x ..on her B350

    Wife went from 2200g to 3400g on her B350

    I started with 1700 on the now wife’s B350 to 1700 to 2700x to 3700x on an x470 and then jumped to an x570

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