AMD recently announced its Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs, namely Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 7 5800X, and Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X. The company claimed better gaming performance against its competitor’s offerings. It was the only department wherein AMD lacked, and if it did indeed succeed in games, it would render Intel’s offerings almost pointless. In this article, we check out AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and see if AMD’s claims hold true.
Mainstream Gaming CPUs in Recent Years
While there is a wide range of product stack launched each generation by CPU manufacturers, the mainstream market in the range of $200-300 is the most popular segment. These parts offer decent performance in most games, only a few percentage points behind the flagship products that cost almost double.
For the last decade or so, Intel has been the apparent name for the best gaming CPUs. While AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 was a great value offering for most users, it did not beat the competition in pure performance. Intel’s i5-9600K and i5-10600K have held the gaming crown for the mainstream market. The Ryzen 5 3600X processor did not provide much performance uplift over its non-X counterpart. However, what worked for AMD Ryzen 5 3600 was its low price. The CPU was cheaper at $199 compared to the $262 price tag of Intel’s offerings while offering the same performance as Ryzen 5 3600X. But it still wasn’t the best gaming CPU.
AMD is changing the landscape of the segment with the launch of its Ryzen 5 5600X. The company is claiming single-core IPC gains of up to 19% for its new Zen 3 desktop processors. After almost a decade, the red team has a shot at winning the title of the best mainstream gaming CPU.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Review – Specifications
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a successor to Ryzen 5 3600X, albeit costing $50 more. While the 3rd gen offering was priced at $249, the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU has a price tag of $299. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU with a base clock of 3.7GHz and a maximum boost clock of up to 4.6GHz. It has 3MB of L2 cache and 32MB of L3 cache. The processor supports the AM4 socket on motherboards with 400 or 500 series chipsets. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X has a default TDP rating of 65W. It is the only model out of the four processors announced so far by AMD to include a stock cooler.
The Ryzen 5 5600X desktop processor features a single Zen 3 chiplet, albeit with two cores cut down. Like Zen 2, it has been built on TSMC N7 process. However, there is a prominent architectural difference from the preceding generation. Unlike Zen 2 chiplets, that had two 4-core complexes (CCXs), the Zen 3 chiplets have a single 8-core complex. Also, while each CCX of Zen 2 had access to 16MB of cache, the Zen 3 chiplet CCX can access all 32MB of cache. AMD has made a number of other architectural improvements for enhancing performance and efficiency. The I/O die used in Zen 3 processors is the same as the one used in Zen 2 processors.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Review – Gaming Performance
The Ryzen 5 5600X CPU is primarily positioned for mainstream gamers. As most games today utilize around 4 to 6 cores, it will be an ideal fit for a majority of users, provided that it does well. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X performs surprisingly well, although the company already claimed the same. Still, it is always pleasant to see products live up to manufacturers’ claims.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X does exceptionally great, leaving its predecessor in dust and matching or beating Intel’s offerings. Its primary competitor is the Intel Core i5-10600K, which is a 6-core and 12-thread CPU currently selling for a few bucks less. AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X beats the existing 6-core parts from both manufacturers and is within 3-5% of Intel’s 8-core Core i7-10700K desktop mainstream offerings. It even manages to edge-out Intel’s 10-core flagship Core i9-10900K in a couple of games.
The performance summary of the Ryzen 5 5600X processor at 1080p resolution with ultra or max graphics settings in nine games is as follows:
- 9% faster than Intel Core i5-10600K.
- 22% faster than AMD Ryzen 5 3600.
- 17% faster than AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.
- Almost on par with Intel Core i7-10700K.
- Slightly behind Ryzen 7 5800X.
When playing on competitive settings, the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU leaves Intel’s offerings in the dust. Turning down the resolution and graphics settings further extends its lead. All this performance is due to the record-breaking single-core performance of the Zen 3 architecture. It not only improves upon its predecessor but also leapfrogs Intel’s single-core performance by a significant margin.
We took a look at a few additional games that are not included in the table above. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a game that has been the mainstay of competitive players, the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU is almost 23% faster than Intel’s best offering. In GTA V, an older title dominated by Intel, Ryzen 5 5600X is 16% ahead of the Core i5-10600K, 7% faster than the Core i7-10700K, and 30% faster than Ryzen 5 3600. It only lags behind in a couple of titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and COD Warzone. Its 1% and 0.1 lows are significantly less as well in these games. It could be because the games may require some optimization or patch for the new CPUs. The same behavior is not seen in Overwatch. However, in almost everything else, the Ryzen 5 5600X processor is a beast.
The margin between the 6-core Ryzen 5 5600X and the 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X is minimal in most games. It clearly shows that most modern games don’t scale that well beyond 6-cores. There are a few exceptions to this, but the performance difference is not that big. A thing to note here is that the performance margin grows to over 10% when measuring the 1% and 0.1% lows. However, it is not significant enough to justify spending an extra 50% for the Ryzen 7 5800X processor.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Review – Summary and Value
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a beast of a gaming processor. It is currently the best mainstream gaming CPU, beating both the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Intel Core i5-10600K CPUs. Many gamers will find the $300 price tag to be a bit steep, considering that the previous generations Ryzen 5 3600X was launched at $250. However, Ryzen 5 3600 provided the same performance at $200. When we look at other options, Intel’s Core i5-10600K is currently selling for $274, while Core i7-10700K can be picked up for $379. We at PC Pepper feel that Ryzen 5 5600X should have kept the $250 price tag. It is still a better value than either of the Intel CPUs. There have been rumblings of a non-X version of Ryzen 5 5600, but AMD has not confirmed the same so far.
Ryzen 5 5600X vs. Ryzen 5 3600 vs. Intel Core i5-10600K – Which CPU Should You Buy?
In the end, we are left with the obvious yet essential question, which CPU should you choose out of Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 5 3600, and Core i5-10600K. Considering that Ryzen 5 5600X is better than Intel’s 6-core i5-10600K and performs the same as the 8-core i7-10700K CPU in games, it makes Intel’s offerings almost pointless to recommend. If you are a competitive player or want the best mainstream gaming performance, then Ryzen 5 5600X is the obvious choice. However, if you only play a single game such as Call of Duty Warzone, then you may want to check which CPU does better in that particular game and choose one accordingly.
If you primarily play single-player games and need to save a few bucks for your graphics card, then the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is still an excellent option. It is more than capable of giving 120+ FPS in most games. Don’t compromise on your graphics card for the sake of a better CPU. It may also be wise to wait for a couple of months and see if AMD releases a cheaper non-X variant of the Ryzen 5 5600 desktop processor. But if you want to buy right now, then Ryzen 5 5600X is the best gaming CPU.