AMD Ryzen 5 3600
AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The AMD R5 3600 is part of the newly-released Ryzen 3000 series.  The new CPUs are built on a 7nm process. The Ryzen 3600 retains the “chiplet” design just like the Ryzen 5 3600X. The CPU cores and I/O are separate chiplets. While the CPU core chiplet is built on the 7 nm process,  I/O for the CPU is manufactured on the 14nm process.

High end builds are great; the high-performance CPUs and GPUs continue to push the boundaries. The performance is at the top of the charts however, most consumers don’t want or can’t afford to drop a ton of cash on their PC. Most settle in for a mid-range product on both the CPU and GPU sides.  AMD has a wide range of CPUs that feature 12 (or more) cores on the desktop down to simple 4 core CPUs. The focus of this review is the AMD Ryzen 3600. Recently I reviewed the Ryzen 5 3600X. It is a great CPU and performed well. So what’s the difference between the two? Well, in a nutshell, 200 MHz and about $50.00. How does that rate in performance? Before I went into the review, I knew the benchmarks would be close. In reality, 200 MHz isn’t much of a difference and the performance differences should not be all that much, right?  However, I am more of a “show me” person so, I need to test things for myself.  Based on the benchmarks and cost, does it change my opinion of the Ryzen 5 3600X?


# of CPU Cores 6
# of Threads 12
Base Clock 3.6GHz
Max Boost Clock 4.2GHz
Total L1 Cache 384KB
Total L2 Cache 3MB
Total L3 Cache 32MB
Unlocked Yes
Package AM4
PCI Express® Version PCIe 4.0 x16
Thermal Solution Wraith Stealth
Default TDP / TDP 95W
Max Temps 95°C


The Ryzen 5 3600 comes packaged in the standard Ryzen packaging. The Ryzen logo is embossed on the front center of the box. In the lower right corner, you can see the number 5, this indicates this is a Ryzen 5 part and on the lower left, you’ll see the 3rd Gen processor.

On the top of the box, you’ll find the anti-tamper sticker. The name and model of the CPU are printed here. As you can see, this is the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU. On the side of the box, there is a cut out where you can see the actual CPU. The Ryzen 5 3600 is housed in a plastic blister pack on the inside.

Inside, you’ll find a black box that contains the CPU cooler, the blister pack that houses the CPU and, a certificate of authenticity.

Speaking of the cooler, this is the Wraith Stealth. The cooler is the smallest so far from any of the AMD CPUs I’ve tested. The CPU cooler is pretty bare-bones and does not feature any RGB. Take note, it also needs to be screwed into the backplate vs. clamping to the CPU retention brackets.

The bottom of the cooler features pre-applied thermal paste. The heatsink is made from aluminum.

You can see in the profile shot how tall the aluminum heatsink is compared to the height of the fan. During my testing, the cooler is barely adequate for cooling but really nothing to write home about. During testing, I do not use the stock CPU coolers on any CPU.

The CPU has an integrated heat spreader with the pertinent information etched into it. If you’re used to Intel CPUs where the pins are in the socket, the AMD CPU is exactly the opposite. The pins are on the CPU and can easily be bent.

Test System and Benchmarks

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Test Bench
Product Name Provided By
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 AMD
Motherboard ASRock Taichi X570 ASRock
Memory G.Skill Trident Royal F4-3600C16D-16GTRG 16-16-16-36 (XMP) G.Skill
Drive Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD Samsung/Crucial
Video Cards Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 TI Founders Edition Nvidia
Monitor BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
Case DimasTech EasyXL DimasTech
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Cooler Master
Operating System Windows 10 1903 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates
Intel Core i7-8700k Test Bench
Product Name Provided By
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K (Retail) Intel
Motherboard Aorus Z390 Pro Gigabyte
Memory G.Skill Trident Royal F4-3600C16D-16GTRG 16-16-16-36 (XMP) G.Skill
Drive Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD Samsung/Crucial
Video Cards  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 TI Founders Edition Nvidia
Monitor BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
Case DimasTech EasyXL DimasTech
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Cooler Master
Operating System Windows 10 1903 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates

The Ryzen 5 3600 is configured similarly to the setup when I reviewed the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 7 3900X. The CPU is water cooled in a loop that features a 360mm radiator and the EKWB AMD Velocity water block.

For synthetic benchmarks, each benchmark was run on each system three times. Then we picked the best of the three results. The system was allowed to idle in between each benchmark for no less than 30 minutes. This gives the processor time to cool down a bit before the next test is performed. The ambient temperature is kept as close to 21°c, or 70°f as possible. We use both Core Temp and Hardware Monitor to record temperatures and CPUZ to validate clock speeds and voltages.

At the top of the charts, I put the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 in direct comparison with the Intel i7 8700K and the Ryzen 5 3600X as they closely match in configuration with the CPUs being 6 core/12 thread CPUs. The only hardware difference between the two systems is the CPU, motherboard, and water blocks.

Testing and Performance


AIDA64 has a set of several 64-bit benchmarks to measure how fast the computer performs various data processing tasks and mathematical calculations. Multi-threaded memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency. Benchmark pages of AIDA64 Extreme provide several methods to measure system performance. These benchmarks are synthetic, so their results show only the theoretical maximum performance of the system. The AIDA64 suite has various benchmarks for CPU, FPU, GPU, storage and memory testing.

As I would expect, the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Ryzen 5 3600X are extremely close in terms of memory performance with only 200 MHz separating them. Even compared to the older Intel i7-8700K performance is extremely close. The AMD CPUs suffer a write penalty based because the CCD to IO link is 32B per cycle for reads and 16B per cycle for writes vs 32B per cycle for both read and write operations.

In both the CPU and FPU test of Aidia 64, you can see the three CPUs at the top of the chart are all very close to each other in terms of performance. No CPU pulls ahead of the other. Closer still are the results of the two Ryzen 5 CPUs. This trend continues throughout the benchmark process.

Cinebench R20

Cinebench is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s hardware capabilities. Improvements to Cinebench Release 20 reflect the overall advancements to CPU and rendering technology in recent years, providing a more accurate measurement of Cinema 4D’s ability to take advantage of multiple CPU cores and modern processor features available to the average user.

The Ryzen 5 3600 shows strong performance in the Cinebence R20 test. The multi-core tests keep pace just behind the Ryzen 5 3600 with a score of 3630. Single-core performance is good as well coming in at 487 compared to the other 6-core CPUs on the chart.

POV-Ray 3.7

The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, or POV-Ray, is a ray-tracing program that generates images from a text-based scene description and is available for a variety of computer platforms. It was originally based on DKBTrace, written by David Kirk Buck and Aaron A. Collins for the Amiga computers. There are also influences from the earlier Polyray[6] raytracer contributed by its author Alexander Enzmann. POV-Ray is free and open-source software with the source code available under the AGPLv3.

In POV-Ray, the Ryzen 5 3600 scores 3262.4 in the multi-threaded test and 459.87 on the single-threaded test. Compare that to 3327.93 and 469.35 on the Ryzen 5 3600X and 2919.91 and 486.92 on the Intel i7-8700K.

Multimedia, Compression, Synthetic, and Gaming

HandBrake is a free and open-source video transcoder, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Essentially, it can convert video to almost any modern format. HandBrake is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. The workload video file is a file that I’ve used for years called Sintel. It is a 1.09-gigabyte file that is full HD. I used the Apple 240p preset for this test.

The Ryzen 5 3600 completed the transcoding in 95 seconds with an average frame rate of 215.5. The Ryzen 5 3600X completed the task in 86 seconds with a 219.8 frame rate average and the Intel i7 8700K completed the task in 99 seconds with an average frame rate of 240.8.


The 7-zip benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with the results of the Intel Core 2 CPU with the multi-threading option switched off. So, if you have a modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with the LZMA method and decompression with the LZMA method. Once the total passes reach 100, the score is taken. 7-Zip gives the resulting score for decompressing, compressing and an overall score.

In 7-Zip, the Ryzen 5 3600 scores 35121 MIPS in the compression test. In the decompression benchmark, the Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X score exactly the same at 69663 MIPS.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is a system benchmark for Windows PCs that focuses on common tasks performed in the office. PCMark 10 offers a variety of workloads categorized into four groups. The Essentials group includes web browsing, video conferencing, and app start-up time. The Productivity group includes tests based on spreadsheets and writing. The Digital Content Creation group includes photo editing, video editing, and a rendering and visualization test. The final group, Gaming, includes tests for real-time graphics and physics. It has three different benchmarks, PCMark 10, PCMark 10 Express and PCMARK 10 Extended.

PCMark 10 show the 6-core CPUs are all very close together with the Intel i7-8700K edging out the two Ryzen CPUs slightly.


3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark (now UL) used to determine the performance of a computer’s 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities. It does this through a series of graphics and physics and or CPU tests. I ran the extreme and ultimate version as I wanted to see how well AMD could handle the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080ti and keep the testing platform consistent.

Firestrike Ultra
Timespy Extreme

The 3D Mark tests are really the first time we’ve stressed the entire system all at one time. In Firestrike the overall score is close across the board indicating the GPU is the limiting factor in the test. CPU scores tell a bit of a different story. The Ryzen 5 3600 scores 19699 in the CPU test, the 3600X scores 20029 and the Intel i7-8700K scores 18339. In the Timespy Extreme test, things are a bit different but the results are still close. The Ryzen 5 3600 scores 3385 in the CPU test, the 3600X scores 3448, and the Intel 8700K edges them out with a score of  3545.


Most games we test are first-person shooters, so I chose to throw a flight simulator in the mix. Xplane 11 depends heavily on single-thread performance, even more so than newer modern games. Games are slowly starting to use more and more cores. I also used the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm AI benchmark.

Not to beat a dead horse but in our gaming test, there is virtually no difference between the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Ryzen 5 3600X. The 200 MHz advantage the Ryzen 5 3600X enjoys doesn’t really show up in real-world testing and a 1-2 FPS difference falls well within the margin of error. With that, the 8700K still pulls a bit ahead of both of the Ryzen 6-core CPUs.

The last gaming test I chose was Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 and the Gathering Storm Benchmark. This benchmarks the artificial intelligence portion of the game and measures the time it takes to complete each turn.

All of the 6-core CPUs turn in the same time of 35 seconds when it comes to average turn time.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The theme throughout the review is how closely the Ryzen 5 3600 matches the performance of the Ryzen 5 3600X. The tests show that there’s virtually no difference between the two in terms of performance. Ok so now the testing is done and what do I think? Well, for the most part, the Ryzen 5 3600 kept pace with the 3600X counterpart. While not a direct comparison between these CPUs, it would seem silly not to do so. The numbers were close and while the 3600X did lead in a majority of the tests, it didn’t lead in them all. Productivity testing showed that the 3600 lags slightly behind the 3600X and the 200 MHz frequency difference. However, in gaming, that difference nearly disappears and the CPUs are almost matched in terms of performance. When compared to the Intel i7-8700K, the Ryzen 5 3600 is a nice alternative. Again, nearly matching the performance of the older Intel CPU.

My experience with the entire Ryzen line thus far has been extremely positive. At the time of this review, the CPUs are behaving as expected and AMD is working on releasing AGESA which will further tweak and tune the boost performance of the Ryzen CPUs. That may move the 3600X just further ahead in terms of performance but, I think it is doubtful the 3600X will increase the minor lead on the 3600.

So where does all this lead me? Does it change my mind on the Ryzen 5 3600X? In a word, absolutely.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the two AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs. The differences are price and a minor bump in performance. According to the official documentation, that difference is 200 MHz. As far as price, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is running around $50.00 cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3600X. The question I have to ask is; does the difference in performance equal a $50.00 price difference? No matter how I tried to answer it, I couldn’t come up with a YES answer to that question. Personally, I’d take that extra $50.00 and put it towards a better GPU or NVMe SSD. Don’t get me wrong, the Ryzen 5 3600X is a great processor, I think AMD shot themselves in the foot when they released the Ryzen 5 3600. I get that you want to have enough products to cover price ranges. Honestly, I think the AMD Ryzen product stack is fairly confusing and can be difficult for the consumer to figure out what’s going to be best for them.  After testing the Ryzen 5 3600, I can’t really justify recommending the 3600X. The performance is just too close to justify spending an extra $50.00 for 200 MHz and a letter.

The Ryzen CPUs are closer than ever to matching and exceeding Intel’s performance. As consumers, we want this. I’ve said it before but competition makes the market stronger, it forces manufacturers to stay on their toes and create good products and finally, it gives us, the consumers a choice. If you’re looking to build a low-cost PC, this could be the CPU for you. At the time of this writing, I was able to find the Ryzen 5 3600 for $194 on Amazon. With its 6 cores and 12 threads, the Ryzen 5 3600 has enough power to plow through the daily grind of web browsing, spreadsheets, with enough in the tank to make a decent gaming rig too.


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