Our Verdict
The Ryzen 5 3600 is an outstanding 65W chip for small form factor enthusiasts, packing quite the punch in a tiny thermal envelope. After simple one-click overclocking, it includes practically the same performance as its more costly counterpart, but at a $50 discount. Which makes the Ryzen 5 3600 the uncontested value champ in its cost range.

For
Low price
Excellent performance in gaming and applications
PCIe 4.0 support
bundled cooler
Low power consumption
Unlocked multiplier
Backward compatibility
Against
No cheap B-series motherboards with PCIe 4.0
Limited overclocking headroom
No integrated graphics
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Page 1: Non-X Marks the location
Page 2: Overclocking and Test Setup
Page 3: Power Consumption
Page 4: VRmark, 3DMark and AotS: Escalation
Page 5: Civilization VI Graphics and AI, Stockfish, Dawn of War III
Page 6: Far Cry 5 and Final Fantasy XV
Page 7: GTA: V and Hitman 2
Page 8: Project Cars 2, The Division 2, and World of Tanks enCore
Page 9: Office, BROWSER, and Productivity
Page 10: Rendering, Encoding, Compression, Encryption, AVX
Page 11: Conclusion
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AMD’s value proposition is definitely straightforward — more for less. While we typically think about AMD offering more CPU cores than Intel for less overall, the strategy also pertains to the business’s unrestrained feature sets for each and every processor, no matter price. Which includes in-box coolers, Hyper-Threading (AMD calls it SMT), and unlocked multipliers that permit easy overclocking, which are features that Intel either leaves out or disables on a few of its chips in the name of segmentation.

Rather than squeezing out extra dollars from its customers, AMD offers you the same basic underlying features with the $199 six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 3600 that it offers you using its full-fledged counterpart, the $249 Ryzen 5 3600X that people recently named the very best mid-range processor available to buy. Which means the Ryzen 5 3600 gets the same six-core 12-thread design, 32MB of L3 cache, and usage of 24 lanes of PCIe 4.0, with the only tradeoff being truly a step back again to the 65W Wraith Stealth cooler, as the 3600X includes the more-capable 95W Wraith Spire cooler.

What does which means that to you? As the Ryzen 5 3600 is a fantastic processor that packs an excellent amount of performance right into a 65W TDP envelope, a boon for small form factor enthusiasts, also you can overclock it and attain similar performance in lots of applications, like gaming, to the Ryzen 5 3600X (among our best CPUs). Nevertheless, you save fifty bucks along the way while still getting class-leading features, just like the PCIe 4.0 interface.

This follows the same AMD trend we’ve observed in days gone by, with overclockability making the non-X models an improved value for enthusiasts compared to the pricier X-series models. But if you’re chasing the absolute highest frame rates you can find out of a six-core processor, remember that the Ryzen 5 3600 chips may not reach the peak overclocking speeds of 3600X models. In any case, the solid mixture of features and overclockability makes the Ryzen 5 3600 the clear choice for enthusiasts buying a great value on a mid-range processor.

AMD isn’t sitting still though: The business recently released its new flagship, the 16-core 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X, to fight Intel’s new challengers. That chip slots right into a much higher tier compared to the 3950X, nonetheless it brings competitive gaming performance plus much more threaded horsepower for all those looking for the best in performance.

Ryzen 5 3600
Just like the other Ryzen 3000 chips, the six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 3600 includes a 7nm compute die (with two disabled physical cores) paired with a 12nm I/O die. Both of these parts come together right into a single package that fits in the 65W TDP envelope, rendering it physically identical to the 95W Ryzen 5 3600X.

The Ryzen 5 3600 has slightly lower clock speeds compared to the 3600X, using its 3.6 GHz base and 4.2 GHz Precision Boost 2 frequencies, a notable difference of 200 MHz in both measurements.

The 3600’s 4.2 GHz boost frequency is leaner compared to the $192 Core i5-9500’s 4.4 GHz boost, but its 3.6 GHz base frequency compatible a 600 MHz advantage that, paired with AMD’s drastic improvement to its instruction per cycle (IPC) throughput, will mean higher performance in heavy workloads, not forgetting the six additional threads of the AMD part. It’s notable that, unlike the previous-gen Ryzen models and Intel’s chips, AMD only guarantees the peak boost frequency using one core, while other cores could have lesser capabilities. Check out our NOT ABSOLUTELY ALL Ryzen 3000 Cores are manufactured Equal article to learn more on that front.

When compared to $182 Core i5-9400F, the 3600 comes with an 800 MHz base and 100 MHz boost frequency advantage. The Ryzen 5 3600 has a bundled 65W Wraith Stealth cooler, even though both Core i5-9500 and -9400F include stock coolers, they are of drastically lower quality. However, both of the Intel processors include integrated graphics, as the Ryzen 5 3600 takes a discrete graphics card. If you’re not thinking about incorporating a discrete GPU in your build, the Intel processors will be the apparent choice.