AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Review
Published: 6th October 2019 | Source: AMD | Price: |
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the perfect encapsulation of the wholesale revision AMD have undergone since they have adopted the Zen architecture and Ryzen platform. At the risk of upsetting the die hard AMD fans we think it is fair to say that for a fair while through the Phenom years AMD had to make up their performance shortfall compared to the Intel options by stuffing more cores onto their Dies. This meant that if you were using AMD as your system foundation then you had to buy their flagship processor to get anything approaching good performance.
With the launch of Ryzen this quickly changed, as it was a genuine challenger for the Intel crown, albeit still in need of a little refinement. The 2nd Generation ironed out most of the small deficits and the 3rd Generation has been a revelation. So much so that a lot of the Ryzen heavy hitters are more than a match for the Intel equivalently priced CPUs, and often better. What has that to do with the Ryzen 5 3600? Well, because their flagship models are so good clock for clock and aren't relying upon raw core numbers to produce the performance you can get a lower core count processor and still reap the rewards. Additionally as AMD have always been known for their competitive pricing you end up with a processor that is extremely affordable and chucks out good performance.
We'd already seen what you could extract from the Ryzen 5 3600X when we compared the three X370, X470 and X570 motherboards in an earlier review, and when we tested the PC Specialist Magma L1 system with this Ryzen 5 3600 in it we knew we had to get hold of one and test it in our bench system. We weren't disappointed.
For a sub-£200 price you're getting a six core, twelve thread CPU which can be pushed just beyond the 4 GHz threshold, is capable of some eye-opening DDR4 speeds, and with the benefits of PCI Express 4.0 can also stretch storage drive speeds to new heights. In a fair number of our tests it's capable of matching up with the Intel 9700K, a processor that costs nearly twice the price. Yes there will be some specific tests where the Intel bests it, but it's surprising how well the Ryzen 5 3600 keeps up. Certainly if you use your PC for a whole host of tasks rather than just browsing and gaming then you'll appreciate the value you're getting and how well rounded it is.
Unquestionably a weakness of old AMD setups was the relative gaming frames per second and the memory performance, and both of these have been absolutely nailed with the 3rd Generation Ryzen processors. Our DDR4 could reach 4600 MHz, whilst a quick glance at our gaming charts shows how well the Ryzen 5 3600 does when the polygons start flying. We've often said that the best thing to spend your money on to get the biggest noticeable reward is your graphics card, and the low pricing of this particular Ryzen CPU leaves you much more money in your budget to improve your GPU whilst staying in budget.
There are many great processors in the 3rd Generation Ryzen range but we think that the Ryzen 5 3600 hits the price performance sweet spot perfectly. It's an extremely capable, affordable processor that shows just how far AMD have come in recent years. A triumph.