AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?

JT JT 13 November
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?

AMD’s new Ryzen 5 5600X is an excellent processor,   but how does it compare against  the 3600 from last generation,   and is it worth upgrading? I’ve compared  games and applications to help you decide.

CPU spec differences

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Both processors have the same amount of cores,  threads, cache and TDP. The main difference is   of course that the 5600X uses the newer Zen  3 architecture, and this allows it to reach   higher base and boost clock speeds, however this  puts it at $100 more expensive than the 3600.

You could argue that the 3600X would have made  for a better comparison, but based on my 3600 vs   3600X comparison, they’re basically the same and  it generally wasn’t worth paying more for the X.  

Unfortunately there’s no 5600 non X at the time of  launch, but if I had to guess, this will probably   come later, so for now I think comparing  the 3600 against the 5600X is the way to go.

Test PC

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Both processors were tested in the same  system. I’ve tested with 32gb of DDR4-3200   memory running in dual channel at CL14   and with MSI’s GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X  Trio graphics card to minimize bottlenecks. Although both processors come with a wraith  stealth cooler in the box, I’ve tested using   my Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H2 thermal  paste so I can compare my data with other chips.

Overclocks

I’ve tested both CPUs at stock, and with  the following all core overclocks applied,   so I was able to push the 5600X 500MHz  higher than the 3600, but that said my   3600 does seem to have lost the silicon lottery  as many others seem capable of 4.3 to 4.4GHz. With that in mind we’ll first check out  the differences in various applications,   as well as power draw and thermals,  followed by gaming tests afterwards,   then finish up by comparing some  performance per dollar metrics.

Application tests

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Starting out with Cinebench R20 we can see  the 5600X was scoring 24% higher in single   core at stock, a huge improvement  in just one generation. Likewise,   the 5600X was also 20% faster in multicore,  again an amazing improvement in just over a   year. When overclocked, the 3600 does worse  in single core as the all core overclock   prevents single core boost going further,  while the 5600X’s overclock helped more.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15  as a lot of people still use it so you can   compare my results, the margins weren’t  too different to R20 so let’s move on.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? I’ve tested Blender with the  BMW and Classroom benchmarks.   This test makes use of all cores, however the  improvements weren’t as big as in Cinebench,   with the 5600X completing the classroom test  16% faster than the 3600 at stock, but then 18%   faster once both are overclocked as  the 5600X is able to overclock better. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?The V-Ray benchmark is another  core heavy rendering workload,   at stock the 5600X was 22% faster than  the 3600, then when both are overclocked   the 5600X is now 26% faster, again due  to the superior overclocking headroom. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to  render out a scene, and the differences were very   close to what we just saw in the V-Ray test. The  3600’s overclock only improved the render time   by one second, while the 5600X’s overclock  reduced total completion time by 4 seconds,   not a big change, but again it helps outline  the better overclocks Zen3 is capable of. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Handbrake was used to convert one of  my 4K laptop review videos to 1080p.   There was less of a difference here when compared  to the other multicore workloads tested, with the   5600X completing the export task just 9% faster  at stock, then 13% faster with both overclocked. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my  laptop review videos at 4K. I’ve tested with   both VBR 1 pass, which should make better use  of hardware acceleration compared to 2 pass.   There wasn’t much difference between the  two tests though, at stock the 5600X was 14%   faster than the 3600 in the 1 pass export,  and 15% faster in the 2 pass export,   rising up to 20% faster when  both processors are overclocked.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? I’ve also tested Adobe Premiere but  with the Puget Systems benchmark tool,   as this tests for more things like live playback  rather than just raw export times. The 5600X was   scoring 9% faster over the 3600 at stock, one of  the lowest results out of the applications tested.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the Puget  Systems benchmark tool. This test tends to favour   single core performance, and as we’ve seen  Zen 3 is certainly delivering in that regard,   but even still it’s quite impressive that  the 5600X is reaching a 30% higher score. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?I’ve used 7-Zip to test compression  and decompression speeds,   and Ryzen chips typically do quite well here,  especially compared to Intel processors.   Zen 3 was still able to offer nice  improvements though, with the 5600X   scoring 22% faster for decompression,  and 26% faster in compression. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and  decryption speeds, and the 5600X was just 10%   faster than the 3600 in these tests, so a  smaller boost, but still a reasonable win. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Microsoft Excel was tested using the  Hardware Unboxed large number crunch test,   and the 5600X was completing the task  65% faster at stock, then a massive   85% faster with both overclocked, the biggest  difference out of everything I’ve tested,   so if you need a spreadsheet machine  Zen 3 could be the way to go. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Geekbench was seeing excellent single core  improvements, the 5600X was 27% faster than   the 3600 both at stock and when overclocked. The  5600X still had decent improvements in multicore,   the margins just weren’t as impressive as the  single core gains, just 14% faster at stock.

Application differences

Here’s how the 5600X compares against the  older 3600 from last generation with both   processors running at stock in all of  the applications just tested. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?The 5600X   is faster in all instances. The single core  improvements are particularly impressive,   it’s no wonder the 5600X is also  beating the Intel competition now. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Once both chips are overclocked, the margins  actually increase as the 5600X pulls further   ahead of the 3600, and this is because it’s  simply able to overclock better. This will of   course come down to the silicon lottery, and again  it seems that my 3600 isn’t a great overclocker.

Power draw, thermals, clock speeds

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?When we look at the total system power draw  from the wall with the blender test running,   the 5600X system is using less power than the  3600 at stock. This is quite impressive when we   remember that the 5600X was also completing  the blender test 15% faster than the 3600. 

  Once both are overclocked though, the 5600X’s  power draw shoots up. My 3600 actually uses less   power when overclocked compared to stock as the  board seemed to give it more voltage than needed. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Higher power draw typically results in more  heat, and for the most part the temperatures   align with the power draw graph. The 5600X  was running cooler than the 3600 at stock,   but yeah again once we overclock  the 5600X it’s now hotter. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?These are the clockspeeds being  reached during these same tests,   so at stock the 5600X was around 400MHz higher in  an all core workload, and then once overclocked   the 5600X was now 200MHz higher compared to  stock, while the 3600 just had a 100MHz gain.

Gaming tests

Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve  tested 9 games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was  tested with the games benchmark   tool.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? The improvement seen at 1080p was  the best out of all titles I’ve tested,   with the 5600X reaching a 37% higher average  frame rate, either way though, still a crazy   boost just one generation later. There’s still a  21% boost at 1440p, then there’s no change at 4K.

Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in  the Sydney landing challenge.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? The 5600X had   a nice leap forward at 1080p, reaching 27%  higher average frame rates, and even the 1%   lows were above the average FPS from  the 3600. It was a similar deal at   1440p too, but then by the time we get up  to 4K the results are basically the same. Zen3 isn’t a silver bullet though, it’s  no match for Ubisoft’s, er, optimizations.  AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading? Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested  with the games built in benchmark tool,   and there was a far smaller  gap between the two here.   At 1080p the 5600X was 4% higher in average  FPS, just a slight lead at all resolutions. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Death Stranding was tested by running through the  same part of the game on both systems. The 5600X   offered huge gains at 1080p, reaching an average  FPS 35% higher than the 3600. The 5600X was still   able to hit 17% higher frame rates at 1440p, then  again like the others, basically the same at 4K. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Battlefield V was tested in campaign mode,  and things were much closer together here,   though to be fair to the 5600X, it is being  limited by the 200 FPS frame cap of the game,   so its 3% lead probably would have been  higher given the 5600X is 5% better at 1440p. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?I had to put CS:GO to the test as AMD  were claiming some big gains with Zen 3,   and I was seeing this too. At 1080p, the 5600X was  37% faster than the 3600 in average frame rate,   19% faster at 1440p, and then at 4K still 13%  higher, the largest difference seen at this   resolution, granted I don’t know how many  people are playing this one at 4K anyway. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the  games benchmark. Once more like most of   the other titles, the 5600X had a  nice boost over the 3600 at 1080p,   achieving 25% higher average FPS. It was still 16%  faster at 1440p, then basically no change at 4K. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the games  benchmark with Vulkan. I’m almost getting sick   of saying it, but nice improvements with the 5600X  at 1080p which was 24% higher in average FPS, then   much lower at higher resolutions, though there  were still nice gains to be had in the 1% lows. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the  games benchmark and saw similar results,   the 5600X was 25% faster in average FPS at 1080p,  though the averages still saw nice gains even at   higher resolutions as this test in particular  seems more processor dependent than GPU.

Gaming differences

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Over all 9 games tested, the 5600X was 24% faster  than the 3600 in average FPS, though this may be   held back a little by the 200 FPS frame cap  of battlefield V, which is why it’s below   assassin’s creed odyssey. In any case, the 5600X  was definitely able to offer some excellent gains. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?Stepping up to 1440p, the 5600X was still 15%   faster than the 3600 on average. These  gains are far bigger than I was expecting   going into this testing considering  the 3600 only launched in July 2019. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?At 4K the 5600X is now just 3%  faster than the 3600 on average,   however it’s being held up by the  CS:GO outlier. With that removed,   the 5600X is 2% faster on average, so basically no  difference as the GPU takes on most of the work.

Cost per frame value

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X vs 3600 CPU Comparison - Worth Upgrading?4K doesn’t really make sense to test in a CPU  comparison, I just did it to illustrate that   if you plan on gaming at higher resolutions then  it might not be worth spending more on the 5600X,   and this is why the cost per frame differences  are the biggest at 4K. Even at 1080p the 3600   is technically still offering better value, it’s  still a capable gaming chip and it’s $100 cheaper.

Conclusion

I still think the 5600X is worth  considering due to the huge gains on   offer, it’s worth considering that these  price differences are for the CPU only,   the percentage differences become less in the  context of say a new $1000 system for instance. I could see myself upgrading  from a 3600 if I wanted a boost   as the improvements from just one generation  can be quite large depending on the workload,   but if you’re on a tighter budget  the 3600 is definitely still capable.  

Hopefully a 5600 non x arrives in future at a  lower price point, if the difference between   the 3600 and 3600x taught us anything it’s  that the x doesn’t really seem to matter,   but it’s yet to be seen if that also applies to  zen3 as AMD have only launched X variants so far.

I’m thinking about comparing the 5600X against  the 3700X in a future comparison,   let me know if it’s something  you’d be interested in seeing.

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