Intel has launched their new i5-10600K CPU, but how does it compare against AMD’s cheaper Ryzen 5 3600? Let’s see what the differences are in games and applications both at stock and while overclocked.
Starting out with the specs, both are 6 core 12 thread parts. The 3600 has far more cache, however the 10600K has a higher TDP and higher clock speeds. The price difference is unfortunately a best guess. At the moment, the Ryzen 5 3600 goes for $172 USD, however the 10600K hasn’t hit shelves at the time of recording. Intel lists the 1000 unit sale price as $262, but the actual price will probably be more like $280. There is also the 10600KF though, which is basically the same processor but without integrated graphics for less money, so you could definitely save some money if you don’t need the iGPU.
Due to this, I’ve split the difference and listed the 10600K at $260 USD. I’m mainly comparing these two processors because they’ve got the same core and thread counts, yet the 3600 is a fair bit cheaper. Sure, the 3600X might make more sense from a price difference perspective as it’s around $230 USD, however in my 3600 vs 3600X comparison I found extremely minor differences between the two, and based on this it’s my opinion that in most cases it’s not worth getting the more expensive 3600X unless it’s on a great sale.
Both processors were tested in the same system, but I’ve had to change motherboards. For the Intel i5-10600K I’m testing with the MSI Z490 ACE motherboard, and for the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 I’m using the ASRock X570 Taichi. When testing stock I’m also not capping the 10600K to its 125w limit, as many motherboards aren’t going to limit this by default anyway, and in my opinion it’s just leaving performance on the table if you have a good cooler.
That said I have disabled enhanced turbo in the BIOS, which is MSI’s version of MCE, as that would boost the all core speed from 4.5 to 4.8GHz. The rest of the components were otherwise the same, I’ve tested with 16gb of DDR4-3200 memory running in dual channel at CL14 and with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti. I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H2 paste for both CPUs so we can get an apples to apples temperature comparison.
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Testing was completed with the latest version of Windows and Nvidia drivers along with all BIOS updates available installed. With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications at stock, followed by overclocked results, power draw, thermals, then gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p resolutions afterwards, before finishing up by comparing some performance per dollar metrics.
Starting with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the Intel i5-10600K up the top, and the Ryzen 5 3600 below. The i5 had a small 2% lead when it came to the single core score, however interestingly the 3600 was 2.5% faster when it came to multicore, which may indicate that the extra cache with the 3600 is giving it an edge there, as its clocked lower.
I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use itand again single core was better with the i5 with a 5% higher score this time, but multicore was ahead with the 3600, now with a 9% higher score.
I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks. This is a core heavy test, but we’re not seeing that big of a difference here. The BMW test was just a few seconds faster on the i5, however the 3600 was faster when it came to the Classroom test, either way very close results.
Handbrake was used to convert 4K video to 1080p with the HQ 1080p30 preset and the i5 was about 9% slower in this test, so another win for the 3600 in multicore.
Adobe Premiere was used to export video at 4K and I’ve used VBR 2 pass so both were running for over 50 minutes. The 3600 had an edge again, but it’s not that big, the i5 was around 4% slower, but yeah not great when it costs around 50% more money.
Premiere was also tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool and the 3600 was in front once more. The Puget systems Premiere test also gives us a score for live playback in particular, and the 3600 had a similar narrow lead.
I’ve also tested the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere which is a less threaded workload and is used to smooth out a video clip. Generally I see clock speed being quite important for this test, however these results kind of turn that around, perhaps the cache difference is important here as the i5 was 10% slower in this one.
Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the benchmark from Puget systems and this is definitely a test that favours clock speed and single core performance, so the i5 was now scoring 3% above the 3600, but again it’s not really worth paying 50% more money for that.
7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds and is typically a workload where Ryzen gets an edge. The compression speed was a little ahead on the 3600, however there was a much larger difference when it came to decompression, where the i5 was 13% slower.
VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds and again there was an edge to the 3600 as the i5 was 7 to 8% slower.
The V-Ray benchmark uses the CPU to render out a scene and the results were extremely close together in this test. This is a heavily threaded workload, and it seems that both processors perform about the same due to having 6 cores 12 threads.
That said, the Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene however the i5 was 5.5% faster in this multicore test, so it may favour those higher clock speeds more.
In the Hardware Unboxed Microsoft Excel test the 3600 was in front again. This was the largest difference out of all tests, the 3600 was completing the task 15% faster.
Like most other single core tests, the 10600K was ahead for single core in Geekbench but also as per most other tests, the 3600 had the edge when it came to the multicore score.
Here’s how the Intel i5-10600K stacks up against the Ryzen 5 3600 in these tests at stock. In most cases, the i5 is slower which I found extremely interesting. Honestly I didn’t expect it given that both processors have the same core and thread count, yet the 3600 is winning in the majority of core heavy workloads despite having lower clock speeds.
The i5 is doing better in single core performance in typical Intel fashion though. I’m thinking that this difference is perhaps due to the Ryzen processor having more than double the cache, and when you consider that the 3600 is around $90 cheaper, it’s clearly got the edge in these sorts of productivity workloads.
I’ve also done some tests with both processors overclocked. I was able to get my 3600 to 4.2GHz on all cores at 1.325v and the 10600K to 5GHz on all cores at the same 1.325v. I tried 100MHz higher on both with higher voltage, but this wasn’t stable in blender.
When we look at the total system power draw from the wall with the blender test running, the 3600 is using less power. The gap widens considerably once both processors are overclocked, the power draw on the i5 blows out completely in this scenario. Interestingly the 3600 actually used less power when overclocked, and I found this was because at stock the motherboard was automatically applying higher voltage than the 1.325v I manually set for the overclock.
Higher power draw typically results in more heat, and that was the case here where the 10600K was running hotter too and like the power draw, once overclocked the i5 is far worse off. Again the 3600 was actually a little cooler with my overclock applied, as it was now using slightly less voltage.
Although not exactly directly comparable, the 10600K was running at higher clock speeds during this same test though as we just saw it was drawing more power and creating more heat to sustain this while offering comparable performance. To be fair though, the i5 does have much more overclock headroom, as I was only boosting the 3600 by 89MHz.
The extra overclock headroom with the i5 allows it to start outperforming the 3600 in multicore workloads, as seen here in Cinebench. At stock the 3600 was ahead, but now the 10600K takes the lead once both are overclocked. The i5 also saw bigger gains to single core performance, as the 4.2GHz all core overclock to the 3600 is basically the same as what it boosts up to in one to two core workloads anyway at stock.
The same result is also seen in Blender the i5 is now completing the task faster than the 3600, however as we just saw earlier, it’s using significantly more power and running quite a bit hotter even with a 360 all in one liquid cooler to achieve this.
It’s worth noting that the 3600 does at least come with a stock cooler, while the 10600K does not, so if you do want to do some good overclocking like this to boost the multicore performance of the i5, you’ll need to spend even more money on the Intel option.
Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested 15 games at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions, we’ll start with stock results and look at overclocked, average differences and cost per frame afterwards. Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode. I’ve got the 1080p results down the bottom, and the 1440p results above that. In this game the 10600K was able to hit 10% higher average FPS at 1080p, lowering to a 5% gain at 1440p. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, and at 1080p the results were similar with the 10600K reaching 11% higher average FPS, then at 1440p this increases to a 13% lead over the 3600. Call of Duty modern warfare was tested in campaign mode, and the differences were very interesting here. The 1% lows really seemed to favour the 3600 in this test. Given the i5 was only around 3% faster in terms of average FPS, the 3600 would likely do better overall in this title due to those big 1% low gains. Borderlands 3 was tested using the games built in benchmark, and the i5 was reaching 10% higher average FPS at 1080p, then just 3% at 1440p as we’re presumably more GPU bound there so the CPU difference matters less. That said the 1% low at 1440p was still 10% higher on the 10600K. Control was tested by performing the same test pass through the game on both machines, and this seemingly GPU heavy game, or at least with these settings, saw one of the smallest differences out of all 15 games tested. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and this game saw one of the biggest improvements with the 10600K out of all titles tested with a 17% higher average FPS at 1080p, and 10% at 1440p. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool, so no 1% low data here unfortunately. There was an above average 14% higher average FPS at 1080p with the i5, lowering down to a below average 6% lead at 1440p, which makes sense as realistically this is more of a GPU heavy test. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the built in benchmark with Vulkan. This was another game where the difference to 1% low was larger than the average frame rate. The i5 was just 3 to 4% ahead in average FPS, however there was a much larger 15% boost to 1% lows. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and as a game that typically favours CPU clock speed with core count not being a major factor, the 10600K saw fair gains to the average frame rate, however the 1% low difference was far more minor comparatively. Dota 2 seems to be similar in that it prefers CPU clock speeds, but honestly realistically we’re basically near the engine frame cap anyway, the i5 is around 7% faster at 1080p but given the 3600 is near 200 FPS already you’re probably going to need to be a pro to notice the difference. The Division 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and while the i5 was once more in front, the gains were below average with just a 6% higher average FPS at 1080p, lowering down to a 2% lead at 1440p, though there was a higher 13% boost to 1% low performance on the i5 at 1080p. Overwatch was tested in the practice range, and while this runs better than actual gameplay, it more easily allows me to perform the exact same test run, which is ideal for a comparison like this. Both processors were close to the 300 FPS frame cap at 1080p, however the 10600K had a 9% higher 1% low which could be important if you’re a competitive eSports player. The Witcher 3 had some interesting results, although the difference in average FPS is well below most other games tested, the 1% low at 1440p had a massive 38% higher result with the i5. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games built in benchmark, there was less of a difference to 1% low performance here compared to average FPS now. The i5 was 12% faster in average frame rate at 1080p and 10% ahead at 1440p. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games built in benchmark, and this test saw the biggest improvement with the i5 processor out of all 15 titles tested. At 1080p it was reaching 24% higher average FPS, and still 20% higher even at 1440p.
On average over these 15 games tested, the Intel i5-10600K was around 9% faster at 1080p on average when compared to the Ryzen 5 3600. As you can see, the results really vary by game, Far Cry New Dawn at the top for instance saw big gains with the Intel processor, while others like Overwatch and Control saw basically no change, though the i5 was always ahead in average FPS.
When we step up to 1440p the 10600K now has an average 6% lead over the 3600 in average frame rate. We’re more GPU bound here, so the CPU starts to matter less making the difference between the two processors narrow in, and the difference would be even less pronounced at 4K.
I’ve also got the differences in 1% low performance too, as these results are typically more sensitive to CPU changes when compared to the average frame rates we just looked at. Interestingly at 1080p the i5 was also around 9% higher here, however it’s being dragged down by Call of Duty, which was the only game that seemed to love the 3600 in terms of 1% low.
At 1440p the i5 is now around 10% faster on average when it comes to the 1% low as that call of duty outlier isn’t as bad as what we saw at 1080p. In most games, better 1% low on the i5 would translate into a smoother experience with fewer dips.
For some overclocked gaming results, in Far Cry New Dawn it was possible to get a few extra FPS in all instances, but nothing too crazy. The i5 sees a larger boost from the overclock, which makes sense given it has better overclock headroom.
In Call of Duty Modern Warfare the overclocks caused mixed results. For the i5 there was actually slightly lower averages, however the 1% low improved. The 3600 saw minimal change to average FPS, but gained a nice boost to the 1% low.
In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey the 3600 seemed to gain a bigger improvement particularly to the 1% low performance which was now around 10 FPS higher compared to the 2 gain to the i5.
The gaming results aren’t too surprising when we consider that Intel’s last gen i5-9600K was also beating the 3600 when it came to gaming for the most part, and that was without hyperthreading, granted the difference was less than what we’re seeing here. If your focus is gaming, the 10600K is the better option out of the two in terms of raw performance, however once we take price into consideration the 3600 is offering better value. The i5 is approximately 50% more money than the 3600, whether or not it’s worth paying that much extra for an average 10% performance improvement or so in games is up to you and how much you value higher FPS.
The 3600 is definitely still capable of offering a good gaming experience, it just depends on your budget and priorities. Although the 3600 had an edge in most of our productivity workloads, in most cases it’s not that big of a difference. If you’re primarily performing these sorts of tasks and not gaming, then the 3600 is an easy choice when combined with its cheaper price.
In terms of future upgradability, AMD recently announced that it will be possible for existing B450 and X470 motherboards to support upcoming Zen3 processors, though support will depend on which boards companies pick to update, and that’s not currently clear.
Even if you aren't looking for next gen, if you already have a decent motherboard you’ll probably be able to find cheaper options within the same generation in future, say a 3700X, 3900X or 3950X for example.
Intel 10th gen processors on the other hand launched with the new Z490 and B460 chipsets and new motherboards, so if you’ve got anything older you definitely need a new motherboard anyway. It’s likely the motherboards will also support 11th gen in future, but in typical Intel fashion nothing has been stated there, perhaps for good reason after the mess AMD recently got itself into with AM4 support.
Either platform should hopefully give you some options though. The main difference is that AMD have confirmed next gen support while with Intel we’re just kind of assuming based on past behaviour. So to conclude, at the end of the day it only seems worth paying around 50% more money for the i5-10600K if you’re gaming and really want that extra around 10% on average performance boost, though of course results will vary between specific games. The 3600 is still a capable gaming processor and offers much better value in terms of dollar per frame, while also outperforming the 10600K in most multicore workloads at a lower price point.
Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, Intel’s new i5-10600K or AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600?