The $299 AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a six-core, 12-thread processor that fits nicely into the midrange gaming CPU market. It has the best core count and price balance of the company’s new Zen 3-based processors. Compared to the average Intel Core i5-10600K, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X shines, giving Intel real competition (though at a slightly higher price point than we’re used to seeing from Ryzens).
Go through our epic guide on The Best AM4 CPU for Gaming
The Ryzen 5 5600X broke records in some of our game tests and is one of AMD’s best deals in terms of price-to-performance in 2020. It doesn’t have the integrated graphics that some midrange buyers might want, but that’s a minor flaw for this Editors’ Choice pick among game CPUs, which is also a great budget model like the Ryzen 3 3300X.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Specs: The Zen 3 Midrange Pick
Start by reading our full review of the Ryzen 9 5900X to learn more about all the changes AMD has made to its new line of desktop CPUs with the Zen 3 launch. Here’s a quick rundown of the specs for the Zen 3 middle desktop stack of Ryzen 5000-series CPUs and a reminder of the chips they’re meant to replace from the last generation. On the second tab, we compare it to Intel’s 10th and 9th Generation products that are similar.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Specs Compared
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
|AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
|AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
|Intel Core i5-10600K
|Intel Core i5-9600K
|Intel UHD 630
|Intel UHD 630
The two-hundred-ninety-nine-dollar, twelve-thread, six-core AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the company’s lowest-end Zen 3 choice, just behind the four-hundred-forty-nine-dollar Ryzen 7 5800X. Like the other Zen 3 products, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X costs $50 more than its predecessor did when it came out.
When discussing high-end choices like the $749 Ryzen 9 5950X (up from the Ryzen 9 3950X’s launch MSRP of $699, which is a 7% difference), a price increase of $50 doesn’t hurt as much. But at this price level for CPUs, the difference of $50 between the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 5600X, which is a 20% increase, could make or break the budgets of many PC makers.
But that’s not the only difference between Zen 2 and Zen 3. The move to a single eight-core core complex (CCX) design in Zen 3 gives the 5600X an edge over the Ryzen 5 3600X because it is designed for games. In the Ryzen 5 3600X, the processor was split between two four-core CCXs, made up of two dual-core core chipset dies (CCDs) each, with one CCX disabled in the second CCD.
Having the cores spread out over two CCDs meant that jobs that used all six cores simultaneously, like games like GTA V and games in the Civilization series, took longer to finish because of the extra travel time. In the same way, games with a lot of tiny threads, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rainbow Six: Siege, ran a little slower on the Ryzen 5 3600X and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT, which was the next update in the Zen 2 stack.
But not anymore. Since all of the Ryzen 5 5600X’s cores have been put into a single CCX design, AMD’s engineers have cut the time it takes for data to move between cores and lowered the delay.
But this isn’t all good news for Zen 3. Even though the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X has many architectural improvements over Zen 2 that make it better for games, the company still hasn’t put any built-in graphics on its midrange products.
At this price point, choices like the Intel Core i5-10600K can serve as the main CPU and GPU for lower-end systems or buyers on a budget. This is especially true if the only games they plan to play are Fortnite or CS: GO, which are a bit more forgiving of integrated graphics.
Compared to Intel, however, AMD’s track record for socket support is better for gamers trying to save money while still getting as much power as possible out of their build. As of this writing, people who want to buy a Ryzen 5 5600X can use Zen 3 chips with an AMD X570 or B550 board with a BIOS update. Many X470 and B450 boards should get BIOS changes in early 2021 to work with Zen 3 CPUs.
Unlike Intel, AMD has also included the Wraith Stealth cooling with every Ryzen 5 5600X box. We tested the Ryzen 5 5600X on a 280mm closed-loop liquid cooling system, which is “overkill” for a six-core processor. Our AMD AM4 testbed uses ordinary gear. Speaking of hardware testing.
Testing the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Is This the Zen 3 Sweet Spot?
We placed the Ryzen 5 5600X into an MSI MEG X570 Godlike AM4 motherboard, our regular test platform for latest-generation Ryzens, and filled two DIMM slots with 16GB of 3,000MHz memory. CPU tests used an Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Ti for video output.
Like all Ryzen desktop CPUs without a “G,” these first four Zen 3-based Ryzens lack on-chip graphics, requiring a video card. An NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm closed-loop liquid cooling solution kept the chip cool during all our benchmark tests, with fan profiles set to our Godlike’s BIOS defaults.
We use synthetic benchmarks with proprietary scores and consumer programs like 7-Zip and 3D games like Far Cry 5 to test CPUs. The charts below show AMD and Intel CPUs with similar prices.
This review’s benchmark results are not our first. AMD sent us a second Ryzen 5 5600X sample to benchmark after the first was 30% slower than expected. After replacing the pre-launch, malfunctioning Ryzen 5 5600X sample with a replacement chip we obtained around a month after Zen 3’s launch in December 2020, we saw the following results.
CPU-Centric Tests: A Reliable Mid-Stack Workhorse
Let’s examine how the Ryzen 5 5600X performed in content creation, and brute-force benchmarks like 7-Zip, even if the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X is AMD’s productivity hero in Zen 3.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X finishes top in its pricing class in our benchmarking suite, although the lead may not be as strong as the firm would want. The 5600X doesn’t outperform Intel’s Core i5-10600K in single-core runs like iTunes like AMD’s higher-core count processors do (Ryzen 9 5900X vs. Core i9-10900K).
It outperforms Intel’s i5-10600K and AMD’s Ryzen 7 3800XT in every other run. On POV-Ray all-core, the Ryzen 5 5600X barely trails the eight-core Ryzen 7 3800XT but still performs well.
These statistics show that Zen 2 to Zen 3 upgrades benefit more than players. While we suggest the Ryzen 7 5800X to content makers and productivity enthusiasts, the Ryzen 5 5600X competes with Intel and previous-gen AMD CPUs in enough benchmarks to deserve a second look if the money is tight.
Gaming in the Midrange: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Frame Rates
Now, let’s talk about why the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is best at PC gaming, especially at famous resolutions like 1080p, where the CPU is the most crucial part of some games.
Here’s what we saw when we put our GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card through a series of game tests. This high-end consumer graphics card is the best way to judge how fast a CPU is at 4K with any of the CPUs listed below. At 1080p, the card gets out of the way a bit more, letting the differences between the CPUs show.
When the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X got an impressive 699fps in CS: GO, I didn’t think our testbed could go much further. Regarding CPUs, I’m still testing on an RTX 2080 Ti, so that card’s possible frame rate limit had to be somewhere in sight.
Well, since the Ryzen 5 5600X is the gamer of the group, it had to set a new record with 727fps at our test settings. This is better than the $549 Ryzen 9 5900X and the $488 Intel Core i9-10900K, and it shows how intelligent AMD’s engineers are. The Intel Core i9-10900K beat the Ryzen 5 5600X in gaming frame rates only a few times.
Most of the time, the Core i9-10900K is almost tied at 1080p with a chip nearly 40% cheaper at MSRP (not counting the cost of upgrading to an LGA 1200 motherboard).
This story is accurate because it was tested with older games. The Ryzen 5 5600X beats the Intel Core i5-10600K in several games, which was to be expected. It matches the much more expensive Core i9-10900K often enough to hurt Intel’s plan to sell the “best gaming processors you can buy.”
The $120 Ryzen 3 3300X is a budget gaming engine, but it frees up a lot of cash that might be used to upgrade the graphics card or RAM without losing frame rate. It’s behind the Ryzen 5 5600X in most of our 1080p testing, but at less than half the price (if you can find one in stock!), it’s a good choice for 1440p or 4K gaming that balances CPU and GPU power.
A Brief Look at Overclocking and Thermals
In our tests, the Ryzen 5 5600X never exceeded 74 degrees C while overclocked or at stock, which is a bit hotter than other, higher-core count models in the Zen 3 launch stack like the Ryzen 9 5900X (71 degrees C) and Ryzen 7 5800X (69 degrees C). After seeing these higher findings, I decided to try some gaming benchmarks to see if those temps held. (Our standard run stresses all cores using CPU-Z for 10 minutes.)
The chip maintained a more respectable 70 degrees C during Rainbow Six: Siege runs. If you’re solely using the Ryzen 5 5600X as your primary gaming machine (usually a good idea), its temperature profile is more typical.
Finally, in our overclocking trials, we achieved a consistent overclock of 20%, a considerable margin that matches what we’ve seen across the Zen 3 stack.
In those circumstances, more oversized boost-clock ceilings didn’t necessarily improve performance. The Ryzen 5 5600X was only 5% faster in gaming or content creation.
In our testbed’s likely best-case scenario, giant liquid cooler. If you require more power, a Ryzen 7 5800X on a standard cooling fan and a three-figure liquid cooler are better than this Ryzen 5.
Verdict: The Best PC Gaming You Can Get
The Ryzen 5 5600X, a six-core powerhouse, fixes the last noticeable issues from Zen 2 and the Ryzen 5 3600X and secures AMD as 2020’s top desktop CPU vendor. The CPU has an included cooler, runs at a lower TDP than the competition, is backwards-compatible with older motherboards (or will be short, depending on your board’s maker), and is a 1080p gaming monster.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X differs sufficiently from its predecessor to justify the price hike across all Zen 3 CPUs. Its predecessor’s lower power requirements and more excellent boost core clock make it a worthy upgrade for gamers who desire the latest Zen 3 gaming capabilities.
The eight-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 5800X remains the best CPU for gaming and productivity in some benchmarks. But if you’re only gaming, the Ryzen 5 5600X offers record-setting value that only AMD can in 2020.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a virtuoso in the world of technology, where silicon melodies dance in time with a clock. This review builds up to a peak of ideas that show how powerful this CPU is.
The 5600X moves through maze-like measures with an unmatched speed. Zen 3 design uses a group of cores, each of which is a master of computation, to make single-threaded tasks run as smoothly as a symphony. As silicon muscles move, the complicated dance of 7nm lithography reveals a power-efficiency pas de deux, turning wattage words into mere echoes.
When you look past benchmark seminars, you can see real-world serenades. The 5600X’s multithreaded virtuosity makes work sing like an artisanal minstrel, rendering rhapsodies or encoding concertos. PCI Express 4.0 is complicated but has a nice rhythm that makes data music sound better.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X can be thought of as a sonnet of computer art. It’s a crescendo of new ideas, with lithic poems and circuitry concertos. The end of this review comprises words of pure admiration—a symphony of greatness put together by AMD’s masters.
Is the Ryzen 5 5600X good for gaming?
AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X is still a good CPU today. With the correct combination and graphics card, this cheap CPU can build a great machine.
Is Ryzen 5 5600X still good?
The Ryzen 5 5600X outperforms its more powerful successor, the 7600X. The 5600X is also cheaper than the new Ryzen 7000 series CPUs, giving it a better value.
Is AMD Ryzen 5 5600 good or bad?
For a budget-conscious AM4 user, the Ryzen 5 5600 is a good upgrade. We propose the 5800X3D because it’s speedier and doesn’t need fast memory. The 5600 is a good sub-$200 Ryzen 3000 choice.
Is the Ryzen 5 5600X better than Intel?
It outperforms the Ryzen 5 5600X and dominates current games with the suitable GPU. With the updated motherboard and cooler, the Core i5-12600K will outperform the Ryzen 5 5600X, but it will cost more.
Can Ryzen 5 5600X run 4K?
Gaming-only Ryzen 5 5600X users don’t need to upgrade. To answer the primary question, the Ryzen 5 5600X can play 4K games.