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REVIEW: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

By Antony Leather. Posted

AMD’s 6-core CPUs have been some of our favourites over the past few years, and the Ryzen 5 5600X looks set to continue that trend. However, at £280, it’s not cheap and has plenty of stiff competition.

The Ryzen 7 3700X has two more cores and four more threads, albeit based on older Zen 2 technology, and costs the same price, while the Core i5-10600K now retails for around £40 less and is a stellar gaming CPU.

The Ryzen 5 5600X might only have a 65W thermal design power (TDP), but it’s still extremely potent, thanks to AMD’s new Zen 3 microarchitecture.

It’s able to boost to a peak frequency of 4.6GHz, which is good, but also a fair bit slower than the 4.9-5GHz we saw with the Ryzen 9 5950X (see opposite). The 5600X’s all-core boost was decent at 4.4GHz, though, so it should be able to hold its own in lightly threaded applications.

Unlike other Zen 3 CPUs, AMD has also included its Wraith Stealth cooler in the 5600X’s box, enabling you to save a little bit of cash if you don’t plan to overclock your chip. In terms of specs, the Ryzen 5 5600X has just a single CCX enabled, so you get half the L3 cash of the two most expensive Zen 3 CPUs at 32MB, but the same amount as the Ryzen 7 5800X.

There’s a little less L2 cache, though, at 3MB, compared to 4MB. Also, the 5800X has a higher TDP of 105W, potentially allowing it to hit higher frequencies depending on your cooling.

Performance

Overclocking the Ryzen 5 5600X proved very fruitful, and we managed to hit 4.7GHz across all cores with a vcore of 1.25V, bettering the peak stock speed boost frequency by 100MHz.

This means there’s very little reason not to apply a manual overclock to this CPU, since you’re increasing both the peak single-core boost and all-core boost. Even if you prefer to use less voltage, you’ll still likely match that single-core boost of 4.6GHz across all cores.

Our predominantly single-threaded image editing test certainly benefited from the high boost clock, with a score of just under 71,000, which is significantly higher than the Core i9-10900K and Ryzen 5 3600XT. It even bettered both 16-core Ryzen CPUs here, likely because they boosted to lower frequencies.

The 5600X’s score of 542,000 in our video encoding test was also high enough to see off the Core i5-10600K and was again much higher than the Ryzen 5 3600XT, but significantly slower than the Ryzen 7 5800X. However, the Ryzen 7 3700X only scored 577,540, so it isn’t too far ahead in this multi-threaded test, despite having two more cores.

The 5600X’s system score of 236,431 was a little way behind the Ryzen 7 3700X, but bettered the Ryzen 5 3600XT and was a little quicker than the Core i5-10600K too. Overclocking saw it edge closer towards the Ryzen 7 3700X overall and increase its lead over the Core i5-10600K further.

Meanwhile, the 5600X’s Cinebench single-threaded score of 600 was a fair climb down from other Zen 3 CPUs, but it’s still much higher than any other chips. The multi-threaded Cinebench test also saw its score of 4,296 better the Ryzen 5 3600XT by a few hundred points, and it held an 800-point lead over the Core i5-10600K. The Ryzen 7 3700X was a few hundred points ahead, though, and even overclocking didn’t see the Ryzen 5 5600X catch it.

In terms of gaming, Far Cry New Dawn offered a great result for the Ryzen 5 5600X with a minimum frame rate of 100fps and average of 134fps, climbing to 106fps and 140fps once overclocked – the fastest of any CPU on test.

The Ryzen 7 3700X could only muster a minimum and average of 82fps and 122fps, while the Core i5-10600K was well down with a 90fps minimum and 129fps average. Metro Exodus saw the Core i5-10600K offer a slightly higher average frame rate, and overclocking the AMD CPU didn’t offer any benefit, but it was still a little quicker than the Ryzen 5 3600XT.

The power draw was also low at just 223W for our whole system, shaving over 20W off the Core i5-10600K, although the Ryzen 9 3600XT was better still at 208W.

Conclusion

The Ryzen 5 5600X rarely shows any deficit compared with pricier Zen 3 options in games, while comfortably outpacing the Core i5-10600K and Ryzen 5 3600XT.

The latter CPUs are cheaper and still worth considering, but the Ryzen 5 5600X is a potent all-rounder, although the Ryzen 7 3700X is a slightly better buy if multi-threaded performance is your top priority. AMD’s new 6-core CPU isn’t as affordable as its predecessors, but it’s still a fantastic buy and very overclockable too.

VERDICT
Not the bargain 6-core chip we’re used to seeing but a stunning CPU nonetheless.

PRICE
£299 inc VAT

SCORES
PERFORMANCE 44/50 / FEATURES 13/15 / VALUE 31/35 / OVERALL 88%

VACCINE
+Excellent overclocker
+Great gaming performance
+Comes with cooler

VIRUS
-Ryzen 7 3700X better for multi-threaded work
-Best when overclocked
-Pricey for a 6-core CPU

SPEC
Base frequency 3.7GHz
Max boost frequency 4.6GHz
Core Zen 3
Manufacturing process 7nm
Number of cores 6 x physical (12 threads)
IGP None
Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) Yes
Cache 32MB L3 cache, 3MB L2 cache
Memory controller Dual-channel DDR4, up to 3200MHz
Packaging AMD Socket AM4
Thermal design power (TDP) 65W
Features Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE

Benchmark Results

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