Is The Ryzen 5 3600 Good for Gaming?

AMD has a reputation for offering more CPU performance power than Intel for less money, and the same goes for the features that come with each processor. Typically that includes Hyper-Threading (called SMT by AMD), in-box coolers, and unlocked multipliers that allow overclocking. All of these are features Intel either disables or leaves out altogether.  

Long gone are the days of 4-core processors dominating both the high-end and entry-level. These days you can get many more cores for your money, and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is an excellent example of that. Providing a great price to performance ratio, specifically when it comes to gaming, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is an affordable 6-core chip that really packs a punch. 

This article will take an in-depth look at AMD’s midrange CPU, how well it works as a gaming CPU, compare it to others in the same spec and price range, and see whether it’s worth paying extra for AMD’s new 5000 line or whether the 3600 is still a good choice for gamers (the answer is, yes!). 

What are the AMD Ryzen 5 3600’s specs? 

The Ryzen 5 3600 is a six-core, twelve-thread, 65W chip that’s perfect for small form factor fanatics. Built using AMD’s Zen2 architecture, this innovative chip can easily go from a 3.6GHz base clock to 4.2GHz, ensuring more than enough speed for gaming and creative or productivity apps. 

The 3600 contains everything you will need for an excellent all-around gaming computer, and best of all, it comes with Wraith Stealth, a half-decent CPU cooler. 

Compared to its full-fledged counterpart, the more expensive Ryzen 5 3600X, the 3600 contains the same basic features for $50 less. It has the same core-thread design, 32MB of L3 cache, and 24 lanes of PCIe 4.0. The only real difference between the two is the more advanced 95W Wraith Spire cooler which only comes with the 3600X, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the 3600’s Wraith Stealth. 

Best of all, you can overclock the 3600, allowing you to attain a similar performance to the 3600X in many cases, especially when it comes to gaming. This is something of a trend for AMD, offering overclockability in their less expensive non-X models and thus making them a better value for enthusiasts. 

Although you won’t quite be able to achieve maximum frame rates like you will with the pricier X model, it’s still a solid choice for those in the market for an excellent mid-range gaming processor.  

7nm Architecture 

There are many features worth highlighting in this processor, and one of them is the Ryzen chip’s 7nm compute die (with an additional 2 disabled cores) paired with a 12nm I/0 die. These come together in a single packet that fits inside the 65W TDP envelope. The 3600 is thus physically identical to the more expensive 3600X. 

Compare this to Intel, whose 10th generation chips feature twice that amount with 14nm architecture. In this case, less certainly is more. 

What does this mean? It means the electrons that transfer and processing data have less distance to travel across the terminals. This means less energy and power draw, which ultimately means less power wasted, and less heat generated. 

Precision Boost Overdrive 

One of the great features AMD has included in the 3600 is its Precision Boost Overdrive. This is an automated overclocking tool and will allow your processor to achieve its maximum available performance. The auto-tuned overclocking is all based on your motherboard, power delivery accommodations, and cooling system, so the better you have, the better your overclocking performance will be.  

What’s the competition? 

The options from intel that compare to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 are the Intel i5-9600KF and 10th generation Intel Core i5-10500. 

The i5-9600KF is more expensive than the Ryzen but has competitive frequencies. The intel has a TPD of 95W compared with AMDs 65W, and it comes with only a DDR4-2666 with 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0, compared with AMD’s DDR4-3200 support that has 24 lanes of PCIe 4.0. 

Just by going off these specifications alone, it’s not hard to see why the Ryzen is such a popular choice. Add to that the Ryzen 5 3600’s unlocked processes, and it’s a pretty sweet deal. 

Comparing the 3600 to Intel’s 10th generation processor line, the closest match appears to be the Core i5-10500. This processor is near in price and matches AMD’s six cores/twelve threads.  

The Intel does not quite match base frequencies but exceeds it in the turbo. Its 65W is the same as the AMD, but the Intel does have integrated graphics, whereas the 3600 does not. But the AMD still takes the crown with its DDR4-3200 and 4.0 PCIe lanes. 

  AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Intel Core i5-9600KF 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10500 
Cores/Threads 6C/12T 6C/6T 6C/12T 
Architecture Zen2 Cofee Lake-R (Skylake+++) Comet Lake (Skylake++++) 
Base Frequency 3600MHz 3700MHz 3100MHz 
Turbo Frequency 4200MHz 4600MHz 4500MHz 
TDP 65W 95W 65W 
DDR4 2x DDR4-3200 2x DDR4-2666 2x DDR4-2666 
PCIe PCIe 4.0 x24 PCIe 3.0 x16 
Overclockable Yes No No 
iGPU No No Yes 
Launch Price $199/189 $263 $192 


  Average (fps) Minimum (fps) 
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – DX11, 1440p, ultra 67 22 
F1 2019 – DX12, 1080p, ultra 160 133 
Total War: Three Kingdoms – DX11, 1080p, high 122 80 
Metro Exodus – DX12, 1080p, ultra, RTX off 95 51 
Far Cry New Dawn – DX11, 4K, high 80 67 

The benchmarks above show that the Ryzen 5 3600 is fully capable across a wide variety of games. What’s more, these benchmarks are only slightly lower than those offered by the 3600X. The 3600 provides the same gaming performance as its peers at a much lower cost.  

The fact that it also outruns the Ryzen 7 2700X, the higher-end model of the previous generation, is a testament to the increased capabilities of the Zen 2’s IPC. 

Pros and Cons 

The Ryzen 5 3600 is undoubtedly one of the best gaming chips you can buy for $200. With its six cores and twelve threads, the 3600 is a real gaming workhouse, giving Intel’s gaming lead some competition. Its efficiency, competitive production, gaming performance, and price bracket make the Ryzen 5 3600 a front-runner for any gamer to consider. 

Pros Cons 
-Low cost 
-Excellent gaming and application performance
– Cooler 
-Supports 4.0 support 
-Low power needs
-Multiplier is unlocked 
-Backward compatibility 
-Does not have integrated graphics 
-Limited overclocking 

Is the 3600 still a good choice after the release of the 5000’s? 

The AMD Ryzen 5000 hit the shelves in November of 2020, effectively supplanting the 3600. Does that mean the 3600 is now obsolete? Absolutely not. The 3600 is still an impressive CPU that’s likely to see some steep discounts going forward, especially considering the 5000 series has been plagued by availability issues since its launch.  

However, it’s worth pointing out that the 3600 does not include the Ryzen 5000 series Zen 3 architecture, which makes for a significant improvement over the previous model in terms of gaming performance. So if you’re looking for top marks on single-core performance, it might be worth spending the extra money for a Ryzen 5 5600X. 

But if you’re just looking for a great processor that packs a powerful punch for a low price tag, AMD’s 3600 is still a strong contender by any measure. 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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