AMD Ryzen 5 2600 vs. AMD Ryzen 5 2600x: Which CPU is best for you?

AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600

Both the Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 5 2600X are excellent processors — because they're essentially the same CPU. The only differences are faster clock speeds as standard with the 2600X and the inclusion of a better stock cooler. Go with the non-X 2600 unless you won't overclock the CPU.

Impressive processors

AMD's Ryzen 5 2600 and 2600X are great processors for productivity workstations and gaming rigs. Compared to the FX series of old, these latest generation CPUs perform admirably with tasks that rely on either single or multi-core setups.

Specification-wise, you won't see much of a difference, aside from the aforementioned clock speeds and stock cooler.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Ryzen 5 2600XRyzen 5 2600
Base clock3.6 GHz3.4 GHz
Boost clock4.2 GHz3.9 GHz
CoolerWraith SpireWraith Stealth

When pushing both processors past factory speeds, you'll likely want to invest in better cooling, unless having a jet engine inside your PC case is to your tastes. Saving the $50 on the Ryzen 5 2600 to cover the costs of an aftermarket cooler makes more sense as a purchasing decision.

Buying the 2600X won't necessarily lead to better overclocking results. You'll likely hit similar limits with either processor. Though if you do not wish to do overclocking and just want a PC that works after you've screwed everything together, the 2600X is the better option for better out-the-box clock speeds and a more beefy cooler.

2600X offers excellent stock performance

The major selling point for the 2600X is the ability to install the CPU and better stock cooler. Enjoy faster clock speeds out-the-box and simply enjoy the available performance in demanding apps and games. That's the only reason to choose this option.

Choose the non-X for better value

With overclocking in mind, there's no reason to ignore the 2600 because it offers far better value. For going beyond what the stock coolers can handle in terms of thermal output, you'll need an aftermarket cooler, which could be covered by the savings with this processor.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.