AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs AMD Ryzen 5 3600: Which CPU should you buy?
We've been wrapped up in technology for years and have built many Ryzen-powered PCs, as well as testing the latest processors, so we know a few things when it comes to choosing the right CPU.
AMD's Ryzen 5 3600X is more expensive than the 3600 for a few reasons. It has faster clock speeds from the factory (with a higher TDP) and comes rocking a better stock cooler. If you don't mind paying slightly more, it's the better choice overall.
- Better stock cooler
- Loads of cache
- Higher clock speeds
- More expensive
- Higher TDP
The Ryzen 5 3600 is aggressively priced, offering six cores and 12 threads at a low price. You even get a stock cooler, though you'll likely want to swap it out for a better and quieter aftermarket solution. While slower than the 3600X you can overclock the 3600.
- More affordable
- Loads of cache
- Lower TDP
- Slower from factory
The Ryzen 3600X is ideal for those who don't mind paying a little bit extra for higher factory-set clock speeds and a better stock cooler. If you plan on using an aftermarket cooler (or custom water loop) and will overclock the CPU, the Ryzen 3600 becomes more enticing to save a little and still have a sound processor. Both processors come rocking AMD's latest Ryzen 3000 enhancements.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs AMD Ryzen 5 3600 specs
On paper, both the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 3600X from AMD are fantastic mid-range processors with six cores and 12 threads. They're very similar in terms of specifications with the only major differences being clock speeds and TDP. The Ryzen 5 3600X comes out of the factory with a higher base and boost clock speeds of 3.8 GHz and 4.4 GHz, respectively. The 3600 isn't too far behind mind you, coming in at 3.6 GHz and 4.2 GHz. The rated thermal design power (TDP) — how much heat the CPU will generate — shouldn't be a deciding factor since both stock coolers are capable of keeping the two processors within safe operating temperature limits.
The sweet spot in terms of RAM for both processors is around 3,200 MHz. You will be able to run both of them with slower memory, but Ryzen craves for modules at this set speed. Once installed, these CPUs will be able to perform admirably in games and when processing intense loads from productivity suites. The 3600X will perform better overall, but that's only until you factor in overclocking, which allows the 3600 to catch up or surpass the 3600X depending on how both are configured.
Ryzen 5 3600X is the choice for those seeking the best
The Ryzen 5 3600X is ideal for anyone wanting to pick up a great mid-range CPU, which is clocked higher than the 3600 from the factory, and bag a decent stock cooler in the process. This package has everything you need to get started and even overclock a little.
Better cooler and clock speeds
The Ryzen 5 3600X sports faster clock speeds than the Ryzen 5 3600 and is boxed with a better stock cooler. It's the option of the two for anyone looking to install their CPU and forget about it.
Go with the Ryzen 5 3600 if you want to save money
There's not all that much that differentiates the Ryzen 5 3600X and 3600, so if you're more budget conscious, go with the Ryzen 5 3600 and save yourself some money. It's a great processor with room for overclocking if you have the additional budget.
Easier on your wallet
You sacrifice very little by going with the Ryzen 5 3600. Compared against the 3600X, this CPU is only slightly slower, which you can address with overclocking, and it still comes with a stock cooler.
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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.