We recently took a look at how well the Ryzen 5 3600 performs in games when paired with the GeForce RTX 3080 and did so at the request of our readers and viewers. It ended up being a very popular test and since the release of the Radeon RX 6800 series we’ve seen many requests for iterations but this time with a Radeon GPU.
Since our first test, there have also been new relevant game releases and we think once you can actually buy them, the RX 6800 will be a popular graphics card choice. With many of you using the amazing Ryzen 5 3600, it makes sense to see how it works with the new RDNA2 GPU – although we now feel the Intel Core i5-10400F is a better value buy, so maybe a comparison with that part might be in weeks. Next up is a good idea.
In this article, we’ll look at performance in 21 games in 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolution with the R5 3600 in a stock configuration using 32GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory. We didn’t bother overclocking the Ryzen processor this time around and opted instead to add more games.
Please also note that the Ryzen 9 3950X and Core i9-10900K are included as benchmarks entirely and are not overclocked either. This isn’t the CPU for a portion of the CPU content, we just see how close the Ryzen 5 3600 comes to delivering $500+ CPU performance in gaming.
We also didn’t include a Zen 3 processor, which we deemed unnecessary because the 10900K serves the purpose of delivering top-notch performance. With that, let’s jump into the benchmark charts…
Starting with Godfall, we found a significant performance difference at 1080p between the Ryzen 5 3600 and Core i9-10900K when paired with the RX 6800, here the main Intel processor was about 20% faster.
Margin is reduced to 13% at 1440p, and while it gives up around 10fps, performance is still acceptable with Ryzen 5, maintaining well over 60fps at all times. Once we switched to 4K, we are now quite limited to the GPU and the choice of CPU makes little or no difference.
Watch Dogs: Legion isn’t a particularly CPU intensive game and as a result the R5 3600 isn’t much slower than the 3950X and 10900K at 1080p — we’re talking about 8% delta.
Then at 1440p, the resolution you’re most likely to play with with the RX 6800, the Ryzen 5 processor is able to get the most out of the new Radeon GPU, and of course, the same goes for 4K as well.
Another game that doesn’t stress the Ryzen 5 processor is Dirt 5, here the 3600 was 6% slower than the 10900K at 1080p, while matching it at 1440p and 4K. So we’re making the most of the RX 6800 at this title.
The R5 3600 also performed well in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, matching the 3950X in all three resolutions tested while only lagging the 10900K by a 6% margin at 1080p.
To test Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we’re not using the built-in benchmark because we find that the actual gameplay requires more CPU, especially when we’re testing. The R5 3600 was 11% slower than the 10900K at 1080p, though, so the GPU is quite limited at 1440p, then of course 4K.
Using the latest Cyberpunk 2077 build (1.06 as of this test), we found performance with the Ryzen 5 3600 to be excellent, matching the 3950X in all three resolutions tested. In fact, the 3600 was only 6% slower than the 10900K at 1080p with the RX 6800, so it was a pretty impressive result in this new and much-needed title.
The Ryzen 5 processor was blasting fast in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, allowing over 400fps in 1080p meaning it was only 7% slower than the 10900K. However, at 1440p it matches the Core i9 processor and as a result we’re also looking at identical 4K performance.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood Like most games it’s not CPU limiting when using 6-core/12-thread processors like the R5 3600. So we’re seeing similar performance between the 3600 and 3950X and 10900K.
We’re only looking at a very small performance drop in F1 2020 with Ryzen 5, at 1080p it was 8% slower than 10900K, and 6% slower at 1440p with little or no difference at 4K. So while they’re slower at 1080p and 1440p, we’re talking about differences in single-digit percentages that you’re unlikely to notice.
We’re also looking at an 8% performance drop at 1080p and 1440p in Horizon Zero Dawn when comparing the Ryzen 5 3600 to the 10900K. The game won’t become almost entirely GPU-bound until we hit 4K.
Like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we’re testing Red Dead Redemption 2 in-game rather than using the built-in benchmark. The R5 3600 was only 5% slower than 10900K at 1080p but was able to match it at 1440p and 4K.
Testing with World War Z showed that the Ryzen 5 processor lags by a 9% margin at 1080p compared to the 3950X and 10900K – we’re talking about 200fps where the margin is less important. This dropped to 4% at 1440p and by the time we got to 4K, all three CPUs would provide an identical experience.
The 3600 was 11% slower than the 10900K in the Metro Exodus at 1080p and 1440p, although in the case of the 1080p results we’re still again talking about 200fps on average with the Ryzen 5 processor.
Resident Evil 3 doesn’t require a CPU at all, and as a result when using the RX 6800 we don’t see a performance difference between the three CPUs tested, even at 1080p.
Doom Eternal is another game that is more GPU bound, although the R5 3600 at 1080p was 6% slower than the 10900K, 1440p performance is the same, then we look at identical 4K frames.
Moving on to Death Stranding, here we have a CPU-intensive game and when it comes to Zen 2 architecture, it can make use of more than 6 cores.
It’s rare in today’s games to see the 3950X offer about 30% more performance, but that’s what we got at 1080p. The R5 3600 still provided smooth gameplay with over 100 frames per second.
Increasing the resolution to 1440p reduces the CPU bottleneck with the R5 3600 as we become more attached to the GPU, so the Ryzen 5 processor was about 10% slower than mainframes when comparing the 1% lower performance.
Hitman 2 behaves a lot like Death Stranding. We’re looking at a 27% performance boost from the R5 3600 to 3950X at 1080p, while the 10900K is about 40% faster. However, at 1440p these margins are reduced dramatically as the game requires more GPU power, so the 10900K is now 9% faster than the 3600 and in 4K we don’t see any difference at all.
Testing with War Thunder doesn’t see any performance difference between these three CPUs, so the Ryzen 5 3600 is able to get the most out of the Radeon RX 6800, even at 1080p.
The R5 3600 does well in The Witcher 3, trailing the 10900K by only 8% at 1080p and 1440p. At 1440p we’re looking at 100+ fps at all times.
PUBG now plays better on Zen 2 processors. Here we see the R5 3600 matching the 10900K in all tested resolutions.
Finally, we have the Gears 5 results, where the 3600 dropped quite a few frames at 1080p and was able to match the main processors at 1440p and 4K. An overall great result for the gorgeous little Zen 2 hexa-core processor.
Those are all 21 games and we have to say, the Ryzen 5 3600 seems to do really well, often not leaving a ton of performance on the table at 1440p and nothing in 4K. 1080p data we feel is more for science than a practical use case but obviously for those who seek maximum performance at 1080p, the R5 3600 isn’t always ideal.
Let’s take a look at the average fps data across a 21 game model.
Looking at averages, we see that at 1080p the Ryzen 5 3600 is 8% slower than the Core i9-10900K and only 6% slower than the Ryzen 9 3950X. So you won’t always be able to get the most out of the RX 6800 with a Ryzen 5 processor, but for most of you, it’s pretty close and doesn’t require a CPU upgrade.
Then if you’re playing at 1440p, it’s rare to notice that the R5 3600’s performance is even slower than 10900K, here it was 4% slower on average. If you’re playing at 4K or any higher resolution than 2560×1440, the CPU won’t really matter, as long as it’s equal to or faster than 3600.
For interest, here’s a look back at how the 3600, 3950X, and 10900K in a sample of 15 games compare with the GeForce RTX 3080. Here the R5 3600 was 15% slower than the 10900K at 1080p and 8% slower at 1440p. The margins are worse than seen with the RX 6800, although this could be due to a number of factors such as the games used and driver expenses.
what we learned
Those using the Ryzen 5 3600 who may be concerned about having to replace your CPU when upgrading to the Radeon RX 6800, we think the answer is simple for most people: stick with a Zen 2 processor for now. Upgrading to 5800X or better, which should see performance similar to what was just seen with the 10900K, wouldn’t be worth the gaming investment.
For now, you can still ditch the Zen 2 6-core / 12-thread Zen 2 processor, unless you’re doing something more demanding on the side, like streaming, for example. Spending $450 on the 5800X wouldn’t be worth it, and even with a $200 Ryzen 5 5600, we’re not sure it’s worth the upgrade either.
This covers it for those of you who have already rocked the Ryzen 5 3600, but what about people looking to upgrade from something much older, or perhaps building a brand new PC, what CPU should you be looking for now?
It can be argued that now is not a great time to upgrade or build a new PC. The Ryzen 5 3600 is back around $200 at most retailers despite selling close to $160 last year. We’re seeing the same scenario with all Zen 2 processors. For example, the 3700X was listed for $260 in July and is now $320.
As mentioned earlier, the Core i5-10400F is a great deal at the moment. It sells for about $166 which is about 20% less than the R5 3600. Meanwhile, you’re looking at about $300 for the 5600X which is an ugly price for this part, you can get 10,600k for $270.
Honestly, if we had to buy a great value gaming CPU right now, we’d go with Intel with the 10400F. While those who managed to snatch the Ryzen 5 3600 when they were selling well below their MSRP, they did really well.
- AMD Radeon RX 6800 on Amazon
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 on Amazon
- Intel Core i5-10400 on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon
- Intel Core i5-10600K on Amazon
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X on Amazon