In today’s article, we are going to have a look at two of the best mid-tier processors from AMD: Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600. The Ryzen 5 series goes up against the Core i5 series processors from Intel. With a reputation for being a cheaper, but sometimes lower-quality processor, AMD has a lot to live up to when it comes to making high-performance CPUs.

Ever since Ryzen came on the scene in 2017, AMD has been showing us that it can go head-to-head against Intel with high-performance processors. If you have been considering one of the new AMD CPUs for tasks like video editing, gaming, or streaming, then a Ryzen 5 is an excellent choice. But which one is better: the Ryzen 5 3500x or 3600?

We’re going to find out the answer to this question with an in-depth review of each processor, with full side-by-side comparisons and benchmarks. Our goal is for you to come away from this article with a solid understanding of each CPU and what makes them special. 

AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The fact that the Ryzen 5 3600 was a multithreaded CPU makes it much more popular to this day

Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600: Side-by-Side Comparison

To understand which processor is better, you have to start by comparing the specs. Have a look at the table below to see how the Ryzen 5 3500x stacks up against the Ryzen 5 3600.

Ryzen 5 3500xRyzen 5 3600
Number of Cores:66
Number of Threads:612
Base Clock Speed:3.60GHz3.60GHz
Boost Clock Speed:4.10GHz4.20GHz
L1 Cache Size:64K per core64K per core
L2 Cache Size:512K per core512K per core
L3 Cache Size:32MB shared32MB shared
Unlocked?:YesNo
Multi-threaded?:NoYes
TDP Rating:65 Watts65 Watts
Memory Type:DDR4DDR4
PCI Version:PCI-E 4.0PCI-E 4.0
CPU Socket:AM4AM4
CPU Architecture:7NM7NM

As we can see from the specs, both processors are very similar, but AMD tweaked a few settings to provide slight performance advantages. The big question is: do these minor modifications make any difference in performance?

Sale
AMD AM4 Ryzen 5 3500X AM4 3.6GHz 32MB L3 Cache CPU Desktop Processor Boxed with Wraith Stealth Cooler
  • 3.6GHz Operating Frequency, AM4 Socket
  • Ryzen 5 series
  • AMD Boxed Desktop CPU
  • 3500X with 32MB L3 cache
  • 6 cores / 6 threads
Sale
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 6 cores and 12 processing threads bundled with the quiet AMD wraith stealth cooler max temps 95°C
  • 4 2 GHz max Boost unlocked for overclocking 35 MB of game Cache DDR4 3200 support
  • For the advanced socket AM4 platform can support PCIe 4 0 on x570 motherboards. OS Support-Windows 10 - 64-Bit Edition, RHEL x86 64-Bit, Ubuntu x86 64-Bit. Note-Operating System (OS) support will vary by manufacturer

Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, you might not notice any difference at all. Both processors are so similar that they are almost identical. A few key differences become apparent though when you consider the fact that the Ryzen 5 3600 has multithreading enabled, whereas the Ryzen 5 3500x does not.

With multithreading, you will notice a substantial improvement in performance in any application that can take advantage of it. In contrast, a CPU without multithreading enabled, such as the Ryzen 5 3500x, will be at a disadvantage. This is even more apparent in games and apps that are programmed to utilize additional threads. The Ryzen 5 3600 is going to be a better choice for anyone doing complex tasks like video editing and rendering. Most games will also run better since almost every game out there will perform better with the help of more threads.

On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 3500x does have an unlocked multiplier, allowing you to overclock easily by changing your overclock frequency in your system’s BIOS. In contrast, the Ryzen 5 3600 does not have this feature. Although overclocking is a nice-to-have feature, not everybody is going to take advantage of it or know how to use it, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for most users.

When AMD released the Ryzen 5 3600 in July 2019, it was designed as a direct replacement for the older Ryzen 5 2600 CPU. Based on the newer 7nm process, the Ryzen 5 3600 was a huge upgrade over the older Ryzen 5 2600 which used the 12nm process. The newer architecture means that the Ryzen 5 3600 delivers much better performance overall, with faster base and turbo frequencies as well as faster benchmark results showing around a 14% increase.

The Ryzen 5 3500x came out a few months later, in September 2019. Originally designed for sale only to systems manufacturers, the Ryzen 5 3500x was not available to the general public until much later. This led to the Ryzen 5 3600 maintaining its market share relative to the 3500x for quite some time.

Both processors shared the same price tag upon release, with an MSRP of $199. Although CPU prices have not been through the crazy price hikes we’ve seen in the GPU market, they have been slightly inflated until recently. Finding either CPU near MSRP is still a great deal.

Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600: Five Must-Know Facts

  • The Ryzen 5 3500x and Ryzen 5 3600 are both in the same price bracket.
  • Both CPUs use the same AM4 socket type.
  • They are both energy-efficient, with a TDP of 65 watts.
  • Both CPUs support a massive amount of ram: up to 128GB of DDR4.
  • The only bad news is neither one includes a stock cooler.

Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600: Which One is Better for Gaming?

One of the biggest determining factors when trying to figure out what processor to buy is how well they perform for gaming. Although the Ryzen 5 3500x and Ryzen 5 3600 are very similar, the slight modifications present on the 3600 make it noticeably better at gaming.

We’ve compiled benchmarks from across the internet to pit these processors against each other, and the results are clear: the Ryzen 5 3600 is a gaming beast. We ran the most popular games on high settings at full 1080p resolution to figure out average frame rates to expect on each CPU. Have a look at the table below to see the results:

Ryzen 5 3500xRyzen 5 3600
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey79+ FPS99+ FPS
Battlefield V142+ FPS149+ FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider88+ FPS95+ FPS
The DIvision 2137+ FPS157+ FPS
Far Cry New Dawn101+ FPS103+ FPS
Hitman 294+ FPS105+ FPS
Total War: Three Kingdoms117+ FPS123+ FPS

The benchmarks don’t lie, and the Ryzen 5 3600 is the clear winner when it comes to gaming performance. The multithreading support in the Ryzen 5 3600 is a game-changer and leads to some notably higher frame rates in every game out there. 

Sale
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 6 cores and 12 processing threads bundled with the quiet AMD wraith stealth cooler max temps 95°C
  • 4 2 GHz max Boost unlocked for overclocking 35 MB of game Cache DDR4 3200 support
  • For the advanced socket AM4 platform can support PCIe 4 0 on x570 motherboards. OS Support-Windows 10 - 64-Bit Edition, RHEL x86 64-Bit, Ubuntu x86 64-Bit. Note-Operating System (OS) support will vary by manufacturer

Which One Should You Choose?

Sale
AMD AM4 Ryzen 5 3500X AM4 3.6GHz 32MB L3 Cache CPU Desktop Processor Boxed with Wraith Stealth Cooler
  • 3.6GHz Operating Frequency, AM4 Socket
  • Ryzen 5 series
  • AMD Boxed Desktop CPU
  • 3500X with 32MB L3 cache
  • 6 cores / 6 threads

One of the biggest advantages that both processors share is that they both use the same socket type. Since all Ryzen CPUs currently rely on the AM4 socket, you won’t need to worry about changing your motherboard just because you changed your processor. The only bad news is that neither processor comes with a stock cooler from AMD. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, however, as you can easily find a compatible air cooler or liquid cooler for $50 or less.

If you have narrowed your choices down to the Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600, then the decision becomes very clear. The Ryzen 5 3600 dominates when it comes to gaming. The fact that they are so similarly priced makes the choice even more obvious. Unless you have found an amazing deal on the Ryzen 5 3500x, there is simply no reason to pick this CPU over the Ryzen 5 3600.

The addition of multithreading in the Ryzen 5 3600 means it is going to be higher performing in every benchmark. If you are a savvy gamer, streamer, video editor, or content creator, then the wise choice is definitely the Ryzen 5 3600. At this price point, it is the best processor you can buy, and the best bang for your buck.

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ryzen 5 3500x vs Ryzen 5 3600: Two of the Best Mid-Tier Processors FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better Ryzen 5 3500X or 3600?

Thanks to its multithreading capabilities, the Ryzen 5 3600 is the better processor. With a higher boost speed as well, the Ryzen 5 3600 shatters the benchmarks set by the Ryzen 5 3500x.

Is the Ryzen 5 3500X worth it?

For the price, the Ryzen 5 3500x does not deliver as much performance, and so may not be worth it unless you can find a really good deal.

Which is more expensive Ryzen 5 3500X or 3600?

Although both CPUs were released with the same MSRP, it is actually easier to find the Ryzen 5 3600 for less. This is great news because the Ryzen 5 3600 is also the better processor.

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