Should I buy an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor?

AMD Ryzen 5 3600
(Image credit: AMD)

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a six-core chip that we're very fond of here at PC Gamer, and it just so happens that it soon might be cheaper than ever. A new wave of processors from the red team are set to land just ahead of Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, so perhaps we'll also see significant discounts on the fantastic Ryzen 5 3600, too.

AMD and its retail partners are often keen to cut prices and add value to the red team's CPUs and GPUs during the end of year retail free-for-all. With the Ryzen 5 3600 already offering such fantastic value-for-money as a modern six-core processor for under $200, it's likely to be a good time to snap up a steal.

There's the little matter of AMD Zen 3 processors to think about going into the end of 2020, too. While these are sure to improve on the Zen 2 architecture in the Ryzen 5 3600, it's also sure to see prices come crashing even further down for those Zen 2 chips still awaiting a good home in a gaming PC.

What is the AMD Ryzen 5 3600?

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 specs

Cores: 6
Threads: 12
Base clock: 3.6GHz
Max boost clock: 4.2GHz
Socket: AM4
TDP: 65 W
Cooler: Wraith Stealth
Launch price: $199

Gone are the days of four-core processors ruling everything from the entry-level to the high-end. Nowadays you can get plenty more cores for your money, and the Ryzen 5 3600 is prime example of that.

A six-core, 12-thread processor, the Ryzen 5 3600 is built using AMD's innovative Zen 2 chiplet architecture. This chip will boost from a base clock of 3.6GHz to 4.2GHz, which ensures plenty of speed for gaming and you'll have plenty of cores to hand to pick up the slack in productivity or creative applications. It's a solid mix of everything you need for a great all-round gaming PC, and still holds a spot in our best CPU for gaming guide.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 also comes with an included CPU cooler, the Wraith Stealth. It's a good piece of kit too, which means you can save spending money on another cooler for your PC build.

What are the alternatives to the Ryzen 5 3600?

When talking about direct competition, the Intel Core i5 10400 is a good match for the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. The Intel chip is similarly a six-core and 12-thread processor, and with a max turbo frequency up to 4.3GHz, it's able to offer gaming performance more-or-less in line with the AMD chip. This chips base frequency of 2.9GHz does see it slip behind the Ryzen 5 3600 at times, however, so we're still team AMD on this one.

But even within AMD's stack there's close competition for the Ryzen 5 3600. Most of all the Ryzen 5 3600X. It's only a touch more expensive, but offers an increase in clock speed from 3.6GHz and 4.2GHz to 3.8GHz and 4.4GHz. It also comes with a slightly larger and more capable cooler, the Wraith Spire.

There's also the Ryzen 5 3600XT, another moderate clock speed bump over the Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X. Worth keeping an eye on.

Should I buy the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and at what price?

Even with AMD's Zen 3 processors looming overhead, we still think the Ryzen 5 3600 is a smashing chip. It's got everything you could want for a great gaming PC build, and won't hold your graphics card back from its full potential. Most importantly, it won't break the bank.

There's likely to be some wiggle room on Ryzen 5 3600 pricing come Black Friday, so make sure to keep a close eye on this one. We've seen this chip drop as low as $165 in the past, and frankly anything around that mark is well worth it.

Oh, and don't forget an AM4 motherboard too.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.