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A Good AMD Ryzen 5 2600X vs. 3600X Gaming PC Build

I left my finance job 6 years ago to work for my dream boss, myself. I've never looked back. I focus on tech, gaming, and hardware reviews.

Going with a Ryzen 5 processor could be one of the best ways to save money on a high-end gaming and editing PC. Both the 2600X and 3600X have 6 cores and 12 threads and do a great job at multitasking. IPC is clearly better on the newer 3600X but the newer generation also costs more not only with the CPU but motherboard as well.

Below, we'll take a look at exactly what we could build with the 2nd generation and 3rd generation Ryzen processors and talk about the pros and cons of each. I'll also include some benchmarks vs. the Intel i5 9600k.

Looking for a build to take advantage of AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600X or 3600X CPU? Here’s a couple of builds to consider along with benchmarks.

Looking for a build to take advantage of AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600X or 3600X CPU? Here’s a couple of builds to consider along with benchmarks.

Ryzen 5 2600X vs. 3600X Comparison

*While these numbers appear similar, keep in mind that the newer generation now has better IPC. So, there is a substantial difference in performance. We'll include benchmarks below.

Ryzen 5 2600XRyzen 5 3600X







L2/L3 Cache










Wraith Spire

Wraith Spire




Max PCIE Lanes






While these two processors may seem similar in specifications, the Ryzen 5 3600X has increased instructions per clock (IPC) and, therefore, performs faster at the same clock speed.

L3 cache has also been doubled. That being said, you can expect to pay around $90 more for it. This doesn't include the increased amount you'll need to pay for a newer motherboard (assuming you don't want to flash the BIOS of an old one).

Let's take a look at three builds around the $1000 price point and compare them to see the type of performance we can expect.

*We're using the X version of these processors. You can save money by overclocking the 2600 and 3600 and achieve similar performance.

$1,000 Ryzen 5 2600X, 3600X, i5 9400F, and i5 9600k Gaming PC Builds

*8/20/19 **This motherboard is probably more than you need if you don't plan on overclocking. Look for B550 and A520 chipset motherboards soon.

ProcessorRyzen 5 3600XRyzen 5 2600Xi5-9600ki5-9400F


**MSI MPG X570 Gaming PLUS

Gigabyte B450M DS3H

ASRock Z390 Pro4

ASRock B365M Pro4


Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB

Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB

Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB

Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB


Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2

Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2

Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2

Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2


GeForce GTX 1660Ti

GeForce GTX 1660Ti

GeForce GTX 1660Ti

GeForce GTX 1660Ti












Stock Wraith - Optional (Not included in price) Hyper 212 Evo Noctua NH-D15

Stock Wraith - Optional (Not included in price) Hyper 212 Evo Noctua NH-D15

Does not Include - Grab a Hyper 212 Evo or Noctua NH-D15

Stock Cooler Included

*Total Price





I know this table gives you a lot to look at but I felt it was worth it to add additional builds for comparison.

Workhorse PC

With the Ryzen 5 3600X, we've arguably got the best workhorse PC here. Good IPC and the 6 cores and 12 threads certainly set it apart. But with no B series motherboards, we're paying nearly $200 more vs the previous generation Ryzen 5 2600X build and the current 6 core i5-9400F build.

Better FPS

You could also build with the i5-9600k for around the same price. This would give you more FPS in games; however, since the i5 lacks hyperthreading the 6 cores may not perform as well in thread-heavy tasks.


That being said, if we were actually looking for Max FPS here we'd probably stick with the i5-9400F and go with a graphics card like the RTX 2070 Super. That being said, you'd still have 6 core and 6 thread performance.

Final Thoughts

Your choice will ultimately come down to your day-to-day tasks and workload. However, there's definitely an argument to be made here for both the Ryzen 5 2600X and i5-9400F.

AMD Wraith CPU Cooler

I opted to use the AMD Wraith Max cooler here which has some slick RGB lighting on it. I liked the idea of using this here not only because it’s a gorgeous looking cooler, but it also helps keep the cost down.

If you're looking for a budget CPU cooler as an alternative, you could go with the Hyper 212 Evo or Noctua NH-D15 and then save money by going with the Ryzen 5 3600 or 2600 instead of the "X" version. This is a great way for power users to get additional performance for less.

MSI X570 Gaming PLUS Motherboard

For the motherboard here we have the MSI X570 Gaming PLUS which seems to be in an excellent position in terms of price to performance. You can pick this board up for just around $180.

As I mentioned above we're going for the Wraith Cooler which allows us to do some minor overclocking. However, if you prefer to take it further, you'll want a higher-end CPU cooler like the Hyper 212 Evo and Noctua NH-D15 - my two air coolers of choice.

This board gives you a lot of bang for your buck across the board with Gen 4 lighting, lots of USB 3.0, click BIOS, CrossFire Ready, simple overclocking, and an affordable price. If you don't plan on overclocking, it might be advantageous to wait for a B series motherboard and save some money here.

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  • CrossFire Ready
  • Simple to Overclock
  • Inexpensive Price
  • Great Lighting
  • Plenty of USB 3.0
  • Reinforced PCIe Slot


  • Expensive if You Don't Plan on Overclocking
  • VRM Heatsinks Could be Better

As an alternative to the Gaming PLUS, here’s a list of our favorite AM4 Ryzen 5 Motherboards or you might be better off with an inexpensive X370 motherboard.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X vs 3600X Benchmark With GTX 1660Ti

Think you're getting a lot of extra performance by having a 3600X? That really depends on what graphics card you plan on using. Take a look at the video below for more information. As you can see the GPU is getting bottlenecked quite a bit. So, if you're not planning on a better graphics card, you can't expect to get that much more performance out of it.

Here's a look at some more benchmarks using the Vega 56 as the GPU. As you can see the performance differential is substantially greater than with the 1660 Ti. Increasing in the resolution that performance differential decreases.

So, keep that in mind when deciding on whether to upgrade from the 2600 or when thinking about what CPU you actually need.


Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4-3000

You certainly don't have to go with this kit. However, it consistently has affordable prices for the speeds you get. As Ryzen thrives on fast ram speeds, I recommend you go with something in that 3000MHz range or overclock a kit to get there.

The LPX series also comes in lots of different colors to match your build's color scheme including Black, Red, White, Blue, and grey.

Again, you can certainly go with another kit here if you find something more affordable. I typically look at prices across the board for kits before I make a decision.

You can also take a look at our list of the best ram/memory for Ryzen here.

RX 580 or GTX 1060 6GB With Ryzen 5 vs i5 Benchmark

Depending on your budget, you may decide to spend more than I did on a graphics card. However, I like the $200 range as an option that will run AAA titles in 1080p or 1440p that I can change out every couple of years.

As graphics card prices have stabilized I've been able to find both of these cards once again under $250. For a step up, consider something like the GTX 1070Ti for around $450.

In terms of performance, I like the GTX 1060 6GB across the board a bit more. So, if they are similar in price go in that direction. If you can find the 580 for cheaper, it may be the better overall option.


BeQuiet Pure Base 600

The chassis I’m using here is the BeQuiet Pure Base 600 which is a more budget-oriented case from BeQuiet who makes some great products. That being said they’re usually a bit higher priced than the Pure Base 600 at $89 for the all-black model I’m using here without a windowed side panel. They do have windowed variants available, but I opted for the solid version.

Noise Test

I ran Aida64, stressing the CPU & GPU to 100% load so you can get an idea of the sound dampening qualities on this case that is played for you in the video showing the difference between having the side panel off and on.

Because this is a lower-tier enclosure from BeQuiet it's missing things like rubber grommeted cutouts to assist with cable management. With a few zip ties, I was able to keep everything very tidy on the backside. Admittedly, we do have a small spaghetti monster just hanging out down in the basement from our semi-modular PSU.



I'm a fan of getting a power supply that's highly efficient, has good quality but isn't overly pricey. I think the EVGA SuperNova G3 falls squarely into that category. It'll keep your hardware safe and maybe even last through multiple builds.

It's regularly at a price point that justifies spending a bit more for quality. For around $70 I'm willing to go with something that gives me that higher quality and costs about twice as much as a simple Bronze Certified Option from EVGA.

In terms of features, it's quiet, completely modular, gives you nice-looking cables with sleeves, and it looks great in any case. For size, it's a bit smaller than the G2.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a great looking PC that has 6 cores and 12 threads and good overall gaming performance for around $1,000. If you’re building something similar, you may opt for a higher-end graphics card. The Ryzen 5 3600X can certainly handle it.

Speaking of the Ryzen 5 3600X, if you decide you want to overclock, you may be able to save some money and get a very similar performance out of the Ryzen 5 3600.

Whether you decide to stream, do photo editing, or just use it as a gaming PC, this is a well-balanced build that gives you a lot of power for the money you spend. It's good to see GPU prices coming down. That's the major reason for the reasonable price of a build with so much power.

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the build. Have something you'd change? Be sure to let our reader's know.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Leo on March 29, 2019:

How is your PC working for games?

This looks like a great setup and pretty much what I am looking for...

My focus is to use AMD Ryzen 5 2600x and get the equipment to support this processor...

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