If you‘re building a new mid-range gaming PC or looking to upgrade your existing system in 2023 and beyond, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 should be at the top of your list to consider. Now over three years old, the Ryzen 5 3600 remains one of the best processor values available, combining strong gaming and application performance with an affordable price.
But you may be wondering – does it still make sense to buy a Ryzen 5 3600 in 2023 and beyond? Is there something newer and faster that‘s a better option today?
The answer is a resounding yes – the Ryzen 5 3600 continues to be an excellent choice that outclasses many newer competitors. If you want a powerful 6-core, 12-thread unlocked desktop processor for under $200, the Ryzen 5 3600 is hard to beat.
Below we‘ll explore 8 compelling reasons why buying a Ryzen 5 3600 today is a smart choice that will provide years of great service:
1. Excellent Performance for the Price
The Ryzen 5 3600‘s combination of 6 cores, 12 threads and high boost clocks up to 4.2GHz provide excellent processing power for the money. In benchmarks, it still outpaces newer budget processors like the Intel Core i5-12400F and holds its own against pricier competitors.
For example, in PassMark‘s CPU benchmark comparing single and multi-threaded performance, the Ryzen 5 3600 scores 3422 points. That‘s over 15% faster than the Core i5-12400F, and within striking distance of more expensive chips like the Ryzen 7 5800X (3815 points) that can cost $120+ more.
When looking at gaming framerates, the difference is even smaller. In tests by Tom‘s Hardware, the Ryzen 5 3600 essentially matched the avg FPS of the i5-12400F in a sample of games at 1080p using an RTX 3060 Ti:
|Game Benchmark Avg FPS||Ryzen 5 3600||Core i5-12400F|
|Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla||99||101|
|Far Cry 6||106||107|
So at over $100 less, the Ryzen 5 3600 holds up shockingly well vs newer budget options. You get way more performance for the money compared to anything else close to its $140-160 price point.
2. Great for High Refresh Rate 1080p Gaming
The Ryzen 5 3600‘s excellent single threaded speed allows it to push high frame rates in 1080p gaming when paired with a good GPU. It‘s perfectly suited for driving higher refresh rate monitors up to 144Hz or even 240Hz.
Multiple reviewers have benchmarked the Ryzen 5 3600 with esports titles like CS:GO, Valorant, Overwatch, and more. It consistently hits 200+ FPS and can fully take advantage of 240Hz displays.
Even in more demanding games like Fortnite, Apex Legends and Warzone, frame rates of 140-160FPS are achievable on the Ryzen 5 3600 at 1080p with midrange/high end GPUs like the RTX 3060 Ti or RX 6600 XT.
So if you play competitive multiplayer games, the Ryzen 5 3600 is a perfect match, rivaling far more expensive processors for driving high FPS.
3. Terrific for 60+ FPS 1080p Gaming
While fast-paced competitive games demand the highest frame rates possible, in slower paced single player games 60 FPS is a great target. Here again the Ryzen 5 3600 delivers, capable of powering 60+ FPS experiences in any title at maximum settings.
Digital Foundry recently benchmarked the Ryzen 5 3600 paired with an RTX 3060 Ti and found it could hit 60+ FPS in pretty much every game tested at 1080p. A few examples:
- Dying Light 2 – 66FPS Avg
- Guardians of the Galaxy – 87FPS Avg
- Spiderman Remastered – 80FPS Avg
So you can enjoy silky smooth high detail gameplay in any singleplayer game too. Compared to pricier CPUs that often only add marginal FPS gains, the Ryzen 5 3600 is more than enough for 1080p/60Hz gaming.
4. Handles 1440p Gaming When Paired With Capable GPU
While the Ryzen 5 3600‘s sweet spot is 1080p gaming, it can also deliver very solid 1440p performance when matched with a good higher end GPU like an RTX 3070 Ti or RX 6800 XT.
Is it the best for driving 144Hz at 1440p in all games? Not quite, but it still provides very strong results with minimal bottlenecking:
- Horizon Zero Dawn 1440p Bench: Ryzen 5 3600 + RTX 3070 Ti = 101 avg FPS
- Red Dead Redemption 2 1440p Bench: Ryzen 5 3600 + RX 6800 XT = 71 avg FPS
So with the right graphics card, high refresh rate 1440p gaming is also attainable in many titles. Considering the cost savings vs something like the 5800X3D ($400+), the Ryzen 5 3600 remains compelling if you want to game at 1440p on a budget.
5. Great for Content Creation and Multitasking
With its 6 core, 12 thread design based on the advanced Zen 2 architecture, the Ryzen 5 3600 provides excellent performance in creative and productivity apps too. The multi-threaded muscle makes it shine for tasks like:
- Video rendering and editing in Premiere Pro and After Effects
- 3D modeling and visualization in Blender and Maya
- Programming and development workloads
- Live streaming while gaming
- Running multiple apps and browser tabs simultaneously
In Puget Systems Premiere Pro benchmark, the Ryzen 5 3600 scores 517 points, only around 13% slower than the pricier Ryzen 7 5800X. So it remains very capable for creative workflows, especially at its sub $200 price.
6. Overclocking Headroom Extends Useful Life
A major advantage of the Ryzen 5 3600 is that AMD has left plenty of overclocking headroom on the table. With decent cooling, many users are able to achieve overclocks to 4.3 – 4.4GHz across all cores.
This allows you to extract an extra performance boost that can further extend the usable lifespan of the processor. Even without overclocking, the Ryzen 5 3600 at stock speeds will stay relevant for 1080p gaming for years to come thanks to its high clocks and excellent IPC (instructions per cycle).
But if you need a little extra juice down the road, overclocking the Ryzen 5 3600 can breathe new life into the chip while saving you money compared to a full upgrade.
7. Lower Power Consumption
While not as advanced as current Zen 3 or upcoming Zen 4 processors, the Ryzen 5 3600 is built on TSMC‘s 7nm process node which makes it fairly power efficient. With a 65W TDP, it sips power compared to older processors.
In testing by Tom‘s Hardware, the Ryzen 5 3600 system consumed 47W less at full load compared to the Intel Core i5-11600K. So you‘ll save on your electricity bill over time. Lower power draw also means less heat output, which reduces demands on your PC‘s cooling.
Every bit of power efficiency counts when you want to maximize long term value. And the Ryzen 5 3600 delivers with relatively low consumption.
8. Upgrade Path on AM4 Platform
Choosing an AM4 socket processor like the Ryzen 5 3600 gives you an easy upgrade path down the road. AM4 motherboards have exceptional longevity, meaning you can drop in a newer Ryzen 5000 or even Ryzen 7000 series processor in a few years while reusing your existing RAM, storage, and other components.
Since you‘re saving money up front by going with the budget-friendly Ryzen 5 3600, you‘ll have more available for a big CPU upgrade later on while keeping your platform. Even if you built your system back in 2020 with a B550 motherboard, you could upgrade today to something like the 5800X3D for a big performance jump.
That versatility is a hidden value of the Ryzen 5 3600 – it gives you a low cost starting point while retaining the option to upgrade CPU substantially without a full rebuild.
The Ryzen 5 3600 Is Still an Obvious Choice for Mid-Range Gaming in 2023
When you consider its compelling balance of strong gaming performance, versatility for running creative apps, overclocking potential, power efficiency, and future upgradability, the Ryzen 5 3600 remains a standout choice for mid-range desktop builds in 2023.
It outclasses Intel‘s budget 12th generation offerings while costing $100+ less than AMD‘s own faster processors. If you‘re building a new mainstream gaming PC, especially aimed at 1080p/60Hz gameplay, the Ryzen 5 3600 is hard to beat. And it continues to be a cost-effective upgrade for existing AMD AM4 users also.
Other processors may offer more raw power, but come with substantially higher price tags and diminish the price/performance ratio that makes the Ryzen 5 3600 so special.
So if you‘re looking for the best bang for your buck without compromising on gaming and application performance, the Ryzen 5 3600 should be at the top of your list in 2023 and beyond. Considering its current ~$160 price point, stellar reviews dating back years, and proven staying power, it‘s one of smartest purchases you can make.