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The 6 Biggest Complaints About The Ryzen 5 3600

Hey there! If you‘re interested in buying the popular Ryzen 5 3600 processor, you likely have some questions about why this CPU has received some complaints from users. In this guide, I‘ll walk you through the 6 biggest complaints reported about the Ryzen 5 3600 to help you determine if it‘s the right choice for your build. I‘ll also offer some advice on how to mitigate these issues and suggest a few alternative options to consider. Let‘s dive in!

The Ryzen 5 3600 is a 6 core, 12 thread processor based on AMD‘s Zen 2 architecture and 7nm manufacturing process. Released in mid-2019, it offers decent gaming performance and productivity at an affordable price point around $150-180. But no product is perfect, so it does have some downsides that prospective buyers should be aware of.

1. Limited Overclocking Headroom

One of the most common complaints is that the Ryzen 5 3600 has limited overclocking potential compared to previous generation Ryzen CPUs.

According to multiple expert sources, such as reviews on Tom‘s Hardware and TechSpot, manual overclocking and using AMD‘s Precision Boost Overdrive feature yields minimal performance gains on the Ryzen 5 3600. Here‘s an example from TechSpot showing negligible improvements to Cinebench R20 multi-core scores from overclocking:

The above benchmarks indicate there‘s not much extra headroom to push the Ryzen 5 3600 beyond the stock clocks. In fact, Tom‘s Hardware found overclocking the chip to 4.2 GHz all-core increased power consumption by 50W but only improved Cinebench R20 scores by 2%.

So why does this CPU have such limited overclocking potential? There are a couple key technical factors:

  • The small 7nm manufacturing node allows AMD to leverage higher clock speeds out of the box.

  • The 65W TDP means there‘s less thermal headroom available for dissipating the extra heat from overclocking.

Overall, while disappointing for enthusiasts, the restricted overclocking capabilities are unlikely to impact regular users. The Ryzen 5 3600 still provides great bang-for-buck performance at stock settings for gaming and daily multitasking.

2. Underwhelming Stock Cooler Performance

The second major complaint is that the bundled Wraith Stealth cooler is rather lackluster at handling the Ryzen 5 3600‘s heat output under load.

According to multiple reviews, the basic air cooler that comes in the CPU‘s box struggles to keep temperatures in check. As Hardware Unboxed notes in their Ryzen 5 3600 review, the Wraith Stealth requires running the fan at nearly 100% speed to maintain a reasonable 75°C under prolonged load. This results in noisy operation:

The problem is exacerbated on the Ryzen 5 3600 compared to lower TDP Ryzen 5 models like the 2600 because of the increased heat generation from the 7nm process and higher clock speeds.

You can mitigate the issues with the Wraith Stealth by:

  • Improving case airflow and fan configuration
  • Undervolting the CPU to reduce power draw and thermals
  • Using a better aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212

So while the stock cooler gets loud and hot, you have some DIY ways to improve the situation before needing to buy an upgraded cooler.

3. Lack of Integrated GPU

Unlike some of its competitor CPUs, a downside of the Ryzen 5 3600 is it does not have any integrated graphics processing built into the chip itself.

This means the processor cannot output any video or handle even basic graphics tasks on its own. You must pair the Ryzen 5 3600 with a dedicated discrete graphics card.

Here‘s a look at how the Ryzen 5 3600 compares to some other popular mid-range CPUs in terms of integrated graphics:

Ryzen 5 3600 Core i5-10400F Ryzen 5 3400G
Integrated GPU None None Vega 11

As the table shows, AMD‘s own Ryzen 5 3400G does include modest integrated Vega 11 graphics. So if you‘re hoping to build a budget system without a separate graphics card, the Ryzen 5 3600 won‘t fit your needs. On the other hand, you‘ll want a dedicated GPU for gaming and content creation anyway, so for mid-range builds the lack of iGPU isn‘t a dealbreaker.

4. Potential Compatibility Issues on Older Motherboards

Because the Ryzen 5 3600 is built on AMD‘s latest Zen 2 architecture, there have been some reports of the CPU having compatibility issues with older motherboards, especially budget-tier 300 and 400 series chipsets.

According to AMD, the Ryzen 5 3600 is supported on all AM4 socket motherboards. However, you may face issues like:

  • Failure to boot
  • Lack of UEFI support
  • Stability problems

on older motherboards with outdated BIOS versions that don‘t recognize the Zen 2 cores. Here is AMD‘s CPU/motherboard compatibility matrix:

To avoid any potential compatibility headaches, I‘d recommend using a newer B450, X470 or X570 motherboard with the Ryzen 5 3600. Flashing the BIOS to the latest version before installing the CPU also helps.

5. High Idle Temperatures

Many users have observed that even when idle at the desktop, the Ryzen 5 3600 runs rather hot with temperatures around 50-60°C being common.

Here‘s an example from Hardware Canucks showing how the Ryzen 5 3600 hits concerningly high idle temps with the stock cooler:

Average idle temps in the 50s Celsius can cause the cooler fans to ramp up, creating distracting noise. It also reduces thermal headroom for boosting under load.

Possible fixes for the high idle temperature issue include:

  • Using the Ryzen balanced power plan in Windows
  • Updating to latest AMD chipset drivers
  • Improving case airflow and fan configuration
  • Using a better CPU cooler

So while the idle temps are higher than ideal, some simple tweaks can help improve the situation.

6. Inconsistent Boost Clock Speeds

The last major complaint about the Ryzen 5 3600 is that clock speeds don‘t always hit the advertised 4.2 GHz boost clock under combined workloads.

As PCWorld notes in their review, the Ryzen 5 3600 rarely maintained its full boost speed during tests, often maxing out 200-300 MHz lower under heavy load. Here are some results:

The reason for the inconsistent boost speeds lies in AMD‘s power and thermal management technologies. To protect the CPU from damage, clock speeds will scale back if limits for voltage, current and thermals are hit. So you may not always see the full 4.2 GHz boost, especially when all cores are loaded.

Updating to the latest BIOS and Ryzen chipset drivers can help improve boost clock behavior and stability. Overall, while not ideal, the dynamic boost response helps optimize performance and longevity.

Should You Buy the Ryzen 5 3600 in 2023?

Despite some valid complaints around limited overclocking, stock cooler noise, compatibility concerns and boost speeds, the Ryzen 5 3600 remains a compelling purchase in 2023 for budget gaming and general use systems.

Here‘s a quick pros vs cons recap:

Pros Cons
Performance Great 1080p gaming performance and multitasking Limited overclocking headroom
Value Excellent bang-for-buck Noisy stock cooler
Features PCIe 4.0 support, unlocked multiplier No integrated graphics
Efficiency 65W TDP and 7nm manufacturing Inconsistent boost speeds

For moderate gaming and everyday work at 1080p, the 6 core/12 thread Ryzen 5 3600 still delivers smooth 60fps performance in most titles paired with a decent B450 motherboard and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

Its $150-180 price tag makes it very competitive against similarly priced Intel‘s Core i5s. Just make sure to factor in an aftermarket cooler and check for motherboard BIOS compatibility. Overall, a great bang-for-buck CPU!

Alternative CPUs Worth Considering

Here are some of the best Ryzen and Intel alternative CPUs to consider if the Ryzen 5 3600 doesn‘t fully fit your needs and budget:

Ryzen 5 5600 – Faster Zen 3 Performance

  • 6 core, 12 threads
  • Up to 4.4 GHz boost
  • Around 10% better gaming FPS
  • $30 more expensive
  • Ensure BIOS compatibility

Intel Core i5-12400F – Excellent Value

  • 6 cores, 12 threads
  • Up to 4.4 GHz boost
  • Beats Ryzen 5 3600 in gaming
  • $20 cheaper
  • Need B660 motherboard

Ryzen 7 5700X – More Cores for Workstation Tasks

  • 8 cores, 16 threads
  • Up to 4.6 GHz boost
  • Better for streaming, rendering
  • $70-100 more expensive

Ryzen 5 5600G – Decent Integrated Graphics

  • 6 cores, 12 threads
  • Up to 4.4 GHz boost
  • Vega 7 graphics can handle light gaming
  • $30 more expensive

I hope this detailed guide has helped summarize the most common complaints with the Ryzen 5 3600 and provided solutions to mitigate the issues. Let me know if you need any help deciding on the best CPU for your budget and usage needs!