The Ryzen 5 5600 is designed for one purpose – to make AMD more competitive at the low end. The company has struggled to appeal to budget gamers with the Ryzen 5 5600X which, while brilliant, still set you back $300 until very recently, yet has been the cheapest Zen 3 Ryzen CPU.
AMD has instead relied on its aging Zen 2 CPUs to cater for those on lower budgets. This means that Intel has enjoyed some success here, given that Zen 2’s now mediocre performance in games means even low-end Intel CPUs were comparatively decent budget gaming chips. It’s another reason why the Core i5-12600K was such a great choice too, costing significantly less than the Ryzen 5 5600X, but matching it in most tasks, with no AMD offering below it able to get close.
Clearly, if you have around $200 to spend on an AMD CPU, you’ll need to consider either this CPU or its slightly dearer sibling. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple comparison. Like the 5600X, the 5600 has six cores and 12 threads, the same 32MB L3 cache, a 65W TDP and it still uses the 7nm Zen 3 architecture.
The only difference is frequency, with the more expensive Ryzen 5 5600X stretching toa 4.6GHz maximum boost, with us observing an all-core boost of 4.4GHz in multi-threaded applications. The Ryzen 5 5600, meanwhile, can only peak at 4.4GHz and we saw an all-core boost frequency of 4.1GHz at stock speed.
Overclocking proved very fruitful, though, and while other Zen 3 CPUs topped out at 4.6GHz here, we managed to clock the Ryzen 5 5600 to 4.7GHz with a vcore of 1.25V. This means we gain 300MHz over the peak boost frequency, and a massive 600MHz over the highest all-core boost we saw – its clock speed also eclipses the more expensive Ryzen 5 5600X
Its stock speed results were average, with the lowest image editing and Cinebench multi-threaded scores on test, as well as the lowest frame rates in both our game tests. However, the overclock saw it rise from last to mid-table in the image editing test, even beating the Ryzen 9 5900X, and having the measure of the Core i5-12400F in every RealBench test.
The Intel CPU was faster in Cinebench though – even when overclocked, the Ryzen 5 5600 couldn’t better the Intel chip’s multi-threaded or single-threaded scores. The Intel CPU was also quicker in Far Cry 6, with the Ryzen 5 5600 only managing to match it once overclocked, while it failed to get that far in Watch Dogs: Legion, even when overclocked. For once, AMD didn’t hold much benefit in power consumption either, with our test system only drawing 10W more under load with the Intel CPU installed.
Base frequency 3.5GHz Max boost frequency 4.4GHz Core Zen 3 Manufacturing process 7nm Number of cores 6 x physical (12 threads) IGP None Simultaneous Multithreading Yes Cache 32MB L3, 3MB L2 Memory controller Dual-channel DDR4, up to 3200MHz Packaging AMD Socket AM4 Thermal design power (TDP) 65W Features Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE
Thanks to decent overclocking potential and a price that’s significantly south of the Core i5-12600K’s price, the Ryzen 5 5600 is a great choice, and a manual overclock will see it match or better the Ryzen 5 5600X too. It offers decent content creation performance and, as a sweetener, AMD’s older B350 and X370 motherboards now support Ryzen 5000-series CPUs too, potentially saving cash compared to buying an Intel LGA1700 board if you already own a Ryzen system. The Intel Core i5-12400F is a slightly better choice in raw performance terms, though, especially in games.
+Pros + Generous price + Good multi-threaded performance + Decent overclocking headroom -Cons - Intel CPUs quicker in games - Meagre stock speed performance - Cheaper Core i5-12400F is faster in many tests