AMD had been written off as a serious processor maker before it made a spectacular comeback in 2017 with the Ryzen and EPYC series based on the new "Zen" micro-architecture. These chips disrupted Intel's 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" family enough to force their premature exit from the market, which had Intel introduce their 8th generation Core "Coffee lake" processors with 50%–100% increases in core-counts. The Core i7-8700K took back the performance crown from the Ryzen 7 1800X, and the Core i5-8600K won back the $200-$250 segment, which some refer to as the "sweetspot" segment, from the Ryzen 5 1600X. It's now time for AMD's fightback with the new Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X.
The first wave of AMD's Ryzen 2000 series "Pinnacle Ridge" processor family is rather brief with only four SKUs, two 8-core and two 6-core. The 8-core parts compete with Intel's 8th generation Core i7, while the 6-core parts compete with its latest Core i5 series. Leading the pack is the 8-core Ryzen 7 2700X followed by the Ryzen 7 2700. The 6-core Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600 follow those.
The six-core Ryzen 5 2600X is an important product for AMD as it clashes with the Core i5-8600K in the heart of the "price-performance sweetspot" segment gamers tend to run after. The idea here is that a product from this middle-of-the-market segment will set you up for a high-end gaming PC build and shouldn't bottleneck any enthusiast-segment graphics card. It should also pack sufficient performance for most creativity and productivity tasks without breaking the bank.
The biggest change with Ryzen 5 2600X is what's under the hood—the new 12 nanometer "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon based on the "Zen+" architecture, which gives AMD's product designers freedom to increase clock speeds. AMD is also said to have improved the on-die cache and memory sub-systems for a small but welcome IPC uplift, in addition to multi-core-centric improvements made to the Precision Boost and XFR features.
This 6-core/12-thread chip has the same nominal clock speed as its predecessor, the 1600X, with its core clocked at 3.60 GHz, but marginally increased boost frequency at 4.20 GHz, and new XFR 2.0 rewarding effective cooling with automatic overclocks beyond the boost frequency. You also get 512 KB of L2 cache per core and the full 16 MB of shared L3 cache available on the chip.
Priced at $229, the Ryzen 5 2600X is cheaper than its predecessor, the 1600X, which debuted at $249. Unlike the 1600X, and competing Core i5-8600K, AMD is including a Wraith Spire cooling solution with this chip, so you don't have to spend money on an aftermarket cooler, lowering its effective cost even further.
This review uses our updated test suite for processors in 2018, which includes the latest BIOS updates with microcode fixes for recent security issues, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update with all updates, and new software tests and games, which are all using the latest versions as well.
AMD Ryzen 2600X Market Segment Analysis
| ||Price||Cores / |
|Core i5-8500||$205||6 / 6||3.0 GHz||4.1 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-7600K||$230||4 / 4||3.8 GHz||4.2 GHz||6 MB||91 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-7640X||$200||4 / 4||4.0 GHz||4.2 GHz||6 MB||112 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 2066|
|Core i5-6600K||$250||4 / 4||3.5 GHz||3.9 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-8600||$230||6 / 6||3.1 GHz||4.3 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 1600X||$200||6 / 12||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i5-8600K||$250||6 / 6||3.6 GHz||4.3 GHz||9 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 2600||$200||6 / 12||3.4 GHz||3.9 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1700||$290||8 / 16||3.0 GHz||3.7 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i7-6700K||$350||4 / 8||4.0 GHz||4.2 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-7700K||$340||4 / 8||4.2 GHz||4.5 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-8700||$300||6 / 12||3.2 GHz||4.6 GHz||12 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 2600X||$230||6 / 12||3.6 GHz||4.2 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1700X||$290||8 / 16||3.4 GHz||3.8 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 2700||$300||8 / 16||3.2 GHz||4.1 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Core i7-8700K||$350||6 / 12||3.7 GHz||4.7 GHz||12 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-7800X||$380||6 / 12||3.5 GHz||4.0 GHz||8.25 MB||140 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 2066|
|Ryzen 7 2700X||$330||8 / 16||3.7 GHz||4.3 GHz||16 MB||105 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1800X||$320||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|