In this review we will take a look at the Ryzen 5 3600XT six-core processor, which is part of the new Ryzen 3000XT lineup consisting of three processors AMD introduced to refresh its now year-old 7 nm "Zen 2" processor series. AMD is releasing new processors as a response to Intel's 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" launch; as it likely does not want to cede its market positioning to Intel waiting for the Q4-2020 launch of "Zen 3." The 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family introduced many firsts for AMD, including the first to market with 7 nm for processors and PCI-Express gen 4.0, and, more importantly, the first time in over 15 years that AMD achieved IPC parity with Intel.
Having caught up with Intel in single-threaded performance, AMD's market leadership over the desktop processor segment had been largely unopposed by Intel since July 2019, since it topped it up with more cores or threads to the dollar. Intel's 9th generation Core chips still held onto gaming performance competitiveness on account of their higher clock speeds. Intel hence directed its efforts to improving the value proposition of its 10th Gen Core processors in these areas by enabling HyperThreading across the board for Core i3 thru Core i9. They also increased clock speeds even further, raised power limits, TDP, and gave motherboard designers more control over power.
AMD's first response to 10th Gen Core has been to unofficially lower prices of its Ryzen 3000 parts, with the 3600X occasionally dropping below the $200-mark from its $249 launch price, and the 3600 under $180. Our reviews of various 10th Gen Core processors show that while Intel marketing may scream of "gaming performance leadership," in reality, the gaming differences between the two are merely high single-digit percentages, and CPU compute performance is low single-digit percentages ahead. AMD feels it can chase down these leads with existing "Zen 2" IP without having to wait for "Zen 3." We hence have the Ryzen 3000XT series.
The Ryzen 5 3600XT in this review is a 6-core/12-thread processor clocked at 3.80 GHz—same as the 3600X, but with increased boost frequency of 4.50 GHz (compared to the 4.40 GHz of the 3600X). As we will explain later in this review, there's more to these processors than just a 100 MHz speed bump. AMD has refined its silicon-fabrication to obtain headroom to not just increase clock speeds without impacting TDP, but also better manage boost frequencies, which should improve single-threaded performance. Unlike the other two parts in the 3000XT series, and the Core i5-10600K, the new Ryzen 5 3600XT does include an in-box Wraith Spire cooling solution, which should allow buyers to save on CPU cooler costs.
In our Ryzen 5 3600XT review we'll take a closer look at the most affordable Ryzen XT addition and put it through our entire CPU test suite, comparing it with the Core i5-10600K and Ryzen 5 3600X, besides dozens of other chips.