Written by Jon Martindale
All prices taken at time of writing
There’s no denying that AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology has been a real game changer for gaming performance. It’s made the last-gen AMD Ryzen 5 5800X3D is still one of the best gaming CPUs you can buy, and that the new Ryzen 7000 X3D models are amongst the best gaming processors available. But none of them have been super affordable, until now.
Meet the Ryzen 5600X3D, a limited-run CPU available exclusively from Micro Center at $229.99 by itself, or as part of a $329.99 bundle that includes the processor, a motherboard, and RAM or in the PowerSpec G516 pre-build, while stocks last (more on both these later!). This is a single batch of processors, too, so stock will not last. If you want it, get it while you can, as there won’t be any more once they’re gone.
But why would you want this six-core 3D V-Cache CPU when newer, higher-end models are available? Because it’s a performance monster in gaming. While it is running on an older Zen 3 architecture, with an older 7nm process node, and it may “only” have six cores and 12 threads, none of that matters when it comes to gaming. In our testing, this CPU performs so close to the 5800X3D, that it’s arguably the best budget gaming processor in the world right now.
Thought you couldn’t afford an X3D CPU this generation? Think again. The Ryzen 5 5600X3D is here to give you superior gaming performance for less.
The AMD Ryzen 5600X3D is a CPU based on the Zen 3 architecture and using the AM4 socket. That makes it compatible with older motherboards based on the X570, B550, and some earlier chipsets. It’s compatible with motherboards that have updated to add support for the 5800X3D, although we did find it would boot in systems that hadn’t been updated – it just wouldn’t boost correctly. It’s only compatible with DDR4 memory.
This CPU is not getting a full release from AMD and will instead only be available exclusively from Micro Center as part of this limited run. Most of them have been made available individually for DIY customers and as part of several motherboard bundles. Some will also be available in Micro Center pre-built gaming PCs.
Before we dig into the benchmarks that prove what a capable little CPU it is, let’s take a look at the numbers to see how the 5600X3D fits into the line of available AMD processors.
AMD’s current CPU lines straddle a pair of generations, so there are a lot of different chips to pick from. Even with all this choice, though, the Ryzen 5 5600X3D finds a unique niche among the pack. It has the same six cores and 12 threads as the 5600X, but with the now-classic X3D clock speed reductions as we saw in the 5800X3D and 7000-series X3D CPUs. It also has the higher 105W TDP of the top-tier Ryzen 5000 CPUs, making it a hotter and more-power-hungry CPU than some of its compatriots.
But all of that is in service of the additional cache. Where the Ryzen 5 5600X has but 36MB of L2 + L3 cache, the 5600X3D has 100MB. That’s a gigantic improvement – and equally comparable to the 5800X3D’s leap over the 5800X. Will it have the same impact on gaming performance with a chip with fewer cores and lower clocks?
Is the Ryzen 5 5600X3D set to steal the value gaming crown? It certainly has the potential.
Throughout testing, I compared the 5600X3D to its most important competitor of the Ryzen 5000 generation: The Ryzen 7 5800X3D. With a $50 difference in price between the two chips, the 5600X3D will need to offer excellent performance to be a competitive alternative.
To test the AMD Ryzen 5600X3D, I put it through its paces in a number of synthetic applications and real-world games. The test PC used to benchmark the processor was made up of the following components:
CPU: AMD Ryzen5 5600X3D
Cooler: MSI MAG CoreLiquid C360 with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Motherboard: ASUS X570 ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
RAM: 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws 3600MHz CL19
Graphics: ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition
Storage: 2TB WD Black SN770
Case: Cooler Master MasterFrame 700
Windows 11 and all drivers were updated to the latest available at the time of testing. The memory EXPO profile was turned on, and resizeable BAR was enabled in the BIOS. Although the RTX 4090 is overkill for a system like this, using the fastest graphics card possible ensures that the CPU is never bottlenecked by the GPU and therefore can show us the greatest disparity in performance between it and the competition.
The benchmarks used to test these processors were as follows:
I also used the following games:
All games were tested with a focus on 1080p and 1440p resolution, with no DLSS, FSR, or XeSS enabled. This is well below what our RTX 4090 is capable of (or designed for), but we did it for a few reasons. Firstly, these resolutions and lower represent over 90% of Steam gamers. They’re specifically likely to be the target resolutions of anyone purchasing an entry-level gaming CPU like the 5600X3D. Sticking to these lower resolutions also guarantees that our RTX 4090 won’t cause any bottlenecks that would inhibit the accuracy of our results.
That’s the same reason that I kept ray tracing off in all supporting games during testing – even if the RTX 4090 is the most powerful ray tracing graphics card ever made.
Cinebench is a great application for testing raw CPU performance, and though it doesn’t necessarily show exactly how a processor will perform in the real world, it’s a useful tool for comparing CPUs and their capabilities.
It proved to be a great example of the differences between our two tested CPUs, too. The Ryzen 5800X3D achieved a multi-core score of 14,155, and a single core score of 1,483.
The Ryzen 5600X3D achieved a multi-core score of 10,637 – showing the clear difference that two fewer cores can make in multi-threading performance. However, its single core score was 1,452. Considering gaming tends to benefit more from per-core performance than heaps of additional cores, this gives us our first hint of the tantalizing potential of the 5600X3D.
7Zip is an iconic, free and open-source file archiver with a great built-in benchmark for testing the abilities of a processor to compress and decompress files. Like Cinebench, it highlights how losing a couple of cores does inhibit the productivity performance of the 5600X3D.
The 5800X3D achieved compress and decompress scores of 85, and 114 MIPS, respectively. The 5600X3D, on the other hand, managed 71, and 86 MIPS.
Adobe’s PhotoShop is a demanding application, but most of its tasks, tools, and filters benefit more from stronger single-core performance than lots of additional cores, so it’s a good test to look at the difference (if any) between our two X3D CPUs. To make a simple, and repeatable benchmark, I used the PugetBench for Photoshop extension.
The 5800X3D managed a score of 1,050, while the 5600X3D achieved a score of 1,014 – that’s close to within the margin of error and shows little difference in overall performance between the two chips.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is still a demanding game and scales excellently with CPU and GPU performance, so it’s a great game to use to test these two processors. We used the in-game benchmark running at the highest settings for every setting (with ray tracing disabled) at both 1080p and 1440p resolution.
The 5800X3D managed minimum, 95%, and average frame rates of 182, 192, and 273 FPS, respectively, at 1080p. The 5600X3D, however, was nipping at its heels, with frame rates of 176, 188, and 263 FPS, respectively.
At 1440p, the story was much the same. Where the 5800X3D managed minimum, 95%, and average frame rates of 185, 196, and 277, respectively. The 5600X3D, was similarly close, with 171, 180, and 261 FPS.
This puts the 5600X3D CPU within just 2-3% of the 5800X3D at 1080p, and around 8% slower at 1440p. That’s very, very close for a CPU that is $50 cheaper and suggests the 5600X3D could be the best gaming processor around its price point for 1080p gaming.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition is a few years old, but still incredibly pretty and incredibly demanding, even with high-end hardware. Although it tends to demand more from the graphics card than the CPU, a good processor can still go a long way.
I used the game’s built-in benchmark and ran it with the Extreme preset at 1080p and 1440p.
At 1080p resolution the 5800XD managed minimum and average frame rates of 91 and 149, respectively. The 5600X3D was very close again, managing 86 and 143 FPS.
At 1440p it was even closer, with the 5800X3D achieving minimum and average frame rates of 79 and 124, while the 5600X3D was able to hit 78 and 122 FPS. That’s within the margin of error at 1440p, and less than 5% difference at 1080p, and shows that the 5600X3D is just as good for playing Metro Exodus as the more expensive 5800X3D is.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most demanding games you can play in 2023 with recent releases ramping up the ray tracing effects to utterly ludicrous levels. We kept the ray tracing turned off for our testing of this game but used the built-in benchmark with all settings at their highest, and ran it at 1080p and 1440p resolution.
The 5800X3D hit minimum and average frame rates of 67 and 195, while the 5600X3D actually beat it slightly, with frame rates of 70 and 196, respectively. Once again, the more-affordable 5600X3D is proving itself just as capable as the best gaming processor of its generation.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is still a beautiful-looking game, and it can scale really well with CPU and GPU performance. Its built-in benchmark makes it super easy to test too, so we used that for testing these two processors. I had all settings at ultra or their highest, with TAA enabled, at 1080p and 1440p.
The 5800X3D managed average and maximum frame rates of 120 and 261 FPS at 1080p. The 5600X3D was almost identical, at 119, and 223 FPS. The same was true at 1440p, where the 5800X3D achieved average and maximum frame rates of 118 and 260, while the 5600X3D hit 117 and 228 FPS.
While there was a notable difference in the maximum frame rates, that appeared to have very little impact on the overarching average, suggesting that the maximum was a brief spike somewhere in the test run. In actuality, the 5600X3D performed virtually identically to the more-expensive 5800X3D.
Civilization VI is a demanding game for different reasons that the other games here. While its graphics don’t stress graphics cards too much, the AI calculations can put a processor through its paces. Turn times are faster on faster processors, and slower on slower ones. The added cache of 3D V-Cache CPUs has proved particularly effective at accelerating this, so both CPUs should achieve a great result here.
Both processors’ results were almost identical. The 5800X3D managed a turn time of 5.99, while the 5600X3D managed 6.05.
One of the downsides of AMD’s X3D processors is that the addition of the extra cache means lowering the maximum boost clocks for the processors. That tends to result in slightly worse general productivity performance, giving casual gamers a reason why they might prefer a CPU without 3D V-Cache.
To see just how much gaming performance you’d be giving up if you went down that route, we sent our lab tech to investigate how the 5600X3D compares to some popular non-X3D CPUs from AMD’s recent generations.
He used the following setups for testing the 5600X3D and other Ryzen 5000 and 7000 CPUs:
The benchmarks he used for testing included the following:
He tested each of the games at 1080p and 1440p to show how the CPUs perform at different resolutions, with all graphics settings set to Ultra.
In Cyberpunk 2077, the 5600X3D performed within the margin of error of the 5800X3D at both 1080p and 1440p, with average frame rates of 176 and 153 FPS, respectively. That puts them both well ahead of every other Ryzen 5000 CPU, beating the 5900X and 5600X by over 35 FPS.
The Ryzen 5 7600X proved the most competitive, beating out both the X3D CPUs by around 8 FPS. That shows the strength of Zen 4, but you need a whole new motherboard and DDR5 memory for that setup.
In Horizon Zero Dawn, the two X3D CPUs were even more impressive. The 5800X3D had an average frame rate of 226 FPS, while the 5600X3D was very close, with 221 FPS. The average was over 30 FPS more than the 5900X and 5600X, and almost identical to that of the 7600X.
Where the X3D CPUs really shone though, is in their minimum FPS. Where they both had an average of 75 FPS there, the 7600X fell to just 58 FPS, showing the real strength of the 3D V-Cache in some games to smooth out frame rates for less noticeable drops.
As we saw with our previous head-to-head in this title, the results are very close for all CPUs, with a greater emphasis placed on graphical power. However, the 5800X3D and 5600X3D still performed excellently. The Ryzen 7 CPU managed average and minimum frame rates of 133 and 74 FPS, while the Ryzen 5 hit 131 and 71 FPS.
In comparison, the 5900X managed 121 and 68 FPS, while the 5600X just 122 and 67 FPS. The 7600X proved to be the best of the bunch, with 138 FPS average, although its minimums were once again slightly lower than that of the X3D CPUs, with just 71 FPS.
One of the defining features of AMD’s Ryzen 7000 X3D CPUs is their energy efficiency. That’s not so obvious with the 5600X3D, which has the same 105W TDP of its higher-end counterpart, the 5800X3D – despite the lower clocks and fewer cores. Still, with some modern CPUs demanding well over 200W when boosting, a modest power draw and thermal output is a real standout in modern processors, so if the 5600X3D can be more energy efficient than its immediate competition, that would be a real selling point for some potential buyers.
During testing the 5600X3D had a maximum power draw of 95W during sustained all-core loads. During that time, it would hit a stable all-core boost clock of 4.2GHz under our 360mm AIO cooler. Despite the overbuilt cooler for this kind of CPU, it still hit 88 degrees under full load and stayed there throughout.
When running single-threaded tests, the CPU would boost a little higher, to 4.45GHz.
In comparison, our Ryzen 5800X3D hit 4.45GHz across all cores during heavy multi-threaded workloads, demanding 105W from the power supply and sitting at a sustained 82 degrees. When running single threaded workloads, it was able to boost a little higher to 4.55GHz.
The efficiency difference between these two CPUs is minimal, but if you’re trying to build a super-quiet and efficient gaming PC on a budget, the 5600X3D does pull less power than the 5800X3D, which may help you achieve your goals.
Overclocking is officially disabled on AMD X3D CPUs – the only ones it’s released in many years to do so. Although there are some slight potential gains to be made by undervolting the CPU, I didn’t find any tangible benefit from doing so. Likewise, enabling Precision Boost didn’t have any major effect on frequency or real-world performance.
The 5600X3D held its own fantastically in our testing and proved it’s a CPU that is worthy of being released into the general gaming public. Despite its lower core count, lower clock speed, and last-generation architecture and process node, it is very, very competitive with higher-end and newer processors with higher price tags.
The 5800X3D remains the best gaming processor of the Ryzen 5000 generation and its additional two cores do give it an advantage over the 5600X3D in some games and applications. AMD’s Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 CPUs are also a better buy for future upgrades. However, the 5600X3D is a tantalising option for anyone running older Ryzen processors who want an upgrade to a modern gaming processor. You’ll have to spend a lot more to get a lot better, and if you have an existing Ryzen gaming PC, it’s a simple drop-in upgrade that you can do with ease – just make sure your BIOS is up to date.
This is a processor that won’t be around for long, though. Like the 5800X3D it is a unicorn CPU, offering truly next-generation gaming performance but in the last-generation form factor. It’s close to the pinnacle of AM4 gaming performance for not-far-north of $200. Pair it up with any modern graphics card and you’ll have an amazing gaming PC for 1080p or 1440p play.
This is the first (and probably-last) batch of these processors, though. If you want one, get it while you can.
If you’re ready to make one of the Ryzen 5 5600X3Ds your own, you have a few options. The first, of course, is the chip by itself. If you’re looking to save a little money and get a full basis for your build, Micro Center is offering a $329.99 bundle that includes an ASUS B550-PLUS TUF Gaming Motherboard and 16GB of G.Skill Ripjaws V RAM. That’s the core of your build already ready to go!
Alternatively, if you want the power of the Ryzen 5 5600X3D but don’t want to build your own system, PowerSpec’s prebuilt G516 is a great solution. Built to maximize the power of the Ryzen 5 5600X3D, the G516 comes with 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 500GB SSD, and an AMD Radeon RX 6650XT, making it a killer 1080p – with the potential to dabble in 1440p – system.
sick processor for gaming!😀
Glad it performs as well as it does for the price point!
This is a wealth of information. Thank you for providing the visuals. This does help people when deciding what parts to get.
This build has been selling greatly such a great build and thank you for the info
Looks like a great value for the price!
What an efficient piece!
impressive! I remember seeing a Gamers Nexus video that showcased the CPU as well - and it actually blew my mind how good the price-to-performance ratio is on this processor.
Good money. Those G516s are popular too 🔥
Whoa, this unicorn CPU sounds epic! 🦄💻 Top gaming performance for an incredible price, that's what we like to hear. It's a rare breed! 🚀😉
Wow, great performance!
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