Just five months after the launch of Intel’s i5-10600K, AMD have released their impressive new Ryzen 5000-series CPU lineup. Amongst the new chips is the Ryzen 5 5600X, a CPU that many are speculating could be the best mid-range CPU of 2020 – an award that is currently held by Intel.
The Ryzen 5 5600X will fall into direct competition with the Intel i5-10600K, one of the best pound-for-pound CPUs you can buy when it comes to gaming performance.
Whilst it’s probably obvious that the Ryzen 5 5600X will come out on top when it comes to productivity workflows, some early benchmarking figures actually suggest that it’ll also beat the 10600K from a gaming standpoint too.
Luckily, we’ll be putting both these chips through their paces to see whether or not these claims are to be believed. We’ll also be taking all other specifications into consideration in order to conclude which is best for you as a consumer.
So, with plenty to get through, let’s dive straight into it!
Intel has been at the top of the CPU hierarchy for as long as I can remember, bringing some of the best gaming CPUs to the desktop marketplace for well over a decade. With the release of their Intel i5-10600K over 5 months ago, it looked like another term for Intel at the top was set to run its course. However, AMD had other plans in store.
As many will know, AMD has just released their hugely anticipated Ryzen 5000 series CPU lineup, boldly branded as “the start of gaming” from AMD’s CEO, Dr. Su. The new CPU lineup promises to bring competitive performance to the table that, dare I say it, could actually knock Intel off the top spot when it comes to gaming. That’s right, thanks to AMD’s new Zen 3 microarchitecture, Ryzen’s latest lineup could actually challenge Intel when it comes to gaming. Whilst Ryzen CPUs have always had very good multi-core performance in their lockers, they’ve always struggled to go toe-to-toe with Intel on the gaming front. However, thanks to an abundance of improvements, including a much greater L3 cache and a new CCX, the pendulum could finally be turning in team red’s favor.
Let’s kick start by taking a quick look at the overall specifications both of these mind-range CPUs have to offer.
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600X||Intel i5-10600K|
|Architecture||Zen 3||Comet Lake|
|Max Single-core boost clock||TBD||4.8GHz|
|Max All-core boost clock||4.6GHz||4.7GHz|
|Max memory speed support||3,200MHz (TBD)||2,666MHz|
As you can see, once you get past the fact that both of these CPUs are 6 cores and 12 threads, there really aren’t that many similarities. They both offer different architectures, process nodes, and have wildly different cache and TDP ratings.
That being said, each CPU brings individual wins across the board, meaning that many of the performance takeaways will come down to the microarchitecture. Before we go into performance, let’s take a closer look at the architectures in brief.
Starting with Intel, Comet Lake is Intel’s successor to their Coffee Lake microarchitecture – offering an improved 14nm process and all-new hyperthreading capabilities. The latest Comet Lake CPUs have the ability to toggle hyperthreading on and off on a core-by-core basis – benefiting from lower power draws and reduced thermal output. Furthermore, with the ability to toggle hyperthreading, Comet Lake cores can remain in turbo mode for greater periods of time. This, for all intents and purposes, translates to greater performance over a longer period of time – especially in productivity workflows.
Whilst Intel seemed to focus on hyperthreading and process node, AMD spent more time on expanding their core complex – allowing for greater communication between cores and L3 cache.
When compared to Zen 2 architecture, Zen 3 effectively doubles its capacity by accommodating eight cores (instead of four) and 32MB of L3 cache (instead of 16MB). This advancement in architecture helps boost performance exponentially, reducing overall latency when core-to-core communication is required.
When comparing the two architectures, Zen 3 seemingly comes out on top in most areas. The improvements made allow AMD to lead Intel in not only productivity scenarios but also gaming too. Despite Intel now offering hyperthreading (closing the gap between themselves and AMD in productivity tasks), AMD still far outperforms them when it comes to highly taxing multi-threaded scenarios. Intel is also stuck using the less efficient 14nm process node, something AMD left behind some time ago now.
That leads us nicely onto gaming performance. As we mentioned earlier, initial benchmarking figures from both AMD and independent reviewers suggest that Ryzen could be reclaiming the top spot (in gaming) for the first time in over a decade. So, let’s put that theory to the test with our own benchmarking.
We’ll be testing the Ryzen 5 5600X and Intel i5-10600K over a number of different games and synthetic benchmarks.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
We started things off by running Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, a lesser demanding title that is still fairly popular amongst desktop gamers. We utilized the in-game benchmarking tool for this specific test, giving us a level playing field for both CPUs.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
As you can see from the results above, there wasn’t a great deal of difference between the two benchmarks. Despite the 10600K coming out on top by 1%, the results would flip regularly. That being said, on average, over a number of different test runs, the 10600K did just scrape it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft flight simulator is the most demanding title we tested, pushing the frame rates well below 60 for the first and only time during tests. We ran a simple landing scenario for this test and the results were as follows.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
As you can see, even in 1080p we were struggling to break over 60FPS. That being said, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X did come out of top once again, boasting a cool 28% performance improvement over Intel when in 1080p. AMD’s 1% lows were even higher than Intel’s average FPS, showing clear dominance in this particular title.
Red Dead Redemption 2
The next game we decided to run was Red Dead Redemption 2 and, off the bat, this seemed to be Intel’s stronghold as far as gaming was concerned. We used Red Dead’s inbuilt benchmarking tool to test both CPUs.
Normal service seems to have resumed in Red Dead Redemption 2, with Intel’s i5-10600K beating AMD’s 5600X by a couple of FPS. That trend was much more aggressive when we take a look at the 1% lows, with Intel being roughly 22% better off.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
The final game we tested was Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, a taxing DX12 title that offers raytracing if you have the GPU to accommodate it. For this test, we ran the in-game benchmarking facility.
AMD once again took the lead on this title, boasting almost 200FPS in 1080p at maximum settings. When compared to the i5-10600K, that was an increase of 15% on average. 1% lows were a little more forgiving, but AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X still came out on top by 8.7% overall.
It’s safe to say I was extremely surprised by the results of the benchmarks we ran when comparing these two mid-range processors. I was half expecting to see most of the wins falling in Intel’s corner, but that wasn’t the case. In almost every instance, team red came out ahead of the Intel counterpart.
Gaming performance aside, we decided to run several different synthetic benchmarks to see if there were any noteworthy differences to be found in workstation type tasks. We tried to test both single-core and multi-core scenarios, giving a more well-rounded conclusion on how they perform.
Cinebench R15 + R20
We decided to run both Cinebench R15 and R20, mainly because some individuals still use R15 and it’ll be easier to perform direct comparisons with older data. That being said, in both instances, the Ryzen CPU was the clear winner by 25% (R20 multi-core) and 28% (R15 multi-core), respectively.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
When looking at single-core performance, the gains were equally as impressive for team red – boasting 22% (R20) and 31% (R15) improvements over the i5-10600K.
Next up we ran Blender, one of the most popular tools for rendering images. I ran the BWM and classroom blender for the purposes of this test, making use of all cores.
As you can see from the results, Ryzen was the clear winner once again, outperforming both tasks by 19% and 13% respectively.
V-ray was the next benchmark we ran, testing how well the CPU can render a 3D based image. Whilst this isn’t the most popular benchmark in the world, it does offer compatibility with a number of popular commercial imaging applications, including 3ds Max, Maya, Unreal, Cinema 4D, and Blender.
That being said, Once again, the Ryzen CPU came out victorious, offering a 25% performance increase over Intel’s counterpart.
Cinebench R15 + R20
Corona is classified as a popular high-performance rendering engine for 3ds Max, also offering compatibility with Cinema 4D as well. For this specific test, a military vehicle is rendered using multiple passes, calculating the scene, geometry, preconditioning, and rendering. Performance here is measured in time to finish – with lower always being better.
As you can see from the results, Ryzen puts in another good performance, offering a nice performance increase over team blue by almost 16%.
Overall, it came as no real surprise to see the AMD chip come out on top in these specific tests. Ryzen, even from the initial Zen release, has historically been much better than Intel when it comes to multi-tasking type scenarios.
That said, it was still impressive to see AMD boasting another year of stellar results in these types of tasks.
Ryzen’s recent launch was a pretty big success. However, like most hardware launches right now, stock levels have been a little problematic – with most new additions selling out within minutes. Literally.
Right now, you’d have to say that, from an availability standpoint, Intel seems to have the edge – slightly. You can still get your hands on an Intel i5-10600K if you know where to look. On the other hand, Ryzen seems to be fully sold out of most vendors – leaving many AMD fans less than pleased.
When we look at pricing, many will probably be slightly surprised to learn that AMD have actually overpriced their CPUs for the first time in some years. Historically, we’ve always seen Ryzen CPUs undercut Intel’s in the hope of generating some extra converts. However, this time around, it seems like AMD really do know the value of their latest CPU lineup – pricing the Ryzen 5 5600X ($299) well above that of the i5-10600K ($265).
So, the only question left to answer is, which of these CPUs is best? For me, this one is simple. It has to be the AMD Ryzen 5 5600x.
AMD have been making large strides in the performance sector over the last couple of years, closing the gap exponentially between themselves and Intel. As we near the end of 2020, it seems that AMD have finally completed their mission in overturning Intel at the top of the gaming hierarchy.
That being said, both the Ryzen 5 5600X and Intel i5-10600K are fantastic CPUs, offering (arguably) the best value to performance the market has to offer right now. Both will provide you with extremely good gaming performance in 1080p and 1440p – pushing well past their previous iterations and even challenging their current flagship offerings with a light overclock.
Ultimately, however, there can only be one winner. And in this scenario, team red are well and truly in the driver’s seat.