AMD’s surprise launch of the Ryzen 5 5600X3D is upon us — the CPUs are hitting the shelves starting tomorrow. However, it’s a very exclusive set of shelves, seeing as the CPU will only be available at Micro Center for a limited amount of time.
Based on AMD’s aging AM4 platform, is this CPU a worthy contender at a time when there are newer Ryzen 7000 parts readily available? The first reviews are in, and we pretty much know the answer.
Specs and architecture
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D is, as the name itself suggests, equipped with AMD’s revolutionary 3D V-Cache technology. In terms of specifications, it’s close to both the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the non-3D Ryzen 5 5600X. However, it has a huge edge over the latter — it comes with a whole lot of L3 cache, which gives it a nice boost to gaming performance.
Let’s see how these three processors compare to one another in specs alone.
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D||AMD Ryzen 5 5600X||AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D|
|Clock speed (base/boost)||3.3GHz/4.4GHz||3.7GHz/4.6GHz||3.4GHz/4.5GHz|
As a quick reminder, the Ryzen 5 5600X3D is a bit of an oddity — it’s a Zen 3 processor based on the AM4 platform, and it’s odd because AMD has long since moved on to AM5. Many outlets speculate that this CPU was made as a way to salvage binned Ryzen 7 5800X3D chips and AMD may have never actually planned to make this a separate product.
An unexpected champ
No one expected the Ryzen 5 5600X3D to even exist, but now that it’s here, it might take over the entire budget gaming segment of the market — or it could have done, if not for the fact that it’s a limited edition chip.
So far, reviewers are praising it for its gaming capabilities. Although it lags behind in productivity tasks, this isn’t the kind of CPU you’d be buying for non-gaming purposes anyway. Let’s see how it fares in the environment it was built for.
Gamers Nexus tested the 5600X3D in several games, and while its performance varies from title to title, it generally did a great job. The varying frames per second (fps) are to be expected. Not every game utilizes the massive 96MB L3 cache, and outside of the cache, the 5600X3D is still a mere six-core CPU.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, the Ryzen 5 5600X3D averaged 301.4 fps. That puts it just below the (much more expensive) Core i9-13900K, which hit 304 fps. Three AMD chips are topping the scoreboard: the Ryzen 9 7950X with 305 fps; the Ryzen 7 5800X3D with 332 fps, and finally, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D with 385 fps. Every single one of those processors costs a whole lot more than the 5600X3D.
Overall, Gamers Nexus found that the chip was 39% faster than the Ryzen 5 5600X in the Tomb Raider benchmark, but 10% slower than the 5800X3D.
Things are different when Gamers Nexus talks about Far Cry 6. The 5600X3D has a slew of processors ahead of it in the ranking, including chips like the Ryzen 7 7700X and the Intel Core i9-12900K. Still, the only CPU with a comparable price tag remains the 5800X3D. The new Zen 3 part averaged 163 fps, while the 5800X3D hit 175.5 fps.
Tom’s Hardware took the chip out for a test drive as well, and the results bode well for AMD. The chip averaged 181 fps across the entire 1080p test suite, beating the previous budget favorite Core i5-13400, which trailed behind at 153 fps. It was only beaten by the $310 Core i5-13600k (187 fps), the $290 Ryzen 7 5800X3D (191 fps), and of course, the $440 Ryzen 7 7800X3D (216 fps).
In a sea of praise, one complaint appears — Gamers Nexus found that the chip is unable to hit its advertised max frequency. It only misses by about 50MHz, but it’s still a worrying sign for AMD if this kind of result will be consistent across the board. Aside from that, the chip seems to be performing excellently.
You don’t need a beefy PSU, but …
YouTuber mryeester took a quick look at the thermals and power consumption of the Ryzen 5 5600X3D, which sports a 105W TDP. While he found that the CPU draws a little less power than the 5800X3D (which has the same TDP), it also tends to run just as hot.
This brings us to the next point — you’re saving money on the AM4 platform, but you still need to buy a capable cooler. Some reviewers recommend a 240mm AIO cooler for this CPU, which feels like a lot for such a budget chip, but it would ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Even if you’re not ready to splash on a liquid cooler, you will need to buy something, because the X3D processors don’t come with their own coolers.
Grab it while it’s there
As mentioned above, the Ryzen 5 5600X3D is available exclusively at Micro Center. This means that if you’re outside of the U.S. or don’t live close to a Micro Center, you’ll probably be forced to skip this CPU. This is an interesting launch strategy for AMD, and it might have something to do with the low availability of the chip. After all, launching so late in the AM4 lifecycle, it’s probably the last Zen 3 desktop CPU to ever be released — that is, unless AMD manages to surprise us yet again.
The retailer sells the 5600X3D as a stand-alone CPU for $230 or as part of a bundle that also includes a B550 motherboard and 16GB of G.Skill DDR4 RAM; that bundle costs $330. That’s just a little over the price of a new Ryzen 7 5800X3D, making it an attractive deal.
The fact that the Ryzen 5 5600X3D is such a capable gaming processor only sweetens the pot. Tom’s Hardware points out that this chip “delivers 95% of the 5800X3D’s gaming performance for 20% less cash.” In other words, if you’re working on a budget PC build, this CPU seems like a solid option.
Of course, the problem lies in its limited availability. Micro Center predicts that its supplies will last for anywhere from three to six months, and after that, the chip is never coming back again.
Gamers who can and want this CPU need to act fast and grab it while it’s there because both the chip and the motherboard and RAM bundle are likely to sell somewhat quickly. For the rest of us who don’t live near a Micro Center, there’s always the Core i5-13400. Still, it’s hard to deny that AMD has just reclaimed at least a part of the midrange gaming sector with the 5600X3D.