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    Intel Core i5-9600K vs AMD Ryzen 5 3600X: Best Budget Gaming CPU?

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    When it comes to gaming, most titles scale well up to 6 cores. Other than that, it’s mainly the clocks that have an impact on performance. For the majority of gamers looking for a budget CPU, the Intel Core i5-9600K and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X are the ideal chips. But which one should you buy: The Core i5 or the Ryzen 5? In this post, we compare the two most popular budget CPUs and see which one is worth it.

    Specifications

    DetailCore i5-9600KRyzen 5 3600X
    Cores/Threads6/66/12
    Base Clock3.7GHz3.8GHz
    Boost Clock4.6GHz4.4GHz
    L3 Cache9MB32MB
    TDP95W95W
    Process14nm++7nm

    Looking at the specs, on paper the Ryzen 5 3600X has one major advantage, namely SMT. Luckily for Intel, most games don’t make leverage SMT or HT. The 9600K has a higher boost clock which will help take the lead in single-threaded games. Then there’s the cache. The Ryzen 3000 CPUs feature a fat L3 cache, something AMD calls GameCache. This essentially makes up for the delay caused by the Infinity Fabric. The impact of CPU cache on game performance is rather notable and can be observed by examining Intel’s Broadwell parts. Despite being more or less similar to Haswell, they perform much better in gaming workloads.

    Testbench

    • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
    • Motherboard: ASRock Taichi X570
    • GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
    • RAM: Trident Z Royal 16GB @ 3200MHz

    AMD Ryzen 5 3600X vs Intel Core i5-9600K: Gaming Benchmarks

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    Looking at the gaming benchmarks, it’s clear that newer DirectX12 titles favor AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600X while older games still benefit largely from higher core clocks. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider and The Division 2, the 3600X edges past the Core i5-9600K but in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a relatively older title, the Coffee Lake part ekes out a win. Moving on to Ashes, the Ryzen 5 3600X once again beats the Core i5 by a clear margin. Overall, as you can see, the two CPUs are mostly on par with each other when it comes to gaming workloads. You can expect better performance from the Core i5-9600K in DX11 titles while recent ones will see the Ryzen 5 level with it.

    For the sake of relevance, let’s have a look at some common workloads that mainstream users often resort to. We’ll compare the two CPUs in Mozilla Kraken to get a measure of browser performance, 7zip for compression speeds and Indigobench for rendering capability.

    7-Zip is one of those applications that will leverage as many threads as you throw at it, so the 3600X winning by a fat margin in both the compression as well as decompression tests is no surprise. This is one of the few workloads where SMT plays a big role.

    In Indigobench and Kraken, the Ryzen 5 3600X once again proclaims its superiority with major wins in both the benchmarks. Kraken benefits from faster singlethreaded performance, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see the 3600X edge past the 9600K in this test. Perhaps due to the large cache size?

    Rendering workloads like Indigobench and Cinebench are AMD’s home turf. To no-one’s surprise, the Ryzen 5 is a good 20-30% faster than the 9600K in this test.

    Conclusion

    It’s pretty clear who the winner is. Unlike the higher-end Coffee Lake parts where gaming performance saves the day for Intel, here in the budget space it appears that AMD’s products are much more appealing regardless of what your workloads or needs may be. Unless you’re getting the Core i5-9600K for a major discount, I wouldn’t recommend it over the Ryzen 5 3600X. Hell, you’re better off opting for a 3600 which costs a few grand less and performs almost the same.

    Further reading:

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    Areej
    I love computer hardware and RPGs, and those two things are what drove me to start TechQuila. Other than that most of my time goes into reading psychology, writing (and reading) dark poetry and playing games. Lead Editor at Techquila and HardwareTimes.com

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