AMD dominates the desktop market in 2021. The best Ryzen processors represent excellent value for money, offering a large number of cores and lightning-fast clock rates at reasonable prices. The latest Ryzen 5000 series includes processors that can work with the best of competing Intel processors. The question is, which processor should you choose?
Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: The best CPU for entry-level gaming
The 12th Generation Intel Alder Lake processor family now has new members who are now joining the Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and Core i9-12900K processors. There are 22 new SKUs, including 65W and 35W processors. Some of them even feature Intel’s new laminar cooling to keep temperatures under control. In this article, we take a look at how the new Intel Core i5-12600 compares to the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G to find out which one is the best consumer processor for entry-level gaming PCs.
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Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: Specifications
Here’s a quick look at each CPU’s specs before we dive into the comparison:
|Specification||Intel Core i5-12600||AMD Ryzen 5 5600G|
|CPU socket||LGA 1700||AMD AM4|
|Cores||6 (6P + 0E)||6|
|Lithography||Intel 7 (10 nm)||TSMC 7 nm FinFET|
|Fundamental frequency||3.3 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Increase the frequency||4.8 GHz||4.4 GHz|
|Unlocked for Overclocking?||No||Yes|
|L3 cache||18MB||16 MB|
|Max. Working temperature (Tjmax)||100 ° C||95 ° C|
|Memory support||DDR4 3200MT / s | DDR5-4800MT / s
Up to 128 GB
|DDR4 up to 3200 MHz
Up to 128 GB
|Integrated graphics||Intel UHD 770||Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics card|
The new Intel Core i5-12600, as you can see, is significantly different from the unlocked version that came out last year. The most important thing to note about the non-K processor version is that it does not contain performance cores (E cores). The total number of cores is 6 and all of them are performance cores. This means that technically the processor should behave as if it had standard cores that prioritize performance over energy efficiency. This is more suited to the Ryzen 5 5600G, which also has 6 cores and 12 threads. Both processors also have an integrated graphics processor, making them a good starting point for gamers. The Intel Core i5-12600 comes with Intel UHD 770 graphics while the Ryzen 5 5600G uses RX Vega 7 graphics.
Regardless of the clock speed on the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 series, one important factor is overclocking. How high can you overclock these processors? And is it worth it?
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Specs: The Zen 3 Midrange Pick
For starters, if you want a more in-depth look at all the improvements AMD has made to its latest line of desktop processors at the launch of Zen 3, we recommend you check out our extensive review of the Ryzen 9 5900X. But as a situational summary, here’s a quick rundown of the Zen 3 stack specs of mid-range Ryzen 5000 series processors, as well as a reminder of the previous generation chips they are going to replace. In the second tab you will find our comparison with the closest Intel offerings from the 10th and 9th generation lines.
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The $ 299 six-core / 12-thread AMD Ryzen 5 5600X lands in the arena as the company’s cheapest Zen 3 option, just behind the $ 449 8-core / 12-thread Ryzen 7 5800X. As with the rest of the Zen 3 launch, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is priced $ 50 higher than its predecessor at launch.
the $ 50 sting doesn’t hurt as much when we discuss high-end options like the $ 749 AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (compared to the $ 699 suggested retail price for the $ 699 Ryzen 950X, a 7% difference). But at this processor cost level, the $ 50 difference between the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and 5600X (an increase of 20%) could be a breakthrough for many PC manufacturers’ budgets.
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Intel Core i7-8700K
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i9-10900K
Intel Core i5-10600K
However, this is not the only change from Zen 2 to Zen 3. As it is a game-centric processor, switching to a single octa-core (CCX) design in Zen 3 gives a 5600X advantage over the Ryzen 5 3600X. In the Ryzen 5 3600X, the processor has been split between two quad-core CCXs, consisting of two dual-core chiplet arrays (CCDs), each with one CCX turned off in the other CCD.
The arrangement of the cores on the two CCDs meant that travel times were increased for any task that used all six cores simultaneously, such as games such as GTA V and Civilization titles. Thus, light-threaded titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rainbow Six: Siege suffered a bit on the Ryzen 5 3600X, as well as the next Zen 2 stack refresh, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT, due to an increase in latency.
But no more. Now that all of the Ryzen 5 5600X cores have been centralized into a single CCX design, AMD engineers have cut the travel times between cores and lowered latency at the same time.
But that’s not all the roses for Zen 3 here. While the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X introduces many architectural enhancements from Zen 2 that are particularly well suited to gaming performance, the company still has not included any form of integrated graphics in its mid-range positions. It is at this price point that options like the Intel Core i5-10600K can double as a main processor and GPU for low-end systems or budget buyers, especially if the only games they plan to play are a bit more forgiving on integrated graphics such as Fortnite or CS: GO.
However, compared to Intel, AMD’s track record of slot compatibility is more beneficial to gamers who are trying to stay on top of their budget and still get the most power out of their design. At the time of this writing, potential Ryzen 5 5600X owners may be using an AMD X570 or B550 motherboard with Zen 3 chips with a BIOS update, and many X470 and B450 motherboards should receive BIOS updates to work with Zen 3 processors in early 2021 year.
Testing the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Is This the Zen 3 Sweet Spot?
In our test setup, we installed a Ryzen 5 5600X on the MSI MEG X570 Godlike AM4 motherboard (our standard test platform for the latest generation Ryzen) and filled the two DIMM slots with 16GB of memory set to 3000MHz. During CPU tests, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Ti card supported video output. (Like other Ryzen desktop chips that don’t end with a “G”, these first four Zen 3-based Ryzen have no built-in graphics, so a graphics card is needed.) We used the NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm liquid cooling system in a closed loop to keep the chip cool during all tests, with fan profiles set to the default BIOS settings of our Godlike.
We test processors with various synthetic benchmarks that offer proprietary results, as well as real-world tests using consumer apps like 7-Zip and 3D games like Far Cry 5. The charts below show different models at similar competitive prices and siblings of AMD and Intel processors.
Note: The benchmark results we used for the purpose of this review are not the first to note. During our testing of the Ryzen 5 5600X, AMD had to send us a second Ryzen 5 5600X sample for benchmarking, as we were the first to publish data that was up to 30% slower than expected. The results below are what we saw after replacing the old (pre-premiere, defective) Ryzen 5 5600X sample and replacing it with a new chip that we received roughly a month after the first Zen 3 implementation (December 2020).
CPU-Centric Tests: A Reliable Mid-Stack Workhorse
While the Ryzen 5 5600X is not really meant to be the star of AMD’s Zen 3 productivity line (this honor belongs to the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X for now), let’s see how it performed in a variety of content creation and brute-force testing tasks such as 7-Zip.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comes out of our benchmarking suite with an overall # 1 spot in its price class, although that advantage may not be as clear as the company could have hoped. The 5600X does not beat Intel’s Core i5-10600K by the same dominant proportion as AMD processors with more cores compared to their competitors (for example, the Ryzen 9 5900X compared to the Core i9-10900K), especially in the single-core works like iTunes.
That said, it still falls significantly ahead on every other launch compared to both Intel’s i5-10600K and last-gen advanced AMD options like the Ryzen 7 3800XT. On all POV-Ray cores, the Ryzen 5 5600X manages to keep pace with the eight-core Ryzen 7 3800XT, barely missing the mark but still recording a decent score.
From these results, it’s clear that the improvements from Zen 2 to Zen 3 are not just for the benefit of players. And while we’re more likely to be recommending the Ryzen 7 5800X to novice content creators or productivity hunters, the Ryzen 5 5600X still performs well with both Intel’s and previous-gen AMD chipsets in benchmarks that guarantee a double-shot if money is tight.
Gaming in the Midrange: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Frame Rates
Now let’s focus on the area where the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is tuned to perform at its best: PC gaming, especially in popular resolutions like 1080p, where the CPU comes to the fore in some titles.
Here’s what we saw in our gaming test bank with our GeForce RTX 2080 Ti running the show. This top-of-the-line consumer graphics card is the ultimate 4K performance arbiter with all the processors we’ve outlined below. At 1080p, however, the card goes a bit more out of the way and lets processor differences shine through.
Want to play PC games without a graphics card? The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor and its integrated graphics provide cash-hungry gamers an excellent, value-focused option that Intel cannot match.
Core i5-12600K vs. Ryzen 5 5600G: Specs and Architecture
To kick off our duel between these two mid-tier chips, let’s take a look at the core specs of this pair.
First, let’s remove some naming. With Alder Lake, Intel is finally moving beyond the next version of 14nm lithography, last seen in the Gen 11 core family (“Rocket Lake”). Its new process technology, dubbed “Intel 7 Process” (at its heart, a 10nm manufacturing process) forms the basis of the Core i5-12600K. With this new design, the chip is split between “performance cores” (P cores) and “performance cores” (E cores).
It is part of a new 12th-generation “big.LITTLE” style architecture, an approach that (on this particular layout) combines six P cores with four E cores (“10” cores in total) and dynamically allocates computer requirements based on the task at hand . (Therefore we see the ratio of cores to threads which is not 2: 1; only six P cores are hyper-threaded in this new chip design, for two threads per core.)
Meanwhile, AMD is still operating the old-fashioned way and has used a simple six-core / 12-thread design in its $ 259 Ryzen 5 5600G. (The letter “G” indicates that this is one of AMD’s relatively few Ryzen chips that comes with an integrated GPU or IGP that allows you to display graphics on your computer without a dedicated graphics card.) The company’s outstanding “chiplet” architecture is another comeback, this time enhanced with a single CCX design that reduces inter-core latency that existed on older IGP-equipped Zen processors such as the Ryzen 3 3200G ($ 99 list) and the Ryzen 5 3400G ($ 149 list).
If you’ve been wondering all the time why we’re comparing the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G to the Intel Core i5-12600K, rather than the more direct competition in the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X without IGP ($ 299 list), it all comes down to these integrated graphics. In times of GPU limitations like these, we need to be mindful of all types of PC users (gamers and non-gamers), including those who can afford a CPU and motherboard much earlier than a new graphics card given the prices per which still sell GPUs.
The Ryzen 5 5600G comes with the still strong AMD Radeon RX Vega platform integrated inside, this time taking the form of a Vega 7 IGP with, you guessed it, seven onboard graphics cores. In the meantime, the Intel Core i5-12600K will include another addition to the growing line of “Iris Xe” brand IGP processors, the Intel UHD Graphics 770 (compared to the UHD Graphics 750 we saw in the last generation of Intel chipsets).
When it comes to coolers, it’s a simple win for AMD: Ryzen 5 5600G buyers get a Wraith Stealth air cooler included, while Intel Core i5-12600K owners will need to purchase a separate cooling fan that works with the new LGA 1700 CPU socket. AMD pays attention to both the implementation costs and the overall cooling requirements when considering the power requirements of the two chips.
TIE: Intel Core i5-12600K for the number of cores, AMD Ryzen 5 5600G for pricing and IGP specifications
Core i5-12600K vs. Ryzen 5 5600G: Platforms and Compatibility
Then compatibility with platforms. You can check out all what Intel is offering in our Z690 platform guide. The Z690 is the only chipset available to date to support the new Alder Lake chips. But for those who just want the basics, let’s follow a quick primer.
The new 12th generation chips from Intel are changing to a different motherboard socket, the LGA 1700, as well as the Z690 chipset, which is a revamped lineup of motherboards. The Z690 is an upgrade from the top-of-the-line Z590 chipset that came with the 11th generation (considered a blind platform so far), and brings with it a whole host of improvements that may or may not be important to you, depending on what you are doing with the computer.
The main improvements between the two platforms include more PCI Express (PCIe) lanes, as well as those that are upgraded from the PCIe 4.0 specs to PCIe 5.0. The new boards also offer old-style DDR5 RAM support (although some alternate DDR4 support), as well as XMP 3.0 (Intel Extreme Memory Profiler service for overclockers) and Dynamic Memory Boost technology.
Most of these improvements won’t mean much to the average player or content creator. However, if you’re a serious overclocker, Intel has integrated a number of new ways to control how your chip performs under pressure, especially when it is being used to its limits.
The only area where Gen 12 is missing when it comes to platforms is the cost of adoption compared to what can be found with 11th Gen Intel chips. At the moment, as of mid-November, there are not yet any mid-to-mid-range 600 motherboards from the typical “H” or “B” series on the 12th generation chip shelves, although we should expect to see information about them in the upcoming months.
Meanwhile, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G remains compatible with a large number of AM4 motherboards, starting with the B450 and X470, covering just about any price range you could think of. These models can cost as much as $ 35 under some extreme circumstances, although on average you can expect to spend around $ 60 to start on a cheaper AMD B450 motherboard, while X570 boards can cost as much as $ 900 for some extreme release enthusiasts.
TIE: Intel Core i5-12600K wins with new features and extra flexibility, AMD Ryzen 5 5600G wins in terms of adoption cost
Ryzen 7 comes with one simple core and thread headline. 8 cores, 16 threads, from the 1000 1700 series to the recently released 5800X.
Picking the right CPU for your PC
source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Headquarters
The Ryzen 3 is aimed at inexpensive PCs and consumers who don’t use their PCs for intensive applications. That said, all processors are quad-core, have four physical cores, and as such are not sloped. You would be able to build an efficient gaming platform that can handle even large games.
AMD Ryzen 3 3600X
The Ryzen 3 3200G is AMD’s cracking entry-level processor with integrated graphics processing. Not only do you not need an external graphics processor to get the monitor output, the 3200G is a quad-core processor accelerated to 3.7GHz.
And that, remember, was probably the best-case scenario, a big coolant on our test bench. If you really need the extra power, a Ryzen 7 5800X with factory cooling fan would be a better investment than this Ryzen 5 plus a three-digit liquid cooler.
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
AMD didn’t take too many hits with its 5000 series processors, and the Ryzen 9 5900X shows it. Corresponds to the previous generation’s 3900X in number of cores and threads, clocking 12 cores and 24 threads, albeit with a slightly reduced clock rate. The 5900X starts at 3.7 GHz and can go up to 4.8 GHz. While the two processors look identical on paper, the 5900X has the aforementioned Zen 3 enhancements from AMD.
In gaming, the 5900X beats the Intel i9-10900K – arguably the best gaming processor on the market – on most titles, and often outperforms the 3900X, even by a hair. After a minor overclock, Intel’s current i9 lineup still wins. Game benchmarks don’t say much about the 5900X, however. At most they tell us that AMD is finally catching up with Intel. If you’re just into games, the 5900X is overkill and benchmarks show it. Where there is a difference between the last-generation 3900X and 10900K and the 5900X, it is slight.
When you switch your loads then you will really see the 5900X’s power capabilities. In everything from 3D rendering in Blender to Cinebench to decompressing files, the 5900X maintains a sizable advantage over the 3900X. We know this is a bold statement considering that the 3900X falls short of all other devices in Intel’s catalog. If you’re working with a single-core load, you’ll notice the differences even more. AMD’s IPC improvements show up in single-core tests, and the 5900X beats Intel’s top CPUs in almost every test.
For the latest AMD Ryzen 9 processor, you should be prepared to drop an extra $ 50 at checkout. The price increased from $ 499 to $ 549. That said, even at this price, you’ll find that the 5900X is an excellent tool. And if you’ve got a little more room in your budget, consider getting the 5950X. If you are able to take full advantage of the 24 threads of the 5900X, you will appreciate the 32 threads of the 5950X.
However, finding these processors on the stock shelves is still a problem. If you need a processor now you’ll find that the 3900X and 3900XT run fairly close to the 5900X and hit around $ 400 (which is $ 150 less than the alternate option). The good news about the Ryzen 9 3950X processor is that it’s more likely to sell for less than $ 700 these days. So, while it may cost a bit more than other CPUs in this particular series, its performance is at least equal to that of the 5900X.
All parts of the Ryzen 5 will support DDR4 ECC and non-ECC memory, and the memory support is the same as the Ryzen 7 and will depend on the number of modules and the types of modules used. Recently, companies like ADATA announced official support for AM4, as some users said they experienced pains of memory growth after launching Ryzen 7.
Regardless of the clock speed on the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 series, one important factor is overclocking. How high can you overclock these processors? And is it worth it?
Perhaps it was worth it in the past. Surely the Ryzen 5 3600X was a favorite of gamers who were overclocking their CPUs. These users then had to observe their Thermal Design Point and the power of the internal cooling system to make sure their overclocking was not unstable.
Is it worth it on the newer Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors? May be. We’re still waiting for official lab test data, but some users have reported overclocking their Ryzen 7 5800X to full 4.8GHz while gaming.
Single core speed is a friend of players all over the world – it is the highest performance criterion which translates into smoother gameplay.
It is true that when it comes to a single-core processor, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 range do not really compete with each other, but with similar market-leading processors from other chip manufacturers.
In Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7, single-core speed has always been at least fairly good, although there has been some decline in recent iterations.
However, there are signs that any single-core speed bugs are making their way into the trash bin as the 5000 series single-core speeds are now available and are impressive.
The Ryzen 5 5600X was recorded at a single core speed of 258cb.
The Ryzen 7 5800X recorded a single core speed of 257cb.
So when it comes to comparing the two latest range additions, it’s close enough to make an astonishingly small difference as the Ryzen 5 is gaining at least technical glory.
Importantly, the single-core speed of the Ryzen 7 is a huge upgrade on everything in the previous series. More importantly, both outperformed the Intel Core 10900K processor in terms of single-core performance. (Remember that Ryzen 5 doesn’t compete directly in the same market as 10900K, but 10600K.) The statistic that will make players drool the most is that single core speeds like these will provide an improvement of 19% of the IPC (instructions per cycle.
Faster is always better when it comes to IPCs; this is equivalent to the number of coherent “thoughts” your core can have, so this amplification makes both Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 shine. And probably, if we’re honest, Intel is crying to the bartenders that their motherboards don’t understand them anymore.
Why the increase over the previous series? Could have something to do with the redesign of the Zen 3 architecture. Okay, let’s not be shy, it has it all to do with the redesign of the Zen 3 architecture and the Compute Die reshuffle.
Previous AMD processors, of the relatively recent 3000 series, were based on Zen 2 processors. In Zen 3, each computational chip contained several core complexes. Inside each of the core complexes there were 4 cores and 16 MB of L3 cache.
This design had its advantages, but the downside was that when using a single core – and again, most games run at single-core speeds – you only had direct access to 16MB of L3 cache. If you needed more, you had to go beyond Core Complex, which caused a delay in processing speed.
The redesigned Zen 3 places 8 cores in each of the core complexes, each with direct access to 32 MB of L3. This is an instant doubling of the random access L3 cache on each core complex between 3000 series and 5000 series. Double the cache, reduce latency. This is a quantum leap that allowed the single core speed figures for AMD’s 5000 series CPUs to overtake Intel and really shake the market. All the while, gamers rub their sweaty palms excitedly – maybe not yet, but due to the potential impact of such a cache doubling on future game development.
Oh, and one last thing. While the real headline is the single-core speed scores, the same test also found that the Ryzen 7 5800X scores some serious playability scores at multi-core speeds as well, suggesting that the Zen 3 redesign has begun to destroy the single-core optimization barrier that has in the past made that these single-core numbers were so important.
Clock speed is where you can expect some difference between the two CPU ranges. For example, in the 5000 series, the Ryzen 5 5600X provides a base clock of 3.7 GHz, boosted up to 4.6 GHz, while the Ryzen 7 5800X provides a base clock of 3.8 GHz and gain of 4.7 GHz.
The advanced Ryzen 5 1600X, at $ 249, is a great option to compete with Intel’s i5-7600K at $ 242. The Intel processor is based on the Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and in the Ryzen 7 review we showed that for comparison, Ryzen is closer to Broadwell, two generations behind it. AMD won’t win much when it comes to single-threaded testing, but AMD shines in a multi-threaded situation.
|Comparison: Ryzen 5 1600X vs Core i5-7600K|
Ryzen 5 1600X
|6/12||Cores / threads||4/4|
|3.6 / 4.0 GHz||Base / Turbo||3.8 / 4.2 GHz|
|16||PCIe 3.0 lines||16|
|16 MB||L3 cache||6 MB|
|249||Price (suggested retail price)||242|
Here we have twelve threads against four, at 95W TDP versus 91W TDP (1600W is 65W which looks better on paper). In situations where the computing load can scale to cores and threads, the AMD chip is expected to soften the competition. For more general office workloads, it will be interesting to see where the marks are falling.
For quad core parts, there are several competing points to choose from. The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, costing $ 189, is close to Intel’s Core i5-7500 for $ 192. This would be a shootout of the primary quad-core on the Core i5 versus the quad-core with hyper-threading.
|Comparison: Ryzen 5 1500X vs Core i5-7500|
Ryzen 5 1500X
|48||Cores / threads||4/4|
|3.5 / 3.7 GHz||Base / Turbo||3.4 / 3.8 GHz|
|16||PCIe 3.0 lines||16|
|16 MB||L3 cache||6 MB|
|65 W||TDP||65 W|
|189 USD||Price (suggested retail price)||$ 182|
The reason I didn’t buy a $ 168 Core i3-7350K there is because the 7350K’s performance is close to the Pentium G4560, which only costs $ 64 (and the subject of an upcoming review). That being said, the $ 168 i3-7350K price tag matches the $ 169 price tag for the Ryzen 5 1400, although the 1400 has dual cores and 7350K dual threads.
Chipsets for Ryzen 5
Chipsets for AMD AM4 processors come in three main forms: the high-end X370 designed for premium Ryzen 7 systems and multi-GPU gaming (or workstations that support multiple PCIe cards), mid-range B350 motherboards that still support overclocking but are more targeted on Ryzen 5 systems with a single graphics card, as well as the more budget A320, which has no overclocking capability and will fit the Ryzen 3 later this year.
We are now at a point where motherboard makers are swimming in AMD motherboards and distributors are stocking up on various models. For the Ryzen 5, AMD presents motherboards based on the B350 chipset as a suitable solution, especially when compared to Intel’s B250 motherboards for Kaby Lake CPUs.
The configuration of the B350 is the same as that of the X370, except for a few PCIe lanes from the chipset and focusing on one GPU.