if you’re currently planning an entry level to mid-range gaming pc build then you’re probably in this dilemma where you’re trying to decide between an amd ryzen 5 3600 a 6 core processor or the cheaper quad core 3300x after all how many games these days actually utilize 6 cpu cores and 12 threads.
if you do settle for the quad core cpu how much performance are you potentially leaving on the table could it possibly bottleneck your system down the road after a gpu upgrade and in saying that are the extra cores actually worth it for future proofing your system there are a lot of questions that you probably have between trying to decide between these two cpus and specifically if six cores is actually worth it.
what you need to know the two cpus
when it comes to gaming so let’s take a look at what you need to know the two cpus that we’re going to be comparing today are the ryzen 3 300 x and the ryzen 5 3600 the 3300x comes in at 120 usd when it’s in stock leaving you with around 50 spare when compared to the 170 dollar ryzen 3600 50 dollars might not sound like a lot but even for a mid-range gaming system that could be enough to upgrade from an rx 5700 to a 5700 xt or maybe buy the same gpu.
but maybe a card with a more effective cooler giving you a quieter gaming experience it’s also the same amount to upgrade from a 500 gigabyte m.2 nvme drive to a one terabyte one so the question.
becomes is that the right choice to make to keep things simple we’re going to keep the comparison and discussion here between these two amd ryzen processors because at the end of the day they are the more popular choice and because the comparison becomes a bit more complicated when you apply the same discussion to intel it’s a more apples to apples comparison here on the amd side with things like memory speeds overclocking and motherboard choice being fairly equal now to isolate the performance impact in games.
Here on core count the majority of the benchmarks here have been done with both processors locked to the same clock speed don’t worry though we’ll take a look at the impact that clock speed actually plays as well i understand that most of you aren’t going to be locking the frequency of your cpu but to draw any conclusions here from the testing on core count clock speed is definitely one variable that we should normalize between these two tests i have also locked the gpu clock frequency of the rtx 2080 ti that was used for testing and this reduces the slight performance.
Reduces the margin of error significantly
deviation that we might see run to run as the card heats up and cools down note that this isn’t a complete lock as there is still some thermal and clock speed deviation but it still reduces the margin of error significantly between each benchmark run this means that the only two main different variables between the two test benches that you’re about to see are core count four cores versus six cores and also the slightly higher cpu cache on the six core processor that has a much less significant performance impact on gaming performance though.
but it’s still worth noting and so here we go a healthy mix of dx11 dx12 and vulcan games tested here and you’ll also notice a few different categories as well some more competitive titles like cs go valeran and rainbow six siege some racing titles like the new f1 2020 and of course some single player story based titles like shadow of the tomb raider and death stranding this graph only shows average fps with the 6 core 3600 in blue and the quad core 3300x in orange so first up if you’re playing competitive first person shooters even north of 350 frames per second.
there’s no significant difference between the quad core 3300 x and 6 core 3600 when clock speed is equal there is a 30 fps advantage in cs go for the six core 3600 but understand that this is the difference between receiving one frame every 2.2 milliseconds versus every 2.3 milliseconds that’s just not a perceivable difference on a human level so let’s remove these games from the graph for a second.
we can readjust the axis and focus in on these other games the racing titles that i tested were a bit mixed and i find this interesting as all three of these games are benchmarked against racing ais and that is generally cpu intensive in ascetic corsa the six core 3600 has around a five percent improvement over the quad core processor project cars 2 shows a lower three percent lead and the new f1 2020 shows actually a perceivably identical performance between the two in fact the 3300x was actually slightly faster here and i think that might be due to the lower quarter core latency that the 3300x has over the 3600.
since it has all four cores on the same ccx death stranding is a recent pc launch and personally i did not expect it to have this much of a difference between a quad core and six core cpu i actually went back and retested and validated this because it is a bit of an outlier here but i can confirm this result is correct a 17 improvement in average fps for the six core processor.
Advantage in gta 5
i think this might be due to the heavy animation and physics processing that the game has but it could be a number of other things the witcher 3 is another title that showed a slightly larger difference just above a six percent improvement here with the additional two cores and four threads and also an eight percent advantage in gta 5.
these are both npc and logic dance games so it’s reasonable to see how the extra cores and threads can help there similar story for far cry 5 just above a 6 percent improvement warhammer vermintide 2 just like f1 2020 shows the quad core 3300x slightly out in front although here i believe it’s due to the way the worker threads were set for the benchmark as that is an adjustable parameter for this game so at least in terms of average frame rate there is a difference in some titles.
But as we can see it does depend on what games you’re playing games that are mostly based around player interaction and a logic based game world will benefit from those extra cores and threads but in most cases it’s not a huge difference what we really want to see is whether those extra cores lead to a smoother gaming experience and whether the quad core 3300x produces any more game stutter than the six core 3600 .
here instead we’re looking at the lowest one percent of frame rate where personally i did expect to see a much larger difference between these two but oddly enough the margins actually tighten up in fact the majority of titles here are virtually equal and only a couple really stand out with the six core delivering a smoother frame rate those two are death stranding.
Advantage for the six core cpu
where again we see a 22 improvement for the 3600 and assassin’s creed odyssey where we see a 21 improvement other than that it’s not an overwhelming advantage for the six core cpu and the answer here is still it depends when we take a closer look between the two cpus at 4.2 gigahertz in assassin’s creed odyssey one of the games that showed a bigger difference in the lowest one percent of frame rate we do see a few more dips for the quad core 3300 3300x shown in orange still though.
you do really have to look for these particular games where there’s a difference but now let’s take a look at what you can expect with the stock out of the box performance between these two cpus letting them boost to whatever clock speed they want on their own well seeing as the 3300x is actually the faster clocked cpu out of the two that means the margins that.
Double the price of the 3300x
we saw previously do close up quite a bit in some cases giving you identical performance in fact in red dead redemption 2 the 3300x is slightly faster than the stock 3600 thanks to that faster boost clock and we can see just how important clock speed is when we include the 3600 xt a 6 core cpu just like the 3600 but with a boost clock of up to 4.5 gigahertz unfortunately though the 3600 xt is roughly double the price of the 3300x at around 250 usd at that point.
you might also want to consider the 10600k which in most cases can be overclocked to 5 gigahertz to match the i9 10 900k and it goes without saying of course if you’re doing any video editing or multi-threaded work aside from gaming which is the main focus here i would definitely recommend springing the extra cash for the ryzen 5 3600 over the 3300 x.
you’ll be saving a chunk of time on your video exports or 3d renders as well as experience smoother timeline performance in most cases in closing i think the 120 dollar 3300 x is the way to go for most users over the 170 dollar 3600 and i’d personally recommend spending the extra cash on a better cpu cooler or faster gpu in most cases especially.
when it comes to competitive games there’s little performance advantage beyond 4 cores and 8 threads and you’re better off with a faster clock speed this is especially relevant for budget builds 2 under the 700 or so mark i also think the 3300x is a nice placeholder cpu for those users waiting on a 4th gen ryzen build but also need something up and running in the meantime.
However if you’re of the mind of future proofing your system then i do believe that is a valid argument for going for the six core ryzen 3600 instead and spending the extra cash there maybe that extra 50 isn’t such a big thing to ask for your particular build and budget and as we saw there are some games out there that do actually utilize those extra cores and threads you never know what titles might pop up in the future that do benefit from high core count cpus and maybe your decision is just as easy as grabbing what’s in stock which in most cases will be the ryzen 5 3600 because as i’ve heard from a lot of you the 3300x is quite a hard cpu to get your hands on it is in stock here in australia.