Ryzen 5 3600 + RTX 3080: Killer Combo or Not?

Today we take a look back at AMD's Value King, the Ryzen 5 3600, but this time with the GeForce RTX 3080. We have already seen how this Ampere flagship GPU will perform with a Ryzen 9 3950X or Core i9-10900K they close at 1440p, but these CPUs cost more than $ 500.

While CPU pricing shouldn't be an issue when you get the idea of ​​spending $ 700 on a graphics card, it might not be such a far-fetched scenario. If you can save more than $ 300 on CPU, that's roughly $ 300 to spend on a faster graphics card. If you already own an R5 3600, you are undoubtedly interested in how it handles the RTX 3080.

This article examines the performance in 15 games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K with the Ryzen 5 3600 in a standard configuration with 32 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 memory. We also overclock the CPU at 4.4GHz and then add a manually tuned 4.4GHz memory configuration, keeping the DDR4-3200 memory as we've found this to work quite well.

You can take higher recordings with DDR4-3800 memory, but there is no guarantee it will be stable with a 1900 MHz FCLK. In any case, the point is to give you a rough idea of ​​what is possible, as overclocking miles will vary based on motherboard, memory and CPU quality.

Note that the Ryzen 9 3950X and Core i9-10900K are included in the charts for reference only and have not been overclocked. This is not CPU vs. CPU, but we want to see how close the Ryzen 5 3600 can get to delivering over $ 500 in CPU performance in games. Now let's jump into the benchmark charts …


Death Stranding isn't a great title for 3rd gen Ryzen processors, the performance isn't bad, but we found that the 3950X was well below the 10900K at 1080p and 7% slower at 1440p. While the 1440p margin was small, we're seeing an even bigger drop with the 6-core Ryzen processor.

The 3600 was 13% slower than the 3950X and 18% slower than the 10900K. So this is a big enough margin, although we are still seeing ~ 140 fps on average.

Overclocking the 3600 didn't help or manually adjust the save times, but for those interested in 4K gaming, the difference between these processors is very small and certainly goes unnoticed.

Flight Simulator 2020 is another rough title for 3rd generation Ryzen processors. However, since the 3950X only heavily loads a single thread, it offers no performance advantage compared to the much cheaper 3600. So you see an identical performance.

While overclocking helps boost performance by 13% at 1080p and 1440p, at 4K you'll see identical performance across the board as the game is mostly limited to the GPU.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has proven to be an excellent showcase title for Ryzen as the 3950X matches and is even slightly ahead of the 10900K.

However, AMD’s strong performance is not based on a core benefit as the Ryzen 5 3600 offers the same level of performance. For this test, which was originally developed to measure GPU performance, we use the built-in benchmark, which does not stress the CPU as much. That said, the R5 3600 isn't much slower than the 3950X even in our in-game tests.

Control is always limited by the GPU performance. Therefore, even at 1080p, we see little or no difference between the tested CPUs. At Control, a 7th generation dual-core processor from Intel will likely achieve a similar level of performance.

The Ryzen 5 3600 follows in Rainbow Six Siege with 1080p by a small margin, although the frame rates are up to 400 fps. At 1440p, we don't see any real difference in performance between the configurations we tested, and that goes for 4K too, of course.

Moving on to the F1 2020, here by overclocking we see that the 3600 is close to the 3950X, although this is at least 13% slower than the 10900K. For those playing with a more realistic resolution for the RTX 3080, we see very little difference at 1440p. The 3600 was only 6% slower than the 10900K, and by the time we get to 4K there is virtually no difference between the configurations tested.

Gears 5 is one of the worst titles for the Ryzen 9 3950X in our test suite, as the 10900K is much faster with 1080p and 1440p. The Ryzen 5 3600 doesn't fare much worse than the 3950X and can be adjusted to match stock performance. Once we hit 4K, we even see comparable performance with the 109000K. For those who want to go for higher resolutions, the 3600 is a lot less of a problem here.

As in our benchmark function 3950X vs. 10900K, like Gears 5, Metro Exodus is a worst case scenario for 3rd generation Ryzen. There's no denying that the Intel processor is worlds faster at 1080p and 1440p. This is just an unfortunate reality for AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen processors. The Ryzen 5 3600's performance is still solid at lower resolutions, but you can't get anywhere near the best of the RTX 3080. Only when we reach 4K is the game mostly tied to the GPU.

The R5 3600 performs very well in Horizon Zero Dawn, at least at 1440p and above. We see the stock was only 10% slower than the 10900K at 1440p, while it matched at 4K. So all in all a solid result.

The performance is comparable in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Here the R5 3600 can be set to deliver a performance similar to 10900K. This is impressive. Many games will be more limited to the GPU than the CPU with the 3600 / RTX 3080 combo. So this is a good example of what you can normally expect.

We see a performance that is mainly tied to the GPU in WWII, as the 3600 with 4K and 1440p corresponded to the much more expensive processors and was also comparable with 1080p.

Resident Evil 3 is another game that isn't particularly sensitive to CPU performance, provided you have a reasonably decent CPU. Here we can see that the Ryzen 5 3600 is only 8% behind the 10900K at 1080p, with this gap at 1440p only just under 4% and no difference can be seen at 4K.

Doom Eternal is another game where CPU performance isn't that important, provided you have a relatively modern CPU with at least 8 threads. The Ryzen 5 3600 was ~ 7% slower than the 10900K and 3950X at 1440p, but it was possible to maximize the RTX 3080's performance with a simple overclock, and for those who play at 4K, overclocking isn't required to getting the most out of the 3080.

It is similar when testing with Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Here the stock 3600 was 12% slower than the 10900K at 1080p, but we see the margin decrease completely at 1440p and 4K.

Lastly, we have Hitman 2, one of those titles like Gears 5 and Metro Exodus that don't run that well on Ryzen processors. Worse, we're seeing a huge difference between the 3950X and the 3600 that can't be compensated for by overclocking or optimized memory, which is interesting.

The performance at 1440p isn't particularly good compared to the 10900K, although it's still playable, but we can't get the most out of the RTX 3080. When we get to 4K there is no performance difference between the CPUs tested.

Performance summary

Overall, it looks like the Ryzen 5 3600 performed well and often doesn't leave much power on the table at 1440p and nothing at 4K. The 1080p data is meant for science more than practical use case in our opinion, but for those looking for maximum performance at 1080p, an Intel processor is the way to go, at least for now. Let's take a look at the average fps data in the 15-game example …

Based on the 1080p data, we can see that the R5 3600 was, on average, 15% slower than the 10900K, and honestly considering the price, which is a good result for AMD's budget 6-core offering. It's also important to note that the 3600 will deliver smooth, perfectly playable performance in all of these games. Those willing to overclock the 3600 can cut that margin to 9%. Of course, you can overclock the 10900K as well, but that's not the point here.

As expected, the margin shrinks significantly at 1440p and now the R5 3600 was 8% slower on average than the 10900K. Here we're approaching the point where in the vast majority of games you can't tell the difference between two CPUs with an RTX 3080. Plus, overclocking the 3600 reduced the margin to just 4%.

Finally, if you're targeting ultrawide resolutions or 4K, the CPU doesn't matter as we've seen very few examples where the 3600 was more than 1-2 fps slower than the 10900K.

What we learned

Today's results will give you a clear understanding of why we have considered the Ryzen 5 3600 to be the most affordable CPU on the market since its inception. With 6 cores and 12 threads, it has enough resources to take advantage of the latest and greatest PC games for just $ 200. For the price, it simply tops everything else in the segment, not to mention the fact that you could grab one for $ 175 for a good chunk of your life, with prices dropping to $ 160 at one point.

We had previously seen that the R5 3600 can get almost the best out of the RTX 2080 Ti at 1440p without manual tuning. So the results from the RTX 3080 weren't all that surprising, but it was nice to have our suspicions confirmed with some actual testing.

It's interesting to think that if you have to spend about $ 1,000 on an upgrade, assuming you could get an RTX 3080 on sale, you could get an R5 3600 with a B550 motherboard and RTX 3080 for about that amount Find. This combination allows you to maximize the RTX 3080's performance at 1440p and above. If you want that extra performance, the Core i5-10600K, which is overclocked for maximum performance, is the next best choice.

If you factor in a decent Z490 motherboard and cooler to help overclock, you have to spend about $ 300 more. Not crazy, but the Intel upgrade option would end up costing ~ 30% more and you won't see those kind of gains with a few exceptions.

That said, the Ryzen 5 3600 is a better combo for a graphics card that costs $ 500 or less. Perhaps the Ryzen 5 CPU is better accompanied by a GeForce RTX 3070, although we assume these edges are similar to those of the RTX 2080 Ti.

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