AMD RYZEN 5 2600

Re­viewed: Zen+ gets the main­stream treat­mentt


AMD’S RE­CENT SUC­CESS in the pro­ces­sor mar­ket has been stag­ger­ing. With In­tel ex­pect­ing big losses in the server seg­ment, and AMD pulling back mar­ket share else­where, too, Big Blue def­i­nitely seems to have been caught off guard. But if we’re hon­est, as much as it’s good to see Team Red get back on its feet af­ter a rather dis­as­trous few years, es­pe­cially in the en­ter­prise do­main (which is where the vast ma­jor­ity of the money lies), it’s the midrange com­put­ing seg­ment that in­ter­ests us the most, and in par­tic­u­lar, find­ing that sweet-spot chip that rep­re­sents the per­fect bal­ance be­tween price and per­for­mance. Typ­i­cally speak­ing, as you go fur­ther down the prod­uct list, you even­tu­ally reach a point where that bang for buck fig­ure starts to de­cline, and you be­gin to see an over­all de­crease in value per dol­lar. For Nvidia, that’s any­thing below a GTX 1050; for In­tel, the Celeron se­ries; and for AMD, well, it was the Ryzen 3 se­ries—at least, be­fore this gen­er­a­tion any­way.

The Ryzen 5 2600 is cur­rently at the bot­tom of AMD’s list of re­cently re­freshed 12nm pro­ces­sors (ex­clud­ing the in­te­grated GPU se­ries), so is that old maxim true? Do we start to see a degra­da­tion in per­for­mance over price? The short an­swer: no, we don’t. Amaz­ingly, out of the whole lineup, the 2600 is, by far, the most cost-ef­fec­tive AMD part you can get right now. In our price to per­for­mance met­ric (Cinebench R15 multi score split by the price at time of writ­ing), the 2600 scores higher than ev­ery other AMD chip we’ve seen so far from this refresh (6.71 ver­sus the 2600X’s 6.57, and the 2700X’s 5.5). That makes it a pretty at­trac­tive of­fer­ing for any­one look­ing to piece to­gether a mid-range build. Cou­ple this part with a 3GB GTX 1060, 8 or 16GB of DDR4, and a 120GB SSD, and you’re im­me­di­ately look­ing at a very at­trac­tive cost-ef­fec­tive 1080p gam­ing and ama­teur video edi­tor/stream­ing ma­chine.

The bang for buck el­e­ment is def­i­nitely there. At stock, all six of those 12nm cores are pretty im­pres­sive, scor­ing 159 points in the Cinebench sin­gle-core test, and 1,274 points in mul­ti­core mode, with the rest of our com­pu­ta­tional bench­marks fol­low­ing suite. That sin­gle-core re­sult is per­haps a lit­tle lower than most are look­ing for in game, but noth­ing so detri­men­tal that you’ll no­tice. Power draw was a solid re­sult, too. Com­ing in at 52W at idle and 148W un­der load, it rounds out this chip nicely.

That said, ev­ery­thing else is kind of where you’d ex­pect, the only no­table ex­cep­tion be­ing the To­tal War: Warham­mer II bench­mark smash­ing all our test sub­jects, scor­ing an av­er­age frame rate of 79fps at 1080p, top­pling even the 2700X.

But, of course, for the non-X parts, the trick is how far you can push them when it comes to clock speeds. And the 2600 is no dif­fer­ent—with a quick clock ra­tio ad­just­ment up to 43, 1.45V dumped into the V Core, and some tweak­ing of the VRM set­tings, we man­aged to get a very stable 4.3GHz (or 4,290MHz) out of all six cores, no sweat. This bumped up the temps a bit, with load temp reach­ing 72 C with a 360mm rad, but it was more than happy smash­ing through all our bench­mark tests again.

The Ryzen 5 2600 re­ally epit­o­mizes what Ryzen is all about: bal­ance. The right num­ber of cores, the right stock per­for­mance, the right over­clock­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, the right ther­mals, at the right price, and it even comes with a pretty jazzy CPU cooler, too. If we had one reser­va­tion, it’s that it still suf­fers from slightly higher la­tency is­sues than its com­peti­tor, but hon­estly, for the tar­get au­di­ence, that mat­ters very lit­tle.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

RYZEN UP Bal­anced part; strong over­clock­ing; good ther­mals and power draw; strong price point; good in­te­grated cooler.

RYZEN FUEL PRICES Mem­ory la­tency still an is­sue.


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