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.