AMD made a spectacular comeback in the processor market with its Ryzen processor family, to which Intel responded with its 8th generation Core processor family that has 50%-100% core-count increases across the lineup. These held Intel’s fort until AMD responded with its 2nd generation Ryzen “Pinnacle Ridge” family. We’ve covered every other chip in this rather slick family of just four SKUs and now have a chance to look at the most affordable one, the Ryzen 5 2600.
When you think about the first-generation Ryzen family, more glamorous SKUs such as the 1800X or 1600X come to mind; retailers, however, think of the Ryzen 5 1600 as their cash cow. This was because it was an unlocked 6-core/12-thread chip that included a cooler and sold for around $200. The value proposition was overwhelming for Intel’s paltry 7th generation Core i5 lineup, and it was only with Intel’s introduction of the interestingly priced Core i5-8400 that Intel managed to put the brakes on AMD’s success south of $200. Unlike Intel, which bloated its Core i5 6-core family with a staggering five SKUs, AMD’s lineup is rather slim with just two SKUs, the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600. The 2600X impressed us in our launch review and is still one of the best sub-$300 processors in our books.
AMD didn’t segment the Ryzen 5 2600 from the 2600X by much. It’s still a 6-core/12-thread chip and has the full 16 MB of shared L3 cache available on the 12 nm “Pinnacle Ridge” silicon, and you still get an unlocked multiplier for some overclocking fun. The clock speeds are a little subdued with 3.40 GHz nominal clocks and 3.90 GHz boost, and a rudiment of the XFR 2.0 feature adding a marginal 50 MHz on top. This is surprisingly close to the 3.60 GHz nominal and 4.10 GHz (+200 MHz XFR) boost clocks of the Ryzen 5 2600X when compared to the difference between the 2700X and 2700. The lower clock speeds translate into a significantly lower TDP rating of 65 W. The Ryzen 7 2700 more than surprised us with its energy efficiency, and we can only imagine what two fewer cores could do to that.
The Ryzen 5 2600 is being launched at $199, or $30 cheaper than the Ryzen 5 2600X. At its price, it targets several Intel SKUs, including the i5-8400, i5-8500, and perhaps even the i5-8600. Its target audience is gamers who are looking for a well-priced processor that won’t bottleneck today’s high-end graphics cards, and which on top of gaming can also provide decent multi-threaded productivity performance.
This review uses our updated test suite for processors in 2018, which includes the latest BIOS updates with microcode fixes for recent security issues, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update with all updates, and new software tests and games, which are all using the latest versions, too.
|Core i3-8350K||$175||4 / 4||4.0 GHz||N/A||8 MB||91 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 1500X||$170||4 / 8||3.5 GHz||3.7 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i5-7400||$180||4 / 4||3.0 GHz||3.5 GHz||6 MB||65 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-8400||$180||6 / 6||2.8 GHz||4.0 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-7500||$200||4 / 4||3.4 GHz||3.8 GHz||6 MB||65 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 1600||$180||6 / 12||3.2 GHz||3.6 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i5-8500||$205||6 / 6||3.0 GHz||4.1 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-7600K||$230||4 / 4||3.8 GHz||4.2 GHz||6 MB||91 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-7640X||$200||4 / 4||4.0 GHz||4.2 GHz||6 MB||112 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 2066|
|Core i5-6600K||$250||4 / 4||3.5 GHz||3.9 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-8600||$230||6 / 6||3.1 GHz||4.3 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 1600X||$200||6 / 12||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i5-8600K||$250||6 / 6||3.6 GHz||4.3 GHz||9 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 2600||$200||6 / 12||3.4 GHz||3.9 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1700||$290||8 / 16||3.0 GHz||3.7 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Core i7-6700K||$350||4 / 8||4.0 GHz||4.2 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-7700K||$340||4 / 8||4.2 GHz||4.5 GHz||8 MB||91 W||Kaby Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-8700||$300||6 / 12||3.2 GHz||4.6 GHz||12 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Ryzen 5 2600X||$230||6 / 12||3.6 GHz||4.2 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1700X||$290||8 / 16||3.4 GHz||3.8 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 2700||$300||8 / 16||3.2 GHz||4.1 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Core i7-8700K||$350||6 / 12||3.7 GHz||4.7 GHz||12 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-7800X||$380||6 / 12||3.5 GHz||4.0 GHz||8.25 MB||140 W||Skylake||14 nm||LGA 2066|
|Ryzen 7 2700X||$330||8 / 16||3.7 GHz||4.3 GHz||16 MB||105 W||Zen||12 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 1800X||$320||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Zen||14 nm||AM4|