Whether you’re looking to upgrade an old Ryzen or build a new PC, the two most compelling options for gamers right now are perhaps the Ryzen 5 5600 for ~$200 or the Ryzen 7 5700X for ~$300. A quick and easy core cost calculation will show you that the 5700X comes with a 13% price premium, resulting in a 50% increase in the overall price. ?
In this article, we will answer these questions and more, so let’s look at the characteristics of the test system, move on to the results, and then take everything apart.
The motherboard used for testing is old. MSI B350 Tomahawk using the latest BIOS based on AGESA microcode 184.108.40.206 which provides support for Resizable BAR along with support for Ryzen 5000 series processors. Note, as shown earlier, performance is within a few percent of what we see with best X570 boards.
We then have 32GB of dual-rank DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-channel memory and this same configuration was used to test all Ryzen processors. With that in mind, let’s go through a dozen of the games we tested, and then look at the average over 24 games…
Beginning with Fortnite using competitive quality settings, we find that the 5700X offers a slight performance advantage, although I wouldn’t be too quick to attribute this to the fact that we’re comparing 6 and 8 cores.
We’re talking about a small performance difference of 4% to 5%, and the 5700X’s frequency is typically 5% faster than the 5600’s, so we’d say that’s where the bulk of the performance discrepancy comes from, which makes sense considering that Fortnite isn’t an active primary user.
A similar story when testing ACC, we see a 4-6% difference between these two processors, and at medium quality settings the game is heavily dependent on the processor, especially at 1080p.
Again, the 5700X’s clock advantage is key to the performance disparity, but since both processors are unlocked, you should be able to achieve the same level of performance just by overclocking.
Of the 24 games we tested, the only game that showed more than a 10% difference between the 5600 and 5700X was Call of Duty Vanguard. Here the 5700X was 25% faster paired with the 6950 XT and still 22% faster at 1440p, although the 1% drop was similar, resulting in an overall indistinguishable experience.
Using 6950 XT at 1080p, the Ryzen 5 5600’s CPU usage never dropped below 80% in our test, usually hovering around 90-95%. Regardless, frame time performance was excellent, with no stuttering, but with plenty of headroom, the 5700X was able to push frame rates up.
This is an example where the extra 2 cores resulted in a significant increase in performance, though not to the point that anyone would notice given the level of performance the 5600 already delivers.
Cyberpunk 2077 quite heavily dependent on the CPU, although the same goes for the GPU, and it’s generally the graphics side of things where performance is most limited in this game.
At 1080p using the 6950 XT, we found that the 1% lows were 10% stronger with the 5700X, and that margin goes beyond the 5% clock advantage. However, the experience with the 5600 was virtually indistinguishable.
Moving on, we have Counter-Strike Global Offensive, although there isn’t much to see here. We love competitive shooters, but with modern CPUs and GPUs capable of over 300fps, it’s hard to say how relevant this game is to testing modern hardware.
The 5600 and 5700X are the main system bottlenecks in this test, while the 6600 XT and 6950 XT provide the same level of performance. The difference between the two processors is only 4%, which can be explained by the difference in clock speed.
Rainbow Six Extraction is another competitive shooter, but it’s completely GPU bound using the 5600 or 5700X, even with the high end Radeon 6950 XT.
We use the second quality preset for testing, but even so, the 6950 XT managed over 300fps at 1080p. For most of you, the performance is probably more than enough.
F1 2021 is another game that plays at hundreds of frames per second using the latest and greatest hardware, although it’s not nearly as CPU-limited as CS:GO.
The Ryzen 5600 and 5700X were head to head with the RX 6600 XT, and then with the 6950 XT we see up to a 6% difference in favor of the 5700X.
Forza Horizon 5 puts a bit of CPU weight on it, so these results are in line with expectations, basically the same level of performance seen with either CPU, and with the Radeon RX 6600 XT the game is completely GPU limited.
Hitman 3 is much more CPU demanding than Forza, but we’re still GPU-limited with the 6600 XT. The game is starting to get a bit CPU-limited with the 6950 XT at 1080p, but we’re still talking about a 5% lead on the 5700X.
Now Riftbreaker can be very CPU intensive. The 5700X was 21% faster than the 5600, as seen when looking at the 1% low from the 6950 XT at 1080p, though we saw a milder 10% increase in average frame rates. These margins are reduced at 1440p and there is no difference from the 6600 XT.
The last game we’ll look at individual data for is Watch Dogs: Legion, and it’s a very demanding game on both the CPU and GPU. We’re using slightly lower quality settings, but even then we’re limited to ~100 fps at 1080p with the 6950 XT running any processor.
In our testing, the 5700X was 10-11% faster when the CPU was limited, so these extra cores help provide a bit of a performance boost beyond the 5% frequency increase.
24 games on average
For those using high-end GPUs like the Radeon RX 6950 XT at low resolutions like 1080p, we expect no more than a 5% performance advantage for the Ryzen 7 5700X over the Ryzen 5 5600, so overall it’s mostly down . clock frequency difference.
This difference is reduced to 4% at 1440p, which means very little difference between 6-core and 8-core Zen 3 processors. Then of course, if you’re running a slower midrange GPU like the Radeon RX 6600 XT, it’s more part there will be no performance difference to speak of…
Looking at the Radeon 6950 XT margins at 1080p, the Ryzen 5700X was 25% faster, as seen in Call of Duty Vanguard, which is an exception in our testing, with a typical margin of just 5%.
There were only 5 games where the difference exceeded the difference in clock speed between these two processors: The Riftbreaker, Watch Dogs: Legion, Death Stranding, Far Cry 6 and Call of Duty.
Then with the Radeon RX 6600 XT, the results are mixed up a bit, as games like Call of Duty Vanguard are almost entirely GPU bound. Games where this is not the case include Far Cry 6, ACC, and Fortnite, while the rest are within 5%.
6 cores or 8 cores for gaming?
For the most part, there is very little difference between the Ryzen 5 5600 and Ryzen 7 5700X for gamers. This probably won’t be news to many of you, but it’s nice to see it clear as day in a special test.
A few months ago we published Zen 3 CPU scaling feature who compared the 5600X, 5800X, 5900X, and 5950X using a range of games, quality settings, and graphics cards. The fields we saw back then with the RTX 3090 are similar to what we’ve seen today using the 6950 XT with a wider range of games, many of which are brand new.
Now to the question, is it worth spending the extra $100 on the Ryzen 7 5700X? This will, of course, depend on the games you play, how you play them, and how likely future games are to require the extra processing power offered by the 5700X’s two extra cores.
At the moment, there are only a handful of games where you can justify buying the 5700X, beyond the fact that you could afford it and just wanted to (performance? hello). But if you’re looking for examples of games that clearly justify buying an 8-core Zen 3 over a 6-core model, you’ll be hard pressed to find many.
Conversely, if you want the gaming performance of a current generation PC but want to spend as little money as possible, the Ryzen 5 5600 will be the most worthwhile. Save $100 now and spend it on an upgrade later or a faster GPU.
Spending $300 on a 5700X is still overall a great option. If you also use your PC to run high performance workloads, the choice becomes much easier. For this type of user, the 5700X or maybe even 5900X it would be more that you will look at.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re not just upgrading an old Ryzen processor, but doing an entire platform upgrade or building a new PC, the value for money will be more favorable for the 5700X.
We often run into the argument that while a part like the 5700X is 50% more expensive, if you’re building an entire PC that could cost $1,200 from a 5600, increasing that budget to $1,300 to house the 5700X is just an 8% increase. . . But if you use this mindset every step of the way, you’ll get more memory, storage, a better power supply, the next level of GPU performance, and more, and the $1,200 budget will soon drop to $2,200.
If you can afford it, that’s fine, but you’re not looking for good technical advice, you’re just buying the best you can afford. If you’re more interested in getting the most bang for your buck, the Ryzen 5 5600 would be the smarter choice. Again, if you only play games, the extra 33% processing power offered by the 5700X won’t make much of a difference to gamers within the real life of these products, aside from a few outliers.
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