The Intel Core i5-10600K Comet Lake CPU and AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU combine lighting-fast multi-thread performance with an attractive price-point for users looking to build mid-range gaming PCs, workstations, and dedicated streaming rigs. For total workstation and build guides, you can view our new PC build database for builds broken up into budgets and use cases.
The age-old sibling rivalry continues with these two impressive processors. Both chips boast 6 cores and 12 threads, which breaks AMD’s trend of packing in additional cores at a lower price-point than Intel’s comparable chips. With a slightly older release date of Q3 2019 compared to the i5-10600K’s Q2 2020 release, can AMD’s budget chip even hope to compare with the new blue team line-up?
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 3600||Intel i5-10600K|
|Memory||Dual DDR4 – 3200||Dual DDR4 -2666|
|Integrated Graphics||No||UHD 1.2GHz|
|Included Cooler||Wraith Stealth||No|
Max Clock Speed – i5-10600K
The Ryzen 5 3600 dominated the mid-tier gaming space when it launched with its stellar out-of-the-box clock speed of 3.6GHz and hyper-threading. This chip performed so well that, when overclocked, it can rival its more expensive cousin the Ryzen 5 3600X with an impressive clock speed of 4.2Ghz. All of that speed and performance comes with the added benefit of only drawing 65W of power during peak usage, which makes this chip a touted favorite of SFF builders or builds where cooling is a limiting factor.
Intel learned from its past mistakes and gave the i5-10600K a heaping 4.1GHz speed out-of-the-box with upwards of 4.8GHz attainable by pushing this chip to its limits via overclocking. This CPU is paired up with Intel’s new LGA1200 platform, which focuses on gaming performance meant to rival AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series Zen 3 architecture. This much power does come at the price of power consumption. Compared to the Ryzen 3600, this chip guzzles watts at a standard performance rate of 125W and a peak TDP of 220W during intense tasks. It’s key to make sure that you have a board and PSU that supports this hefty power draw should you choose this chip.
Another important note for overclocking on these chips, all AMD boards aside from their A-series motherboards allow for overclocking the Ryzen 5 3600 while you can only overclock the i5-10600k if you have a compatible Z-series board from Intel.
Case & Memory – Ryzen 5 3600
The Ryzen 5 3600 may be the older of the two chips, but it boasts speedier dual-channel DDR4 3200 memory over Intel’s slower dual-channel DDR4 2666 memory. This factor may not be as apparent in light load tasks like gaming, but those looking to use more memory-intensive tools and software like rendering 3ds Max may find that the extra speed saves valuable time.
Nvidia’s new 3000 series graphics cards use the more modern and feature-packed PCIe 4.0 interface. It may sound like a nail in the coffin that the i5-10600k is still using the dated PCIe 3.0 interface while AMD has been making its chips with gen 4.0 in mind since the Ryzen 5 3600. A closer look will show that the performance difference between the two generations has yet to be fully taken advantage of, particularly on mid-tier builds where these chips would be used most. While you likely won’t encounter any bottlenecks due to the i5-10600k’s lack of PCIe 4.0 support, GPUs and programs will begin taking more advantage of gen 4’s 65Gbps bandwidth in the years to come.
Integrated Graphics – i5-10600K
AMD has long since abandoned the inclusion of integrated graphics in its flagships CPUs, and the Ryzen 5 3600 is no exception. The i5-10600K is the clear winner for those who want a simple workstation without an external GPU. This chip comes packed with UHD Graphics at a speed of 1.2GHZ. This inclusion is no replacement for an external GPU when it comes to gaming or high-performance tasks, but the integrated graphics could mean the difference between having a usable PC now or waiting days or weeks while unable to test components with how sparse the current GPU market is. Notably, Intel does offer an i5-10600KF which takes out the integrated graphics and cuts the price by $30.
Cooling – Ryzen 5 3600
Much like AMD’s abandonment of integrated graphics, Intel no longer includes a CPU cooler in the box. Unlike some of AMD’s past attempts at out-of-the-box cooling solutions, the Wraith Stealth cooler included with the Ryzen 5 3600 packs enough performance to handle the chip during most tasks. Users looking to overclock may want to consider upgrading to a third-party cooler with a beefier fan and heatsink, but the Wraith Stealth should be able to handle most standard use cases.
Price – Ryzen 5 3600
The most compelling factor of any budget build is getting as much bang for the buck as possible. Team red comes out strong with the Ryzen 5 3600 priced at just $199 with sales that often bring the chip down to the ~$180 range. For the comparable i5-10600K, you’ll have to pay a slight premium at a retail price of $227. The slight boost in clock speed and inclusion of integrated graphics may be alluring factors to some looking for a no-compromise experience, but the raw performance per dollar of the Ryzen 5 3600 has made it a mainstay of the mid-tier market for good reasons. At MSRP, the price per core comes in at ~$33 for the Ryzen 5 3600 and ~$44 for the i5-10600K.
These chips are neck-to-neck in terms of performance, but the Ryzen 5 3600 inches out ahead with quicker dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe 4.0 compatibility, and more performance per dollar. While the Ryzen 5 3600 wins this particular contest, the i5-10600k still has its place as one of the best contenders to team red’s domination of the budget and enthusiast CPU market in recent years. Intel’s chip still offers competitive features like a higher boost clock speed and integrated graphics, so do not shy away from this chip if you can pick it up at a decent sale price.
Best Ryzen 5 3600 & i5-10600K Alternatives
The New Generation Alternative
AMD has improved upon the Ryzen 5 3600 & 3600X with the new generation Ryzen 5 5600X. This chip comes at a steeper $299 MSRP price-tag, but it maintains that same low 65W TDP while delivering 3.7-4.6GHz clock speeds. This CPU may have the same 6 core 12 thread infrastructure as past generations, but it speeds again with a more robust 32MB L3 cache and integrated features that make it the perfect pairing for the new line of GPUs hitting the market.
The Budget Team Blue Alternative
Intel’s previous generation of Coffee Lake CPUs still has a lot to offer for the builder on a tight budget. The i5-9600K is a 6 core 6 thread processor that touts 3.7GHz clock speed out-of-the-box with integrated graphics. It may be more limited in terms of gaming and workstation capability, but it is still a worthy contender for a budget 1080p gaming build at a reasonable price of ~$180.