There is no progress without a challenge and there is no improvement without competition. This is what’s been happening with AMD and Intel. Throughout the years we’ve seen them go toe-to-toe. AMD, the obvious underdog trying to scratch it’s way into the big leagues while Intel is trying to hoard the entire market for itself.
The Ryzen 3000 line of CPUs appealed to many users because of their lower price. Although they weren’t as powerful as Intel, they seem to be catching up. One of these Ryzen CPUs leading the frontline was the Ryzen 5 3600.
The Ryzen 5 3600 is the Intel equivalent of an i5-9600K. It’s a powerful CPU with 6 cores and 12 threads (learn how to check how many CPU threads you have here) at a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz. These specs place the Ryzen CPU at the low-end of the spectrum, when it comes to PC gaming. This comparison also makes it more akin to the Intel Core i3-10100F, in terms of raw power.
Despite these comparisons, picking the right GPU for the Ryzen 5 3600 (see also the best motherboard for Ryzen 5 3600 here) can be a bit tricky. It’s a very versatile CPU and there are a lot of GPU options for it. But, we need to stay within our “financial lane”. Therefore, in this lineup, I’ll list out five GPUs that would go perfectly with this CPU, including the “Best Overall GPU”.
Before we start getting into the meat and potatoes, we need to get an idea of the kind of specs we are looking at. Seasoned veterans will know what I’m talking about, but for those newbies out there, comparing graphic cards can be difficult.
If you know all about sizing up a PSU, then you already know that, in order to figure out the power requirements of your build, the first thing you look for is the “Recommended PSU rating” on the GPU spec sheet. This allows you to start off by prioritizing the most power hungry component in a gaming PC, the GPU (Along with the CPU of course).
Sometimes, it helps to be extra vigilant and this involves taking note of the physical dimensions of the GPU. You might be replacing the GPU on your expensive pre-built or building a new Mini-ITX PC. In most of these situations you need to make sure that the new GPU will fit inside your case.
The most obvious way to compare the performance of each GPU is by their clock speeds, higher clock speeds imply faster processing power, so that’s got to be faster right? False! Although that used to be the case in the good Ol’ days, comparing GPUs by their clock speeds alone is not very reliable due to different manufacturers and different architectures in their hardware.
The other spec is the VRAM, although having higher VRAM is always better, it alone doesn’t dictate how well the GPU is going to perform. Higher VRAMs are important, no doubt about it, but they are scaled appropriately by the manufacturer. So unless you are heavily into video editing, 3D modeling and that kind of stuff, VRAM is not something you should be worried about, especially for gaming.
The best and most widely used method to compare GPUs is by benchmarks, these are actual data that show how well the GPU performs in certain areas of graphical processing. You can try it out for yourself by using online tools such as the UserBenchmark. I’ll also leave a spec on how each of these GPUs are rated relative to all the other cards out there. It will help you pinpoint how powerful your favorite GPU is compared to all the other models out there.
So with that small guide out of the way, let’s get into the product reviews.
If you’ve got the money, then you’d best go for a high-end GPU, specifically the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT. This card is a perfect match for the Ryzen 5 3600. It’s right up there in the big leagues and you won’t have to worry about future upgrades for a long time. Highly recommend this GPU if you can afford it.
If you wouldn’t mind shelling out several extra hundred dollars for a beast of a GPU, then the MSI Radeon RX 670 is going to be the best one you can spend your money on. It will pump out a solid 70+ FPS on Ultra 1440p on Assassins Creed Valhalla, it’s that good.
So if we take a look at the overall shape, you can clearly see that this GPU is “lorge”. It’s 10.5 inches long, but it’s got the usual two fans instead of three but those are some pretty big fans. The RGB lighting looks really cool. MSI have added their own style to it and given the entire card a very sharp and sturdy demeanor.
Now about the thermal and acoustic performance, we’ve got MSI’s signature “TWIN FROZR 8” Thermal design, which includes a cool looking fan, the Torx 4.0. When the card is idle, temperatures run around 113 degrees (45⁰C) and the fan is completely dead. But during gaming, temps can run upto 192 degrees (89⁰C) with the fans whirring at a noise level of 28.9 dBA. It’s not the loudest and you probably won’t hear it when you’ve got those $100 headphones.
What We Like
Ultra High Performance - Expect to see the unexpected. With ultra settings at 1440p on most AAA titles, you won’t miss a thing (70+ FPS on RDDR2 and 60+ FPS on AC Valhalla).
Somewhat Silent Operation - At 29 dBA on full 100% utilization, you won’t hear anything as more than a whisper. Perfect for playing Rainbow Six Siege on speakers (I’m kidding, use headphones).
Know Before Buying
Not Great At Ray Tracing Or DLSS - AMD still has a lot to learn before they can reach NVIDIA standards of quality. Although they have their own version of DLSS and Directx Ray Tracing, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Very Expensive - Stating the obvious here, I hope you didn’t expect the AMD counterpart to NVIDIA’s 3070-Ti to be very affordable. Compared to the 3070-Ti, it is much cheaper, but in the overall sense: budget gamers or even mid-range builders won’t be able to afford it.
If you are strapped for cash and desperate to see some 1080p AAA games in action, no matter how low the fps might be, then the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 will be able to oblige. No this isn’t the 1650 Super, this is just plain old Vanilla 1650. That’s how low we’ve set the bar here. Usually, I wouldn’t recommend it, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
If you just want to find a super cheap GPU, just to get by, then your only option is the Vanilla GTX 1650. It will keep you chugging for just another year or so, until things start to settle down.
In terms of the graphical performance on this thing, you can expect somewhere around 50+ FPS on Red Dead Redemption 2 low settings at 1080p resolution and 60+ FPS on 1080p High settings on Doom Eternal. So far so good.
Now in terms of noise, it is not looking good, there is no zero RPM mode, and when idle, the fan noise is around 41.5 dBA, yeah that’s higher than the RX 6700XT’s full gaming mode, but hey! You can’t expect quiet operation and higher performance from a GPU that’s about one-third of the price of the RX 6700XT.
However, this GPU boasts a higher price-to-performance ratio and user sentiment. It’s got a larger market share and many gamers, especially budget builders, remember this GPU very fondly. You might have no problem selling this to an entry-level gamer or budget builder without any issue. It will be able to provide a decent 1080p experience for another year or so on most AAA titles.
What We Like
Affordable - I wouldn’t say that this is “dirt cheap,” but considering our high-end options out there, this GPU is relatively very affordable. I recommend buying this as a short term solution.
Higher Value - A good price-to-performance ratio and you might have a better chance of selling to somebody else, or even using it for mining.
Know Before Buying
Low Performance - The 1600 series is on it’s way out, especially the vanilla cards. You might be able to drag on another year with 1080p low settings on AAA games, but after that things will start to get slow.
The GIGABYTE Radeon RX 580 is quite a favorite among many budget and mid-range gamers. It’s a very reliable GPU that’s been out for quite a while. However, despite its age, this GPU is yet to be considered fully obsolete. It can still keep up with most AAA games at 1080p low (60+ FPS on RDR2) and it’s a great alternative to the GTX 1650.
A slightly more expensive alternative than the GTX 1650 and an industry classic. The RX 580 is beloved by all as one of the more affordable GPUs that provide slightly better performance for 1080p gaming. If you’ve got more cash to spare ( more than the GTX 1650) I would recommend going for the RX 580, it’s 30% faster than the GTX 1650 and it’s great for 1080p gaming at low-med graphic settings on AAA games.
When it’s idle, the RX 580 stabilizes at a temperature of around 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33⁰C) with a noise level of 36.8 dBA. It’s not that silent and you will hear the fans when you’ve got no headphones on, but this is to be expected on these low end GPUs. So even though GIGABYTE integrated their Windforce 2X 90mm blades, it does not have a zero RPM mode.
What We Like
Decent 1080p Performance - Runs great on low-med graphic settings 1080p on most AAA games with 60+ FPS. That’s good enough for me.
Affordable Price Tag - Even though the price-to-performance ratio isn’t that great relative to the GTX 1650, the RX 580 has a decent price tag. It’s a great catch, especially during these troubling times.
Know Before Buying
Toasty And A Little Noisy - With great heat dissipation, comes great fan speeds. Although RPM is not directly tied to cooling performance, (it actually depends on how much air moves through) it can make things noisy, even when it is idling.
If you are looking for that premium gaming experience, with Ray Tracing and DLSS, on 1440p, then you’ve come to the right place. Allow me to introduce the MSI NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, now with Ray Tracing. If you choose to go for this card, you won’t have to worry about the future for a very long time. It will take care of all your 1080p, 1440p and 2K gaming needs.
If you’ve had enough of seeing the plain old graphics in the GTX 1650, then it’s time to go for an upgrade with the RTX 2060. It’s 150% faster than the GTX 1650 and it’s got Ray Tracing along with NVIDIA’s DLSS 2.0. You won’t have to worry about future-proofing ever again. However, all of this isn’t cheap and you have to be willing to pay a higher price.
Considering the performance specs on this bad boy, you can get 50+ FPS on 1440p Ultra on Horizon Zero Dawn, that’s pretty impressive. On some competitive games like Apex Legends, which is somewhat demanding, you can expect to see around 150+ FPS on high settings 1080p. That’s not too bad, especially if you are more focused on 144 Hz.
What We Like
Ray Tracing And DLSS 2.0 - If you’re looking for the cheapest, yet high quality Ray Tracing hardware, then look no further. NVIDIA’s RTX 2060 is your best bet. Highly recommend it for beginners or for budget builders looking for something more long-term.
Future-Proof - For another 4 or 5 years, this GPU will hold up it’s end of the bargain, providing you with amazing 1080p, 1440p and even 2K gaming experience.
Know Before Buying
Higher Price - As it is the case with all great GPUs, they are not easily affordable. However, considering the prices on the RT 6700XT and the NVIDIA 3000 series, the RTX 2060 makes more sense.
Considering current circumstances, this is the best we can go for, even especially for the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU. It’s great for gaming and has enough raw performance power to make the most of 1080p on AAA games (mid-high settings). It’s a great option that will serve you well for another two to three years.
A decent GPU that’s great for 1080p while also leaving you with some room for future upgrades. The AMD RX 5500 XT is a great option for many budget gamers, as this is a somewhat affordable GPU with somewhat decent performance. It might not be able to run 2K and it might also struggle a bit in 1440p.
Considering the thermal and acoustic performance of this GPU, we’ve got 91.4 degrees (33⁰C) of temperature, when it is idle, alongside that we will be left with a noise level of 38 dBA. It is by no means “silent”. To add to the fire, there is also no zero RPM mode and despite MSI’s twin fan design, this GPU has an average thermal performance.
What We Like
Relatively Cheap - All things considered, this is a very cheap and affordable GPU. Although it doesn’t have the price-to-performance ratio of the RX 580, this is a fairly recent GPU with slightly better performance.
Know Before Buying
No Ray Tracing/DLSS - Honestly, if you have the extra cash and the ambition to buy a future-proof GPU, then you’ve got better luck with the RTX 2060 because the RX 5500 XT has none of these awesome features.
The Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is what many would consider the equivalent of an i3-10100F. Gamers consider this CPU as the entry-level or budget range option in most modern gaming rigs. The great thing about the Ryzen CPU is that there’s a lower bottleneck percentage when coupled with more high-level GPUs such as the RTX 2060. Mainly due to the 6 cores and 12 threads. So because of this, the RTX 2060 might be a great choice. But (and this is a big but), it’s going to cost you a lot more than if you were to move on to an RX 580 or RX 5500 XT.
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