Gaming, PC, Review

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 & Radeon RX 580 Overview: The AMD Gaming PC for the Sensible Gamer

Choosing the right processor and GPU for a gaming PC is not an easy task, especially for those who are on a tight budget. But if you’re looking to build a PC that offers the most value for money – and one that can do more than just gaming – we have just the combo for you: the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and Radeon RX 580.

Offering a good level of performance at an affordable price point, the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU and RX 580 GPU are excellent choices for budget-conscious gamers. We’ll outline several reasons why this combo has the best value for money.

Why AMD Ryzen 5 2600, Not Intel Core i5-8400?

More often than not, the Ryzen 5 2600 is always compared to the Intel Core i5-8400. While both of them have six cores, the 2600 is a 12-thread CPU. The i5-8400, on the other hand, is only a six-thread processor. Basically, the Ryzen 5 2600 will have the edge when it comes to productivity tasks thanks to the higher thread count. These include video processing, image editing, and the likes.

However, out of the box, the Core i5-8400 will outperform the Ryzen 5 2600 when it comes to gaming. This comes down to the i5-8400’s higher turbo frequency – among other things – at 4GHz. In comparison, the 2600 can “only” boost up to 3.9GHz.

So is the i5-8400 better than the Ryzen 5 2600 in gaming? Not quite. See, unlike Intel’s offering, the 2600 can be overclocked. It will require you to do some tweaking here and there, but if you’re willing to learn how to overclock it, the Ryzen 5 2600 will outperform the i5-8400.

And, more importantly, the Ryzen 5 2600 is more affordable than the Core i5-8400. Right now, you can get the Ryzen CPU for about RM650, while the i5-8400 is going for around RM800 – that is not a small price gap. Plus, the stock Wraith Stealth cooler that comes with the Ryzen 5 is much, much better than the one you get with the Core i5-8400, though you should definitely get a custom cooler if you plan to do any overclocking.

So that’s the Ryzen 5 2600; let’s move on to the RX 580.

Why Radeon RX 580, not GTX 1060?

Choosing between these two GPU are…well, quite difficult. Generally, the performance difference between the Radeon RX 580 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 isn’t wildly different. Note that we’re comparing the 8GB version of the RX 580 to the GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 memory. We’re not taking into account the 4GB RX 580 in this review.

But there are a couple of areas where the RX 580 has the upper hand. For one, it’s much easier to find this GPU in the sub-RM1,000 price range. In fact, a quick search on e-commerce sites like Lazada shows that you can get the 8GB RX 580 for as low as RM899 – that’s ridiculously good value for money.

In comparison, the GTX 1060 (the 6GB model, of course) costs well over RM1,000. The most affordable one that we managed to find retails at RM1,049 – that’s RM150 price difference. Keep in mind that you’ll get more or less the same level of performance with either one of these GPUs too.

Another reason why the RX 580 is more ideal for budget-conscious gamers than the GTX 1060 is the fact that it offers FreeSync support. FreeSync monitors in general are much, much more affordable than G-Sync monitors, and this allows gamers to enjoy a variable refresh rate monitor at a lower price point.

This reason alone may be enough to justify going with an AMD GPU like the RX 580. Trust us, FreeSync and G-Sync monitors will make your gaming experience a lot more pleasant. You won’t have to deal with screen tearing and stuttering anymore.

For those who are wondering why we’re not taking into account the recently released Radeon RX 590, it comes down to pricing. This being a new GPU, its prices are not as competitive as the RX 580 or the GTX 1060.

How’s the Performance?

Well, see these game benchmarks for yourself. We used the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 580 8GB for this benchmark.

Games (Maxed Out Settings @ 1080p)Average FPS
Witcher 343.82
Rise of the Tomb Raider38.24
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds60.91
Fortnite80.34

These are by no means amazing numbers, but they’re definitely good  frame rates – especially at maximum graphics settings – for an enjoyable gaming experience. Anything above 30fps is very playable, and in highly competitive games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite – where a high frame rate is important – the RX 580 can sustain over 60fps easily.

Basically, you will have absolutely no issues playing modern games with the RX 580, and the Ryzen 5 2600 will not bottleneck this GPU.

Should I Get This Combo?

If you do more than just gaming, where the AMD Ryzen 5 2600’s extra threads will be very useful for productivity tasks, and you don’t mind learning how to overclock the processor, go for it. The Radeon RX 580, on the other hand, simply offers better value for money compared to its competition like the GTX 1060. Its compatibility with budget-friendly FreeSync monitors is a nice bonus too.

We’ve used this CPU and GPU combo as our main PC for a few weeks now, and it really is a reasonably powerful – and sensible – machine. It doesn’t break the bank, it’s capable enough to do some serious gaming (albeit only at 1080p), and it will work great as a video editing PC as well – what more can we ask for?