AMD Ryzen 5 2600X vs. Intel Core i5 8600K: the best gaming CPU in the year 2018!

Should you get a Ryzen or Core i5, if you're looking for the best gaming CPU?



After a huge number of tests and an extensive analysis of all the results, it is finally time to draw conclusions. If we include all results resources, the win is in almost all cases for the Intel Core i5 is 8600K, no matter how small the difference may be. At full HD resolution we see the biggest differences, on average 6 to 8 percent, while those almost disappear in the margin of error at WQD resolution with ultra settings or at 4K.

Besides looking at the average, it can also provide new insights to classify the results per game. Of the twelve games, seven (almost) end up in a draw, there are three in which Intel is a little faster, and the Core i5 8600K wins convincingly in two. The latter category concerns GTA V and PUBG. There are actually no games where the opposite is the case, so where the Ryzen 5 2600X is convincingly faster than the blue competitor.

Striking results and interesting considerations

One of the things we have noticed is that the AMD processor sometimes seems to be doing better when combined with a Nvidia video card than with a Radeon GPU. One possible explanation for this is that Nvidia's better multi-threaded DirectX 11 driver can make better use of the six cores with SMT of the Ryzen CPU, which is also why we can hardly see this effect in DirectX 12 and Vulkan games.

Then there is another consideration that we would like to mention, namely the potential for overclocking. Both processors are overclockable, but with AMD the turbo-feature is set so that it almost gets the most out of the cpu. With a bit of luck, a Core i5 8600K should be able to overclock in a relatively easy direction towards the 5 GHz, which will, of course, greatly improve performance.

So... which is the best gaming CPU?

So if we finally have to answer the question with which we started this article, it's still clear Intel that delivers the best gaming processor in this segment with the Core i5 8600K. If you want maximum performance in all circumstances, that's the right choice.

But - and this is an important but - the AMD Ryzen processor is three tenners cheaper at the moment of writing. If we cancel out the cheaper motherboards against the somewhat faster memory you want for a Ryzen-build, then the price difference between the CPUs (13%) is greater than the difference in performance. On top of that, all Ryzens are overclockable, so you can save even more by buying a Ryzen 5 2600 and overclocking it. If you are looking for the best price-performance ratio, then Ryzen 2 is also a good buy for the gamer.


two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Boxed

Socket AM4, 3.6 GHz, 6 cores, 95 W, 12 nm

Specifications Test results Reviews Prices


Avg. $221.99
4 shops, 3x stock

Intel Core i5 8600K Boxed

Socket 1151, 3.6 GHz, 6 cores, 95 W, 14 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews Prices


Avg. $259.89
3 shops, 2x stock

Also read these processor articles on Hardware.Info

The Hardware.Info website uses cookies.