Temperatures & What to Buy
Now let's talk temperatures. For testing we maintained an ambient temperature of 21 - 22 degrees and the Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero along with the Ryzen 5 2600 and its box cooler were placed in our Corsair Crystal 570X ATX case. Under these conditions the Wraith Stealth kept the R5 2600 at 74 degrees in our Blender stress test.
Moving on to gaming and we found under heavy load with utilization hovering between 80 - 90% temperatures peaked at 63C degrees and during more typical loads dropped down to 59C degrees. So for stock performance the little Wraith Stealth does a good job, it's also very quiet.
For our 4.2 GHz overclock we strapped on the Corsair H150i Pro and this saw the peak temperature when running an hour long Blender workload reach just 67 degrees. Then when gaming temps peaked at 56C degrees but were often below 50 degrees.
As for overclocking with the box cooler I was able to reach 4 GHz using 1.23 volts, but did hit a temperature of 87 degrees in the Blender stress test after an hour. For gaming you could afford to push things a little further but if you're doing any kind of heavy workloads 4 GHz is the same limit.
Long Run Stress Test
Finally for those of you wondering, the Ryzen 5 2600 holds an all core boost clock speed of 3.65 GHz using the Wraith Stealth box cooler. Upgrading to the H150i Pro saw the all core frequency pumped up to 3.75GHz for intense long run tests. We found the same 100 MHz increase for the 2600X and 2700X when upgrading from the included box cooler.
You might recall, last year we declared the Ryzen 5 1600 the best value CPU on the market, whether you're a gamer or you've got real work to do, few rivaled what the R5 1600 had to offer at the $200 price point. Of course, the Core i5-8400 is an attractive option and arguably the better gaming CPU, certainly for today's games anyway. But when it came to core heavy workloads the 1600 ran away with it and for that reason I felt it was a better all-rounder.
Now we have the Ryzen 5 2600 and it offers an incremental update and really that's all it had to do. Those who already bought a Ryzen 5 1600 processor aren't going to be upgrading to the 2600, they'll likely also skip the 2700X. But for those who are building a new PC now have the choice between a Coffee Lake Core i5 or a 2nd-gen Ryzen 5 processor and this incremental update makes Ryzen far more attractive. The 2600 is also a nice upgrade option for those that purchased a quad-core 1st gen Ryzen processor.
The only disappointing aspect of the Ryzen 5 2600 is the fact that AMD downgraded the bundle to only include the Wraith Stealth cooler. If you want the Wraith Spire then you'll need to pony up an extra $30 for the 2600X model. AMD's been a bit smarter this time around with the X-models. Still the 2600 is 13% cheaper and was at most 7% slower, so it terms of value it's still more cost effective.
As of writing, the Ryzen 5 2600 sits in 23rd position on Amazon's best seller list while the R7 2700X has claimed the 2nd spot and the R5 1600 was one position from standing on the podium in 4th. Pretty shocking to see how far back the R5 2600 currently is but that might have to do with AMD refusing to supply samples or even let retailers hand them over under embargo ahead of release, they obviously wanted the more expensive X models front and center.
Personally I prefer the cheaper Ryzen 5 2600 to the more expensive 2600X as I'd be upgrading the cooler regardless of which version I purchased and low latency DDR4-3200 memory seems like the way to go. But let me hand this one over to you guys, which model appeals the most to you, the 2600 or 2600X? Let us know in the comments below.