AMD's Ryzen 5600X was a favourite of value-oriented gamers when it debuted in late 2020 - to say nothing of RPS head big honcho Katharine - so unsurprisingly AMD followed it up with an even cheaper model, the 5600, about a year later. This non-X variant performs more or less identically, with a slightly low rated boost clock that translates into one or two percent worse performance in CPU-limited scenarios. Given the fact that the 5600 is £13 cheaper on Amazon right now, we'd recommend it over the X any time.
Yup, the CPU pictured above is a 5600X - but I promise the Ryzen 5 5600 looks and performs pretty much identically.
You can take a look at Katharine's review of the 5600X linked above, but I'm going to take a look at another RPS source: James' write-up of the best gaming CPUs. Of the 5600/X, he writes:
Thanks to AMD's Zen 3 CPU architecture, the Ryzen 5 5600X is both fast and highly efficient, reducing heat buildup and leaving more PSU power to go towards the graphics card. It also comes with its own cooler in the box, and you don't need mega expensive or massively fast RAM to get the best out of it, either - something which isn't always true over on Intel's side of the fence. [It's compatible] with X570 and B550 chipset motherboards... and most X470 and B450 motherboards will support it after a BIOS update, giving you loads of flexibility...
Another point in the favour of the 5600 is that it's not a Ryzen 7000 CPU, which are coming down in price rapidly but still require relatively expensive 600-series motherboards (X670E, X670, B650E, B650) and DDR5 RAM. Of course, these boards come with some new features and DDR5 does unlock faster performance in some games, but most of the time we see very small gaps and only in CPU-limited titles - so going for Ryzen 5000 for now makes a bit more sense for the value-oriented buyer!
In any case, this is a solid if not historic low price, and it's well worth picking the 5600 up, whether you're upgrading an existing AM4 system that can support this generation or building from scratch.