AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X processor is the pick of the litter when it comes to value for money - perhaps excepting the slightly cheaper 5600 - and today it's down to £170, a full £110 off its UK RRP. While Ryzen 7000 offers better performance, it also comes with steeper requirements - like DDR5 RAM, a 600-series motherboard and a much bigger budget. Here's why we rate this particular CPU at this discounted price.
Let's start with the basics. The 5600X is a six-core, twelve-thread processor, so you're getting enough threads to take advantage of modern games and do light content creation without running into trouble. Eight core, 12 core and 16 core CPUs are better at the latter, but not so much at the former - so staying at six cores makes sense from a value perspective if gaming is the focus.
Each of these Vermeer processors offers excellent single-core performance too, especially compared to earlier Ryzen designs, so you should get good results even in games that rely on one or two threads for the majority of their processing (eg Far Cry, or many older titles).
This combination of core count and core strength makes the 5600X pretty awesome in gaming terms, where you'll see it often within the same ballpark as other Ryzen 5000 processors and Intel's 11th-gen alternatives. Intel 12th-gen, 13th-gen and Ryzen 7000 all offer a significant step forward in processing power, but at higher resolutions than 1080p you're unlikely to notice a big difference in most games. After all, at these resolutions you're more likely to be GPU-limited, which squashes the performance delta between similar CPUs to basically nothing.
Another point in the favour of Ryzen 5000, particularly the 5600X, is that your initial outlay can be quite low. AM4 motherboards either support the CPU out of the box or can be upgraded to do so, and consequently are rather cheap and easy to find. Similarly, DDR4 RAM used by these motherboards is getting very cheap now that DDR5 has arrived. Even PCIe 4.0 SSDs, formerly the hottest thing around, are soon to be eclipsed by PCIe 5.0 alternatives. So sticking a generation behind gives you a much stronger value proposition - and with the 5600X, you still have room to upgrade to the 5800X3D for better gaming performance, or the 5950X for better content creation performance, down the road.
All in all, it's a solid deal and well worth considering if you're building a new gaming PC or upgrading an old one!