A bump in performance is what the new 3600 XT offers. Especially in single-threaded applications or those using a few threads is where the benefits of the XT will reap themselves. We mention this in all XT reviews; there's a bit of a new thing with the new XT processors as do not produce more heat, bu just faster. Temperatures at idle are a bit higher already. With LCS cooling, you're now looking at 68 Degrees C temperature under load. We recommend LCS cooling and not the included heatpipe cooler. It works, but the noise will bother you. That said, overall you're looking at what, perhaps 5% performance increases at single threads and lower thread count workloads compared to the 3600X. Once you hit all cores, the performance numbers are more or less the same as the standard X models. With that in mind, we're not 100% sure what 'extra' the XT proc brings overall as it is a tiny bump in performance, primarily single or a few threads. At the same price AMD offers a modern slightly faster CPU here and a proper chipset to go along with it, allowing you to gain more bandwidth on the PCIe Gen 4.0 infrastructure.
Price and value
Zen2 Matisse based processors make up for a lot of the losses in gaming compared to Intel. Combined with the respective platform, ZEN2 offers far more oomph compared to the previous two generations of Ryzen processors. There are mostly wins for Intel; there will be wins for AMD based on competing and price level matched processors. Only the fastest GPUs or lowest resolutions on the globe will show a difference in performance as a CPU these days is not a bottleneck, your GPU is. Ergo we use that GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (to be able to measure tangible differences). With a mainstream graphics card, it would be a much closer call to make.
This is why a 6-core processor offers good bang for your gaming buck
Memory compatibility should not and likely will not be an issue as long as you stick to recently released DIMMs. I'll keep repeating this, but there are some good Ryzen optimized kits out there. With Ryzen Generation 3 you can go higher in DDR4 clock frequency if you want to. Please check out our latest article on frequency and timings versus the effect on game performance. We advise that with up-to 3600 MHz and CL16 you are good to go, after that frequency value a 2:1 divider kicks in and that can have an effect on the Infinity Fabric bandwidth, thus inter-core CCX bandwidth. We see no reason for faster DDR4 memory anyways, it's expensive and does not bring in added performance, much like what you see on Intel platforms as well. We recommend a 3200 to 3600 MHz CL16 memory kit and, if you can find it cheap enough, go with CL14.
These processors are fabbed at 7nm, you may see some exceptional energy efficiency, the 95 Watts listed for the 3600XT was not necessarily something we could measure anywhere and thus remains relative, of course, that is amazing all by itself. Mind you, these are numbers at nominal load. Not your continuous power draw. Overall the 3600XT is idling a bit higher than expected, but that is likely due to the motherboard (extra ICs do use extra power). The load values are excellent. Despite that this processor series runs a notch faster, AMD stays within its Wattage / Voltage and TDP budget. They are merely redistributing voltage and frequency with lower thread counts.
We can recommend the 3600XT, and we can as quickly recommend the 3600X for the sole reason that we think might never notice the performance difference in your real-world usage of the platform. AMD is pricing both the same, so the XT would is the more robust choice. But then again, the street prices of the 3600X might be a notch more interesting. We would recommend an LCS cooling solution to go with that, and that can increase the bill of ownership. Then again, who (aside from aquaphobic users) hasn't got LCD these days? You have seen it, there are some offsets here and there, but overall you'll gain up to perhaps 5% performance in the lower threaded situations. While that is an admirable value, we also see the processor have to deal with a bit of heat build-up faster. This processor quickly runs close to 70 Degrees C on full load, and that's based on an X63 280mm LCS cooler. Basically, AMD has pushed the max out of the 3600XT throughout the score of threads. There wasn't much left to tweak and that's not a bad thing as AMD did the work for you. For gaming, you're good to go as with any graphics card, just not the 1000 USD ones, the performance is there unless you want to squeeze out every bit of remaining perf, after QHD and UHD it's just not relevant anymore even to discuss. At 249 USD AMD prices this product the same as they priced the 3600X last year. As far as six-core processors go this could be high up on the wish list for many, as you'll gain solid performance across the board, no matter if that is single or multi-threaded. Also, at 249 USD, the processor is an ideal product for a gaming PC. It needs robust cooling, but that goes for any proc these days. So you need to balance things out with what is worth your while. Regardlessly the 3600 XT, preferably with good LCS unit runs fantastic. In the end, whatever you choose, you'll enjoy it. Recommended.