Best Esports CPU Under $299 – AMD VS Intel 6 Core CPU Showdown

The Article here is a transcription of the video posted above.

So, our aim today is to find out what the best CPU for esports is in this class, and what a difference the current models have over previous ones. Possibly illustrating what current owners have to gain by upgrading to the newer generation of CPUs. The games we test here are all competitive or esports titles that are rather popular.

In the previous article you can see my explanations as to why I am doing this but in short, competitive games are a majority of the most played games today and aren’t represented enough in my opinion by reviewers. The goal here is to see how often we can get CPUs that perform above 240 fps as competitive gamers rarely like to go below their monitors refresh rate, sometimes they even want to double it.

As for the the itself, I had originally intended to use my i9 9900K, as well as the i5 11400, and Ryzen 5 1600 in addition to the 3600X and 5600X, however my i9 chip seems to have failed on me so I swapped to the i5 9600K at 4.8GHz which is the highest I could get it stable through all the tests here, and I had been sent an 11600K from Intel which I used in lieu of the 11400 which will get its own dedicated video, in a few days. So what we have here  is a battle of the upper midtier 6 core parts

As for the addition of the first gen 1600 I think it’s a worthy stand-in for any of the Zen and Zen+ cpus like the 1600AF or 2600 since they all perform around the same.

But lets get into our test systems. For the 3600X and 5600X I used the same B550 ROG Strix board from last time, though this time with the memory clocked at 3733 at CL14 since G.Skill had sent over a new kit of DDR 4000 CL memory however since Ryzens infinity clock can cause performance degradation at over 3733MHz I chose to leave it there.

As for the Z390 system I used a Z390 Aorus Pro Wifi with the memory clocked to 4000Mhz CL16

On the Z590 system ASRock had sent over a Z590 Extreme Wifi 6E, the memory was again clocked to 4000MHz CL16 since Intel doesn’t have infinity fabric and it’s the rated XMP speed.

Finally for the legacy Ryzen system I used an ASRock B450 Steel legend with G.Skill FlareX at 3200 CL16 since my Ryzen 1600 is very picky on what type of memory it takes.

All systems also used an RTX 3070 Ventus from MSI and all CPUs were cooled with a Deepcool 280 EX AIO, shout out to Deep cool since my old NXZT Kraken X61 started going bad and was kind enough to supply a new cooler.

Ok with that out of the way we have pretty much kept the same testing methodology from last time however, I’ve swapped a few things around. I’m only testing CS:GO at 1080P, you 960P people can see a very small jump in performance however it seems redundant. I’ve also included a bot match in game test, I’ve also swapped out Heroes of the Storm for League of Legends since its more popular, and swapped out rogue company for Overwatch since quite a few people asked for Overwatch.

Apex Legends

Our first game today is Apex legends I tested a bit differently this time and used the Olympus map and you jump out of the ship overlooking the middle teleport tube that is in-between Hammond labs and the orbital cannon. This test is done for 120 seconds. I had originally tested on kings crossing and had a more significant performance difference however the season ended mid testing requiring me to retest the entire set of hardware.

The game is tested with textures turned to high and everything else at low at 1080P

Starting off we can see the 5600X is over 30% faster  in the average against the 3600x, and the old  favorite 1600 is beaten by over double, the 9th gen i5 does beat out the 3600X, and the 11600K does quite well to keep up within 10% vs the top dog from AMD. The 99th percentile numbers come in a bit closer and overall this is a pretty strong showing for the Zen 3 6 core part.

Call Of Duty Warzone

Next on Call of Duty Warzone we tested in DX12 with all settings set to low and AA off.

Looking over at the performance numbers we can see the 5600X leading the 3600X by almost 30% in average and 99th percentile, the 1600 performs abysmally in comparison failing to break 100FPSand being beaten by almost 120% while the intel parts perform very closely with only a few percent between the older 9600K being around 15% slower and the 11600K being beaten by less than 5%. Both the 11600K and 5600X would be pretty ideal for this game competitively barring perhaps their larger cache 8 core counterparts.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

For CS:GO I had saw some comment saying that the benchmark from the workshop was a bit unrealistic and FPS was higher than an average game, however bots were a bit heavier on the CPU in an online match so I decided to do both. Testing was done at Medium settings at 1080P, and the match with bots was done on Nuke on T side

So in the first test here we can see the 5600X running far and away from the other CPUs here, and the only one to average FPS over 360FPS, again in a real match the numbers would likely be lower. However as we can see still the difference between the 5600X and the Zen 1 six core is insane with the average being just over 200% faster  and with the 1600 remaining under 90FPS on the 99th percentile.

The real shock here was the fact that the 3600X beat out the 11600K in average FPS but lost out in 99th percentile, and the 9600K overclocked performed respectably

Switching over to the CPU benchmark we see the 5600X almost breaking 700FPS average, and hitting 200FPS on the 99th percentiles, the 11600K is its closest competitor but still trailing by over 20%, followed by the 3600X  and the 9600K. the 1600 once again showing why many esports gamers refused to buy first and second generation Ryzen parts.


On to our next title DOTA 2, I tested in a saved match for two minutes with compute shaders on, textures to high and everything else at low with the FPS limiter to 1000

As we can see from the results the 5600X keeps its 99th percentile right at 144FPS and sits at 300 average. The 11600K gets over 240 FPS which is a around a 20% gap though the 99th percentiles here are close for all CPUs excluding the 1600 which drops below 60FPS.

Escape From Tarkov

Next up we have Escape From Tarkov, I tested on Reserve at day time for 2 minutes with high textures, TAA, visibility at 2000 LOD2, shadows at 100 and everything else to low. Note that the maximum FPS in the way I’ve tested is 165 due to how the game allows fps’s that are the maximum of your monitors refresh rate.

Here we see the 5600X on average sits close to the 165Hz maximum at 159 and pushes an average of 128 for the 99th percentile. The 11600K keeps close sitting at 139, wichi is a 14% gap and the 9600K sits at 120 fps. The 3600X does quite poorly here and is only slightly better than the 1600 which I can only imagine is due to the improvement in the cache in Zen 3.


Now on to Fortnite, for this game we test using the benchmark found in the creative islands the game is running at low at 1080P in DX 11.

Here we see the 5600X almost breaking 300FPS on average and sitting just below 190 on the 99th percentile, once again we see the 11600K trailing by around 10-15% on the 99th percentile and average respectively and with the 9600K trailing by another 15%, and the 3600X having a rather poor showing hitting 180 and 135 fps. Once again the 1600 performs pretty poorly.

League Of Legends

Now on to League of Legends, one of the most popular and most played games out today I tested at 1080P on low settings with the FPS to a limit of 400 which is the highest I could get it capped to. I tested a replay during one of the most intensive fights in the match over a 2-minute period.

Over this benchmark we see that the 5600x pulls ahead of all the competitors strongly here, over 50% faster than the previous gen 6 core, almost 3 times faster on the average compared to the Ryzen 5 1600 and pushing just under 40% at worst against the two intel parts here.


Overwatch is another title I’ve swapped out as it was requested by many of you, in our discord and in the comments.

Its tested over a 2 minute period of a replay from a quickplay match as reinhart in as chaotic of a situation as I could find. The settings are all low except for textures at medium. The FPS is limited at a max of 400FPS

Here we see the 5600X sitting near the FPS cap again at just over 340 and a 99th percentile very close to 240 fps. Our closest competitor here is the 11600K which does a good job of competing at the 99th percentiles but not so much on the average. The 9600K overclocked puts up decent numbers compared to its newer generation brother however trails the 5600X by 35% gap in the 99th percentiles. The 3600x has one of its poorer showings here bringing up the rear with the 1600.

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

Now on to PUBG which was tested at high textures and view and everything else set to low. It was tested in a replay in the pochinki area of erangel for 2 minutes

So for the first time today we have a case where the 5600X loses out, to both the 11600K and 9600K with the 11600K getting almost 200FPS and a 99th percentile of 104 along with the 9600k getting 172, the 5600X ended up being around 20% slower in this game however was the fastest Zen part in the list, the 3600X keeps close and the 1600 brings up the rear again

Rainbow Six Siege

Now  we’re on to testing Rainbow Six Siege, this test is done doing T hunt on café for a 2 minute run with Ash, its tested once again at low settings at 1080P with AA off and the API is vulkan

So today we see a much closer grouping than last time which is quite odd compared to last time where the 3600X was beaten by double. This time the gap is a mere 54%, with the 5600X tracking in a over 330FPS on the 99th percentile and 475 on the average. The 11600K does trail by 35% in the 99th percentile and 25% in the average and the 9900K trades blows with the 3600X and finally the 1600 brings up the rear however for those on a 144Hz monitor the 1600 is fine and I had used a 1700 to play this game for years at a pretty high level. Nearly 180FPS on the 99th percentile is pretty solid and gives you some room on a real system with discord running and some other programs unlike the test bench setup I have here.

Starcraft 2

Nearing the ending of our lineup here we have Starcraft 2 It’s tested using the CPU benchmark in the arcade for 2 minutes once the signal is given to start testing. Its tested at low at 1080P This test is an absolute grinder and the worst of worst case scenarios you could run into.

Here the 5600X gets an average of 111 FPS and a 99th percentile of 24, its closest competitor the 11600K once again trails by 31% but beats it out on the minimum by a single FPS. The 9600K tries to keep up at 68FPS and 19, the 3600X is bested by over double in the average and 99th and finally the 1600 struggles mightily getting 3 FPS and 30 on average.


For our last FPS of the day, we have Valorant which I’ve decided to test in the bomb planting part of the training grounds, the test is done for 30 seconds and is tested at 1080P low. This should be much closer to what an actual in game match would look like and is much more realistic than the shooting gallery.

The 5600X dominates here leading the 11600K by 51% on the average and 25% on the 99th the 9600K is bested by over 65% by the 5600X, the 3600X gets the same on average as the 9600K however trails significantly in the 99th percentile and the 1600 gets clobbered here. With that said, 144Hz and below users might just be fine with this performance especially if they aren’t super competitive.

War Thunder

On to War Thunder, For this title we test using the Tank Battle CPU test. Its tested at 1080P low settings.

This time the 5600X beats the 3600X by just around 70% for the 99th and average FPS, the 11600K keeps very close within 5 and 10% here the 9600K trails by about 25% and the 1600 is struggling to hit 144FPS on average.

World Of Tanks

On to my last test, World of Tanks, world of tanks is tested at 1080P medium in the stand alone benchmark.

The 5600X and 11600K are virtually identical in performance, the 3600X gets very very close and the 9600K trails by about 30% in the 99th percentile.

Note that part of the reasons reviewers test games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and GTA V is because these games I’ve tested today are constantly being updated and old data doesn’t count, every patch can change performance so all testing has to be thrown out the window in terms of 1-1 performance. A lot of these games today I had to test multiple times because of map changes, updates making old replays unplayable or settings being changed. And as such each time someone like me would do this it has to be compared on an island as a point in time. There is no way to keep data from say a year ago or in a more common way a few weeks ago, it all should be tested within a window of a few days.

I bring this up because in the last video I had seen many comments asking why “other reviewers don’t test these games” These games when tested on a deadline could be an absolute nightmare to get done before a product launch.

So looking over all the data, we can say with certainty that the 5600X won with a strong lead. In originally planning on this video I thought that I might end up recommending the Intel option just due to the availability of the parts, however in the last few weeks the Ryzen 5600X has become increasingly available in stock. This makes it a much more interesting conversation as the Ryzen 5600X is selling at its retail price of $300 and the the 5800X has a price drop to $425, while the Intel i5 11600K is sitting at just about 260 at time of filming. The 5600X is 21% faster and costs 15% more than the Intel part. It lost in 14 out of the 15 testing scenarios we did and won in a single one, and lost by over 15% in more than half of them.

The 1600 which lost by over 130%

For triple A gaming or scenarios where you aren’t trying to push 240Hz+ the 11600K is probably fine, however you might wonder why you’d bother since AMD has more options in terms of Motherboards in pricing and features, runs cooler and is a bit better in other day to day applications. With that said it is not a terrible option just not optimal. The 11400 might provide a better option for users.

Overall, I have to say the 5600X is currently the best esports gaming CPU in its class and the price premium it commands might seem like a lot but to the truly hardcore frame hungry gamer it is very likely worth it.

For those who aren’t super into these types of games your last generation part is probably fine. I know not all of our audience is super into eSports titles, however this will be part of a series on different types of games, again city builders, grand strategy games, milsims and flight sims might be coming in the future as well.

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