The Intel Core i5 12400 is one of the best mainstream chips ever produced, but it would be simple to write it off as one of the least exciting processors from the 12th Gen Alder Lake series of CPUs. The fact that this CPU is not just a fantastic six-core, 12-thread gaming processor but also a tremendously remarkable overclocking chip doesn’t change the possibility that some of its nerdy allure is the result of a lucky accident on the part of Intel’s microcode.
However, if you’re looking for the special Alder Lake hybrid sauce that’s made the Core i9 12900K(opens in new tab) and Core i5 12600K(opens in new tab) such potent new processors, you’d be out of luck because the $200 Intel Core i5 12400 lacks it’s LITTLE uniqueness. It’s a fairly standard six-core CPU along the lines of the previous generations of budget Intel i5.
By the way, that’s still a very good thing. Since AMD’s outstanding Ryzen CPUs captured the hearts and minds of PC gamers, Intel has refocused on the mid-range market and has been putting out the absolute best value gaming chips available. Especially since it decided to enable HyperThreading on all of its processors. That gives the Intel Core i5 12400 some serious multithreading power for the money.
However, some of Alder Lake’s silicon goodness remains beneath that broad heatspreader. While this is not a hybrid processor (it lacks the extra Efficient Cores (E-Cores) that add to the versatility of higher-spec chips), it does feature the Golden Cove architecture within its pure Performance Cores (P-Cores).
That makes a huge difference for us PC gamers because it means the single-core performance of the Intel Core i5 12400 is on par with the best processors available.
And, yes, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 chips are included because, in the most recent Cinebench tests, this stock-clocked $220 Core i5 CPU outperforms AMD’s $750 Ryzen 9 5950X(opens in new tab) in single-core testing. It should be noted that this is only one benchmark, and it does not always follow that the Core i5 12400 can therefore outperform AMD’s best in every gaming run, but there are a few where it absolutely does.
Intel Core i5 12400 Specifications
All Alder Lake chips support DDR4-3200 or up to DDR5-4800 memory, but there are some limitations. PCIe support varies by motherboard, but Alder Lake chips expose up to 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes (technically for storage and graphics only, no networking devices) and four PCIe 4.0 lanes from the chip for M.2 storage.
The Intel Core i5 12400 has a power rating of 65W PBP (base) and 117W MTP (peak). We clocked the chip at 2.5 GHz base and boosted it to 4.4 GHz. The chip also includes 18 MB of L3 cache.
The Core i5-12400 is a locked chip, which means it cannot be overclocked. However, Intel supports memory overclocking on Z690 and B660 motherboards (though Z690 isn’t appropriate for this class of chip). As you’ll see, tinkering with the power limits acts as a sort of overclock that can eke out some extra performance in some gaming and threaded work.
The standard Intel Core i5 12400 processor includes the UHD Graphics 730 engine, which has 24 EUs. We ran it at 300 / 1400 MHz base/boost frequencies. If you want to save money, the graphics-less Core i5-12400F will be $25 cheaper (if tradition holds) and will have the same specs as the 12400, which is incredibly appealing if you plan on using a discrete graphics card. Notably, you will lose Quick Sync capabilities as well as the iGPU fallback that you can use for troubleshooting if a discrete GPU fails. However, AMD’s price-comparable Ryzen 5 3600X and 3600 do not have a graphics option.
Intel Core i5 12400 Essential information
|Product Collection||12th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors|
|Code Name||Products formerly Alder Lake|
|Recommended Customer Price||$211.00 – $221.00|
Intel Core i5 12400 Specs
|# of Performance-cores||6|
|# of Efficient-cores||0|
|Max Turbo Frequency||4.40 GHz|
|Performance-core Max Turbo Frequency||4.40 GHz|
|Performance-core Base Frequency||2.50 GHz|
|Cache||18 MB Intel® Smart Cache|
|Total L2 Cache||7.5 MB|
|Processor Base Power||65 W|
|Maximum Turbo Power||117 W|
Intel Core i5 12400 Performance & Tests
During demanding workloads, the sample chip runs at an all-core 4.0GHz. Remember that this speed is only available to the Performance ‘Golden Cove’ core, so Efficient cores cannot assist. Because we’re comparing on an equal core-and-thread basis, this actually makes the comparison to the Ryzen 5 5600X more revealing.
In the Blender rendering test, which has traditionally been AMD’s domain, Intel’s latest Performance architecture is a tad faster than AMD’s Zen 3.
Single-thread performance is important for day-to-day tasks because it indicates the quick dispatching of common applications. The Intel Core i5 12400 can reach 4.4GHz, giving it a significant advantage over the Ryzen 5 5600X.
The Intel Core i5 12400 appears to outperform the Ryzen 5 5600X in every way. The next significant step up is to an 8C16T part, which Intel does not have in its arsenal of 12th Gen Core processors.
Other general-purpose workload benchmarks paint a different picture of performance. What is certain is that Intel’s latest-generation Performance cores are more than capable of handling a wide range of everyday tasks.
We’re using DDR5 memory to stay consistent with other 12th Gen Core results. At 4,800MT/s, the numbers are adequate for bandwidth but relatively poor for first-access latency.
It is not as simple to specify one mainstream chip over another in gaming. Our findings indicate that the Intel Core i5 12400 and AMD Ryzen 5 5600X are nearly identical.
It should be noted that we are testing the subsystem with an RTX 3080 Founders Edition card at an FHD resolution. Most readers will not have access to this graphics horsepower, or if they do, they will play at a higher resolution, which will reduce the framerate difference between the highest and lowest.
To put it another way, the Intel Core i5 12400 is an excellent gaming processor.
Intel Core i5 12400 Conclusion
We have absolutely no complaints about the Intel Core i5 12400. Its high-performance scores of up to 4400 MHz make it suitable for any PC application. By combining the entire infrastructure of the B660, fast memory, fast PCIe, and a fast processor, this platform becomes an excellent gaming and overall desktop PC. Games prefer fast cores; you’re better off with six high-performance cores than 16 slow cores, and that’s the honest truth. While we are moving toward 8-core as the new standard, the reality is that for the vast majority of games, six cores and 12 threads are more than adequate. So, for just over $200, you can get an excellent processor.
Intel Core i5 12400