Intel Core i5 12400F Review

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For the vast majority of gamers, the Intel Core i5 12400F is the 12th Gen “Alder Lake” processor. This 6-core/12-thread processor, which retails for just $180, has a lot to live up to considering that nearly all of its predecessors—from the i5-8400 through the hugely popular i5-9400F, i5-10400F, and, to a lesser extent, i5-11400F—sold in droves.

These SKUs are distinguished by a price that is significantly less than $200 yet a hardware feature set that is comparable to the top $250–280 Core i5 component, but with slower clock speeds. But Intel has radically altered the Core i5 brand with its 12th Gen Core family.

The new Intel Core i5 12400F is more than simply the locked, slower-speed younger brother of the i5-12600K that we evaluated last year. In fact, by underclocking that chip, we couldn’t reproduce this one. This is due to the fact that the core configuration of the i5-12400, i5-12400F, i5-12500, and i5-12600 (non-K) is different from that of the i5-12600K and i5-12600KF.

Intel launched its hybrid CPU core design for desktop computers with “Alder Lake.” This included four “Gracemont” Efficiency cores (or E-cores) in addition to the six “Golden Cove” Performance cores (or P-cores) for the i5-12600K/KF, as well as 20 MB of L3 cache. In the 12th Gen Core i5 desktop series, it turns out that only the i5-12600K/KF feature E-cores whereas the other SKUs merely lack them.

Another significant distinction exists between thel i5-12400F/12400/12500/12600 and the i5-12600K. The more recent processors are built using “H0,” or silicon that is physically distinct. Physically, this die only has six “Golden Cove” P-cores, zero “Gracemont” E-core clusters, and an 18 MB-sized shared L3 cache. By turning off two of the eight P-cores and one of the two E-core clusters, the i5-12600K and KF are cut out of the bigger “C0” die, which also serves as the foundation for the flagship i9-12900K.

Intel Core i5 12400F 2

Thread Director is a middleware that enables the OS to deliver the appropriate processing task to the appropriate CPU core. It also plays a significant part in power management and is included with Intel’s Hybrid Core Architecture. The i5-12400F is a more conventional multi-core processor since there are no E-cores on the silicon and no Thread Director as a result. It contains six “Golden Cove” P-cores and 12 logical CPUs thanks to HyperThreading. L3 cache has increased by 50% generationally, going from 12 MB in the i5-11400F to 18 MB.

The “H0” silicon’s I/O capabilities are identical to those of the “C0,” and it produces 16 PCI-Express Gen 5 lanes for the PEG slot (the primary x16 slot for your graphics card), four PCI-Express Gen 4 lanes for an M.2 NVMe slot connected to the CPU, and an 8-lane DMI 4.0 chipset-bus. Both DDR5 and DDR4 memory types are supported. The i5-12400F lacks onboard graphics because it is an “F” SKU. Thus, it is specifically aimed at gamers who own discrete graphics cards. Intel rated the chip’s processor base power (PBP) at 65 W and its maximum turbo power (MTP) at 117 W.It lacks an unlocked base-clock multiplier, in contrast to the i5-12600K. The processor’s maximum turbo boost frequency is 4.40 GHz, with a nominal clock speed of 2.50 GHz.

The Core i5-12400F costs $180 from Intel. If you must have onboard graphics, get its identical model, the Core i5-12400, which costs about $195. We selected the i5-12400F for study in order to see how much processing power you get for $150 less than the i5-12600K and whether it is sufficient for modern gaming, allowing you to use the money you would have spent on graphics instead.

Intel Core i5 12400F CPU specifications

Total Cores`6
# of Performance-cores6
# of Efficient-cores0
Total Threads12
Max Turbo Frequency4.40 GHz
Performance-core Max Turbo Frequency
4.40 GHz
Performance-core Base Frequency2.50 GHz
Cache18 MB Intel Smart Cache
Total L2 Cache7.5 MB
Processor Base Power65 W
Maximum Turbo Power117 W

Intel Core i5 12400F essential information

Product Collection12th Generation Intel Core™ i5 Processors
Code Name
Products formerly Alder Lake
Vertical SegmentDesktop
Processor Number
Launch DateQ1’22
LithographyIntel 7
Use ConditionsPC/Client/Tablet
Recommended Customer Price$184.00 – $194.00

Intel Core i5 12400F memory specifications

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)128 GB
Memory TypesUp to DDR5 4800 MT/sUp to DDR4 3200 MT/s
Max # of Memory Channels2
Max Memory Bandwidth
76.8 GB/s

Intel Core i5 12400F performance

Intel Core i5 12400F 3

The Core i5-score 12400F’s of 66,394 in the picture editing test was nearly 10,000 points lower than the Core i5-12600score, K’s demonstrating the difference that higher frequencies and core counts can make, even if they will cost you an additional £100. Here, the Ryzen 5 5600X was also faster, but it’s also a lot more expensive.

The Intel Core i5 12400F and Core i5-12600K differed significantly on our extremely multi-threaded Handbrake video encoding test, while the difference between the less expensive Intel CPU and the Ryzen 5 was much smaller, with only 6% separating them.

The system score of 220,553 was once more closely following the Ryzen 5 5600X, but much below the Core i5-12600K. Surprisingly, the Core i5-12400F outperformed the AMD CPU in both Cinebench tests, scoring significantly higher in the single-threaded test. But once more, the Core i5-12600K performed far better in both tests.

The Intel Core i5 12400F and Core i5-12600K basically matched the AMD CPU in Dirt 5 and Far Cry 6, with the Core i5-12600K providing greater frame rates in both games. There will be less of a difference at higher resolutions, where there is less stress on the CPU, but this was at 1080p with a relatively capable RTX 3070 GPU. Importantly, the Core i5-12400F outperforms its predecessor, the Core i5-11400F, on every single front.

Intel Core i5 12400F 4

Intel Core i5 12400F conclusion

Due to varying core and thread counts, the gap between Intel’s most affordable and most costly Core i5 CPUs is the widest we’ve ever seen. The price difference, however, is also sizable and somewhat consistent with the performance variations, particularly in multi-threaded applications where the Core i5-12600K has proven to be light years ahead of its predecessor. Given the price disparity, it should not be surprising that the Core i5-12400F performs noticeably worse in the majority of tests.

More importantly, it competes favorably with the more expensive Ryzen 5 5600X, and the claim that AMD motherboards are more affordable is eroding in light of the Core i5-extremely 12400F’s low price. Despite only costing £170, it’s a fairly strong CPU, matching or even outperforming the more expensive Ryzen 5 5600X in some tests.

Intel Core i5 12400F 5

The Core i5-12400F is excellent if you’re constructing a low-cost computer and need a great all-arounder to fit in your CPU socket. Unlike AMD’s Socket AM4, Intel’s LGA1700 socket also has plenty of life left in it, unlike that of AMD’s Socket AM4.

Is the Intel Core i5 12400F worth it?

An excellent gaming CPU is the Intel Core i5 12400F. It’s a $200 processor that belongs at the center of your upcoming low-cost Computer construction. It provides performance on par with the finest models from the previous generation and, when used with the appropriate motherboard, can achieve overclocking feats never before seen.

The market for budget components is already beginning to show signs of improvement. When you add the RX 6500 XT and forthcoming RTX 3050 GPU launches, the B660 and i5 12400 combination might be a hit, which means you won’t have to shell out $2,000 to build a high-end gaming machine.

The Core i5-12600K is still a darn good CPU, and if my personal computer were broken into or burgled tomorrow, I’d probably replace it with one of them. However, having the additional E-cores for multitasking would make more sense since my gaming PC also serves as my business computer and my computer for creating videos.

Again, if you’re only constructing a Computer for gaming, why spend extra money if you can avoid it? Definitely worth it is the Intel Core i5 12400F. In addition to performing better than the Ryzen 5 5600X right out of the box, the Intel Core i5 12400F has a pricing point that falls between budget and mid-range.

Is Intel Core i5 12400F good for gaming?

The Intel Core i5 12400F outscored AMD in every single one of our gaming benchmarks, sometimes by only a few frames, but occasionally by significant margins in titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Specifically, the Watch Dogs Legion and Forza Horizon 4  results show meaty improvements over the Core i5-11400F.

The Intel Core i5 12400F managed to surpass the Core i5-12600K in four of these eight tests, which was a significant surprise. The more expensive chip wasn’t quite as dominant as I had anticipated, even when I used the same test setup for both, which included an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 motherboard, 16GB of DDR5 RAM running at 4800 MHz, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition GPU.

The Intel Core i5 12400F  looks to be a match for the Core i5-12600K, even if you disregard that oddly high Valhalla result (for what it’s worth, it remained consistent after numerous re-runs and double-checking of parameters). And it costs £100 or $120 less. I’ve been looking into this gift horse’s mouth for a good while, but in the end, it might lag the Core i5-12600K by a few frames while still being a smart purchase.

That is, if your only concern is how well you play games. If your Computer will also be used for applications like streaming or video editing—basically anything that benefits from the hybrid P/E core architecture—simple it’s to see how the Core i5-12600K might be more advantageous.

The K-suffixed variant is completely unlocked for overclocking as well, so anyone willing to put in the time and effort will be able to get more out of it. However, the Intel Core i5 12400F now appears to be an equally good option for a computer used only for playing games. 

Can you overclock the Intel Core i5 12400F?

This processor has a base frequency of 2.50 GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.40 GHz. Moreover, it has a 7.5 MB total L2 cache and an 18 MB Intel Smart Cache. This processor is not unlocked. The processor cannot be overclocked, thus.

Although it may seem counterproductive to use an Intel Core i5 12400F with a pricey motherboard, motherboard makers are also working to release BIOS updates for expensive boards that enable the CPU to be overclocked using the base clock.

Since it lacks integrated graphics, the F-version we’re evaluating today is less expensive than the Core i5-12400, but both versions come with the same Intel UHD 770 graphics as the Core i5-12600K. As seen in this month’s Labs test, B660 motherboards are now reasonably priced at under £150, so you can now buy a 6-core 12th-generation Intel CPU and motherboard with PCI-E 4 capability for less than £300.

Thus, this version with the F sign isn’t overclockable. Nonetheless, don’t worry; its base clock is plenty for daily gaming and tasks.

What temperature should an Intel Core i5 12400F run at?

Your Computer will be able to run silently on less expensive cooling hardware thanks to its decreased power consumption, which also translates into slightly cooler operating temperatures.

The Intel Core i5 12400F peaked at 62 degrees Celsius during Cinebench, compared to the Core i5 12600K’s 67 degrees, and averaged at 57 degrees, as opposed to the Core i5 12600K P-cores’ 60 degrees. The disparity worsened with a somewhat less sophisticated Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 air cooler, with the Core i5-12400F reaching a maximum temperature of 60 degrees and an average of approximately 55 degrees.

Although the Core i5 12600K wasn’t quite melting down, its 71-degree peak and 67-degree P-core average demonstrate that the Intel Core i5 12400F is just more effective at converting power into frames.

Any temperature below 75°C with sporadic peaks up to 85° is probably the optimal sustainable operating temperature for the i5 while it is under stress. There is a significant likelihood that your processor is thermally throttling if you notice temperatures frequently exceeding 90°.

The Intel Core i5 12400F is also not a temperature hog when it comes to performance. With our 360mm AIO, it actually ran the coolest out of all the CPUs at close to 50c. They are more stylish than the 5600G, 5600X, and 3700X.

How much power does the Intel Core i5 12400F draw?

One of Intel’s most distinctive Alder Lake CPUs to date, the Core i5-12400F has six performance cores while deactivating or removing all efficiency cores. Comptior observes that the 12600K, 12700K, and 12900K appear to share the same die as its engineering sample. On the official model, however, do not anticipate a new die with efficiency cores.

The CPU can only run at a base frequency of 3.4 GHz and a flat max boost frequency of 4 GHz due to the absence of Turbo Boost 3.0, a 65W TDP, and 18MB of L3 cache. Timed Turbo Boost limitations are also reinstated, with the chip throttling back to 65W permanently for the remainder of the task after a peak power usage of 117W for 56 seconds.

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