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.
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 a “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
|# of Performance-cores||6|
|# of Efficient-cores||0|
|Max Turbo Frequency||4.40 GHz|
|Performance-core Max Turbo Frequency|
|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 12400F essential information
|Product Collection||12th Generation Intel Core™ i5 Processors|
Products formerly Alder Lake
|Recommended Customer Price||$184.00 – $194.00|
Intel Core i5 12400F memory specifications
|Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)||128 GB|
|Memory Types||Up to DDR5 4800 MT/sUp to DDR4 3200 MT/s|
|Max # of Memory Channels||2|
|Max Memory Bandwidth|
Intel Core i5 12400F performance
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 of a 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 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.
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.
Intel Core i5 12400F