Intel Core i5 9400F Review

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Along with the top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-9900K, the six-core Intel Core i5-9400F desktop processor was unveiled in October 2018 using the Coffee Lake architecture. The CPU can handle up to 6 threads at once and operates between 2.9 and 4.1 GHz. The enhanced 14-nm technology (14nm++) is used to create the Intel Core i5-9400F processor.

Although Intel first revealed the Core i5-9400 CPUs in January, the chips have just recently become widely accessible. Six months after firing the first salvo, the business also released the other Coffee Lake refresh models, a delay that was probably caused by a 14nm supply shortage.

AMD has introduced its Ryzen 3000-series CPUs as Intel struggles to meet the demand for its chips. The revised Ryzen lineup uses a 7nm technology, which should result in improved power and cost. It will also use the brand-new Zen 2 microarchitecture, which is anticipated to improve performance while Intel continues to use a variation of the Skylake architecture from seven years ago. For a list of the most recent top processors, make sure to visit our Best CPUs list, where these chips have now completely taken over. In our CPU Benchmark Hierarchy, you can also observe how the processors compare to one another.

Every aspect of the industry is affected by Intel’s continuing lack of 14nm capability. The chip manufacturer made the decision to start selling CPUs that it would have otherwise deemed defective due to malfunctioning graphics components in order to increase supply. As a result, we now have the F-series, which is identical to the fully functional Core processors we are more accustomed to but has disabled graphics capability.

As a result, the Intel Core i5 9400F and Core i5-9400 are essentially interchangeable. The outstanding Core i5-8400, one of the most well-liked Coffee Lake versions, is replaced by both CPUs. The 9400s produce a little improvement over their predecessor thanks to 6C/6T and a marginally higher clock rate.

Additionally, the decreased pricing of the F-series is already beginning to take effect. The $20 savings on the Core i5-9400F may be alluring to mid-range gamers who don’t require integrated graphics.

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Intel Core i5 9400F specs

The Intel Core i5 9400F and -9400 have most of the same architectural characteristics as the Core i5-8400, including their 14nm++ manufacturing process, six physical cores, support for dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory, and 65W TDP. The CPUs are also LGA 1551 compatible and can be used with motherboards from the 300-series that are currently in use. Unfortunately, they have Intel’s feeble stock cooling system because they are multiplier-locked.

Again, the lack of integrated graphics in the Core i5-9400F is unimportant for gamers who already use add-in GPUs. However, we find it intriguing that Intel continues to promote the same Core i5-9400 at a price of $182.

The base frequency and turbo boost clock rates of the Core -9400/-9400F are increased by 100 MHz in comparison to the Core 5-8400, which should result in marginal performance gains. Along with a combination of hardware- and software-based mitigations for the Spectre and L1TF vulnerabilities, the Core i5-9400 models now come with new baked-in silicon mitigations for the Meltdown vulnerability.

In some workloads, the overhead of software-based fixes applied to older processors might be as high as 10%. The effect is much lessened with modern processors. We didn’t observe any notable speedups over the Core i5-8400, but that was to be expected. Optimized mitigations, however, might make it easier for enthusiasts moving from much older platforms to get a performance boost.

In order to improve heat transfer between its die and heat spreader, Intel ultimately made the switch to a solder-based thermal interface material (sTIM) with the introduction of its Coffee Lake update. Interestingly, though, some Core i5-9400 units shipped with the less effective sTIM while others did with the more common polymer-based thermal interface material (thermal grease). According to Intel, this varied depending on where each CPU was made. However, all Core i5-9400s now include sTIM, although the locked F-series processors still use pTIM.

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In either instance, you can examine your CPU’s stepping to see if it includes sTIM. The U0 and B0 steppings use pTIM, while the P0- and R0-stepping processors use sTIM. For all locked F-series processors, including our U0-stepping Core i5-9400F, Intel intends to continue using pTIM.

Essential information

Product Collection9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors
Code NameProducts formerly Coffee Lake
Vertical SegmentDesktop
Processor Numberi5-9400F
Launch DateQ1’19
Lithography14 nm
Recommended Customer Price$157.00
Use ConditionsPC/Client/Tablet

Intel Core i5 9400F specifications

Total Cores6
Total Threads6
Max Turbo Frequency4.10 GHz
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 Frequency4.10 GHz
Processor Base Frequency2.90 GHz
Cache9 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Bus Speed8 GT/s

Memory specs

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)128 GB
Memory TypesDDR4-2666
Max # of Memory Channels2
Max Memory Bandwidth41.6 GB/s

Intel Core i5 9400F performance & gaming

The Intel Core i5 9400F only slightly outperforms the similarly-equipped six-core -8400 in the 3DMark DX11 and DX12 CPU tests, with increases of 2.76% and 1.69%, respectively. In these tests, the six-core Ryzen 5 2600X, which is less costly, performs significantly better and costs around $5 more. The Ryzen’s more threads are the cause of the better score. Just keep in mind that multi-threaded speed isn’t always beneficial because gaming engines may scale poorly compared to artificial benchmarks.

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VRMark values per-core performance, which is a combination of frequency and instructions per cycle (IPC) throughput, in our experience. Even if you don’t already own an HMD, you can run the test to determine whether your system is suitable for use with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Anything above 109 FPS is considered a passing score by UL. The Intel -9400F narrowly defeats the AMD -8400 but establishes a commanding lead over the base Ryzen 5 2600X. However, if AMD’s CPU is clocked up to 4.2 GHz, it can almost match the -9400F.

Intel architectures and, more broadly, multi-core designs with high clock rates are preferred by Grand Theft Auto V.

A definite advantage over AMD’s Ryzen processors, especially the optimized Ryzen 7 2700X, is established by the Core i5-9400F. Once more, the -9400F is marginally superior to Intel’s -8400 from the previous generation.

Because host processing is less important in Shadow of War than graphics processing, there isn’t much of a performance gap between the fastest and slowest CPUs. The average FPS difference between the Core i5-9400F and the -8400 is 0.9. Nevertheless, considering the hardly discernible difference between the models, that isn’t all that remarkable. At a high enough resolution, which we tested at 1920 x 1080, most games are indeed GPU-limited. If you encounter a bottleneck, make appropriate plans.

Final thoughts on Intel Core i5 9400F

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Despite lacking integrated graphics, which the Ryzen 5 2600X also lacks, Intel’s newest Core i5 still provides top gaming performance for the money. A $20 cost reduction is a welcome improvement that aids Intel in competing with AMD. Despite the -9400F’s price cut, the Ryzen 5 2600X still offers the best value for money when it comes to performance for everyday productivity tasks. It excels at gaming tasks as well, making it a great all-arounder. Additionally, AMD’s new CPUs are coming soon. is an affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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