Much attention shines on Intel's upcoming Core i5-12400 as the Alder Lake processor could give AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X a run for its money. While we've already seen several application benchmarks, Chinese tech YouTuber 二斤自制 (opens in new tab) tested the Core i5-12400 with games, which is the more interesting workload for consumers who plan to pick up the Alder Lake chip.
Although the Core i5-12400 isn't officially released, its specifications are already public knowledge. The processor comes with six Golden Cove cores, or as Intel likes to call them, Performance cores (P-cores). This means that the Core i5-12400 retains the same six-core, 12-thread configuration as the current Core i5-11400. Even more critical, gamers won't have to fiddle with BIOS settings to get old and unsupported games to work on the Core i5-12400. If you don't know what we're talking about, you can learn more about how outdated DRM in older games don't play nice with Alder Lake.
Even though CPU-Z marked the YouTuber's Core i5-12400 as an engineering sample (ES), she confirmed that the processor is a qualification sample (QS). While this means that the processor is close to its final state, the retail version could vary. At any rate, the core count, 18MB of L3 cache and 65W TDP won't differ. The clock speeds, on the other hand, are subject to change. The Core i5-12400 is rumored to feature a 2.5 GHz base clock and 4.4 GHz boost clock. There is some truth to the latter, as the YouTuber's CPU-Z screenshot showed the Core i5-12400 clocking around the 4.4 GHz mark.
Intel Core i5-12400 Gaming Benchmarks
The reviewer pitched the Core i5-12400 against the Core i9-12900K and Core i5-11400 (Rocket Lake). Since the Core i5-12400 is a budget processor, she opted to use DDR4 memory. The memory came from HyperX's Predator Black lineup, which she ran at DDR4-4000 with 18-18-18-38 1T timings across all three test systems. The Alder Lake processors resided on MSI's Z690A-Pro motherboard, while the Rocket Lake part was on the MEG Z590 Ace. Meanwhile, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Suprim handled the graphical workloads.
In terms of testing parameters, the YouTuber used the highest image settings for each title and tested at the 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. Since the Core i5-12400 is a qualification sample, take the results with a pinch of salt. We used the author's average frame rates for comparison between the different processors.
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there was only a 2.33% performance gap between the Core i5-12400 and Core i5-11400. However, the other titles revealed a higher margin. In Grand Theft Auto V and Total War: Three Kingdoms, however, the Core i5-12400 delivered up to 18.42% and 12.08% higher average frame rates, respectively.
The Core i5-12400 also excelled in Cyberpunk 2077 and outperformed the Core i5-11400 by a 16.67% margin. In Red Dead Redemption 2, we saw the Core i5-12400 performing equally to the Core i9-12900K and Core i5-11400. The most significant lead was from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, where the Core i5-12400 was ahead of the Core i5-11400 by a whopping 24.4%.
The Core i5-11400 was already a compelling budget gaming processor, and the Core i5-12400 blew it out of the water. Of course, we'll need to compare the Core i5-12400 to the Core i5-12600K to see how much performance we would be leaving on the table. But if you don't plan to overclock or need the Efficiency cores (E-cores), the Core i5-12400 offers good back for your buck. We still need to wait for the official launch to get confirmation on the pricing. If Canadian retailer DirectDial's prices are accurate, the Core i5-12400 might debut at below $250 with the iGPU-less Core i5-12400F slotting into the Alder Lake stack at $200.