Intel's Core i5-13400 (and the iGPU-less 13400F twin) sit at the top of our list of best CPUs for gaming, because they offer fantastic gaming performance for a great price. The chip sports 10-cores, 6 of which are performance cores and 4 of which are efficiency cores, along with 16 threads. It has a top-boost frequency of 4.6 GHz and operates at a 65W TDP.
Normally, you'd pay around $200 for the 13400F, but today Amazon and Best Buy both have it for $165, the lowest price ever by at least $20. We recommend the 13400F as part of two of our best PC builds: the $800 and $1,000 builds where we priced it at $208. By chopping about $40 off that price, you can save a lot and maybe put the savings into a faster graphics card or a higher-capacity SSD.
Intel Core i5-13400F: now $165 at Amazon (was $208)
Our best CPU for gaming, the Core i5-13400F features 6 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores and a boost clock of up to 4.6 GHz.
When we reviewed the Core i5-13400F, we praised the chip's strong 1080p gaming performance. In our Windows 11 tests, a 13400 paired with DDR4-3600 memory came out just a few fps behind the much-more-expensive Ryzen 5 7600 ($219) and it beat last year's Core i5-12600K, too. The next step up is the Core i5-13600K which goes for around $259 and boasts a 5.1 GHz boost clock with 14 cores and 20 threads.
The Core i5-13400 (non-F) is on sale for $199. However, we don't recommend getting the chip with the built-in GPU because, if you're building a gaming system, you will want to buy a discrete GPU and any discrete graphics card, even the $139 Intel Arc A380, will make mincemeat of Intel's integrated graphics.
Below, you can see the Core i5-13400 / F's specs and how they stack up to the competition
|Header Cell - Column 0||Cores / Threads (P+E)||P-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||E-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||Cache (L2/L3)||TDP / PBP / MTP||Memory|
|Ryzen 7 5800X3D||8 /16||3.4 / 4.5||104MB (8+96)||105W||DDR4-3200|
|Ryzen 7 7700||8 / 16||3.8 / 5.3||40MB (8+32)||65W / 88W||DDR5-5200|
|Core i5-13600K / KF||14 / 20 (6+8)||3.5 / 5.1||2.6 / 3.9||44MB (20+24)||125W / 181W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600|
|Core i5-12600K / KF||10 / 16 (6+4)||3.7 / 4.9||2.8 / 3.6||29.5MB (9.5+20)||125W / 150W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Ryzen 5 7600||6 / 12||3.8 / 5.1||38MB (6+32)||65W / 88W||DDR5-5200|
|Core i5-13500||14 / 20 (6+8)||2.5 / 4.8||1.8 / 3.5||35.5MB (11.5+24)||65W /148W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Core i5-13400F||10 / 16 (6+4)||2.5 / 4.6||1.8 / 3.3||29.5MB (9.5+20)||65W /148W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Core i5-12400 / F||6 / 12 (6+0)||4.4 / 2.5||-||25.5MB (7.5+18)||65W / 117W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Ryzen 5 5600X||6 / 12||3.7 / 4.6||-||35MB (3+32)||65W||DDR4-3200|
|Ryzen 5 5600||6 / 12||3.5 / 4.4||-||35MB (3+32)||65W||DDR4-3200|
|Core i3-13100F||4 / 8 (4+0)||3.4 / 4.5||-||17MB (5+12)||60W / 89W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
One thing to note about the Core i5-13400F is that it can work with either DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, depending on which motherboard you choose for it. Since DDR4 RAM is cheaper than DDR5 RAM and the performance difference is relatively small, you can save a lot by going with the older standard. By contrast, AMD's Ryzen 7000 chips all have to use motherboards that accept only DDR5 memory.
If you're looking for an inexpensive motherboard to use with the Core i5-13400F, consider the MSI PRO B760M, which goes for only $99. You don't need to buy a third-party cooler for the 13400F, because it comes with a decent air cooler in the box.