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Intel Core i5-11400 Review: Unseating Ryzen's Budget Gaming Dominance

Intel exploits the obvious hole in the Ryzen product stack

Intel Core i5-11400
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Intel Core i5-11400 Gaming Performance — The TLDR 

Our tests above included a total of five configurations that we used for overall performance characterization. For the sake of keeping the charts as clean as possible,  we only plotted the following settings throughout our test suite because they represent the optimal settings for each type of cooling solution:

  • Core i5-11400 AIO No PL Mem OC: Tested with Corsair H115i 280mm water cooler, power limits removed, memory overclocked to DDR4-3600 in Gear 1 mode (Gear 2 results in performance regressions)
  • Core i5-11400 AIO No PL: Tested with Corsair H115i 280mm water cooler, power limits removed, stock DDR4-2933 memory in Gear 1 mode (Gear 2 results in performance regressions)
  • Core i5-11400 Stock Cooler: Stock cooler, power limits enforced, stock DDR4-2933 in Gear 1

Below you can see the geometric mean of our gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p, with each resolution split into its own chart to give us a decent overall view of the current landscape. As per usual, we're testing with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 to reduce GPU-imposed bottlenecks as much as possible, and differences between test subjects will shrink with lesser cards or higher resolutions. You'll find the game-by-game breakdowns further below. 

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AMD simply doesn't have a price-competitive chip that can compete in gaming with either the Core i5-11400 or Core i5-11400F. The $182 Core i5-11400 delivers a blowout victory over the Ryzen 5 3600 that often retails for $200, or more. In fact, you can pick up the graphics-less Core i5-11400F for $237, which is a steal given this level of gaming performance. (Remember, the 11400F will perform the same as the non-F model.) 

We use the pricier overclocked Ryzen 5 3600X chip as the stand-in for the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600 (these two chips are very similar after overclocking). Even running the Ryzen 5 3600X in the auto-overclocked Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) configuration does little to even the score at 1080p - the Core i5-11400 in its slowest configuration with a stock cooler and power limits enforced is 8.5% faster than the overclocked Ryzen 5 3600X with a 280mm liquid cooler.

Additionally, the Core i5-11400 is 19% faster than the overclocked 3600X after we top the Intel chip with its own 280mm water cooler, remove the power limits, and overclock the memory. In fact, the beastly Ryzen 5 5600X is only 7% faster than the tuned Core i5-11400, but at a $118 premium. You'll also notice that the tuned $182 Core i5-11400 essentially ties the stock Core i5-11600K, but for $80 less. 

Flipping over to the 1440p test results reveal smaller deltas, just as you would expect, but it's clear that the Core i5-11400 has the uncontested gaming performance lead over the other chips in its price class — and that's based on the suggested pricing in our charts above. The AMD Ryzen chips are currently selling far over their suggested pricing, often to the tune of $80 to $100 more.

Finally, the Core i5-11400 with overclocked memory is 4.7% faster at 1080p and 2.7% faster at 1440p. The impact of overclocked memory can vary tremendously by title, with some games like Far Cry 5, Hitman 2, Project Cars 3, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider showing much better scaling than implied by the geometric mean that includes a few titles that don't respond well to memory overclocking. 

3D Mark, VRMark, Stockfish Chess Engine on Intel Core i5-11400

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We run these synthetic gaming tests as part of our main application test script. We use an RTX 2080 Ti for these tests to facilitate faster testing, but we use an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 for all other gaming benchmarks (we don't include these synthetic tests for the preceding cumulative measurements). 

The Stockfish test results show the big divide in threaded workloads between the Core i5-11400 with a stock cooler and enforced power limits and the configuration with a liquid cooler and unrestricted power limits. The 3000-series Ryzen 5 chips take the lead here in this synthetic scaling test, but not by much. 

Moving on to the DX11 and DX12 tests, we see the Core i5-11400 take the lead over the Ryzen 5 3600X and 3600, but not by a vast margin. The Core i5-11400 takes a more meaningful lead over the 3000-series Ryzen chips in the VRMark test that prizes per-core performance. Here we can also see the Core i5-11600K's higher peak frequencies come into play as it beats the 11400, but the Ryzen 5 5600X is just as impressive as ever as it takes the top of the chart. 

Borderlands 3 on Intel Core i5-11400

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The tuned Core i5-11400 surprisingly runs neck-and-neck with the overclocked Ryzen 5 5600X at 1080p and 1440p, reminding us that the winner of the battle between Rocket Lake and Zen 3 varies based on the title.

However, we're here to compare chips with similar pricing, which means Rocket Lake versus the Zen 2 Ryzen 3000-series chips. In that contest, AMD doesn't win a single battle in any of the titles below. 

Given the Core i5-11400's blowout wins against like-priced chips (yes, we're referring to suggested pricing and not the current scalping we see at retail for the Ryzen chips), we'll have very limited commentary on the following titles, except where there is some level of competition. 

Far Cry 5 on Intel Core i5-11400

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Hitman 2 on Intel Core i5-11400

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Hitman 2 doesn't scale well from 1080p to 1440p, at least not at the heightened fidelity settings we use for the benchmark. We stuck with the 1080p test for this title because the same trends carry over to 1440p. Again, there really isn't much to say for this title — the Core i5-11400 is the uncontested leader in its price range by a significant margin. We do see that the Core i5-11400 with overclocked memory is 6.6% faster than the stock memory config, which is a decent gain for a minimum of fuss. 

Project CARS 3 on Intel Core i5-11400

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Here we see that the Core i5-11400 with overclocked memory is 9.4% faster than the same configuration with stock memory settings. This is a solid gain for a dead-simple DDR4-3600 overclock. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 on Intel Core i5-11400

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Here we see the lone win for any Ryzen 3000 processor against the Core i5-11400. The overclocked Ryzen 5 3600X takes a lead over the Core i5-11400 with the strict power limits enforced and a stock cooler. Uncorking the 11400's power limits gives it the win. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Intel Core i5-11400

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  • punkncat
    This feels much like a replay of 2017, in reverse....
    Reply
  • Why_Me
    The Ryzen 3600 is dead man walking.
    Reply
  • caromero1965
    Better to let Intel have lower margin sales and focus on servers and to some degree laptops. Follow the money.
    Reply
  • sosofm
    Why_Me said:
    The Ryzen 3600 is dead man walking.
    I don't think that. The power consumption is double in comparison with 3600 and 5600x . More power consumption = more heat =better cooling = more money.
    Reply
  • punkncat
    sosofm said:
    I don't think that. The power consumption is double in comparison with 3600 and 5600x . More power consumption = more heat =better cooling = more money.

    Under the most predominant use these will see a stock cooler should be (mostly) fine. A "gamer" would (probably not really be looking at) budget in a better cooling option anyway, IMO.
    The energy cost difference is on the level of a candy bar and a soda level for the year.
    Reply
  • octavecode
    2x Ryzen 3600 less power consumption than a single i5 11400, but intel gets the crown?
    No thanks...
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    punkncat said:
    This feels much like a replay of 2017, in reverse....
    except AMD likely will release a lower tier cpu as it took a bit for that to happen even last gen. (and when your CPU are selling out basically immediately no need to release a cheaper one yet)
    Reply
  • Why_Me
    sosofm said:
    I don't think that. The power consumption is double in comparison with 3600 and 5600x . More power consumption = more heat =better cooling = more money.
    octavecode said:
    2x Ryzen 3600 less power consumption than a single i5 11400, but intel gets the crown?
    No thanks...
    The 11400F w/stock cooler mops the floor with the 3600 . Add a $30 - $40 aftermarket cooler, remove the power limits in the bios and it gets even worse for the 3600. There's multiple reviews on the net to back that up.

    https://overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_mainboard/intel_core_i5_11400f_and_asus_b560_plus_prime_review/1Intel Core i5 11400F and ASUS B560 Plus Prime Review
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-core-i5-11400-reviewIntel Core i5-11400 Review
    https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/intel_core_i5_11400f_processor_review,1.htmlIntel Core i5-11400F Review
    https://www.techspot.com/review/2232-intel-core-i5-11400f/Intel Core i5-11400F Review
    https://www.profesionalreview.com/2021/04/26/intel-core-i5-11400f-review/Intel Core i5-11400F Review

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    Reply
  • JediWombat
    Utter nonsense. Intel's brand new processor outperforms AMD's almost-two-year-old chip? So it should! It's two years newer!

    Tom's Hardware is so blatantly biased towards Intel these days, you should be embarrassed.
    Reply
  • helper800
    JediWombat said:
    Tom's Hardware is so blatantly biased towards Intel these days, you should be embarrassed.
    If you see bias its because you are imagining things. Toms called it when AMD released the 3000 and 5000 series processors that they were better than intel's offerings at the time in their own respective ways. Though AMD costs more than this particular Intel processor, it took Intel breaking years of its own norms by adding so many features that AMD has had standard for over a decade that Intel effectively priced out its own top tier parts. It used to be that you had to pay the K tax to get overclocking on a 4 core 4-8 thread processor for almost 8 years. This is just one major norm intel had to break to remain relevant. Competition is good, and if AMD does not provide a compelling product at every price range Intel will come in with something good, and they did. Who cares about brand loyalty? We all win in these circumstances...
    Reply