Intel Core i5-12400 CPU Performance Review

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Today we have reviewed a very exciting new CPU from Intel, the Intel Core i5-12400. We were so excited about this CPU that we ended up buying one for ourselves, and performing this comprehensive performance comparison with other like-minded AMD CPUs that you might be comparing with today.

We looked at the previous Ryzen 5 3600X, but then also the new Ryzen 5 5600X and Ryzen 5 5600G APU just launched. All of these CPUs share the same 6 Core/12 Thread count, so they are on a level playing field for core/thread count. They constitute slightly different TDPs and price points. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is actually the closest competitor price-wise to the Intel Core i5-12400 when you look at current online or store pricing. The 12400 has a recommended customer price of $192-$199. If you look online, the new 5600G is around $220, and even at $199 on Microcenter and both have built-in graphics.

Synthetic and Rendering Performance

The Intel Core i5-12400 started off strong in the benchmarks with PCMark 10’s standard performance result practically equalling the Ryzen 5 5600X in performance. The Intel Core i5-12400 was between the 5600G and 5600X and offered much better performance compared to the 3600X. In Microsoft Office performance the Intel Core i4-12400 was on top, actually beating the 5600X and 5600X by a good margin. For office workloads, the 12400 is a top-performer, better than the 5600G, and up there with the 5600X.

Our testing continued as we looked at multi-threading and single-threading performance. Despite the 12400 having the same core/thread count as the other CPUs, it was actually slightly faster in 3DMark’s max-threads test than the other CPUs and also on top in Geekbench 5. That’s right, it actually had a faster multi-threading performance than the Ryzen 5 5600X and certainly much better than the 5600G. In single-thread testing, it was just under the 5600X in 3DMark, but on top of the 5600X in Geekbench. Its single-thread performance was significant over the 5600G.

In SiSoftware Sandra, we found that the Intel Core i5-12400 was a champ in Integer performance whether it was single-threaded or multi-threaded. In multi-threaded integer performance, it was 4% faster than the 5600G and 5600X and 18% faster over the 3600X. In single-thread performance, it was on par with the 5600X and slightly faster than the 5600G. The only weaker point was floating point, where the 5600G and 5600X were faster. However, the 12400 was faster than the 3600X.

The Intel Core i5-12400 shined brightly in rendering performance, remember all CPUs had the same 6 Core/12 Thread core count, yet the 12400 beat them all, every time, in rendering. In Cinebench it was 11-14% faster than the 5600G and 5600X in multi-threading. In single-threading it was 13-20% faster, that’s pretty large. In Blender and HandBrake it reduced the render time for our projects. It clocked in with the fastest render times overall. It was also faster than the 5600G and 5600X in V-Ray.

Gaming Performance

The domination did not stop there, we also found that across the board the Intel Core i5-12400 was mostly faster in gaming at 1080p and 1440p. We even found some areas where it was faster at 4K compared to the 5600G and 3600X. In Forza Horizon 5 the Intel Core i5-12400 was faster than the 5600G and 5600X at 1080p and even 1440p and 4K. Pretty amazing results for just the CPU difference. In Battlefield 2042 the 5600X was faster at 1080p, but at 1440p and 4K the 12400 matched the 5600X. The 12400 also beat the 5600G by quite a bit in this game at all resolutions, including 4K. Even the demanding Cyberpunk 2077 showed a difference at 1080p. The 12400 was the fastest CPU at 1080p, faster than the 5600X and 5600G. In Flight Sim the 12400 was on par with the 5600X for performance.

Far Cry 6 definitely had a performance advantage with the Intel Core i5-12400 at all three resolutions. It was faster than the 5600X and 5600G. Watch Dogs was another game where there were also large differences, especially compared to the 5600G, like 10% and 26% and 15% which are pretty major. In Crysis Remastered at 1080p, the 5600X was faster, but at 1440p and 4K they were matched. Compared to the 5600G though, the 12400 smashed it in Crysis Remastered. Generally speaking, the 5600G took some major nosedives in performance in games at 1080p and 1440p.

The Intel Core i5-12400 is faster in gaming compared to the 5600G, its closest competition. This is all dependent on using a discrete GPU of course. If we tested integrated graphics it would be very different between them. However, pairing the 5600G with a discrete GPU versus the 12400 with a discrete GPU, the 12400 will come out on top.

Power and Temp Summary

The Intel Core i5-12400 is surprisingly not a power or temperature hog. In fact, we can definitively say that the Intel Core i5-12400 is an efficient CPU. It gets more done with less power compared to the competition. Running Cinebench for 10 minutes straight the 12400 ran with the lowest power demand, at just 65W, yet also beat the competition by 11-14% in performance. The 5600G and 5600X were running around 76-77W. When we’re just running a game like Cyberpunk 2077 the power dropped to just 50W usage, where the 5600G also landed. However, we know the 12400 was much faster than the 5600G in games. The 5600X was still pretty high at around 76W while gaming.

All of this also translated into the temperatures being tame. In Cinebench it was only around 50c running for 10-minutes. The 5600X was at close to 60c. The 5600G was at around 58c. When we played Cyberpunk this dropped down to just 43c on the Intel Core i5-12400, despite it only having performance cores and no efficiency cores. The 5600X was up around 60c still.

What this means for you is that you do not need an exotic an expensive cooling device to keep the Intel Core i5-12400 cool or from throttling. BTW, the T-Junction on the CPU is 100c, so it can go up pretty high before it starts throttling, but we only experienced 50-51c max, so we were not anywhere at all near that. This cost savings on a cooler for the CPU will add to the overall system cost savings using this CPU.

You will be fine with air-cooling here. In fact, the retail Intel Core i5-12400 comes with an Intel air-cooler. The fact that you don’t even need to purchase one, is again a cost savings overall. Is it the best cooler? Probably not, and surely for just a little bit you can get a better one, but it’s still nice to know you don’t have to buy one just to get the computer going. In fact, the Intel thermal solution should be fine for office PCs.

Final Points

The 6 Core/12 Thread core count is the perfect balance for mainstream computer usage, office workloads, and gaming. Most games still do not properly utilize high-core counts on CPUs, like 8, 12, or 16. With 12 threads available to gaming, it’s the perfect balance in terms of thread count. The Intel Core i5-12400 is sitting pretty at a sweet spot pricing of $192-199, with 6 Cores/12 Threads, a tolerable TDP, and integrated graphics. It really is a complete package.

In our review today we found that the Intel Core i5-12400 is an efficient CPU, and also a great value, in the true sense of the word. For the money spent, it offers more over the competition. The competition is simply more expensive. Even at its best and closest competition, which is the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, the 5600G is more expensive, and cannot compete on performance with the Intel Core i5-12400. The Intel Core i5-12400 is faster in multi-threading, single-thread, and gaming performance. The 5600G seems to tank pretty harshly in gaming performance at lower resolutions. Quite simply, you get more out of the Intel Core i4-12400, for less money. It has the chops to compete with the full-fledge Ryzen 5 5600X, a CPU that is at least $30-$60 more expensive.

in stock
58 new from $149.99
1 used from $220.53
as of April 22, 2024 2:04 am

AMD better watch out, because Intel has something here with the Intel Core i5-12400, and other flavors around this series. The 12400F, for example, is even cheaper if you don’t need integrated graphics, and that really separates it even more from the 5600G price to performance. This is the kind of value we wish AMD would have offered, but it hasn’t, so leave it up to Intel to finally give us what we want. If you are building a price-conscious computer today, and need a powerful CPU that doesn’t compromise, give the Intel Core i5-12400 a look.


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Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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