Intel Core i5-12600K Gaming Performance Review: Unacceptable for the price
After years of delay, Intel has finally moved to a more advanced production node, bringing new levels of performance and performance to its desktop processors. As it will happen, this technological advance also coincides with the introduction of Intel’s new Hybrid architecture, which offers a combination of large cores (P) and small cores (E), all on a single die. single monolith. Codenamed “Lake Alder”, we’re seeing what’s the most interesting new generation of microprocessor from Team Blue for many years. Looks like Intel thinks so too, because they sent us the i5-12600K for performance, features, and gaming value reviews. Spoiler alert, this one takes the crown of performance value for the best enthusiast-grade CPU for gaming.
If you check out our i9-12900K review, you already know Intel has some competent new K-Series CPUs that deliver incredibly impressive gaming performance, even when dealing with tons of background tasks, such as game recording/streaming. Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs stand in stark contrast to some previous generations offering limited performance improvements at the expense of reduced power efficiency, although the revision supports PCIe 4.0 Welcome to Rocket Lake. Understandably, some of the most recent Intel generations don’t leave much to be desired for most gamers if they already have a six-core CPU or more. AMD has also managed to release the Ryzen 5000 Series, giving Intel stiff competition and arguably a better offering before Alder Lake.
Intel’s 12th generation delivers a noticeable boost in single-threaded performance for gaming through its P cores, plus a huge leap in multi-threaded performance thanks to the new E cores. Intel has also increased the efficiency of its new CPUs by shrinking the node from 14nm to 10nm (formally known as the Intel 7) node and essentially retrofitting a highly efficient integrated processor to handle background tasks and support applications that benefit from more cores. For gamers, 12th Gen Intel CPUs are worth the excitement. For content creators, these CPUs are absolute game-changers.
And while there’s a lot to like about Intel’s entire new line of K-Series CPUs, you definitely don’t have to go out and buy one to enjoy most games today at base frame rates. . However, you will definitely get the feeling that you are using a next generation product if you choose one of these and the same is true for the i5 models. In this review, we will look at the specifications, features, some performance benchmarks, entry costs and then make a final recommendation on whether to buy Intel 12th Gen. or not, namely i5-12600K in this case.
Key differences with Intel 12th Gen
As we mentioned, the core 6 + 4 Hybrid configuration is one of the main differentiators of the latest i5 compared to previous generations. This means that Intel uses two different types of cores on one CPU. The P cores are designed for low-latency, high-performance, gaming-related applications as far as we’re concerned. The E cores are designed to handle power efficiency-focused applications involving background processes and supporting applications such as social apps, game launchers, RGB software , recording software, tuning peripherals, etc.
P cores based on the Golden Cove architecture have also appeared on Rocket Lake’s 11th generation desktop CPUs, while the Gracemont E cores are largely new. The P cores are considered “big” cores that feature hyper-threading and high clocking as you would expect from previous generations, but the E cores are single-threaded and are smaller cores with lower clocks and instead, rely on distributed workloads across multiple cores to handle tasks. Intel uses four of these E cores for the i5 model and up to eight of these on the i9. The result of the Hybrid design is a more efficient and better performing processor than Intel’s traditional approach with all P cores. Along with node miniaturization, Intel is now able to deliver performance better multithreading without using more power as seen in some previous generations.
Overall, this hybrid core design allows 12th Gen Intel processors to allocate more resources to produce higher frame rates while keeping systems running smoothly. To help Windows send these tasks to the right cores, Intel also created the Thread Director scheduler, designed for Windows 11. You can still use Windows 10 with 12th Gen Intel processors if you want, but Intel has optimized the design to work. with Microsoft’s “latest and best” operating system.
Intel has also made some big strides in other areas with its 12th Gen CPUs. The Z690 platform is the new flagship motherboard series, while users can also choose Cheaper B660 and H600 series model has less features. Both DDR5 and DDR4 models are available on these platforms, so early adopters of the new DRAM spec can go that route if they wish. Intel officially supports DDR5 up to 4800, while DDR4 support stays at 3200. However, gamers don’t need DDR5 to get the best gaming performance from 12th Gen Intel processors. .
Older A CPUs on the Z690 platform also have improved PCIe 4.0 support for the motherboard chipset and PCIe 5.0 support on the processor. PCIe 5.0 support extends to the top PCIe x16 slot, so future generations of graphics cards will be fully compatible with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs. Z690 PCIe 4.0 support allows for fast multiple NVME SSD installations. Yes of course many details You can dig into the features and support, but these are the ones we decided to cover as a game-focused site.
Intel i5-12600K . Specifications Brief
Besides what we have discussed, Intel also significantly increased the total cache of 12600K compared to the previous generation to improve performance. The i5-12600K has 20MB compared to just 12MB on the 11600K. Another thing to keep in mind is the new LGA 1700 socket, as a Z690, B660 or H600 Series motherboard is required to accommodate the physical size of the new CPU among other reasons.
The last item to keep in mind is power consumption. 12600K officially reaches a capacity of 150W, higher than the official specifications of the previous generation i5. This has nothing to do with the CPU actually using more power in most cases, though, and is really a marketing issue. Intel CPUs have exceeded the official 125W TDP for a while. If anything, the 150W notation is a welcome update to better reflect the accuracy of actual power consumption. Buyers of unlocked K-Series CPUs generally want the best performance out of the aforementioned processors, and motherboard manufacturers have designed boards to safely deliver more power to the CPU. ages ago long ago. Power consumption is still high on this generation despite the button miniaturization, but there’s strong performance to back it up as we’ll show.
|Handle button||10nm (Intel 7)|
|number of cores||6 (P) + 4 (E)|
|fundamental frequency||3.7 GHz (P) / 2.8 GHz (E)|
|Maximum Turbo Frequency||4.9 GHz (P) / 3.6 GHz (E)|
|Memory support (recommended)||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|PCIe Specification||5.0 and 4.0|
|Number of PCIe lanes||20|
|PCIe configuration||Up to 1 × 16 + 1 × 4, 2 × 8 + 4|
Check system specs
Our test system consisted of a high-airflow Corsair 5000X case, with all fans and liquid coolers running on the iCUE “Balanced” configuration to generate real-world performance benchmarks for the average user. often. For our testing, we used Windows 11 following Intel’s guidelines to coincide with Thread Director technology which improves utilization of the Hybrid core design. We tested the new operating system and found it to be relatively stable and perform similarly to Windows 10, so we opted to use it for this review. At the time of writing, the system also uses the latest BIOS build available from ASUS, Nvidia drivers, Windows 11 builds, game/app builds, and updated firmware for the components involved.
For basic power and frequency settings, we allow ASUS ROG motherboards to deliver 150W or more to CPU if required, enable ASUS OC AI auto engine, enable XMP 3.0 on Corsair memory Vengeance DDR5, resizable BAR enabled, Windows power plan settings for Performance, and selected “Priority Maximum Performance” for ASUS TUF RTX 3060 Ti OC in the Nvidia Control Panel. All other settings are set to default or automatic.
|Case||Corsair iCUE 5000X|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-12600K|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Z690 Strix-E Wifi|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance DDR5 4800 64GB|
|Graphics card||ASUS TUF RTX 3060 Ti OC 8GB|
|PSU||Be quiet! Pure power 11 FM 750W|
|Warehouse||WD Blue SATA SSD (OS), WD Black SN850 PCIe 4.0 SSD, Samsung 870 QVO SATA SSD|
|CPU cooler||Corsair H100i Elite LCD 240mm CLC (with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut)|
Software can also easily skew performance data, so we held a basic profile of what our test system looked like. It’s a system of day-to-day use, but we’ve carefully turned off all unnecessary programs and background processes before collecting data. Even so, we did intentionally leave some popular gaming apps and background processes running to simulate common use cases. These include important Windows 11 apps, a four-tab version of Google Chrome, Corsair iCUE, Adobe Creative Cloud, ASUS Armory Crate Lite, essential related game launcher, and Discord.
We also have some additional notes on the performance metrics we collect. The data we collected for this review is technically based on overclocked performance, but we chose to go this route because it’s a one-click overclock that any user can use. can also be activated when using an ASUS board that supports it. We also concede that the RTX 3060 Ti GPU is the obvious bottleneck in this system, but due to Graphics card shortage is happening, we can’t buy anything more premium. We used DLSS in some of our benchmarks to compensate for this limitation, which allowed us to push the 12600K harder in some titles.
Peripheral polling rates can also affect performance. For the majority of our testing, we used the standard 1,000Hz polling rate and dedicated super-voting to a specific part of the review noted in the “gaming and multitasking” section. action”. Also, we planned to use the CLC with a 360mm radiator for cooling, but ran into usability issues. Even so, the 240mm radiator proved more than enough for gaming on this system.
Data was collected using in-game benchmarks, HWMonitor Pro and RivaTuner via MSI Afterburner. All test data is collected after a 10-minute “heat soak” period to reflect actual long gaming sessions.
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