If you can't stretch to Alder Lake then one of Rocket Lake's best CPUs is now only $230

Intel Core i5 11600K CPU box
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's 12th Gen arrived earlier this month, and it's no secret that I was quite taken by one particular chip of the lot, the Intel Core i5 12600K (opens in new tab). Though despite being the cheapest Alder Lake chip so far, it costs a rather serious sum of $310. Throw in the platform costs, the Z690 chipset, and perhaps DDR5 RAM, and the costs can get a little too steep for some builds.

Today we're looking at the cheaper 11th Gen instead for our Black Friday (opens in new tab) gaming CPU deal, which has been able to soak up some savings since the spring. While this chip generation, codename Rocket Lake, wasn't quite the home run that the 12th Gen has been so far, it did make quite a mark with the Core i5 11600K (opens in new tab). Our Dave gave this particular chip a 91/100, and that was at a price of around $270.

Over at Newegg's Black Friday sale, this chip is sitting down at $229.99. That's a fair chunk of change off the chip's usual selling price throughout the year, which has been between $250 and $270.

For that $230, you get your hands on six cores and 12 threads of Rocket Lake, which will hit a max Turbo frequency of 4.9GHz. That's generally a great fit for gaming, too, as this chip offers consistently high frame rates in games at 1080p during our testing, and rivals most 11th Gen and AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors. 

Intel Core i5-11600K (opens in new tab)

Intel Core i5 11600K | six-core, 12-thread | 125W | $299.99 $229.99 at Newegg (save $70) (opens in new tab)
Of all the 11th Gen chips, it was the Core i5 11600K that stood out to us as a good deal for gamers. That said, it's recently been replaced by the more capable Core i5 12600K, though you can't find that for anywhere near as cheap. Bonus here is you can also save cash on a cheaper motherboard, so it's all-round a great pick for a budget PC.

ASRock Z590 Pro4 motherboard | LGA 1200 | $184.99 (opens in new tab)

ASRock Z590 Pro4 motherboard | LGA 1200 | $184.99 $129.99 at Newegg (save $55) (opens in new tab)
You'll need a motherboard to go with that. While it'll be good to shop around for the right fit of USB ports and features for you, I've found a few going at a discount. Such as this ASRock Z590 Pro 4 over at Newegg, representing the Z590 chipset on a budget. It's a little slim on ports, however.

Gigabyte B560 HD3 | LGA 1200 | $119.99 (opens in new tab)

Gigabyte B560 HD3 | LGA 1200 | $119.99 $89.99 at Newegg (save $30) (opens in new tab)
This motherboard is a little slim on USB ports, but it does offer two M.2 ports for plenty of storage and a single PCIe 4.0 x16 slot.

As for alternatives to Intel here, you can look to AMD's Ryzen lineup, which also recently received some decent discounts (opens in new tab). The largest is on the Ryzen 7 5800X, which has dropped from $449.99 to $299.99 (opens in new tab), likely due to Alder Lake's arrival. Though sadly that's in-store only. That's quite a bit more cash than this here Core i5 11600K, too, and the more evenly-matched Ryzen 5 5600X is also sitting around the $299 mark, strangely enough.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.