The Intel Core i5 12600K is a sublime gaming processor and one that I'd recommend for any PC builder looking for their next chip in early 2022. That's true of this chip at its launch price of around $320, not two months ago, but especially so at a new low price of $295 at Newegg (opens in new tab).
If you're seriously considering the Intel Core i5 12600K, my review (opens in new tab) has lots more in-depth information before you purchase. That said, let's run down the key details.
This is a 6+4 core processor. What that means is six Performance-cores and four Efficient-cores, with a combined thread count of 16. The reason for this comes down to Intel's new Alder Lake hybrid architecture, which blends Golden Cove high-performance cores with Gracemont low-power cores.
In terms of processor performance, the Core i5 12600K's special blend of cores makes for a seriously powerful gaming and multithreaded chip. So much so that it trumps even Intel's Core i9 11900K (opens in new tab), a far pricier processor that is yet to even celebrate its first birthday.
Intel Core i5 12600K | 6+4-core | 16-thread | 20MB L3 cache | 4.9GHz P-core Turbo |
$319.99 $294.99 at Newegg (save $25 with coupon code GNLBNA853) (opens in new tab)
The Intel Core i5 12600K breathes new life into the Core i5 range. It has the performance to topple last-gen Core i9s, and it's not only good on paper but great while gaming, too.
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It's also the best time to pick up a Core i5 12600K. For starters, Intel has officially wiped the slate clean of any game-breaking bugs (opens in new tab) specific to the Alder Lake architecture.
Then there's also the fact that back in November, when these chips first launched, you could only purchase pricier Z690 motherboards with compatible LGA 1700 sockets. That's all changed now, though, and cheaper motherboard chipsets (opens in new tab) are now available, including H670, H610, and B660.
The Alder Lake 12th Gen platform has matured quite a bit in the past few months, and that's taken some of the risk and expense out of these chips.
If the Core i5 12600K isn't quite to your tastes, then Intel has released the complete 12th Gen lineup, including the six-core Core i5 12400. That should be a decent chip for gaming at a more affordable price. Though it does miss out on the Efficient-cores that make Alder Lake something special.
There's also the alternative of picking up one of AMD's Ryzen 5000 processors. These chips have been tough to beat over the past year, though Intel has just about got it done with its 12th Gen. That said, AMD has been generously slicing money off its processors to keep them in the game, so if you can find a Ryzen 5 5600X (opens in new tab) or Ryzen 7 5800X (opens in new tab) going for exceptionally cheap, they're still a good buy.
That said, the Ryzen 5 5600X is currently sitting at $289 over at Newegg (opens in new tab), and at that price it's still Intel's Core i5 12600K that gets my vote.