Intel's upcoming i5 12400 could be the king of budget CPUs

An Intel LGA 1700 CPU
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s 12th Generation CPUs have been warmly received but at this point in time, only the high end ‘K’ models are available to buy. Z690 boards are expensive too and as you need to buy both, 12th Gen CPUs are mostly restricted to high end PCs. That’s expected to change from around CES, as Intel releases more affordable 12th Gen models, along with cheaper H670, B660 and H610 motherboards.

Intel’s 11th Gen range featured some underrated models, notably the very affordable 6C/12T i5 11400. Its 12th Gen replacement, the i5 12400 looks like it will be even better by delivering excellent gaming performance along with low power consumption and temperatures. Using the price of the 11400 as a guide, the best part will be its cheap price.

The i5 12400 will feature Golden Cove P cores only. It will lack Gracemont E cores. Its base clock is 2.5 GHz with a turbo clock of up to 4.4 GHz. It will come with a 65W base power with a maximum turbo power of 117W. This means it can be cooled by any kind of decent cooler, unlike the higher end models which require very good cooling.

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While we wait for the 12400 to be released, leakers have been showing results with engineering samples. Igor’s Lab has shown a full ‘review’ by taking a 12600K and setting it in the BIOS to emulate the i5 12400. Overall, the results show that the lower tier Intel CPUs will definitely offer excellent performance for your dollar. 

However, it’s important to note that the benchmarked CPU was not an actual i5 12400, but a 12600K (which has more L3 cache) with its E cores , clocks and power limits set to emulate a 12400, so take the results with a grain of salt.

The ‘12400’ is able to match the Ryzen 5600X in many cases and does so with excellent power efficiency. It’s also shown to be able to match the i7 11700K. Igor’s Lab uses an MSI 6900 XT for testing, so it's clear that the 12400 will be equally happy powering a system with an entry level GPU, all the way up to a high end GPU, offering a minimal bottleneck.

The best part about the 12400 will be its price. The 11400 sells for under $200 (£175, $279 AU) and even less for the  IGP-less 11400F, so its expected that the 12400 will end up around the same. With the performance and power efficiency on offer, at that price, the 12400 looks like it could be the king of budget CPUs. The affordable end of the CPU market in 2022, or at least the early part of it, looks like it will be dominated by Intel. 

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.