Should I buy an Intel Core i5 8400 CPU?

Intel Core i5-8400 CPU box
(Image credit: Intel)

Although it might’ve been a popular and well-reviewed CPU when it first launched, it’s been more than three years since the Intel Core i5 8400 hit the market, and frankly a lot has changed in that time.

For starters, both Intel and AMD have flooded the market with a veritable smorgasbord of good alternatives (more on that further down). Secondly, Hyper-Threading and Simultaneous Multithreading has allowed newer processors in the same price range to benefit from double the threads with the same core counts, improving performance in certain areas by allowing the CPU to perform more tasks simultaneously.

The real potential nail in the coffin here is that the i5 8400 was a very successful budget gaming CPU—or at least, it was once Z370 motherboards properly entered widespread circulation. As a result, it seems there isn’t a huge amount of stock remaining, and it may prove difficult to pick one of these chips up without paying more than you really should.

What is the Intel Core i5 8400?

At the time, Intel releasing a hexa-core i5 chip was something of a revelation. With six cores, an Intel Turbo Boost clock of up to 4.0GHz, and a price point below $200, the i5 8400 was a serious competitor to Ryzen 5 and represented a huge leap forward in performance compared to the previous Intel generation.

Integrated graphics made the Core i5 8400 a decent choice for professional systems, while the improved performance made it one of the best budget gaming CPUs on the market. The lack of manual overclocking potential is a shame, but the quality of Intel Turbo Boost largely makes up for it.

Intel Core i5 8400 Spec

Base clock: 2.8GHz
Max Boost clock: 4.0GHz
Cores/threads: 6/6
TDP: 65W
Cache: 9MB
Memory support: 128GB DDR4-2666
Bus Speed: 8GT/s
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Lithography: 14nm
Release date: 10/17/2017
Release RRP: $182

What are the alternatives to the Intel Core i5 8400? 

While the i5 8400 is by no means a bad processor, it’s undeniable that there are currently plenty of other options available. Within Intel’s own range, the i5 9400 offers modest performance gains and is more readily available now, while even the overclockable i5 9600K can be found for less than $200. The newer i5 10400 also offers a superior generational performance boost, with Hyper-Threading finally arriving to allow for twelve threads.

Meanwhile, AMD has the Ryzen 5 2600 and 2600X, both capable CPUs which offered twelve threads long before their Intel equivalents. Intel tends to be a bit speedier in gaming, but Ryzen wins out in most other areas. The excellent Ryzen 5 3600 can also be found for under $200 now, too.

Should I buy the Intel Core i5 8400 and at what price?

Really, there’s no reason to recommend the Intel Core i5 8400 when there are so many newer CPUs now available for similar prices. 

We’ve seen the newer Core i5 9400 on sale for as little as $130, so similar sales this Black Friday are likely. If you spy an i5 8400 for $120 or less, it could be a decent deal, but we’d advise looking elsewhere. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the 8400, but more recent releases have simply left this old dog in the dust.