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Intel’s Alder Lake Core i5 could be the new go-to budget gaming CPU

We’ve gotten our first look at how some of the budget options from Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake range will perform. A leaker posted benchmarks for the Core i5-12400, which is rumored to come with six cores and 12 threads, but will lack the most unique feature of Alder Lake chips — the hybrid architecture.

The benchmarks were shared on the Bilbili forum before being spotted by Twitter leaker @9550pro. It shows benchmarks in AIDA64, Cinebench R20, and CPU-Z, each of which squarely measure processor performance. And the results are impressive.

Retail i5 12400

Single core up to 4.4G

all core up to 4G

— HXL (@9550pro) October 11, 2021

In Cinebench, the Core i5-12400 managed to beat the single-core score of every Ryzen 5000 chip, and it managed a healthy lead over the six-core Ryzen 5 5600X. That falls in line with previous Alder Lake Cinebench results we’ve seen. That’s not to mention price — the Ryzen 5 5600X is a $300 chip, while the Core i5-12400 will likely fall closer to $200.

The tester used AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X as a point of comparison in CPU-Z. This CPU is two generations old at this point, and the Core i5-12400 just barely managed a lead in the multi-core test. But the Ryzen 7 2700X comes with eight cores while the Core i5-12400 is rumored to come with only six. That’s a big performance improvement.

You can see how big of an improvement it is in the single-core result, where the Intel chip is almost 40% faster. Rumors suggest that the Alder Lake launch is mere weeks away, so this is probably the final design Intel is using. As always, though, it’s important to take prerelease benchmarks for what they are — unverified.

AIDA64 is a stress testing and stability tool, and there,the tester found that the chip only drew 78.5 watts of power at 4GHz and 100% utilization. It also managed to stay under 60 degrees Celsius, though we have no way of knowing what kind of cooling the tester was using. Still, this result looks like Intel is addressing one of the biggest issues with its Rocket Lake chips by lowering heat and power consumption.

Overall, Alder Lake is shaping up to be the generational leap Intel has promised — and the Core i5-12400 doesn’t even tell the full story. Rumors suggest it will only come with the performant (P) Golden Cove cores, not the efficient (E) Gracemont ones. Chips like the Core i9-12900K will come with both, offering a boost to multithreaded workloads.

Alder Lake is almost here, and if the Core i5-12400 performs as well as these benchmarks suggest, it could become the budget gaming CPU of choice. As always, we recommend waiting until third-party reviews are up before drawing any performance conclusions. Intel has assured everyone that Alder Lake is still launching in 2021, so we’ll know how the chips perform soon enough.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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