Intel Core i5-12600K Review: Full-Fledged Modern Mainstream CPU

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We recently reviewed the Intel Core i9-12900K, which is the most powerful and cutting-edge CPU from Intel. Along with the Core i9-12900K, the company also launched the Intel Core i7-12700 and the Intel Core i5-12600 series of CPUs with the same underlying technology.

 

Rating:
4.5/5

Intel Core i5-12600K Review: Full-Fledged Modern Mainstream CPU

We recommend the Intel Core i9-12900K for enthusiasts who want nothing but the best. However, that CPU might not be affordable for those, who want to build a PC for around Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 1,50,000. This is where the Intel Core i5-12600K steps in.

With a retail price of around Rs. 25,000, the Intel Core i5-12600K costs almost less than half of the Intel Core i9-12900K which carries all the technologies from the top-tier CPU from Intel. We have been testing the Intel Core i5-12600K for a few weeks, and here is the full review.

Intel Core i5-12600K Specifications

Intel Core i5-12600K Specifications

  • Number Of Cores: 10
  • Number Of threads: 16
  • Base Clock Speed: 2.8GHz (E-Cores) 3.7GHz (P-Cores)
  • Boost Clock Speed: 3.6GHz (E-Cores) 4.9GHz (P-Cores)
  • Total L3 Cache: 20MB
  • Total L2 Cache: 9.5MB
  • PCI Express Version: PCIe 5.0
  • Lithography: Intel 7
  • Package: FCLGA1700
  • TDP: 125W (Base Power) 150W (Max Turbo Power)
Intel Core i5-12600K Features
 

Intel Core i5-12600K Features

In terms of features, the Intel Core i5-12600K is identical to the Intel Core i9-12900K, except for the fact that Core i9-12600K has fewer cores with slightly lower L2 and L3 cache. In fact, the base clock speed of the Intel Core i5-12600K is slightly higher than the Intel Core i7-12700K and the Intel Core i9-12900K, which is an interesting proposition to get more performance out of fewer cores.

The Intel Core i5-12600K has a total of 10 CPU cores and 16 threads. Out of those cores, there are six P or performance cores with support for hyperthreading and four E or efficient cores which does not support hyperthreading technology.

The CPU has a base TDP of 125W, which is similar to the Intel Core i9-12900K. However, the Intel Core i9-12600K has a lower max turbo power of 150W, as the processor has a lower core count along with lower max turbo frequency. The Intel Core i5-12600K is currently the most affordable CPU in the Alder Lake family, which also yet another advantage, as you get features like DDR5 RAM support PCIe Gen 5 support, and more.

What's New?

What's New?

Some of the highlights of the Intel Core i5-12600K are the hybrid CPU core clusters. The combination of P cores and E cores has both efficiency and performance advantages. The CPU also comes baked with Intel Thread Director technology, which ensures that the right CPU cores are allocated to do the right task, albeit, only available on PCs running on Windows 11 operating system.

With the Intel Core i5-12600K, you also need a new motherboard, one with the LGA1700 socket. Be careful while choosing the motherboard, as there are two types of boards, one which supports DDR4 RAM, and the others support DDR5 RAM, as these are not interchangeable. So, if you already have a high-performance DDR4 RAM kit, you can get a motherboard with a Z690 chip with DDR4 support.

Do note that, pairing the Intel Core i5-12600K to DDR5 RAM also has a performance advantage. Hence, choose wisely while picking a motherboard for the Core i5-12600K. To get the best performance from the Intel Core i5-12600K, we paired the CPU with a 32GB 5200MT/s kit from Kingston.

Our Test Bench

Our Test Bench

Our test bench for the Intel Core i5-12600K was identical to that of the Intel Core i9-12900K. Yes, both the Gigabyte AORUS Waterforce X 360 liquid cooler and the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro are a bit overkill for this build, as they cost a lot more than the CPU itself. However, these components will also ensure to squeeze out every bit of performance from the Intel Core i5-12600K.

Coming to RAM, we used 32GB Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 RAM with up to 5200MT/s speed, and for the storage, we used the 256GB Samsung 970 EVO Pro M.2 SSD. Most of the components that we used in this build were seeded by Intel India. For the graphics test, we used the Gigabyte Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. In some tests, we paired the CPU with the AMD Radeon RX 6600 GPU.

The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro needs a special mention, as this is one of the full-fledged Z690 chip-powered motherboards in the market. It offers features like WiFi 6E support and even has a built-in DisplayPort. Given the Intel Core i5-12600K has an integrated GPU when paired with the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro, you can boot the OS without an external graphics card.

The motherboard uses 16+1+2 Direct Digital VRM Design along with a 90A power stage. Besides, the board supports dual channel DDR5 memory and offers four DIMMs with Ultra Durable SMD Memory Armor.

In this review, we will be comparing the performance of the Intel Core i5-12600K with its AMD counterpart -- Ryzen 5 3500 and the Intel Core i5-11600K. We will also compare it with the Intel Core i9-12900K to give you an idea regarding the performance difference between the two.

Intel Core i5-12600K Geekbench 5 Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K Geekbench 5 Performance

On Geekbench 5, the Intel Core i5-12600K scored 1760 points on single-core and 10645 points on multi-core CPU performance. These scores are much much higher than the scores posted by the AMD Ryzen 5 3500. Not just that, on single-core performance, the Intel Core i5-12600K even outperforms the Intel Core i9-11900K and the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X.

The improvement in single-core performance makes the Intel Core i5-12600K one of the best CPUs for gaming. Even the multi-core performance of the Intel Core i9-12600K can be compared to the Intel Core i9-11900K. Hence, this is definitely a great processor as it outperforms the Intel Core i5-11600K on both single-core and multi-core CPU performance.

Intel Core i5-12600K Cinebench R23 Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K Cinebench R23 Performance

On Cinebench R23, the CPU scored, 1895 points on single-core and 16943 points on multi-core CPU test. Again, the Intel Core i5-12600K outperforms the Intel Core i9-11900K, AMD Ryzen 5 3500. On the single-core test, the benchmark also outperforms the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X.

Intel Core i5-12600K CPU-Z Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K CPU-Z Performance

Even the results of CPU-Z prove that the Intel Core i5-12600K offers a huge performance improvement over its predecessor on both single and multi-thread CPU capabilities. This is mainly due to the fact the Intel Core i5-12600K has 16 threads while the Intel Core i5-11600K just has 12 cores.

Intel Core i5-12600K Blender Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K Blender Performance

On the Blender Render test, we got to know the real-world rendering capability of the Intel Core i5-12600K. Here is the time is taken to render various tests on the Blender benchmark. Yes, the Intel Core i5-126000K takes slightly more time than the Intel Core i9-12900K, which was expected.

But look how close the numbers are. In most tests, the Intel Core i5-12600K has actually completed the test in an impressive period. To run this benchmark, we paired the Intel Core i5-12600K with the AMD Radeon RX 6600 graphics card.

Intel Core i5-12600K 3D Mark Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K 3D Mark Performance

On the 3D Mark Time Spy test, the Intel Core i5-12600K posted 8537 points. As this is a GPU-bound benchmark, the scores are slightly on the lower side, as we used the entry-level Radeon RX 6600 graphics card. Similarly, when the Intel Core i5-12600K was paired with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, the system posted an average score of 16458, just around 5 percent less than the score posted by the Intel Core i9-12900K.

Intel Core i5-12600K PCMark 10 Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K PCMark 10 Performance

On PC Mark 10, the PC powered by the Intel Core i5-12600K and the Radeon 6600 posted a score of 8164 points, which is again higher than the competition and the performance. In fact, this is the second CPU that we have tested to score over 8000 points on PCMark 10.

Intel Core i5-12600K Superposition Benchmark

Intel Core i5-12600K Superposition Benchmark

We ran the Superposition graphics benchmark with both Radeon RX 6600 XT and the NVIDIA RTX 3080 GPU. As you can see in the results, with the RTX 3080, we got much better results. This ensures that the Intel Core i5-12600K is a great CPU even for high-performance gaming.

Intel Core i5-12600K Gaming Performance

Intel Core i5-12600K Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming performance, with the RTX 3080 and the RX 6600 we got some pretty interesting results. As we compare these numbers with the Intel Core i9-12900K, the gaming performance of the Core i9-12900K is slightly better than the Intel Core i5-12600K with a performance of difference of around 10 percent.

This proves that the Intel Core i5-12600K is also great for gaming builds, especially for those, who don't want to spend over Rs. 50,000 just for the CPU, which might just offer over 10 percent performance gain.

Verdict: Latest Tech For The Mass

Verdict: Latest Tech For The Mass

The Intel Core i5-12600K is a mass-market product that delivers great performance on both single-core and multi-core performance. In most benchmarks, the performance difference between the Intel Core i5-12600K and the Intel Core i9-12900K is around 10 percent.

However, when compared to a CPU like the CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 5 3500 or even the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, the Intel Core i5-12600K offers better performance. If you are planning to build a PC for around Rs. 1,20,000, then the Intel Core i5-12600K is a great CPU that seems to offer all the latest technologies just like the Intel Core i9-12900K.

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