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Is the Intel Core i5-12600K good for gaming?

Intel 12th Gen Corei5 Chip
Intel 12th Gen Corei5 Chip (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Is the Intel Core i5-12600K good for gaming?

Best answer: The Intel Core i5-12600K is a brilliant processor for gaming. Rocking 10 physical hybrid cores and 16 threads, this CPU is more than powerful enough for the latest GPUs and PC games.

Intel Core i5-12600K is great for gaming

Most modern games don't require countless cores and threads. So long as you have at least 4 physical cores with double the number of threads, you're usually good to go. Intel made some serious improvements to the Intel Core i5-12600K compared to its predecessor, including a new manufacturing process, 4 more physical cores, and DDR5 support.

Even the best graphics card from AMD and NVIDIA shouldn't experience any bottleneck issues with this CPU, especially when paired with super-fast DDR4 or DDR5 memory. You could spend more and enjoy better performance across the board in numerous scenarios with a Core i7 or Core i9 processor, but you don't need either for gaming.

The below table compares the Core i5-12600K against the older Core i5-11600K and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.

CategoryIntel Core i5-12600KIntel Core i5-11600KAMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Cores/Threads10/166/128/16
Base FrequencyP: 3.7GHz
E: 2.8GHz
3.9GHz3.8GHz
BoostP: 4.9GHz
E: 3.6GHz
4.9GHz4.7GHz
Turbo Boost Max 3.0
MemoryDDR4-3200/DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200
Up to 128GB
DDR4-3200
Up to 128GB
L3 Cache20MB12MB32MB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 770Intel UHD Graphics 750
PCIePCIe Gen 5.0 x 20PCIe Gen 4.0 x 20PCIe Gen 4.0 x 20
TDP125W125W105W
Manufacturing Node10nm14nm7nm
SocketLGA1700LGA1200AM4
Price$289$262$449

Selecting the very best CPU doesn't necessarily result in the best gaming performance. You'll eventually reach a point where the additional cores won't make much difference in most PC titles. We published test results in our in-depth Intel Core i5-12600K review, showcasing just how competent this CPU is for gaming.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.