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.

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CategoryIntel Core i5-12600KIntel Core i5-11600KAMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Base FrequencyP: 3.7GHzE: 2.8GHz3.9GHz3.8GHz
BoostP: 4.9GHzE: 3.6GHz4.9GHz4.7GHz
Turbo Boost Max 3.0
MemoryDDR4-3200/DDR5-4800Up to 128GBDDR4-3200Up to 128GBDDR4-3200Up 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
Manufacturing Node10nm14nm7nm

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 was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.