Intel 12th Gen Corei5 ChipSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

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.

Category Intel Core i5-12600K Intel Core i5-11600K AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Cores/Threads 10/16 6/12 8/16
Base Frequency P: 3.7GHz
E: 2.8GHz
3.9GHz 3.8GHz
Boost P: 4.9GHz
E: 3.6GHz
4.9GHz 4.7GHz
Turbo Boost Max 3.0
Memory DDR4-3200/DDR5-4800
Up to 128GB
Up to 128GB
Up to 128GB
L3 Cache 20MB 12MB 32MB
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 Intel UHD Graphics 750
PCIe PCIe Gen 5.0 x 20 PCIe Gen 4.0 x 20 PCIe Gen 4.0 x 20
TDP 125W 125W 105W
Manufacturing Node 10nm 14nm 7nm
Socket LGA1700 LGA1200 AM4
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.

Intel Core I5 12600k

Intel Core i5-12600K

The best Intel mid-range CPU

With enough performance for even the most demanding games and a killer price to match, the Intel Core i5-12600K is pretty much everything you could want out of a CPU for gaming.

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