Intel i5-11400F — The Absolute Best CPU In Its Price Range
If you’re building a gaming rig and need a brand-new processor, then look no further than Intel’s i5-11400F — it is absolutely incredible from a price-to-performance standpoint. And, frankly, just writing such a sentence makes one feel strange — like we’re inhabiting an alternate reality.
After many years of playing second fiddle, AMD finally broke through with Ryzen; through incredible engineering and appropriate pricing, they were able to not only compete with Intel on even footing but even win out. By “win out” we’re really putting it mildly: AMD’s Ryzen processors mopped the floor with whatever Intel had to offer, and it’s been like that for years.
“Team blue” always had the lead in single core workloads but even that lead has been dwindling ever since AMD started shipping their Zen 3 Cezanne-based processors. Right now, (high-end) Ryzen CPUs better in both single- and multi-core workloads making them the absolute best choice on the market. So what’s the problem, then? Well, it’s a compound of things. They’ve jacked up the prices, they’re consistently failing to meet demand, and Intel — to their credit — have completely altered their approach (out of necessity and desperation), therefore capitalizing on the one and only opening AMD ever gave them (inadvertently).
So let’s talk about the Intel i5-11400F — the absolute best CPU in its price range at the moment.
Intel Rocket Lake — Better Than Expected
Now, it’s not secret that Intel’s latest 11th generation processors pale in comparison to AMD’s offerings when it comes to multi-core workloads and overall efficiency. But if you’re mostly focused on gaming and want to get the absolute best bang for your buck, then the i5-11400F will be hard to beat!
It’s still based on the “tried and true” (a fancy way of saying “outdated”) 14 nm manufacturing process, so don’t expect any huge breakthrough. Regardless, with six cores and twelve threads, it’ll be more than powerful for any task you might throw its way. We’re talking about a base clock speed of 2.6 Ghz and a turbo of 4.4 Ghz, with 12 MB of cache all packed within a 65 W TDP. Now, as is so often the case with Intel CPUs, the 11400F tends to draw a lot more power than you’d expect, but that’s precisely where its biggest strength lies.
Insane Value For the Money
If you need a new CPU for a gaming rig, the 11400F offers insane value. It’s not exactly a “budget” option, in all fairness, but it’s undeniably the best processor on the market in its price range. At around $170 (price subject to change), the level of performance it provides is basically unmatched.
Of course, we’re only focusing on gaming here. With six cores and twelve threads, though, it’ll still perform admirably well no matter the workflow. Then again, if you’re doing any kind of rendering or 3D work, a Ryzen CPU should remain at the top of your list of priorities.
When uncapped, the i5-11400F will draw as much as 140W which, to be fair, is nothing to scoff at. Still, letting it consume so much power is basically a necessity if you intend on harnessing its true potential.
Naturally, Intel’s included box cooler simply isn’t up to snuff, so if you’re going to “let ‘er rip” make sure to pair the 11400F with a fairly solid aftermarket cooler and you’ll be good to go!
Let’s Talk Numbers
In production workloads, the i5-1100F is surprisingly close to the 11600K and the Ryzen 5 5600X. It’s not quite as powerful, of course, but the performance delta is fairly negligible given how much cheaper the 11400F is at the time of this writing. In gaming, the 11600K is only marginally (2-3%) better which, in all fairness, is an imperceptible difference given how both CPUs can push triple A titles at well over 100 FPS with an appropriate GPU.
And, as expected, Intel’s potent single-core performance is at times enough to push the 11400F ahead of even the 5600X from AMD. We’re talking pretty much the exact same performance (in gaming) for a fraction of the cost. Heck, the 11400F currently retails for less than even the Ryzen 5 3600, depending on where you get your hardware. That’s truly astonishing.
And the fact that it came from Intel only makes this whole thing all the more baffling. Still, what they were forced to do out of desperation benefits us — the end consumers — the most.