Core i5 10400F + Radeon RX 6800 Tested: Looking for the Best Value CPU

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,511   +1,091
In the U.K. the 3600 costs quite a bit more than a 10400F £220 vs £140. You can get bundles of a 10400F, B460 and RAM for like £270, or just £50 more than a 3600. These are good solutions for people who just want a cpu to power a graphics card. So this article is probably good for Americans it might be worth doing a bit more digging if you’re in the U.K.

Also I would rather have seen it tested with an Nvidia GPU. I don’t trust Radeon after the garbage recent experience I had with a few of their cards and I think that’s the case for most gamers when you look at the market share numbers. Also hardly any retailers are even listing high end Radeon parts anymore over here.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,115   +150
In the U.K. the 3600 costs quite a bit more than a 10400F £220 vs £140. You can get bundles of a 10400F, B460 and RAM for like £270, or just £50 more than a 3600. These are good solutions for people who just want a cpu to power a graphics card. So this article is probably good for Americans it might be worth doing a bit more digging if you’re in the U.K.

Also I would rather have seen it tested with an Nvidia GPU. I don’t trust Radeon after the garbage recent experience I had with a few of their cards and I think that’s the case for most gamers when you look at the market share numbers. Also hardly any retailers are even listing high end Radeon parts anymore over here.

right now it is priced $220 against $160 here in Indonesia as well. paired with cheap motherboard and slower RAM speed I'd assume intel will be about 10% slower in average in 1440p. that'll make 3600 less competitive here as well due to 35% price premium over 10400F.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,448   +2,335
In the U.K. the 3600 costs quite a bit more than a 10400F £220 vs £140. You can get bundles of a 10400F, B460 and RAM for like £270, or just £50 more than a 3600. These are good solutions for people who just want a cpu to power a graphics card. So this article is probably good for Americans it might be worth doing a bit more digging if you’re in the U.K.

It is worth digging even if you‘re in the UK: scan.co.uk lists the 3600 for £ 190 including free delivery and a perfectly useable hsf.
The 10400F is £140 plus £ 5.50 shipping and you may want to get an hsf for around £15.

That‘s still a £30 difference which is in line with the $30 quoted in the article.

And then there‘s the platform choice: The 3600 will have the same performance with A B450 Tomahawk Max for £ 90 (scan also has MSI B450 boards for £60), so you end up paying less overall and still have a great upgrade path - these boards will also handle a 5900X.

To get the above performance with the 10400F, you will need to spend a lot more than that to get even a decent Z490 mainboard, but for the same total expense you could be on the superior B550 platform (e.g. B550 Tomahawk for £ 162) or even X570. Not sure if entry level Z490 boards will support PCIe 4 or the power requirements to run higher end RKL at full blast.

Again, the 10400F is a perfectly capable entry level gaming CPU, but imho it‘s still overpriced considering the total platform cost and features.
 
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Ludak021

Posts: 447   +307
It's a *ick move by intel to forgo Z470 and leave Zx90 series only. Even my Z370 is de listed at manufacturer website, only Z390 are left, unless you dig-search through...I guess intel just hates <120eur Z boards, even tho I am happily running i7 9700 on one z370 that was <100eur new.
I had planned that move, if I had not, at this point I'd go for the same thing since for <350eur (cpu+mobo) I don't see AMD that costs similarly and offers the performance. 3700x is quite a bit more expensive choice, especially right now.

Next cpu upgrade tho, new AM5 socket for sure, I am tired of 'cat and mouse' intel's chipset game. It will be quite some time until then since I think upgrading GPU for next 4 years will yield more benefits than chasing few % more on the CPU.

edit:
Some half a year ago or more I commented here, after reading Zen 2 review, that AMD only has a few models, they differ in thread count only and that the user should choose the number of threads, and get the cheaper variant because they all work the same but the price can be very different.
AMD 1600af and 3300x are gaming CPUs, 3600 is a pointless investment from that perspective, or was since you almost can't get your hands on aforementioned models at their "regular" pricing. 3300x was ~<110eur, 1600af (downclocked 2600) was <~90 eur...Well, it's gone. Now you have to get 3600 and the same performance for more $$$ not even calculating the recent price hike.
 
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Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,511   +1,091
It is worth digging even if you‘re in the UK: scan.co.uk lists the 3600 for £ 190 including free delivery and a perfectly useable hsf.
The 10400F is £140 plus £ 5.50 shipping and you may want to get an hsf for around £15.

That‘s still a £30 difference which is in line with the $30 quoted in the article.

And then there‘s the platform choice: The 3600 will have the same performance with A B450 Tomahawk Max for £ 90 (scan also has MSI B450 boards for £60), so you end up paying less overall and still have a great upgrade path - these boards will also handle a 5900X.

To get the above performance with the 10400F, you will need to spend a lot more than that to get even a decent Z490 mainboard, but for the same total expense you could be on the superior B550 platform (e.g. B550 Tomahawk for £ 162) or even X570. Not sure if entry level Z490 boards will support PCIe 4 or the power requirements to run higher end RKL at full blast.

Again, the 10400F is a perfectly capable entry level gaming CPU, but imho it‘s still overpriced considering the total platform cost and features.
It depends on the deal on the day. But generally for the last few months the 10400F has been cheaper. I understand you, as an AMD die hard want to get graphs out showing how the value per dollar or whatever isn’t that good. The fact is most people buying these just want a CPU for their graphics card and the overall cost of the hardware is lower on Intel’s part.

There are some amazing bundle deals on the 10400F popping up from time to time. Allowing a user to save £50-£150 over getting a 3600. Yes you will no doubt point out that this isn’t better value. But it’s still cheaper. My friend who built a system with it when he got a mobo, RAM and a 10400F for £270 only seemed to be interested in if it would be enough cpu power to run a 3070 and it is! Im sure if he spent the extra £50-£100 on a 3600 he’d have a better chip but that’s often the case.

Not everyone can afford the AMD tax. Some people are just fine on an Intel system.

It’s not all about absolute value mate, some people do have an upper limit on their budget. Like me, I bought a 5800X. This is emphatically worse value than a 5900X. However I wasn’t prepared to spend the extra.
 
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meric

Posts: 314   +311
It depends on the deal on the day. But generally for the last few months the 10400F has been cheaper. I understand you, as an AMD die hard want to get graphs out showing how the value per dollar or whatever isn’t that good. The fact is most people buying these just want a CPU for their graphics card and the overall cost of the hardware is lower on Intel’s part.

There are some amazing bundle deals on the 10400F popping up from time to time. Allowing a user to save £50-£150 over getting a 3600. Yes you will no doubt point out that this isn’t better value. But it’s still cheaper. My friend who built a system with it when he got a mobo, RAM and a 10400F for £270 only seemed to be interested in if it would be enough cpu power to run a 3070 and it is! Im sure if he spent the extra £50-£100 on a 3600 he’d have a better chip but that’s often the case.

Not everyone can afford the AMD tax. Some people are just fine on an Intel system.

It’s not all about absolute value mate, some people do have an upper limit on their budget. Like me, I bought a 5800X. This is emphatically worse value than a 5900X. However I wasn’t prepared to spend the extra.
I find it strange that *some* Intel fans in this site defended the opposite idea for years. The tables did not turn yet though, due to the fact that AMD platform could offer more in this comparison. B460 is a crippled platform with a bad RAM speed support whereas AMD's B450 offers unlocked RAM speeds. I didn't do the math but in the end the cost could be similar.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 20   +25
TechSpot Elite
Hello Steve,
This article is very well written and very well founded.
I criticized a previous article about this topic and I can see that you addressed all discontents left unanswered.
Even more, this article gives the best advices for consumers to make a good choice for buying a gaming computer.
Nowadays both Intel and AMD have competitive products for gaming computers, and the final choice is about availability of processors and video cards.
So what is important is that, finally, consumers have a choice. Until 3 years ago it was only Intel and was a bad monopoly. Thanks to AMD, now is way better, Intel had to discount processors and MBs prices and will have to discount more :)
 

Irata

Posts: 1,448   +2,335
It depends on the deal on the day. But generally for the last few months the 10400F has been cheaper. I understand you, as an AMD die hard want to get graphs out showing how the value per dollar or whatever isn’t that good. The fact is most people buying these just want a CPU for their graphics card and the overall cost of the hardware is lower on Intel’s part.

Seriously, I looked up current prices on Scan which you appear not to have done - and that makes me an AMD die hard ?

My calculation was correct. Yes, the 10400F by itself is cheaper but you will need to consider the HSF as part of the calculation, same as platform costs, features and upgradeability.

If you get anything less than a Z490 board, you will not see the benchmarked performance. Period. And if you only get a cheap Z490 board and decide to upgrade your CPU later on (and getting one just for a low end CPU seems pointless) you will again not get the benchmarked performance for e.g. a 10850k as those boards won‘t be able to run the CPU at constant PL2 like the ones used for benchmarking on tech sites. There is a reason for the beefier power delivery.

So, if you want to get the performance as shown, the 10400F system is not cheaper in terms of total cost.

These are all things you don‘t even need to consider when getting a Ryzen 3600. Plug it into a reasonably priced board and it will perform just as well as on a high end board.

I did say that the 10400F is by no means a bad buy, but I feel considering its lack of platform features it is also by no means a better deal. But that‘s my opinion.

Still, getting something like a 10400F or a 3600 to pair it with a more expensive GPU looks like a good idea for a decently priced gaming rig.
 

bluetooth fairy

Posts: 159   +102
Dont forget what you need to expect these FPS numbers: 4 sticks of CL14 memory at 3200MHz, or 2 dual rank sticks. It is basically 32GB of pretty expensive kit, kinda $300.

But we talk about a midrange CPU from 150 to 200 bucks. And that we'd like to consider $30-sh savings.

With the i5-10400f or Ryzen 5 3600 you actually end up buying a CL16 or CL18 kit of single rank 8GB modules, where the difference in RAM speed is just one of many limiting factors.

Moreover, the Radeon 6800 is very fast chip, faster than any last gen Geforce incl 2080ti. Dont consider any difference at any resolution if you have eg GTX1080. 1080ti or better is needed to see just any difference between above mentioned CPUs.

Its crazy time to upgrade a GPU except you find something used, like I've got GTX1070 for $230 instead of my RX574, to play at 1080p. But it's ok to get an i5 comet lake combo with b460 and RAM if it's like $50 cheaper than Ryzen rig. Good Ryzen boards capable to care about 16 cores Zen3 are not that cheap btw, the upgrade path becomes pretty virtual thing then.

Also, we've entered into era where we get double digit IPC improvement every 2-3 years. You may loose more staying on an old/last gen socket/platform.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,511   +1,091
Seriously, I looked up current prices on Scan which you appear not to have done - and that makes me an AMD die hard ?

My calculation was correct. Yes, the 10400F by itself is cheaper but you will need to consider the HSF as part of the calculation, same as platform costs, features and upgradeability.

If you get anything less than a Z490 board, you will not see the benchmarked performance. Period. And if you only get a cheap Z490 board and decide to upgrade your CPU later on (and getting one just for a low end CPU seems pointless) you will again not get the benchmarked performance for e.g. a 10850k as those boards won‘t be able to run the CPU at constant PL2 like the ones used for benchmarking on tech sites. There is a reason for the beefier power delivery.

So, if you want to get the performance as shown, the 10400F system is not cheaper in terms of total cost.

These are all things you don‘t even need to consider when getting a Ryzen 3600. Plug it into a reasonably priced board and it will perform just as well as on a high end board.

I did say that the 10400F is by no means a bad buy, but I feel considering its lack of platform features it is also by no means a better deal. But that‘s my opinion.

Still, getting something like a 10400F or a 3600 to pair it with a more expensive GPU looks like a good idea for a decently priced gaming rig.
Yeah I get it, you want people to buy AMD. And yes il be honest I haven’t googled the prices this year but I did Google them when helping my mate out his rig together in November (after he bought and obtained a 3070 on launch day with no rig to put it in).

As I said it depends on the deal on the day and at that time 3600’s were £220. The initial plan was to get a 3300X but it was actually more expensive to buy a 3300X and a B550 board and some RAM than it was to buy this 10400F + B460 mobo + 16GB of RAM bundle deal we found on AWD IT.

The difference between the two chips is quite small, I don’t think it’s worth giving up the savings of a deal you can find personally.

I actually had the same, I was going to buy a 5600X with an X570 mobo and RAM but found a bundle on AWD IT for a 5800X with an X570 mobo and RAM that only worked out at £80 more than buying the 5600X and parts separately so I went for the 5800X. The deal on the day changed what the better buy was.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,452   +3,603
Seriously, I looked up current prices on Scan which you appear not to have done - and that makes me an AMD die hard ?

My calculation was correct. Yes, the 10400F by itself is cheaper but you will need to consider the HSF as part of the calculation, same as platform costs, features and upgradeability.

If you get anything less than a Z490 board, you will not see the benchmarked performance. Period. And if you only get a cheap Z490 board and decide to upgrade your CPU later on (and getting one just for a low end CPU seems pointless) you will again not get the benchmarked performance for e.g. a 10850k as those boards won‘t be able to run the CPU at constant PL2 like the ones used for benchmarking on tech sites. There is a reason for the beefier power delivery.

So, if you want to get the performance as shown, the 10400F system is not cheaper in terms of total cost.

These are all things you don‘t even need to consider when getting a Ryzen 3600. Plug it into a reasonably priced board and it will perform just as well as on a high end board.

I did say that the 10400F is by no means a bad buy, but I feel considering its lack of platform features it is also by no means a better deal. But that‘s my opinion.

Still, getting something like a 10400F or a 3600 to pair it with a more expensive GPU looks like a good idea for a decently priced gaming rig.
Uh, what are you on about for a HSF? The 10400f comes with the stock heatsink/fan combo, and that is perfectly sufficient for the <65w the 10400f draws when gaming.

Also why are you comparing the 10850k with a 3600? Of course the 3600 will run perfectly on just about any board, so with the 10400f. You brought up that the midrange boards will not run the 10850k properly, do you REALLY want to get into how many AMD boards would not be able to handle a 3900/5900 series board? Guess what, most A/B series boards, and a decent number of X470 boards, struggle to handle the VRM load of a 3900x and 3950x.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...qVxdCR9daIVNyMatydkpFA/htmlview#gid=639584818

If you are thinking of upgrading to a 10850k once they are cheap, clearly the smarter andswer would be to pick up something like an i3 10100, and spend the $50-60 you save on a much nicer Z series board.

Both the 10400f and the 3600 are decent midrange performers, at 1440p and above there is basically no difference, you are GPU bound. So buy whichever is cheaper. By the time the CPU is not good enough the whole platform will be outdated anyway. CPUs last for a long time, IDK why so many people make a huge deal about upgrading, give it 4 years and you'll have a new PCIe implementation, faster NVMe drives, newer memory, ece.

It's a *ick move by intel to forgo Z470 and leave Zx90 series only. Even my Z370 is de listed at manufacturer website, only Z390 are left, unless you dig-search through...I guess intel just hates <120eur Z boards, even tho I am happily running i7 9700 on one z370 that was <100eur new.
I had planned that move, if I had not, at this point I'd go for the same thing since for <350eur (cpu+mobo) I don't see AMD that costs similarly and offers the performance. 3700x is quite a bit more expensive choice, especially right now.

Next cpu upgrade tho, new AM5 socket for sure, I am tired of 'cat and mouse' intel's chipset game. It will be quite some time until then since I think upgrading GPU for next 4 years will yield more benefits than chasing few % more on the CPU.

edit:
Some half a year ago or more I commented here, after reading Zen 2 review, that AMD only has a few models, they differ in thread count only and that the user should choose the number of threads, and get the cheaper variant because they all work the same but the price can be very different.
AMD 1600af and 3300x are gaming CPUs, 3600 is a pointless investment from that perspective, or was since you almost can't get your hands on aforementioned models at their "regular" pricing. 3300x was ~<110eur, 1600af (downclocked 2600) was <~90 eur...Well, it's gone. Now you have to get 3600 and the same performance for more $$$ not even calculating the recent price hike.
Why are you playing the "chipset game"? I mean who cares if you dont get 4 generations on one motherboard? Motherboards last a long time, my ivy bridge setup still works after, what, 8 years now? The only reason I upgraded was to take advantage of NVMe storage, if it wasnt for that I'd still be using my 3570k. My current 9700k should last me until 2026 easily, possibly 2030, especially since I'm not buying $1000 GPUs or playing at 144 FPS.

IF you're running an i7 9700 already, there is literally 0 reason to upgrade. The 9700 is much faster then the 10400f, and if you read the article, you'll see that it makes no real difference having more power right now.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,448   +2,335
Uh, what are you on about for a HSF? The 10400f comes with the stock heatsink/fan combo, and that is perfectly sufficient for the <65w the 10400f draws when gaming.

Well, what could I be on about?

Also why are you comparing the 10850k with a 3600? Of course the 3600 will run perfectly on just about any board, so with the 10400f. You brought up that the midrange boards will not run the 10850k properly, do you REALLY want to get into how many AMD boards would not be able to handle a 3900/5900 series board? Guess what, most A/B series boards, and a decent number of X470 boards, struggle to handle the VRM load of a 3900x and 3950x.

My point which I will repeat was that it makes little sense to buy a high end Z490 board to pair with a lower end 10400F unless you plan on upgrading to something bigger later on. And if you get a Z490 board on the cheaper end, it won‘t be able to run e.g. a 10850K at constant PL2 which boards like the one used by e.g. Techspot are. This means you will get the performance at Intel default PL1, 2 and boost parameters that are quite a bit lower. Do check Gamers Nexus reviews to see what they are.

As for Ryzen 3900 on lower end boards, Techspot did just that using their pick for the „ultra cheap B350“ and it worked fine.


„The good news for those who own entry-level AM4 motherboards is that they can easily handle the new 3rd-gen Ryzen processors, from the R5 3600 all the way up to the Ryzen 9 3900X“.
If you take any decent B450 board, it‘s a non issue. Also note that a 2700X does not use less power than a 5900x.

Both the 10400f and the 3600 are decent midrange performers, at 1440p and above there is basically no difference, you are GPU bound. So buy whichever is cheaper.
Isn‘t that exactly what I said, pointing out that the 10400F isn‘t cheaper overall? And you do get a better platform with the 3600.
 
Hello Steve,

I noticed something that would improve your review. It would be nice to have a graphic near the beginning of the article that lists the tested cpu's basic specifications. Otherwise, it looks like another good article. Thanks.

The 3600 performed better than I thought it would. I might pay a little more for it depending on which games I would be prefer. If I were to build a new inexpensive computer at this time, I would surely look at the 10100 and 10400s.

From what I've seen regarding cpu prices the last few months, it looks like AMD should have kept producing some 12nm parts. It looks like they could still sell 2600, 2700X, 3200G, and 3400G near their original prices. It's sad to see I might be able to get most of my money back if I were to sell my 2400G. I also got lucky that I bought a R3 3100 at $100. They been listed at $170 for several weeks and possibly a few months.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,448   +2,335
From what I've seen regarding cpu prices the last few months, it looks like AMD should have kept producing some 12nm parts. It looks like they could still sell 2600, 2700X, 3200G, and 3400G near their original prices. It's sad to see I might be able to get most of my money back if I were to sell my 2400G. I also got lucky that I bought a R3 3100 at $100. They been listed at $170 for several weeks and possibly a few months.
Definitely agree on Zen+. Offering them as bargain entry level CPU (should be cheap to produce at GloFo without capacity constraints) AMD should have good sales and get customers onto AM4, adding potential upgraders to Zen 2 or 3 down the road. They don‘t even need to offer all models.

A 2600 / 1600 AF for $99 max should still be an attractive option.
 

Banan

Posts: 9   +2
Similar power, similar price... The only thing that would help us to decide which one to buy is power consumption and noise with the same cooler. Pity that this was not included in the test.
 

Peter Farkas

Posts: 557   +413
That is why I bought the B460M Steel Legend with a 10400F a few months ago. The 3600 was 70% more expensive while the 5600x was more than double the price of the 10400F.
I am very happy to see an article on this since this was the conclusion I have come to before my purchase (even though I was targeting the 3700x and the 5600x) as a result of the insane prices on the AMD parts.
The upgrade path to 11th Gen Rocket Lake on my B460 is also something to consider (though only confirmed by MSI as far as I know, but others will surely have to follow).
 

Peter Farkas

Posts: 557   +413
Going Intel in short term is a good way to lose a lot of money later when you are forced to upgrade everything else that is perfectly fine just to get a faster CPU.
IF you need a faster CPU. Gamers will be alright with a 10400F for years in my opinion and going to have to cough up serious cheddar for the GPUs which are practically non-existent in the retail sector.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,448   +2,335
The upgrade path to 11th Gen Rocket Lake on my B460 is also something to consider (though only confirmed by MSI as far as I know, but others will surely have to follow).

Maybe, maybe not


There is one small caveat – Rocket Lake will not work in H410 and B460 motherboards as these use 22nm chipsets. There appears to be some incompatibility here.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
In another article, I defended Steve's assertion that the 10400F would be a good value alternative to the R5-3600(X) when some noob called the article "bad journalism". Sure, the R5-3600(X) is the better buy overall but there's a massive caveat to that.

Pirelli Tires has a motto that says "Power is nothing without control."

I have a motto that says "Price is nothing without availability."

The R5-3600(X) is not the better buy if there aren't any available. If the i5-10400F is available and the R5-3600(X) isn't, then get the Intel if your personal code of ethics allows you to support them (mine doesn't).

Just remember what happened to this guy when he picked up Intel:
Full_Band_Official_Portrait.jpg

He paid much too high a price.
e4YFLlHh8u84kRlukMCEoGiPWc0xMi7NgPDVslY_41xlmiPtuI4Bpqx7_RUGMZ54CTlBBKyAXSLgdI3Zhf7vYqhOMaL6Qx2_Lg6RBIlOS7tFDt7cm6A47KJI1o_RoX2c-AXkDQ

Only people who have played Ace Combat 7 will understand this.
 
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BSim500

Posts: 793   +1,746
Maybe, maybe not

"There is one small caveat – Rocket Lake will not work in H410 and B460 motherboards as these use 22nm chipsets. There appears to be some incompatibility here."
"An MSI representative has shared some interesting information about Intel's pending 11th Generation Rocket Lake-S processors over at the Danawa forums... The statement also seemingly confirms that current 400-series motherboards, including the H410, B460, and Z490 chipsets would support Rocket Lake-S." (link)

"The Z490 chipset will be the first to get a BIOS/firmware update to offer full compatibility, with H410 and B460 boards to follow suit." (link)

So MSI guy says all 400 chipsets will be Rocket Lake compatible (which certainly fits in with the fact that B365 being a 22nm "Kaby Lake Refresh chipset" (instead of 14nm of other Coffee Lake chipsets) didn't prevent it from having identical compatibility with the full range of 8th & 9th Gen CPU's. It would be nice to hear official confirmation on this as "Z490 will be updated first" and "only Z490 will be updated" are two completely different things and it's possible someone at AT got confused.
 
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