The big picture: Since the release of Ryzen 5000, AMD has somewhat abandoned the market segment that had some of their best sellers. They still offer the Ryzen 5 3600, but users were expecting new models in this price range given the history with R5 1600, 2600 and 3600. Unfortunately this did not happen as the 5600X targets a higher price bracket and now it seems that Intel wants to win it back, offering (unofficial?) price reductions for 10th-gen models and introducing the Core i5-11400 with appealing price tag, especially for gamers.
We've been reporting about sales of Intel 10th-gen CPUs, with the Core i5-10400F usually found for under $150. Now with the release of the i5-11400 at $184, it seems that Intel wants to saturate this market segment and steal away AMD's momentum, after having very attractive offerings around $200 for a few years now. Most reviewers agree that the 6-core, 12-thread models were and still are the sweet spot for anybody wanting to use their CPU both for productivity and gaming, offering sizable improvements to a large number of users with older quad core i5 models, but still priced well below CPUs with 8 or more cores.
New Intel CPUs this generation appear to be hit or miss, the Core i5-11600k is a decent offering but the supposed flagship i9-11900k has been a disappointment. Intel is also offering the Core i5-11400, with 6 cores and 12 threads (our review is coming next week). Base specs look almost identical to the i5-10400, a little bit lower base frequency at 2.60 GHz, a little bit higher turbo at 4.40 GHz, same cache and support for faster memory.
With improvements to the Core architecture, the i5-11400 performs well and at this price point it appears to be a very good choice for gamers. Although it does have a few weak points, as shown by Gamers Nexus on the video below: not so strong productivity performance, higher power consumption and lack of overclocking.
If you are looking for a 6-core, 12-thread CPU upgrade now and do not want to wait for upcoming DDR5 platforms, there's plenty of choices from both Intel and AMD.
But perhaps just as important, and contrary to the graphics card market, you can actually find most of these CPUs in stores for reasonable prices. If you are on a budget, an i5-10400F or R5 2600 are good entry points, but for gamers who want a little bit more, the new Core i5-11400 is an attractive choice that is currently undercutting the R5 3600's pricing in the US and Europe.