Intel's 12400F punches above its weight class, may be a serious budget competitor

Jimmy2x

Posts: 142   +11
Staff
Something to look forward to: Intel's latest batch of processors continue to prove that a smaller process node is not always better (albeit necessary). While the Intel 7 process node and big.LITTLE architecture have proven effective on the Core i7 and i9 product lines, Alder Lake's increased IPC and node enhancements are giving Intel's little 6-core processors a very big boost.

French technology site Le Comptoir Du Hardware (The Hardware Counter) recently reviewed several Alder Lake processors (as have we), comparing their performance to other 10th through 12th-gen offerings as well as AMD's Ryzen 5000 series. One of the biggest surprises in their review was the noted performance of the i5-12400F, a six-core/six-thread processor that does not include the typical Alder Lake efficiency cores.

The yet to be released 12400F's performance in synthetic benchmarks, such as Cinebench R23, was surprisingly good. Single core performance reportedly beat out Intel's 10th and 11th gen SKUs including the 10900K and 11900K. Multi-core performance was expectedly lower than many of the other CPUs due to the lower core and thread count. Despite that, the i5-12400F nonetheless managed to best the six-core Ryzen 5600X in many of the review's single and multi-core tests.

Gaming tests were all around favorable, with 1080p performance comparable to and, in some cases ahead of, previous Intel generations, AMD's 8-core 5800X, and even the 12-core 5900X.

The tests were carried out using standard and AAA benchmarking titles including Anno 1800, Cyberpunk 2077, and Far Cry 6. These results are very impressive considering the limited clock speed and boosting behavior of the 12400F engineering sample (ES) that was tested. What the 6-core processor lacks in pure muscle is made up by the new architecture's increased instructions per cycle.

It's hard to make a determination based on one outlet's testing of an ES processor, but the fact that Hardware Counter's findings closely resemble those leaked by Bilibili earlier this year is a promising indicator. If Intel couples this potential performance with an attractive price point, there's a good chance the 12400K will be landing in more than a few gaming rigs around the world.

Tomorrow morning we'll publish our review of the Core i5-12600K which is the more mainstream Alder Lake CPU released so far (spoiler: it does great), so watch out for that.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,249   +4,363
Hmm. We can perhaps call the 12400F performance the result of intel net gains on IPC. They're pretty solid but if we could extrapolate a little bit from this reviewer's results (The article is on French but even if you'd somehow struggle to understand it there's enough straight forward graphs anyway) you can see that Alder Lake IPC is like 10-15% ahead of AMD

Strong results don't get me wrong, but to get that top crown it looks like intel not so much decided they wanted to do BIG-little architecture but well, HAD TO just to be able to keep the chips from literally melting down due to the power and heat they're generating. At the risk of speaking too soon, it looks like intel's situation on their fabs just hasn't improved at all and they're getting creative to get around their limitations while still being able to compete.

I think AMD reply to Alder Lake will surprise intel and I'm sure Lisa is going to lean very hard on power efficiency and "green" characteristics.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
Faster than a 5800X! That’s impressive. It’s a good thing, we didn’t want to end up stuck having to pay AMDs heinous Ryzen 5000 prices for this level of performance.

For this to be perfect it needs a cheap motherboard. When I can get a GPU I will buy a new CPU but if I’m going to buy a locked CPU I’d rather get a B or H series board and save a tonne of money. I know there is a B660 board coming out but it’s not here yet.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,736   +2,582
Hmm. We can perhaps call the 12400F performance the result of intel net gains on IPC. They're pretty solid but if we could extrapolate a little bit from this reviewer's results (The article is on French but even if you'd somehow struggle to understand it there's enough straight forward graphs anyway) you can see that Alder Lake IPC is like 10-15% ahead of AMD

Strong results don't get me wrong, but to get that top crown it looks like intel not so much decided they wanted to do BIG-little architecture but well, HAD TO just to be able to keep the chips from literally melting down due to the power and heat they're generating. At the risk of speaking too soon, it looks like intel's situation on their fabs just hasn't improved at all and they're getting creative to get around their limitations while still being able to compete.

I think AMD reply to Alder Lake will surprise intel and I'm sure Lisa is going to lean very hard on power efficiency and "green" characteristics.

After reading the full review from that french site and looking at all the graphs its a competitive chip and a good price. Wins and loses once you start looking at all the graphs across different games and applications.
 
Last edited:

Skjorn

Posts: 716   +586
Hmm. We can perhaps call the 12400F performance the result of intel net gains on IPC. They're pretty solid but if we could extrapolate a little bit from this reviewer's results (The article is on French but even if you'd somehow struggle to understand it there's enough straight forward graphs anyway) you can see that Alder Lake IPC is like 10-15% ahead of AMD

Strong results don't get me wrong, but to get that top crown it looks like intel not so much decided they wanted to do BIG-little architecture but well, HAD TO just to be able to keep the chips from literally melting down due to the power and heat they're generating. At the risk of speaking too soon, it looks like intel's situation on their fabs just hasn't improved at all and they're getting creative to get around their limitations while still being able to compete.

I think AMD reply to Alder Lake will surprise intel and I'm sure Lisa is going to lean very hard on power efficiency and "green" characteristics.
I think you're going to see a bulldozer like regression from AMD. It won't be near as bad but it will be similar. These new chips from intel kinda feel like 1st gen Ryzen. It's new. It's better than what they've been providing but it's early in the life of a new arc. I think intels resurgence will be more dominant that what amd has done with ryzen.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,736   +2,582
I think you're going to see a bulldozer like regression from AMD. It won't be near as bad but it will be similar. These new chips from intel kinda feel like 1st gen Ryzen. It's new. It's better than what they've been providing but it's early in the life of a new arc. I think intels resurgence will be more dominant that what amd has done with ryzen.

I don't think so AMD of 2021 is much stronger with much better leadership than AMD of the bulldozer era. I would just wait for the refresh chips to come out in q1 2022 to see where things are. Have to remember these comparisons are to a year old arch, and ADL-S has a wider front end than Zen 3. The fight between Zen 4 vs Raptor Lake in 2022 should be an interesting one.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,580   +2,917
I might sniff around a 12600 if the boards arrive fast enough, need much more choice with chipsets, boards, coolers and memory first though.

Got the feeling it'll be at least 6 or 9 months before that happens. If that's the case the landscape will also be different then with a Zen 3 refresh, closer to Zen 4 release. I was always holding out for a DDR5 PCIe 5.0 platform while the tech is still young, it'll stay relevant for at least 5 years then. I try to keep a CPU and platform that long with maybe storage and GPU changes between.

One of my systems I hung onto an i7 920 X58 for 8 years. It beat up X360 and PS3 from 2008 then with a fresh GPU it beat up Xbox One and PS4 lol
 

HardReset

Posts: 1,761   +1,437
I think you're going to see a bulldozer like regression from AMD. It won't be near as bad but it will be similar. These new chips from intel kinda feel like 1st gen Ryzen. It's new. It's better than what they've been providing but it's early in the life of a new arc. I think intels resurgence will be more dominant that what amd has done with ryzen.
To remind, Alder Lake is huge core that runs very hot. It has no chance against AMD on server side. And current Ryzen 5000 chips are essentially server chips downgraded on desktop. Even if AMD would just make Zen3 for desktop, it would be on par with Alder Lake.

Also with Alder Lake you must pair it with DDR5 to get full speed. Something that costs fortune.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,316   +965
Looks like 6 cores should become the base std - I really looking forward to the next 5 years computer tech is exciting again .
Yeah hopefully 5600x and these ones hit $200. - we get eventually get like a 3060 for $300 again.
So people with not much cash can get really excited and nervous building their first computer - reading lots of reviews , watching for sales etc ,
Even a RTX 2660 or amd 6400 at $200 would be even better
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,225   +1,132
FC6 is known to only use around 4 cores so it's kind of daft to use it as a benchmark as it could easily run poorer than a 5600X in a few years down to the lack of hyperthreading/SMT.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
Looks like 6 cores should become the base std - I really looking forward to the next 5 years computer tech is exciting again .
Yeah hopefully 5600x and these ones hit $200. - we get eventually get like a 3060 for $300 again.
So people with not much cash can get really excited and nervous building their first computer - reading lots of reviews , watching for sales etc ,
Even a RTX 2660 or amd 6400 at $200 would be even better
I think the base standard shouldn’t include a core count. These 6 cores we are looking at here of perform similarly to 8 cores from older generations, in Intels case, their 12600K outperforms a 5800X despite having the same thread count and lower performance cores. And there are quad cores today that easily outperform older 6 or sometimes even 8 core CPUs.

One thing I would say is don’t buy a gaming CPU for more than $200-$300 no matter how many cores it has. And really you can get away with less than even that.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,785   +6,641
To remind, Alder Lake is huge core that runs very hot. It has no chance against AMD on server side. And current Ryzen 5000 chips are essentially server chips downgraded on desktop. Even if AMD would just make Zen3 for desktop, it would be on par with Alder Lake.

Also with Alder Lake you must pair it with DDR5 to get full speed. Something that costs fortune.
You need to remember that was the 12900k. The 12700k and 12600k, running a few hundred MHz slower, show much better perf/watt in both productivity and gaming benchmarks then the 12900k does. Locked parts like the 12400 and lower clocked server parts will likely be much more competitive then the maxed out desktop part.

Under working load the 12700k pulled 90 watts less power then the 12900k, with the only difference being lower boost clocks and a smaller l3 cache (and ironically 4 less efficiency cores). With the server parts running 800-1000 mhz slower I'd bet they will pull power considerably closer to AMD for the performance.

EDIT: I should mention that while pulling less power the 12700k is still faster in many games then everything else but the 12900k.
 
Last edited:

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
To remind, Alder Lake is huge core that runs very hot. It has no chance against AMD on server side. And current Ryzen 5000 chips are essentially server chips downgraded on desktop. Even if AMD would just make Zen3 for desktop, it would be on par with Alder Lake.

Also with Alder Lake you must pair it with DDR5 to get full speed. Something that costs fortune.
Unsure why you think you need DDR5 for Alder lake. Every review recommends you don’t buy DDR5 and according to the tests a 12600K beats out a 5800X with DDR4 plugged in just fine.
 
Hmm. We can perhaps call the 12400F performance the result of intel net gains on IPC. They're pretty solid but if we could extrapolate a little bit from this reviewer's results (The article is on French but even if you'd somehow struggle to understand it there's enough straight forward graphs anyway) you can see that Alder Lake IPC is like 10-15% ahead of AMD

Strong results don't get me wrong, but to get that top crown it looks like intel not so much decided they wanted to do BIG-little architecture but well, HAD TO just to be able to keep the chips from literally melting down due to the power and heat they're generating. At the risk of speaking too soon, it looks like intel's situation on their fabs just hasn't improved at all and they're getting creative to get around their limitations while still being able to compete.

I think AMD reply to Alder Lake will surprise intel and I'm sure Lisa is going to lean very hard on power efficiency and "green" characteristics.

Um, haven't you heard? AMD is also going the same big.little route soon so there goes your little "theory".
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,249   +4,363
Um, haven't you heard? AMD is also going the same big.little route soon so there goes your little "theory".
After a certain point every single processor will have to go down that route: we're literally nearing the edge of physics when it comes to manufacturing processors and we will be unable to miniaturize further rather soon.

So let's rephrase: I can concede that intel is very good at performance at this point in case it wasn't clear previously. But can you honestly sit here and tell us that intel hasn't had HUGE fabrication issues for many years at this point? They used to be absolute leaders and then got stuck on 14nm for what amounts to a lifetime in terms of how quickly microprocessors have been improving by the competitors.

So yes: AMD plans on big-little architecture, probably soon. But that has no bearing on what I stated previously: intel pretty much had to jump into that architecture too early and it was not done to have a very big technological leap but was done to compensate for their lack of progress on manufacturing, regardless of whenever AMD does the same sooner or later.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,462   +1,369
Hmm. We can perhaps call the 12400F performance the result of intel net gains on IPC. They're pretty solid but if we could extrapolate a little bit from this reviewer's results (The article is on French but even if you'd somehow struggle to understand it there's enough straight forward graphs anyway) you can see that Alder Lake IPC is like 10-15% ahead of AMD

Strong results don't get me wrong, but to get that top crown it looks like intel not so much decided they wanted to do BIG-little architecture but well, HAD TO just to be able to keep the chips from literally melting down due to the power and heat they're generating. At the risk of speaking too soon, it looks like intel's situation on their fabs just hasn't improved at all and they're getting creative to get around their limitations while still being able to compete.

I think AMD reply to Alder Lake will surprise intel and I'm sure Lisa is going to lean very hard on power efficiency and "green" characteristics.

Well we already know what's coming in Zen4. We will get two class of chips, Zen4 and Zen 4D and Zen 4D is a stripped down Zen 4 in terms of caches etc but with up to 32 cores that will be a multi-thread monster. The Zen 4D cores will kill Gracemont which will be reused in Raptor Lake too. Reports are IPC will be 10-30% weaker than Zen 4, but for many people multi-thread is whats important. However, the biggest news is Zen 5 is Big.little and the real kicker is the "little" cores will be Zen 4D cores. Zen 5 vs Meteor Lake will be a pretty massive fight as Meteor Lake brings huge changes and replaces Gracemont.

So yes AMD will not be laying down next year and Raptor Lake will face stiff competition.
 

Skjorn

Posts: 716   +586
To remind, Alder Lake is huge core that runs very hot. It has no chance against AMD on server side. And current Ryzen 5000 chips are essentially server chips downgraded on desktop. Even if AMD would just make Zen3 for desktop, it would be on par with Alder Lake.

Also with Alder Lake you must pair it with DDR5 to get full speed. Something that costs fortune.
I think you missed what I'm saying. 1st gen Ryzen was pretty meh just like Alder Lake is.
 

TheWatcher

Posts: 12   +10
Definitely looks like AMD could beat them easily. Either intel doesn't care about efficiency or they just could not do it.
 
Last edited:

Yenega

Posts: 302   +206
This is great, AMD is back to focus on price/performance instead of milking. They are no longer in a position to price their chips high and hold back cheaper Non-X SKUs (Ryzen 5600 never came out because 5600X was selling fine, for example).

5800X is already down to 299 dollars in both US and UK. That's cheap.

Alder Lake is just a taste of things to come. Like Ryzen 1st gen. Brand new stuff, so AMD better be prepared; They are not fighting 14nm chips anymore.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,885   +4,898
TechSpot Elite
I think you're going to see a bulldozer like regression from AMD. It won't be near as bad but it will be similar. These new chips from intel kinda feel like 1st gen Ryzen. It's new. It's better than what they've been providing but it's early in the life of a new arc. I think intels resurgence will be more dominant that what amd has done with ryzen.
I doubt it with what we've seen so far. Prices have already begun to adjust for AMD and while Zen4 will be competitive, it's Zen 5 + Zen 4D that Intel should fear. It looks like a monster combo if AMD can manage to deliver 20-30 IPC gains each generation (at least for these 2 generations, zen4 and zen5)
 
Last edited:

HardReset

Posts: 1,761   +1,437
You need to remember that was the 12900k. The 12700k and 12600k, running a few hundred MHz slower, show much better perf/watt in both productivity and gaming benchmarks then the 12900k does. Locked parts like the 12400 and lower clocked server parts will likely be much more competitive then the maxed out desktop part.

Under working load the 12700k pulled 90 watts less power then the 12900k, with the only difference being lower boost clocks and a smaller l3 cache (and ironically 4 less efficiency cores). With the server parts running 800-1000 mhz slower I'd bet they will pull power considerably closer to AMD for the performance.

EDIT: I should mention that while pulling less power the 12700k is still faster in many games then everything else but the 12900k.
Same applies for AMD's CPU's too. Nothing new there.

No. AMD's server parts are also much lower clocked and AMD desktop Ryzen CPU's are already server parts. Moving from desktop to server will cause performance penalty and Ryzens CPU's already has most of penalties except clock speeds but Alder Lake CPU's are desktop chips. Intel won't have anything against AMD on servers for a while. Except some niche scenarios of course.

Unsurprisingly, games still have problems using cores. Meaning less cores means less power usage but almost save speed on gaming.
Unsure why you think you need DDR5 for Alder lake. Every review recommends you don’t buy DDR5 and according to the tests a 12600K beats out a 5800X with DDR4 plugged in just fine.
But why bother with DDR4 when DDR5 is available? Who buys totally new DDR4 platform with tons of problems that still supports DDR5? About only real advantage with Alder Lake platform is DDR5 support. And now buyers should ditch it "because DDR4 is good enough". That means there are no valid reasons to go with Alder Lake. Few percentage faster on benchmarks is not a lot when there are tons of non-working games.
I think you missed what I'm saying. 1st gen Ryzen was pretty meh just like Alder Lake is.
Meh? Offering comparable performance against Intel's $1000 dollar chip for around $500? Meh? No, revolutionary.