Price vs. Performance

Before we wrap up this review we've put together a few price vs performance scatter plots to work out just how well the Core i5-8400 stacks up in terms of value.

In Premiere Pro CC the Core i5-8400 did exceptionally well, beating not just the Ryzen 5 1500X but also the R5 1600 by a convincing margin. Here we can see that the only CPU to deliver better value is the Ryzen 7 1700.

For those seeking maximum bang for their buck while achieving fast encode times, the R7 1700 is the best CPU to get. However, if you don't have $300 to spend on the just the processor then the Core i5-8400 presents a great value.

That said, if you pair the R7 1700 with a B350 motherboard and the Core i5-8400 on a Z370 board and factor in those costs, the Ryzen 7 CPU isn't a great deal more expensive. Even so, the i5-8400 still stacks up well and is again quite competitive.

What about Corona you ask? Here the Core i5-8400 was less impressive. For a little extra money the Ryzen 5 1600 offers quite a bit more performance and here we see that Intel's Coffee Lake i7 and i5 CPUs fall a bit short in this one. This one is by no means a slam dunk for the Core i5-8400.

Once we factor in entry-level motherboard prices the Ryzen 5 1600 looks to be considerably better value for these productivity workloads.

Lastly, let's take a look at the Ashes of the Singularity heavy batch results using the GTX 1080 Ti. For games that can utilize all six of the Core i5-8400's cores, it appears to offer a noticeable performance advantage over the Ryzen CPUs.

The Coffee Lake series really is the new king of gaming. I'm keen to see how the Ryen 5 1600 and Core i5-8400 stack up when testing 20 - 30 games and this is something I'll be doing in the not too distant future.

Although the Core i5-8400 still looks to be the best value option, including the motherboard prices makes for a much closer fight. Even though the Core i5-8400 is locked and can't be overclocked, its performance is still exceptional. I should also note that base clock overclocking isn't possible on these locked parts and on the boards I tested you couldn't enable enhanced cores either.

There is also the issue of memory performance. If you use a Z370 board then you can utilize high-speed memory and in certain situations that will help, but next year's B360 boards will likely be limited to lower speeds. We can say that with DDR4-2400 memory the gaming results are less impressive – quite a bit in some cases.

I still think it's pretty clear that adding two extra cores and some extra cache to the Core i5 range was a winning move, it's just a shame it took Intel so long. Anyway, for $180 the Core i5-8400 is going to be hard to beat. As we said in our review of the Core i3 Coffee Lake chips, we still need affordable motherboards to really jump on the offer but things are looking good.

Depending on the application, the Core i5-8400 can be faster than the Ryzen 5 1600, though it can also be quite a bit slower so choose wisely for your specific needs.

You can of course overclock the R5 1600 and that's a comparison I'll explore soon with a heap of games. For now, one thing's for sure: the Core i5-8400 puts Ryzen in an awkward position when it comes to gaming and perhaps even the new Core i7 range for that matter.

Shopping Shortcuts:

Six high speed cores are going to be more than enough for the vast majority of gamers to play all the latest games without any frame hitches, while those seeking extreme frame rates for high refresh rate gaming shouldn't have any problem with these new Coffee Lake Core i5s either.


Pros: Intel's best value chip. Great for gamers across the board, decent at productivity, thermals in line with a 7700K.

Cons: Intel's B360 motherboards won't be available until 2018 and the cost of Z370 boards strains the value of this offer.