One of Intel’s best value CPUs for gaming is even better value than usual this week, as the Core i5 12400F is down to just £125 at Amazon. That’s more than £75 cheaper than the 13th and 14th-gen equivalents, which add on only meagre levels of performance, and a great price for a CPU that can use the same DDR4 or DDR5 motherboards with PCIe 5.0 support. If you’re building an Intel-based gaming PC, I’d argue that this is the best budget option going!
The 12400F is a six-core, 12-thread CPU that turbos up to 4.4GHz; by comparison the 14400F is a 10-core 16-thread that tacks on four extra efficiency cores and a 300MHz higher boost clock. That makes it a better choice – and probably worth the extra money – for anyone that wants to speed up heavily multi-threaded tasks like 3D rendering or video production, though a higher-tier Intel CPU would provide an even more meaningful speed-up.
Where the 12400F excels is in its broadly similar single-core speed, where there’s less of a difference between the two models. Thankfully for gaming, most CPUs don’t use all available cores, making the 12400F quite close to the 14400F – around a 20 percent to 25 percent is the most you’re likely to see in CPU-limited gaming scenarios, with this gap narrowing substantially as resolutions increase to 1440p or 4K.
You have a choice of pairing the 12400F with DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, based on which motherboard you pick up. Previously I recommended DDR4 as it was the significantly cheaper option while being only a little slower, but as the generation wears on DDR5 kits have become increasingly affordable and these now seem like the better option even for mid-range systems. Still, you can’t go too far wrong either way!