Comparing 5 Generations of Intel i5 Processors! 12600K vs 11600K vs 10600K vs 9600K vs 8600K

Ive compared the last 5 generations of Inteli5 processor in both games and applications tohelp you find out if its time to upgrade or ifyou can save some money getting an older model. These are the differences in specs betweenthese 5 generations of Intel i5 processors.The main differences are of course the core andthread counts, cache sizes and clock speeds,though the speeds arent everythingas there are of course various IPCimprovements each generation.

The newest 12th genalso changes things up by adding efficiency cores,which is how theyve been able toget the i5 to a 16 thread part. This is the system thats been usedfor all testing, so the same NZXT case,MSI Core Liquid S360 AIO and Noctua NT-H2 thermalpaste have been used for fair thermal results,however the motherboard and RAM have beenchanged as required depending on the platform.

You can find all hardware thats beentested in the description below the video. Another difference is that Intels 12th gen wasthe first to add DDR5 support, and while DDR4is also supported with some motherboards, Iveonly got a DDR5 board, so this is what Ive used.

Now the reason why Ive only done5 i5 processors is because these arewhat’s currently officially supported byWindows 11. Sure, I probably could havemade Windows 11 work on older hardware, butfact is I dont own any older i5s anyway,so Ive cut it off at the last 5i5s, plus 5 i5s just sounds better. Alright lets get into some application benchmarksfollowed by things like power draw and thermals,then well look at gaming afterwards as well ascost per frame to find out which is the best deal.

Lets start out with Cinebench R23, as its aneasy way to get a general idea of both singlethreaded and multi threaded performance. Ive gotthe newest 12th gen at the top, followed by 11th,10th, 9th and 8th gen underneath, so sorted bynewest to oldest down the bottom. Performancegets better with each newer generation, as youdexpect, however single core scores hardly changebetween 8th and 10th gen. 11th Gen offers alarger 21% boost there, and then 12th gen was 22%ahead of 11th gen.

The multicore differencebetween 8th and 9th gen was basically nothing,while the difference going from11th to 12th gen was a massive 54%,and this is due to the addition of the E cores.

Linux kernel compilation is the only testIve done on Linux rather than Windows 11.This is a multi threaded test, and as for themost part the thread count of the i5 has improvedover the years, so its no surprise to see thenewer options completing the task faster.

Againthe difference between 8th and 9th gen wasnt thatbig, and 10th and 11th gen werent super differenteither as both of these sets have the same coreand thread count. 12th Gen is able to completethe compilation task 38% faster than 11th gen asthe addition of E cores boost total thread count. Blender was tested with the Open Data benchmark.

This is another multithreaded workload,and again its really obvious that the jumpbetween 9th and 10th gen was much bigger becauseIntel started giving the i5s hyperthreadinghere, I guess they needed something to makeit different.

Anyway 10th gen could complete thelonger classroom render 44% faster than 9th gen,while the newest 12th gen still has a healthy34% lead compared to 11th gen just before it. The V-Ray benchmark is another heavymulti-threaded rendering workload.Once more only a very minor differencegoing from 8th to 9th gen. I know youcan at least do a drop in replacement as bothprocessors should work on the same motherboard,but going from the 8600K to the9600K doesnt really seem worth it,maybe consider an i7 instead.

Otherwise 10th gencan offer a 41% boost over 9th gen due to theaddition of hyperthreading. Going up to 11th genwas still able to score 18% higher than 10th gen,but then 12th gen was again 41% ahead of 11thgen, so the same boost as going from 9th to 10th. The Corona benchmark also uses theprocessor to render out a scene,and again similar sort of deal. 8th and 9th genare fairly close, and same with 10th and 11th gen,only minor gains, while the latest 12th gen wascompleting the task 35% faster than 11th gen. Handbrake was used to convert one of my 4K 60 FPSlaptop review videos to 1080p.

This workload alsorelies on more cores and threads, but for somereason the 9th gen i5-9600K was 9 seconds slowerthan the 8th gen i5-8600K. I didnt expect this,and honestly in terms of a percentage differenceits kind of within margin of error anyway.

10thgen was only completing this task 12% fasterthan 9th gen, less of a difference compared to anumber of multithreaded workloads tested so far.Interestingly the jump from 10th to 11th gen wasactually larger at 27%, not too bad consideringhow useless people say 11th gen is, granted12th gen had a bigger 45% gain over 11th gen. Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget Systemsbenchmark tool, and this tests video editing taskslike exporting, playback and more.

Again highestscore with the 12600K at the top, which was24% ahead of the 11600K before it. The biggestgenerational improvement out of the last five. The gap was a little smaller in DaVinciResolve, another video editing suite,where the 12600K was scoring 16% higher thanthe 11600K. Like many of the other tests,only small improvements to be had going from 8thto 9th gen, but the difference between 8th and12th gen was 57%, so much larger improvementsto be had if you havent upgraded for a while. I also usually test Adobe Photoshop, howeverWindows 11 plus Intel 12th gen has knownissues that prevented the test from running, sorather than just not include Photoshop data Ithought the other 4 generations were stilluseful and figured this helps illustratethat 12th gen is still a new platform withsome teething issues that need to be fixed.

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Now for some office tasks, this is basicallythe new PCMark and covers Microsoft Excel,Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, andthe general trend is that 12th genoffers the biggest boost comparedto previous generational jumps.

Ive used 7-Zip to test compression anddecompression speeds. 8th and 9th gen arejust embarrassingly close, at least 11thgen has some obvious gains over 10th gen,and then 12th gen also offersdecent improvements comparatively. AES encryption and decryption had thebiggest improvements with 12th gen. 8th,9th and 10th gen were all essentiallythe same, until 11th gen offered a 22%boost, but then 12th gen destroys11th gen with a 47% boost.

I dont personally rely on Geekbenchscores at all, but you guys ask forit and the results are fairly similarto what we saw earlier with Cinebench.

Heres how much better the 9th gen i5-9600K wascompared to the 8th gen i5-8600K just before it,so only Handbrake was slightly ahead on the8600K, though the small difference is wellwithin the margin of error. On average the9th gen i5 was 3.6% faster than 8th gen,at least out of these specific workloads.These tests include a number of random singleand multi threaded tests, so this averageonly applies to this selection of tests.

Theres a much bigger difference when comparingthe 10th gen i5 against the 9th gen i5, where the10th gen 10600K was 24% ahead of the 9600K, andthis is because 10th gen enabled hyperthreading,resulting in big boosts to multithreadedworkloads found near the top of the graph,while single threaded gains were much lower down. Then after that the jump with 11thgen was about 17% ahead of 10th gen,again when comparing these specific applications.While generally not much of a difference,the single threaded tests towards the topdid see fairly reasonable gains with 11th gencompared to the difference between 10th and 9th.

12th gen is where the biggest generationaldifference is though. Were seeing thei5-12600K nearly 32% ahead of thei5-11600K in these same tests,the biggest overall difference when comparingeach generation to the one that came out after it.

Although 12th gen clearly had thebiggest generational improvement,what Ive done so far is compare each generationto the next, and fact is, most people dont goand buy one i5 and then the next i5 next yearand the new one after that etc, so now letsfind out how the older i5s compare against12th gen and find out if its worth upgrading.

If we compare 8th gen to 12th gen in thesame applications, well the 12600K hasa massive 99% lead. While we only saw smallerdifferences comparing between each generation,things really start to add up by the time youlook back between 5 different generations. 12th gen still has a good lead over 9th gen too,as the differences between 8th and 9th gen werequite small for the most part, with the 12600Kperforming around 91% better in these tests. The 12600K was then around 55% aheadof the 10th gen i5, as 10th gen addedhyperthreading this closed the gap a bit,and then 12th gen was 32% ahead of 11th gen.

So weve established that the newest 12thgen i5 performs the best, but despite thisin Blender it actually wasnt drawing as muchpower from the wall when compared to 11th gen.Now it is important to note that Im measuringtotal system power draw from the wall here,and there are component changes between11th and 12th gen including motherboardand RAM. Still though, the fact that 12thgen isnt using more power than 11th genwhile also completing this particularBlender task 34% faster really driveshome how much of an improvement Alder Lake is,or how crap Rocket Lake was, take your pick.

Although 12th gen was using less power than11th gen, the 12600K was running at the sametemperature as the 11th gen 11600K, whilethe 10th gen 10600K was only a degree warmer,basically the same. This is in contrast to whatwe saw with my previous i7 comparison, where 12thgen was about 10 degrees warmer.

Im guessing 9thand 8th gen were around 10 degrees cooler owingto them not having hyperthreading, but as weveseen the performance is much lower as a result. Lets check out some games next. Weregoing to compare all 5 i5 processorsin 10 different games at 2 different resolutions.

Far Cry 6 was tested with the games benchmark.Ive got the 1080p results on the bottom halfof the graph and the 1440p results above,again with oldest results down the bottommoving up to newer processors above.

In thisgame we can see that there are performanceimprovements to average frame rates with newerprocessors, even at the higher 1440p resolution,something which isnt the case in a number ofgames as well see. That said, the 1% lows on11th gen actually took a nose dive compared tothe older 10th gen before it.

At 1080p, 12th genwas reaching a 38% higher average FPS comparedto 8th gen, 33% higher compared to 9th gen, 19%higher compared to 10th gen and 9% highercompared to 11th gen just before it. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested in the same part ofthe game on all 5 processors. In this one theperformance difference is basically nothingwhen it comes to the higher 1440p resolution,at least in terms of average FPS, because theresa much more obvious difference noted in the 1%lows where 10th gen and newer were at least 28%higher.

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These 1% low differences are also seen atthe lower 1080p resolution too. Going from 9thto 10th gen boosts 1% low performance by 48%,so a much more stable experience on 10th genor newer, and a big difference between a singleprocessor generation.

Otherwise comparatively,the gains were smaller on the newer CPUs,with 12th gen just 5% higher in average FPScompared to 10th gen and 3% higher than 11th gen. Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in theSydney landing challenge. 12th gen was reachinga 19% higher average frame rate compared to8th gen at 1080p, 13% higher than 9th gen,7% higher than 10th gen and just 1% or 1 FPSdifference compared to 11th gen just before it,with a similar sort of improvement between thegenerations at the higher 1440p resolution too.

Watch Dogs Legion was tested with thegames benchmark, and this one had massivegains going from 8th or 9th gen to somethingnewer. At 1080p the 10600K was reaching 37%higher average FPS than the 9600K that cameout just before it, but check out the 1% lows,even those from 10th gen were ahead of theaverage FPS coming out of the 9th gen i5.12th gen was still able to offera 13% boost over 11th gen, or 21%more FPS compared to 10th gen, but compared to thelower 8th gen result, well 12th gen was 72% ahead,a fairly big difference.

I guess this gamereally needs more than 6 threads to perform well,considering were getting about the same resultsat both 1080p and 1440p, implying a bottleneck. Control on the other hand is a GPU heavygame, which is likely why were seeing someof the smallest differences in this gameout of all 10 titles tested.

Best case,the 12th gen processor was only able to offer a 4%higher average frame rate compared to 8th gen atthe lower 1080p resolution, so just goes to showthat in some games like this a CPU upgrade isntreally going to help, you could definitelysave money with a cheaper older generation,and that would also apply at higherresolutions like 4k in most games. F1 2021 was tested with the games benchmark,and was similar to some of the other games wherethere were clear differences in 1% low performancebetween 9th and 10th generations, where the higherthread count of 10th gen and newer seems to offernice improvements.

Even average FPS is lifted up,as 10th gen was reaching a 20% higheraverage frame rate compared to 9th gen,meanwhile 12th gen and 11th gen were basicallythe same, just a couple of frames difference,honestly not something youre likelyto actually notice while playing. Now lets get into the weirder results. RainbowSix Siege was tested with the games benchmark,and the results arent too strange,though the 1% lows from 9th gen werebehind 8th gen for some reason, and then11th gen was also behind 10th gen as well.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was also tested with thegames benchmark. Again at 1080p the 9th gen i5was doing worse than 8th gen, and this time 11thgen was slightly ahead of 12th gen, the only timethis happened in all 10 of the games tested. Thiswas only at 1080p though, because at the higher1440p resolution the results are looking about asexpected, where newer processors perform better.

Assassins Creed Valhalla was alsotested with the games benchmark,and the results were just all over the placehere. The 1% lows consistently improve withnewer processors, but the average frame ratesdont make a whole lot of sense.

The 9th gen9600K was actually giving the highest averageFPS, something that I also noticed when I didthis same testing but between 5 generations of i7processors, so I can only start to conclude thatfewer threads or something specific about9th gen boosts average FPS in this test. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was again tested withthe games benchmark, and again 1080p was lookingfine, progressively improving with newer CPUsas youd expect, but once more the 1440p theresults get a little messier, with 9th gen comingout ahead of both 8th and 10th gen, though it isonly a 3 frame difference.

Again this was alsosomething that I noted in the i7 comparison too,Ill leave a link in the descriptionto it if you want to check it out next. Here are the average frame rates for all 5processors at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions.At both resolutions theres always more frames tobe had with a newer processor, but the differenceis better with some than others.

Like theproductivity workloads earlier, the differencebetween 8th and 9th gen was much smaller thanthe others.

Going up to 10th gen from 9th genoffered the biggest performance improvement. At1080p 11th gen then gave us about 8 FPS extra,then 12th gen was another 8 FPS or so improvementon top of that. Theres a bit less of a differenceat the higher 1440p resolution as processorsjust matter less as we get more GPU bound. Heres how things look in terms of valueonce we factor in current prices at Newegg.

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Right now the oldest 8th gen i5-8600Kis actually the worst value at 1080p,because its the second mostexpensive right now at $258 USD.This is generally the case with older CPUs ifyoure buying them new, when theyre not madeanymore stock becomes more limited, though thereis also the second hand market. Anyway the 10thgen 10600K was offering the best value at both1080p and 1440p resolutions. Yeah 11th gen and12th gen were generally performing better, butyouve got to pay more for that performance.Plus lets not forget this is only accountingfor processors only, its a different storyif you factor in a new motherboard and RAM,because right now 12th gen also requires z690.

The value is a bit different if we instead useone of the applications tested earlier. Thisgraph shows that the 12th gen i5 was offeringmuch better value in terms of Cinebench R23performance when it came to multi core, whileit was in 2nd place in terms of single coreperformance. Basically the point here is thatin more productivity style workloads, generally12th gen offers more value compared to olderprocessors, which wasnt what we saw in gaming. So for the most part, theres generallyless of a difference between these 5 i5processors when it comes to gaming, but aswe saw earlier in productivity workloads,the differences could be much greater. We alsosaw that CPU choice matters less in games athigher resolutions like 1440p, and the differencewould be even smaller at the higher 4K resolution.

But at the lower 1080p resolution, processorselection could make more of a difference,though it depend on the game. From the gamingdata that I collected, if youve already got 10thor 11th gen its probably not worth upgrading to12th gen, especially as youll have to upgrade themotherboard and potentially the memory if yougo to DDR5, and generally speaking in most gamesthe FPS difference wasnt all that big. But onthe other hand if you have 8th or 9th gen thenupgrading to 12th gen could offer some prettynice gains. I mean in some games even going from9th gen to 10th gen was quite a big jump, againit just depends on the game and setting levels.

At the end of the day, even if you are running anolder CPU if your system does everything you needof it then theres no real reason to upgrade.

Its only really worth considering somethingnewer that performs better if your old systemisnt doing what you want of it anymore, andif thats the case and youre looking for an i5processor then this video should have you covered.

Now of course Intel is by nowmeans the only CPU maker in town,check out this video next if you want to see howthe i5-12600K compares against the Ryzen 5 5600X,and of course make sure youre subscribedfor when AMDs new Ryzen processors withV-Cache come out in early 2022, as Illbe comparing those against Intel CPUs..

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