Intel Core i5-12600K gaming performance review — Indomitable value to performance

Intel core 12600k I5 Gaming Performance Review 12th Gen Benchmarks Alder Lake

Pricing and conclusion

This brings us to the conclusion of our gaming performance review of the Intel i5-12600K. We’re very impressed with the value, efficiency, and performance Intel’s brought to gaming with Alder Lake. For just $300 USD, you can now get a CPU that rivals high end options from previous generations. Gone are the days of closing out every excess program or even needing a streaming PC for that matter. The performance and efficiency gains plus the new features added this generation and last immediately separate it from older Intel CPUs.


Now that the more affordable B660 and H-600 Series motherboards are on the market, you don’t even need to fret about the expensive Z690 prices to get an impressive PC build going. You can also reuse your DDR4 memory in this configuration to save some extra cash. We see the 12600K as the new undisputed value choice for those building new systems who want to get a near premium experience without the premium cost.

With the 6 + 4 core configuration, this CPU is competently up to the task of handling todays games, and should perform fair enough in future AAA titles for several years to come. Its two fewer P-cores might become more of an issue over time though, so that’s something to just keep in mind. Still, you get the PCIe 5.0 support for graphics cards, PCIe 4.0 support for today’s fastest NVME SSDs, Resizable BAR support to improve framerates in certain games (when paired with a new GPU), and Windows 11 support for when more people eventually make the shift. There’s also point that the LGA 1700 socket will be compatible for at least one more generation, allowing users to upgrade to a stronger model without changing anything else in their PCs if desired.

Intel 12600k Packaging


As we’ve also shown, the 12600K is well equipped to keep up with powerful graphics cards with little to no performance bottlenecking at higher refresh rates. Considering today’s graphics card market, the option to save some money on a CPU that’s also plenty competent is welcome.

So should you buy the 12600K? That depends on your current setup, budget, and gaming performance aspirations. If you’re still using an older midrange/top-end CPU like an Intel 7700K or early AMD Ryzen model, an Intel 12th-gen CPU like the 12600K will feel like night and day, even if you’re just gaming. The upgrade is whole-heartedly recommended for these types of users. However, those with semi-recent eight-core or even six-core CPUs aren’t missing out too much if gaming between 60-144 fps is good enough.

You’ll also need to make the consideration of whether you already have a decent AM4 Ryzen motherboard that’s compatible with newer generation CPUs. If that’s the case for you, the Ryzen 5000 Series is still competitive overall with Alder Lake and going to be your most cost effective option for a CPU upgrade. If you’re building a new system though, we’d recommend going with Alder Lake. The 12600K offers excellent gaming performance, the socket will continue to be supported by Intel for at least one more generation, and you’ll get 10 total cores for just $300 USD. It being in stock for MSRP everywhere is also a nice breathe of fresh air.


Intel Core i5-12600K


Intel manages to make the i5 feel like a premium gaming CPU. Now that it comes with all of the latest features too, it's the clear choice for any cost conscious builder that wants to experience strong gaming performance while simultaneously retaining the option to stream and capture gameplay.

Kevin Foley
About The Author
Senior Staff Writer with PC Invasion since 2020, advocate for playing on the hardest difficulty options, and a graphics fanatic. Kevin's go-to gaming genres are shooters, RPGs, tactical strategy, and environmental puzzlers. His favorite franchises of all time include Halo, Mass Effect, Portal, KotOR, Super Smash Bros., Fortnite, and The Elder Scrolls. When he's not writing about games, he's investigating PC tech to see how it can improve gaming experiences.