The six-core/12-thread Core i5-11600Okay ($262) shuttles a little bit of stability into the launch of Intel’s 11th Technology (“Rocket Lake”) line of newly launched desktop CPUs. The primary signal of Rocket Lake launch wobble was the untimely gross sales by a reseller, and subsequent early testing, of the Core i7-11700Okay chip a couple of weeks again. Then there’s the Core i9; we’re nonetheless within the depths of fixing some points with our testing of the corporate’s flagship Intel Core i9-11900Okay. The Core i5-11600Okay has proved a sturdier look into what we are able to hope to anticipate out of Intel’s line of upcoming CPUs. 

Single-core efficiency, as ever, stays an Intel power. The Core i5-11600Okay scored impressively in lots of single-core runs that had favored AMD’s $299 six-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 5600X up to now, and it additionally makes a case for itself towards the previous-generation Intel Core i5-10600Okay. The gaming outcomes had been a bit back-and-forth towards the competitors, and the required platform improve (to the LGA 1200 socket) may be too expensive an entry burden for some midrange-component consumers. However for the Intel trustworthy in search of a stable chip to make use of with a video card to PC-game on a price range, the Core i5-11600Okay is a strapping entry right into a barely crowded, however continually evolving, section of the market.

Intel Core i5-11600Okay Specs: An Improve on the Midrange

To begin off, when you’d want a deeper dive into all of the 11th Technology goodness we have got to spare (together with information on motherboard compatibility and price of adoption), head on over to our evaluate of the Intel Core i9-11900Okay flagship chip to get all the main points.

For starters, although, this is how the assorted chips within the Rocket Lake lineup shake out. (Word that for legibility’s sake we have neglected the low-power 35-watt “T” variations of those chips, which will probably be of curiosity principally to OEMs.)

For the sake of this evaluate, let’s preserve issues easy and focus in on the Intel Core i5-11600Okay’s placement within the stack towards comparable Intel processors, in addition to what the competitors is as much as over at AMD…

The six-core/12-thread Intel Core i5-11600Okay represents the pillar of Intel’s midrange choices, and finds itself competing throughout the aisle with processors like AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X ($299), the Ryzen 5 3600X ($249), the Ryzen 3 3300X ($120) in gaming, particularly.

For the primary time in what seems like without end, although, Intel is now sniping down AMD’s pricing, somewhat than issues being the opposite manner round. AMD, with its XT chips of the Ryzen 3000 Sequence and the newer chips within the Ryzen 5000 Sequence, has let its pricing rise a bit relative to earlier generations of Ryzen. The Ryzen 5 5600X retails for $299 (whether or not or not you may discover one at that worth is one other matter), and though Intel hasn’t modified its pricing mannequin because the $262 i5-10600Okay was launched final yr, AMD’s worth creep of $50 is the important thing to Intel’s edge this time round.

Over on Intel’s aisle, you’ll be able to see there are not any ground-shattering adjustments or enhancements on provide right here in contrast with the corporate’s personal previous-generation six-core/12-thread Core i5-10600Okay ($262), with only a 100MHz distinction separating the 2 on max enhance clock. (Once more, our Intel Core i9-11900Okay evaluate provides you with a greater perspective on how precisely Intel calculates what these clocks actually imply for efficiency.)

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Like most of the different chips within the Intel 11th Technology stack, the Core i5-11600Okay features a new Intel UHD Graphics 750 built-in graphics processor (IGP). Intel has some surprisingly stiff competitors on this regard, though AMD would not but have any processors with an IGP plus greater than 4 cores onboard in its 3000 or 5000 Ryzen strains. For the sake of comparability, the closest mannequin we are able to level to in Ryzen is the four-core/eight-thread AMD Ryzen 5 3400G with its Vega 11 onboard graphics, however do not let that decrease core depend idiot you—the 3400G has time and time once more confirmed itself a formidable APU foe.

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Lastly, Intel has no plans to incorporate a bundled cooler with its Core i5-11600Okay. This can be a miss in our books. As each a CPU with IGP and a midrange possibility that would present a baseline for upgrades later down the road, the Core i5-11600Okay could be, in our opinion, higher served by bundling a cooler.

The dearth of 1 is all the way down to this being one in all Intel’s unlocked “Okay” chips; the expectation is that the overclockers who purchase Okay-models will wish to deliver their very own cooler. The non-Okay Core i5 chips within the line, such because the Core i5-11500 and Core i5-11400 detailed above, have barely decrease clocks however will bundle an Intel inventory cooler. They get you an identical six cores and built-in graphics, and might be a greater worth when you’re not the overclocking sort.

Testing the Core i5-11600Okay: A Secure Six-Core Churner

We examined the Core i5-11600Okay on an Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero (Wi-Fi) Z590 motherboard, with 16GB of G.Talent reminiscence clocked to three,000MHz (for comparability with our earlier CPU critiques), and a Mushkin Pilot-E PCI Categorical boot SSD paired with a Samsung SSD 860 QVO SATA secondary drive.

All this was packed in ADATA’s XPG Invader chassis, fitted with a Deepcool GamerStorm Captain 240 EX 240mm liquid cooler, and an MSI 850-watt MPG A850GF energy provide. For our gaming checks, we used an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, at Founders Version clocks, as we have now on all latest mainstream and high-end CPU critiques.

We take a look at CPUs utilizing quite a lot of artificial benchmarks that supply proprietary scores, in addition to real-world checks utilizing shopper apps like 7-Zip, and 3D video games comparable to Far Cry 5. For chips on the tier of the Intel Core i5-11600Okay, we additionally run a number of video games utilizing the IGP alone, and not using a discrete video card. Included within the charts beneath is quite a lot of like-priced competing and sibling AMD and Intel CPUs.

CPU-Centric Assessments: A Stunning Begin

Over the past couple of years, Intel’s midrange choices have struggled towards AMD’s in productiveness duties. That is as a result of with the ninth Technology Core line, Intel nixed thread-doubling Hyper-Threading beneath the Core i9 degree. It restored it with 10th Technology and it is right here once more with 11th Gen Rocket Lake. So how did the Core i5-11600Okay, with its Hyper-Threading retained, fare as soon as all its threads had been put to the take a look at?

Sadly, there’s simply an excessive amount of that the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X does effectively for the Intel Core i5-11600Okay to grab any crowns right here, although the efficiency is definitely stable for the value if the 5600X is offered out (and at this price, who’re we kidding, it in all probability will be at any given time). There are specific benchmark runs detailed right here, comparable to Cinebench, the place the Intel Core i5-11600Okay states a robust case for its worth proposition towards AMD, being the cheaper chip. However then we transfer to outright core-eaters just like the 7-Zip benchmark, and we see a drop of practically 30% in efficiency versus the 12% hole in worth.

Our Handbrake run was simply 26 seconds off from the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, although the Intel Core i5-10600Okay appears to have them each beat by a hair, maintaining itself within the race as a still-viable possibility for worth hunters who do not thoughts staying again a era to save lots of. Our pure single-threaded process of changing songs in iTunes provides the Core i5-11600Okay a real probability to stretch its Turbo-powered legs, simply clearing Intel’s claims of “19% gen-over-gen IPC features,” with 20% quicker outcomes than the Core i5-10600Okay.

Gaming on the Midrange: Intel Core i5-11600Okay Body Charges With Discrete GPU

This is what we noticed in our financial institution of gaming checks with our GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card working the present. This top-end shopper graphics card is the first arbiter of efficiency at 4K with the entire CPUs that we have now laid out beneath. At 1080p, although, the cardboard will get out of the way in which a bit extra and lets the CPU variations shine. 

On this run of checks, the Core i5-11600Okay is aggressive with AMD, however it nonetheless loses out in most head-to-head battles towards the Ryzen 5 5600X. The Intel Core i5-11600Okay scores shut sufficient to the Ryzen 7 5800X to warrant a double-take in a few of our older-game runs (what we name our “legacy sport checks”), and in AAA titles like Far Cry 5, the Core i5-11600Okay comes inside a detailed sufficient distance to the Ryzen 5 5600X to show the price-to-performance ratio in its favor. That is the primary Intel processor to have truly stayed aggressive with AMD on worth shortly, although admittedly that is extra a product of AMD’s worth creep with its Ryzen 5000 chips than any engineering achievement or efficiencies on behalf of Intel.

Nevertheless, as at all times with these items, a little bit of context is so as. For instance, does the 11600Okay win flat out in Rainbow Six: Siege? Nope, that honor goes to the Ryzen 7 5800X with 421fps…however that is nonetheless 61fps quicker than the quickest monitor on cabinets at present, whereas the Core i5-11600Okay is simply 16 frames per second shy of hitting that golden 360Hz future-proof spec. In different phrases, a handful of frames both manner could not make a distinction in case your show cannot present them. So you may wish to be cognizant of the capabilities of your gaming monitor and its refresh price earlier than obsessing over a handful of frames by some means.

Gaming on Built-in Graphics: Intel Core i5-11600Okay IGP Outcomes

As a midrange chip, the Intel Core i5-11600Okay straddles the road as a chip that may energy video games together with a discrete GPU, in addition to a chip that may run the present all by itself with the assistance of its onboard Iris Xe-based UHD Graphics 750 silicon.

We run lower-end CPUs which have IGPs via a sequence of video games tuned to both near-lowest, or the bottom, settings at a 1,280-by-720-pixel decision (720p), in addition to at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (1080p). Here’s what we noticed with this lot…

Fairly good for Intel built-in graphics; as you’ll be able to see, the Intel UHD Graphics 630 cannot even carry the UHD 750’s coat. There’s undoubtedly a transparent uplift in efficiency when evaluating the earlier era of Intel UHD 630 Graphics choices.

Nevertheless, the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G proves as soon as once more to be probably the greatest CPUs with an IGP within the enterprise for budget-minded players, often beating out the Core i5-11600Okay by no small margin. Even the lesser Radeon Vega graphics on the Ryzen 3 3200G (in idea, a $99 CPU, if you’ll find one as of late at that worth) topped the UHD 750 within the Core i5-11600Okay. This reveals some nice strides for Intel built-in graphics, however AMD’s G 3000 Sequence chips nonetheless have it beat for tight-budget players in search of CPU and GPU energy in a single chip. And rumor has it that new 5000 Sequence Ryzen G chips are coming within the first half of this yr. Look out.

A Transient Take a look at Overclocking and Thermals

The Intel Core i5-11600Okay by no means topped 86 levels C in our stress testing; nonetheless, that determine might be all the way down to the overkill 240mm AIO liquid cooling system utilized in our testbed. The Intel Core i5-11600Okay rests proper on the road of the place a bigger air cooler or a smaller liquid loop may obtain comparable outcomes, so finally which you go along with will probably be extra in regards to the obtainable area in your case (and your price range) than the quantity of cooling energy you’ll be able to anticipate the i5-11600Okay to profit from.

As the midrange possibility for Intel’s overclocker crowd, we got down to get a considerable enhance out of our Intel Core i5-11600Okay, solely to be met with disappointment when most of our makes an attempt to get it off the clock-speed floor degree resulted in bluescreen after bluescreen. As talked about above, we have been noticing some stability points with our newest BIOS construct in our Asus Z590 testbed. (Our evaluate of the Core i9-11900Okay has extra element on all that.) However keep tuned as we proceed to work with Asus to try to discover a resolution to those issues hopefully within the close to future.

Verdict: Intel’s Saving Grace

As Intel’s most present performance-minded midrange choice to hit cabinets, the Core i5-11600Okay is a dutiful, if a bit stodgy, entry into {the marketplace}. Given the selection between it and the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, even with the value distinction in Intel’s favor it is nonetheless AMD’s sport. However Intel has not less than discovered a approach to keep in play.

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Our testing of the Intel Core i5-11600Okay wasn’t stalled by any of the identical points we bumped into whereas making an attempt to get the Intel Core i9-11900Okay working at spec, which is a plus regardless of the way you slice it. The chip ran significantly cooler than the aforementioned Core i9, and it by no means confirmed an oz. of the soundness points in the midst of our normal testing, solely slipping up as soon as we tried to use some aftermarket overclocks on a platform that does not appear to reply effectively to them simply but. The “Okay” a part of this chip stays dormant up to now, not less than for us. We anticipate that to vary as BIOSes do.

In the event you’ve been ready to improve an older-generation Intel midrange CPU, the Core i5-11600Okay needs to be a consideration, particularly in case you are one of many Intel trustworthy who desires a light-gaming system on a chip that beats out venerable UHD Graphics 630 implementations. However for that particular utilization case, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3400G once more swoops in to show itself because the superior IGP-based gaming possibility, inserting the Intel Core i5-11600Okay squarely again in a job that is grown all too acquainted for Intel of late: a really workable resolution, however trailing in AMD’s digital mud.


  • Sturdy single-threaded efficiency

  • Doubles most integrated-graphics outcomes of equal 10th Technology Intel chips

  • Would not run too sizzling

  • Respectable body charges with a discrete video card

  • Aggressive pricing versus AMD’s equal Ryzens

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The Backside Line

The midrange Core i5-11600Okay is a six-core, 11th Technology CPU simply quick sufficient to maintain Intel’s new “Rocket Lake” chips within the sport towards robust AMD opposition.

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