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i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K [7 Games Tested]

Both the Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K processors go head-to-head, disallowing either to catch the lead. But, only one can be victorious!

When talking about processors, Intel’s newer processors are always in the limelight. Of course, AMD processors are not far behind, but popular choices still align with Intel products. Along with Intel’s latest 13th gen processors, it’s the perfect time to look into multiple older products. Therefore, the current article compares the Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K processors. Even though both processors are generations old, they are not obsolete in terms of performance. Before we move on to the specifications, let’s glance at the 11th and 12th gen architectures!

Key Takeaways

  • The Intel Core i7-11700K is one of the higher-end processors for Intel’s Rocket Lake. On the other hand, the Intel Core i5-12600K is one of the mid-range processors for Intel’s Alder Lake.
  • There is only a minimal difference in gaming performance between both processors.
  • Looking at the MSRP prices, the Intel Core i7-11700K is ~38.06% more expensive than the Intel Core i5-12600K.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K has four extra cores than the Intel Core i7-11700K, allowing for better performance.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K can be operated as two PCs in one due to its hybrid core architecture, utilizing P and E cores.

Intel 11th Vs 12th Gen Architecture

Knowing the architectural differences of processors is an important part of choosing which processor you should buy. For example, a consumer wouldn’t necessarily buy a 12th gen processor if they don’t want to take advantage of the hybrid architecture and DDR5 RAM. We have a complete guide on 11th gen vs 12th gen to know everything in-depth.

Rocket Lake โ€” Intel 11th Gen Architecture

“Rocket Lake” is the codename designated for Intel’s 11th gen processors. As such, following the tick-tock model that Intel follows for its generational developments, Rocket Lake is based on the “tock” model. To explain, the “tick” model envelops a new architecture with innovative improvements. On the other hand, the “tock” model represents minor adjustments within the previous architecture to improve performance.

So, if you’re on a 10th gen Intel processor, buying a 12th gen or 13th gen Intel processor will yield higher performance gains. However, the 11th gen processors still fare well on the battleground of raw performance.

Intel 500 Series Chipset

Intel 500 series chipset
Intel 500 series chipset summary.

Since the Intel 500 series chipset is based on the LGA 1200, it supports both Intel 10th and 11th series processors. Furthermore, we see four chipsets, the Z590, H570, B560, and H510. Alongside compatibility with the Intel 400 series chipset, the Intel 10th and 11th series processors have a plethora of compatible motherboards.

Firstly, the new Intel 500 series chipset brings greater USB 3.2 connectivity, WiFi 6E, and Thunderbolt 4. Also, with the 500 series chipset motherboards, consumers can overclock their memory using the B560 and H570 chipsets. In the past, however, only the “Z” chipsets could overclock the memory.

To conclude, a few other innovations include x8 DMI Gen 3.0 for double the bandwidth between the processor and chipset and 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes. Because of the Intel 500 series chipset, we see greater merits within the 11th gen processors.

Also Read: Z590 Vs B560

WiFi 6E

As discussed before, the Intel 11th gen processors come packed with compatibility for WiFi 6E. In brief, the latest advancement after WiFi 5, WiFi 6E, allows for a 1,200 MHz spectrum which lets multiple users connect within a small radius. Moreover, the WiFi 6E speeds up to 1 Gigabyte per second. So, users have nothing to worry about regarding ethernet connectivity and speed.

However, WiFi 6E has a shorter range than its predecessors, WiFi 5E and WiFi 2.4. Also, because the technology isn’t widely popular, only high-end Z590 motherboards come with integrated WiFi 6E. Therefore, if you wish to utilize the technology with an 11th gen Intel processor, ensure the motherboard has integrated WiFi 6E. Although, you can buy an adapter to use the technology on compatible motherboards too.

Also Read: Core i5-13600k vs i5-12600k

Lithography

While Intel had the means to do so, it limited the 11th gen processors to a 14nm lithography. On the other hand, Intel 10th gen laptop processors utilize a 10nm process node, making their decision difficult to understand.

However, a possible reason for Intel’s decision to keep using the 14nm process node could be due to compatibility issues. The process node was left unchanged to keep the 11th gen processors compatible with the 400 series chipset. Additionally, introducing the 500 series chipset allows for greater options for consumers with various budget spectrums. So, undeniably, Intel’s 11th gen processors utilize the LGA 1200 socket.

Nonetheless, not changing the process node for its 11th gen processors, Intel lost miserably against AMD’s 5000 series processors in terms of thermal efficiency.

Also Read: LGA 1200 Vs LGA 1700

Alder Lake โ€” Intel 12th Gen Architecture

Going towards Intel’s 12th gen architecture, we have the codenamed “Alder Lake” at stakes. While Rocket Lake is based on small adjustments from Intel’s Ice Lake, Alder Lake envelops the “tick” model. So, if you want to utilize a new architecture, you might want to upgrade to Intel’s 12th gen processors.

However, we shall later find out whether upgrading from 11th gen to 12th gen will provide you with better performance. Specifically, the Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K processors. Also, whether the Intel Core i5-12600K offers better performance per dollar value than its competitor stands as a mystery.

Hybrid Core Architecture

By far, the biggest innovation in Intel’s 12th gen processors is the implementation of the hybrid core architecture. Inspired by ARM’s big.LITTLE technology, Intel’s 12th, and 13th gen processors utilize two types of cores; the Performance (P) and Efficiency (E) cores.

To explain, there are two different cores within the same processor chip, unlike the traditional core chipset design. The P-cores are the bigger, main cores that handle stressful tasks. On the other hand, E-cores are smaller cores responsible for handling background tasks, reducing stress for the P-cores.

Furthermore, to better utilize the properties of both cores, Intel has collaborated with Microsoft to integrate better windows scheduling in Windows 11. So, if you upgrade to Intel’s 12th gen processors, we suggest upgrading to Windows 11 for better performance. Although, you’ll barely find a 1-2% performance increment in games.

Moreover, each P-core has two threads per core, while each E-core has one thread per core. Therefore, we see an unconventional number of threads and cores with these 12th and 13th gen processors. Also, you can have two computers in one by using the P and E-cores separately. Although it requires a few added optimizations, you can make the E-cores utilize Intel’s iGPU while the P-cores utilize the discrete graphics card.

DDR5 RAM Support

Sabrent Rocket DDR5 RAM
Sample Sabrent Rocket DDR5 – Image Credits: Tech4Gamers.

While DDR5 RAM has become more familiar, Intel’s 12th gen took the lead by being the first to offer compatibility. Not only does DDR5 RAM offer greater capacity per module, but it also offers higher speeds and better voltage regulation.

However, at the time of release, due to the pandemic, prices made most DDR5 RAM kits unaffordable for the masses. For that reason, it took more time for the technology to be adopted by more consumers.

While DDR5 RAM showcases amazing improvements on paper, the performance increase is almost negligible in a realistic environment. Although, you will find greater improvements in productive tasks due to the greater amount of RAM installed in the PC.

Moreover, Intel’s 12th gen processors are compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, so you can choose whichever you want. On the other hand, with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 series processors, we only see compatibility for DDR5 RAM, making consumers reluctant to upgrade.

Also Read: Ryzen 5 7600X Vs Intel i5-12600K

PCIe 5.0

PCIe lanes power a computer’s SSDs and graphics cards. Thus, lanes with higher bandwidth and transfer speeds are loved by most consumers. However, even the best RTX 3090 graphics cards don’t require PCIe 5.0, as PCIe 4.0 offers enough transfer speeds. Even so, we see that Intel’s 12th gen processors were the first to be compatible with PCIe 5.0 technology.

Now, while PCIe 5.0 won’t increase the performance of graphics cards, the technology will prove useful for incredible data transfers. To explain, PCIe 5.0 offers a bandwidth of 64 GB/s and a transfer speed of up to 32 GT/s. So, greater transfer speeds are beneficial for SSDs. As such, many companies have started producing PCIe 5.0 compatible storage devices, which improves the overall PC speeds.

Intel Core i7-11700K Vs 12600K -Specifications

After looking at the architectural differences between both processors, we must compare their on-paper specifications. Doing so makes it easier to compare both processors’ overall performance and the performance per dollar ratios.

CPU Name Intel Core i7-11700K Intel Core i5-12600K
Product Line Intel i7 series Intel i5 series
Product Generation Intel 11th generation Intel 12th generation
Core Architecture Rocket Lake-S Architecture Hybrid Core Architecture
Processing Node 14nm 10nm
Socket LGA 1200 LGA 1700
Motherboard Chipset Support Z590, H570, B560, H510, Z490, H470, B460, H410 Z690, H670, B660, H610, Z790
Number of Cores 8 6P, 4E = 10
Number of threads 16 12P, 4E = 16
L2 Cache 4 MB 9.5 MB
L3 Cache 16 MB 20 MB
Base Clock Speed 3.6 GHz 3.70 GHz for P-cores, 2.80 GHz for E-cores
Boost Clock Speed 5.0 GHz 4.9 GHz for P-cores, 3.6 GHz for E-cores
Power Draw 125W 125W
Integrated Graphics UHD Graphics 750 UHD Graphics 770
Memory Support DDR4 up to 3200 MHz DDR4 up to 3200 MHz, DDR5 up to 4800 MHz
PCIe Support PCIe 4.0 PCIe 4.0, PCIe 5.0
Launch Price $399 $289
Current Price $320 $248
Launch Date March 16, 2021 November 4, 2021
Best Motherboards   Motherboards for i5-12600K
Best Coolers   CPU Coolers for Core i5-12600K

The above table shows a distinctive difference between the Intel Core i7-11700K and the Intel Core i5-12600K processors. For example, starting from the process node, we see that the Alder Lake processor has a huge advantage in lithography.

Furthermore, we see greater cores for the Intel Core i5-12600K and compatibility with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM. However, both processors showcase the same power draw. Lastly, the Intel Core i7-11700K is ~29% more expensive than its competitor. So, the Rocket Lake processor must have a 29% greater performance to stand a chance against its Alder Lake rival.

More Comparisons: Core i7-12700K vs. Core i5-12600K

Gaming Benchmarks

When comparing two pieces of hardware, we must conduct practical tests to determine which is better. Through these tests, we can figure out the faster component and the component with the better performance per dollar ratio. For that reason, Hardware Test has conducted the gaming benchmarks for the Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K processors.

Testing Rig

  • Motherboard: Z590 & Z690
  • Graphics Card: RTX 3080 10 GB
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-12600K & Intel Core i7-11700K

Looking at the specifications of the testing rig, while we don’t know the exact model of most components, we have a general idea of the PC. For example, the Z590 is utilized for the Intel Core i7-11700K, and the Z690 chipset for the Intel Core i5-12600K.

While the Intel Core i5-12600K can use the Z790 motherboard, it was yet to release when the benchmarks were uploaded. So, both processors use the best chipset available in the market. Although we’re unsure of the exact model of both motherboards, we can expect them to be of high quality.

Furthermore, the RAM neatly complements the processors and the chipset. With a 32 GB DDR4 RAM kit, the testing rig will have no problems running even the heaviest applications. So, even if we don’t know the exact model of the RAM and its constituents, we can rest assured it will not interfere with the tests.

Moreover, we have the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card backing both processors. Because of the graphics card’s power, we will not see any GPU bottlenecking. On the other hand, we may see CPU bottlenecks due to the processors not being on par. But only the actual tests will tell us which component is bottlenecking and by how much.

Lastly, all the components complement each other and ensure they’re not bottlenecking. However, due to not knowing the exact components, we cannot be sure of any performance issues that may come up. Now, without further ado, let’s look at all the games that have been tested!

God Of War

God of war benchmark for i7 and i5 processors.
Testing God of War at ultra settings on a 1080P resolution.
  • The Intel Core i7-11700K averages 155 FPS, while the Intel Core i5-12600K averages 161 FPS.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K processor showcases a ~3.87% FPS increase than its rival, the Intel Core i7-11700K.
  • Even though the Intel Core i7-11700K is ~29% more expensive, it is ~3.87% slower than the Intel Core i5-12600K in God of War.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 performance test
Cyberpunk 2077 FPS benchmark test
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K averages 146 FPS. On the other hand, the Intel Core i7-11700K averages 140 FPS.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K is ~4.28% faster than the Intel Core i7-11700K, increasing the gap between both processors.
  • While the difference in performance isn’t too high because the Intel Core i5-12600K costs less, its value keeps increasing.

Hitman 3

Hitman 3 benchmarks.
Hitman 3 benchmarks at 1080P resolution.
  • The Intel Core i7-11700K averages 190 FPS, while the Intel Core i5-12600K averages 188 FPS.
  • Unlike the other benchmarks, the Intel Core i7-11700K has ~1.06% higher FPS than its competitor.
  • While the Intel Core i7-11700K is faster, a meagre ~1.06% difference is nothing compared with the ~29% greater price.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator FPS test.
Microsoft Flight Simulator benchmark test for Intel processors.
  • The FPS gap widens with the Intel Core i5-12600K averaging 104 FPS, while the Intel Core i7-11700K averages 98 FPS.
  • To calculate, the Intel Core i5-12600K is ~6.12% faster than the Intel Core i7-11700K in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone performance benchmark.
FPS benchmark test in Call of Duty: Warzone 
  • The Intel Core i7-11700K takes the lead by averaging 183 FPS, while the Intel Core i5-12600K averages 179 FPS.
  • The Intel Core i7-11700K is ~2.23% faster than the Intel Core i5-12600K in Call of Duty: Warzone.

Also Read: i5-12600k vs i9-9900k

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 FPS test for i7 and i5 processors.
Red Dead Redemption 2 performance benchmark at 1080P resolution.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K takes back its advantage by averaging 148 FPS, while the Intel Core i7-11700K averages 146 FPS.
  • Although a negligible increment, the Intel Core i5-12600K is ~1.36% faster than the Intel Core i7-11700K.

Witcher 3

Witcher 3 FPS test for i7 and i5 processors.
The Witcher 3 benchmarks at 1080P resolution with ultra settings.
  • The Intel Core i5-12600K increases its dominance with 215 FPS, whereas the Intel Core i7-11700K averages 201 FPS.
  • In The Witcher 3, the Intel Core i5-12600K is ~6.96% faster than the Intel Core i7-11700K.
  • Even though the Intel Core i7-11700K costs ~29% more, its performance is not on par with its competitor, let alone greater.

Also Check: Intel i7-12700K vs Intel i7-11700K

Benchmarks Verdict For Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K

After looking at all the gaming benchmarks, it’s time to decide on the verdict for which processor is better. Above all, the Intel Core i5-12600K processor is less expensive and fares on par with its competitor. Along with the architectural improvements that the Intel Core i5-12600K comes with, its strengths keep building.

Furthermore, looking at the overall average FPS attained by both processors, there is only a slight gap in performance. To explain, the Intel Core i7-11700K averages 1,113 FPS, whereas the Intel Core i5-12600K averages 1,141 FPS. So, the Intel Core i5-12600K is ~2.51% faster than the Intel Core i7-11700K.

Moreover, looking at the prices, the Intel Core i7-11700K is ~29% more expensive than the Intel Core i5-12600K. Even so, the latter manages a slight lead, making it the faster processor. For that reason, the Intel Core i5-12600K has better performance per dollar whilst also having higher performance.

Therefore, if you’re looking to upgrade between the Intel Core i7-11700K and the Intel Core i5-12600K, we recommend going with the latter. Faster performance and lower price is the best-case scenario for any component. However, that does not mean that the Intel Core i7-11700K is a bad processor. Rather, both processors have their ups and downs, as seen in the benchmarks.

Who Is This Article For?

By all means, the Intel Core i7-11700K Vs i5-12600K article is for consumers looking for an upgrade. With the insurgence of the Intel 13th-gen processors, prices have significantly dropped for the lower-gen processors. However, most of these processors still hold great performance per dollar value. For that reason, we’re covering the following article.

In any case, we first discussed the difference in the architectures of both processors and how the Intel Core i5-12600K offers more dynamic possibilities. For example, for the Intel 11th generation series processors, we looked into the Intel 500 series chipset, the latest WiFi 6E adaptation and the lithography. Moreover, for the Intel 12th generation series processors, we analyzed the hybrid core architecture, DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 compatibility.

Furthermore, we looked at the specifications of the Intel Core i7-11700K and the Intel Core i5-12600K and analyzed the difference in pricing. After that, we benchmarked seven games and came to a verdict on which processor consumers should buy.

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Abde Manaf
Abde Manaf
Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.

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