Intel Core i5 8400 Review – Best Gaming Processor In A Budget

Intel Core i5 8400 Review

We originally touched upon the features and capabilities of Intel’s 8th generation desktop processors and how the 8th generation Coffee Lake series was the biggest shakeup of Intel’s lineup in years thanks to the increased core-count and 35% boost in performance. Now that the new processor family is finally here, we have a review of the Intel Core i5 8400 processor, which sits at the midway mark of performance and price when it comes to Intel’s 8th generation processor lineup.

Core i5 8400 Review

As mentioned earlier, the 8th generation series of Intel’s Core desktop series processors was going to be the make or break point for the tech giant that has ruled the desktop processor market for years. With AMD’s latest Ryzen offerings, which deliver amazing performance and incredibly high processor core-count for multitasking while, staying considerably cheaper than Intel meant Intel had to come up with something truly exciting.

Core i5 8400 Review


Thankfully, that is what the manufacturer did and announced that the 8th generation processors will have their core-counts increased: quad-core i3 and hexa-core i5 and i7 processors on top of delivering about a 35% performance boost over the current 7th generation lineup. Traditionally in Intel’s case, the performance boost from generation to generation has usually been 10-15% so this was a pretty big claim from Intel but after seeing the Core i5 8400 desktop processor in action, we can safely say that the company came through.

Core i5 8400 Specifications and Architecture

The 8th generation Coffee Lake processors currently have two processors for each part of the family and the i5 series has the normal Core i5 8400 and the unlocked Core i5 8600K. Core i5 8400 is the first time Intel is doing six-core processors for the i5 family. Without hyperthreading, the i5 8400 packs six-cores and six threads, clocked at 2.8GHz with boost up to 4GHz. The processor has a TDP of 65W and features an L3 cache size of 9MB.

Intel 8th Generation processor improvements


Similar to the entire 8th Generation Coffee Lake series available right now, the Core i5 8400 processor is built on the 14nm++ architecture instead of the 10nm processing node which many have been hoping for a while that Intel would adopt. Despite the lack of unlocked cores and hyperthreading, the Core i5 8400 performs like a beast, especially when it comes to gaming which is usually the main target of the Core i5 series.

Core i5 8400 Benchmarks

Thanks to TPU, we have some benchmarks to share with you when it comes to gaming performance of Core i5 8400 Coffee Lake processor. Since most gamers use 1080p resolution, those are the ideal benchmark results to look at but that does not mean that the i5 8400 underperforms at any level on higher resolutions. In order to erase any bottleneck issues, the tests use GTX 1080 GPU so the full potential of the CPU can be tested.

While gamers might be the main target of the processor, they aren’t the only ones who will be using it so other CPU related benchmarks also play a role in determining whether the Core i5 8400 is worthy of a purchase or not. In CPU performance tests like Cinebench, the Core i5 8400 does fairly decent against the Core i7 7700k, the top-tier CPU from 7th generation processors. On top of that, it manages to beat AMD’s Ryzen offerings quite easily in single-thread index.


Core i5 8400 Power Consumption

The Core i5 8400 Coffee Lake processor sits at the same idle power consumption of 50W as most of the other processors in the market, although a bit higher than Intel’s 7th generation i7 7700K. However, when it comes to power consumption during peak performance such as gaming or benchmarks, that is when things get really interesting. During games, the i5 8400 consumes about 250W, same as Core i7 offerings of last year but still considerably lower than anything in the same tier AMD has to offer with Ryzen series. By comparison, the top shelf Ryzen 7 1800X consumes 270W while gaming.

Thanks to the superior cooling, the Core i5 8400 also remains one of the coolest processors during peak usage and running a solid 25 degrees cooler than Core i7 7700K. With the stock Intel cooler included in the package, there is no need to spend any extra money on fancy after-market coolers.

Core i5 8400 Overclocking

Due to a locked multiplier, overclocking on a Core i5 8400 is extremely limited and even if you manage to tweak CPU settings to hit the highest boost point of a single core, the end result isn’t really worth it and doesn’t work most of the time. However, thanks to the increased core-count, we have seen that there is actually no need to overclock the processor when it comes to gaming usage as the processor will work at its peak state, straight out of the box.

Core i5 8400 Performance Conclusion

As the benchmarks in our Core i5 8400 review showed, there is almost no performance difference at all when playing games on the budget-friendly Core i5 8400 or the super expensive Core i7 8700K. Thanks to its price of $190, the i5 8400 is the cheapest 6-core processor you can buy from Intel and easily beats any other processor in the market if you are looking to make a gaming PC. However, Intel’s decision to push the Z370 chipset barely a year after Z270 spells trouble for the Coffee Lake lineup, at least initially.

While the processor itself might be cheap and a great way to create a future-proof CPU, the fact that right now only the Z370 motherboards are available puts a really expensive price tag on the gaming computer build. The more budget B and H chipset motherboards are expected in the future but they won’t be launching before next year. Due to that, anyone looking to create a Coffee Lake desktop build will have to shell out almost $200 just for a motherboard. That’s $200 you saved by not picking the Core i7 8700K and what you could have invested in a better GPU.

However, despite the incredibly weird decision to make the 8th generation Coffee Lake processors exclusive to Z370 boards for now, there is no denying that Core i5 8400 is currently the best processor available in the market for gamers and easily the best pick from their current 8th generation lineup when it comes to price/performance ratio.

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