Intel Core i5-8400: how good is the "small" i5 in practice?

Since Coffee Lake-S is becoming more and more a digital launch and the hardware is not really available in quantities, we could actually take our time. The new Intel Core i5-8400K, like the rest of the family, is also... In the AI test of Civilization IV, all CPUs again position themselves exactly as one might expect from the technical data. In the Time Spy CPU test, AMD's Ryzen 5 1600X is very positive, which is well ahead of the new C... At this benchmark, the Core i5-8400 is slightly behind the Ryzen 5 1600X, but ahead of the overclocked Ryzen 5 1500X. The Ryzen 5 1400 and the older Core i5, on the other hand, do not matter. Individual results of all maps Both Core i5 slate up to about 140 FPS, but are already scratching at the GPU limit. The (overclocked) Ryzen 5 1600X can still keep up, the rest then drops continuously. Individual results of all maps AMD is ahead with the Ryzen 5 1600X, rare enough, but even quite clear. The overclocked Ryzen 5 1500X can also be cleared. Individual results of all maps Clock is everything, at least for the Ryzen 5, because you can only hold the connection if the processor has been overclocked properly. But that's exactly what Ryzen 5 includes, you just have to do it. The Core i5 8400 is exceptionally fast... Intel ahead of AMD and only the overclocked Ryzen 5 can hold port. Without extra clock, however, nothing can be done. The Core i5-8400 cuts a good figure and the Ryzen 5 1400 is a total failure without overclocking. Individual results of all maps ... Intel again ahead of AMD, but the overclocked Ryzen 5 can hold port and place themselves in front of the older Core i5. The Ryzen 5 1400 is once again the clear final light without overclocking. Individual results of all maps Intel as usual before AMD, but this time much clearer. The overtaken Ryzen 5 can't hold on, but they're still ahead of the older Core i5. The Ryzen 5 15600X also makes it unbeatable in front of the older Core i5-7600K and the... Finally, Intel's Parade(at) game. AMD's Ryzen 5 must completely stroke the sails, the GTA scales extremely modestly with the number of possible threads. Even the older Core i5-7600K with the overclocked Ryzen 5 1600X can hold with you... Important preliminary remark on CPU selection and overclocking Contrary to our usual handling, not benchmarking the productive areas with overclocked CPUs, as it is also rather unlikely in reality, this time we have two of the R... 2D Performance In order to better understand some of the later results, we are putting forward a good old acquaintance. With our GDI/GDI+ benchmark, we are first testing two different output methods for 2D objects, how to... CPU Performance: Workstation Of course, in the production area, not only the 3D graphics performance is important in the production area for the just-set applications, because many things are calculated by the CPU in parallel within these applications (Simu... Power consumption in detail There are no really dramatic differences in the Idle. Nothing really dramatic and all the other CPUs are still within the limits of what we were able to measure before. The fact that the Ryzen 5 is partly Summary As with the slightly more expensive Core i5-8600K, the Same applies to the Core i5-8400: Two cores more for the middle class are a nice addition. But whether they will really be sufficient in the near future remains ...

Since Coffee Lake-S is becoming more and more a digital launch and the hardware is not really available in quantities, we could actually take our time. The new Intel Core i5-8400K, like the rest of the family, is still a real Fata Morgana, which is supposed to disturb AMD's Ryzen even without real physical availability. Even if we repeat ourselves, this product launch, which is becoming more and more of an announcement, is not something that really helps customers and ultimately harms retailers.

We are already very detailed in our detailed launch article "More Cores for the People: Coffee Lake-S with Intel Core i7-8700K and Core i7 8700 in Test" and the follow-up "Intel Core i5-8600K: Six Cores for the Middle Class" new chipset and also a part of the new CPUs, so we want to save the bored redundancy at this point. If you would like to read it again, you are welcome to click on the links above.

As an alternative, AMD still has matching Ryzen CPUs in the race, although a price adjustment makes many of them seem even more attractive. After all, you don't have to invest in a new platform with every new refresh and also for the direct Zen successor, the socket should remain compatible according to AMD. Good boards, which are also suitable for overclocking, can even be obtained for well under 100 euros, so that an AMD total system could already be a lure in terms of price.

We therefore provide the Core i5-8400 with the price-matching or more attractive Ryzen 5 1600X, 1500X and 1400, which we have partly overclocked, which unfortunately is not possible with the Core i5-8400. However, since the AMD CPUs offer it consistently at no extra charge, this is only fair.

The specifications

The TDP specifies Intel for the 65-watt Core i5-8400, but it remains to be seen what the motherboard manufacturers will make of it and whether all-core turbo clock speeds will be enabled again this time, which will be significantly higher than the TDP class. We will come back to this later in the power consumption measurements.

Model Base clock Single-core turbo All-core turbo* Cores / Threads TDP-class destroyer L3 cache Memory RCP (per 1000)
i7-8700K 3.7 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.3 GHz 6/12 95 watts 12 MiB DDR4-2666 359 USD
i7-8700 3.2 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 6/12 65 watts 12 MiB DDR4-2666 303 USD
i5-8600K 3.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz 6/6 95 watts 9 MiB DDR4-2666 257 USD
i5-8400 2.8 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.8 GHz 6/6 65 watts 9 MiB DDR4-2666 182 USD
i3-8350K 4.0 GHz 4/4 91 watts 8 MiB DDR4-2400 168 USD
i3-8100 3.6 GHz 4/4 65 watts 6 MiB DDR4-2400 117 USD


The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC and our test setup

MSI continues the Z-series of Gaming Pro motherboards chronologically and again gives the current offshoot similar features to the previous models. In the end, the price positioning on the market should also be similar. The exact board details and specifications can be found on the manufacturer's side if you are interested.

We have already described the new test methodology in the basic article "How we test graphics cards, as of February 2017" in great detail and so we now only refer to this detailed description for the sake of simplicity. So if you want to read everything again, you are welcome to do so.


In this case, only the hardware configuration with CPU, RAM, motherboard, as well as the new cooling is different, so that the summary in table form quickly gives a brief overview of the system used here and today:

Test systems and measuring rooms
Intel Socket 1151 (Z370):
Intel Core Core i5-8600K, Core i5-8400
MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
2x 8GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200-2666 MHzAMD Socket AM4 Workstation
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X, 1500X, 1400
MSI X370 Tomahawk
4x 8 GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200

Intel Socket 1151 (Z270):
Intel Core i7-7600K, Core i5-7400
MSI Z270 Gaming 7
2x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200-2666 MHz

All systems:
GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition (Gaming)
Nvidia Quadro P6000 (Workstation)

1x 1 TByte Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD)
4x 1050 GByte Crucial MX 300 (Storage, Images)
Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850-watt power supply
Windows 10 Pro (all updates)

Alphacool Ice Age 2000 Chiller
Alphacool Ice Block XPX
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut (for cooler change)
Monitor: Eizo EV3237-BK
Lian Li PC-T70 with expansion kit and modifications
Modes: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
Power consumption:
non-contact DC measurement on the PCIe slot (Riser-Card)
non-contact DC measurement on the external PCIe power supply
direct voltage measurement at the shunts, the respective feeders and the power supply
Reading out the motherboard sensors
2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz multi-channel oscillograph with memory function
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50, current togor adapter (1 mA to 30 A, 100 KHz, DC)
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355, touch divider (10:1, 500 MHz)
1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012, digital multimeter with storage function
Optris PI640, infrared camera
PI Connect evaluation software with profiles
NTI Audio M2211 (with calibration file)
Steinberg UR12 (with phantom power for the microphones)
Creative X7, Smaart v.7
own low-reflection measuring room, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2 m (LxTxH)
Axial measurements, perpendicular to the center of the sound source(s), measuring distance 50 cm
Noise in dBA (Slow) as RTA measurement
Frequency spectrum as a graph

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About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

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