Intel Core i5-10400 vs. AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The new Intel Core i5-10400 is a locked 6-core processor with 12 threads, which works between 2.9 GHz and 4.3 GHz depending on the workload. The reason the base clock is so low compared to the i5-10600K is that the TDP power has dropped from 125 watts to just 65 watts. However, the vast majority of Z490 motherboards do not enforce the TDP limits.

We had access to several new Z490 cards, and only Asus seems to meet these limits as MSI, Asrock and Gigabyte run on mATX and Mini-ITX cards with no performance restrictions with just one or two exceptions. In this case, the typical outcome of these two experiences is not performance limited. Therefore, we will test the Core i5-10400 on a Z490 board without TDP restrictions. Since this is a locked part, we include a DDR4-2666 memory configuration, as this is the maximum memory speed at which you can access B and H series motherboards.

Intel's recommended tray price for this chip is $ 182. This price may change in the coming weeks depending on demand and user perception of the 10400's performance compared to the Ryzen 5 3600, which is normally sold for around $ 175. When it comes to pricing, AMD is asking a little less for its 6-core, 12-thread base model, which is also unlocked and supports memory overclocking on all motherboards.

It looks like Intel is already on the back foot and with comparable clock speeds the Core i5-10400 is really against it. But we should probably look at the benchmark results before we draw any conclusions. Ryzen processors were tested on the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master, 8th and 9th generation core processors were tested on the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra and new 10th generation Intel processors on the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme. All configurations were tested with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 32 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 memory and a Corsair Hydro H150i Pro 360 mm AIO liquid cooler.

As already mentioned, the Core i5-10400 was tested with both DDR4-3200 and DDR4-2666 memories using the same CL14 timings. Our test suite was shortened compared to the last one in this test. After studying the 10900K, 10700K, and 10600K tests in the last week, we simply don't believe that the 10400 justifies us doing more than 30 tests, you should be able to make the same conclusions regardless of that pull. With that said, we have selected key application and game benchmarks to look at.

Benchmarks

Cinebench R20 Multi-Core comes first and right away we see that the memory speed doesn't affect these rendering workloads because the Core i5-10400 with DDR4-3200 or 2666 memory basically achieves the same result.

At just under 3200 points, the 10400 was 15% slower than the Ryzen 5 3600, and that's not a good sign of the application performance of the Intel processors. Plus, it was 14% faster than the Ryzen 5 1600 AF … too bad the part isn't as cheap as it used to be, but still good for around $ 110.

When it comes to single-core performance, we see that at least in Cinebench memory speed doesn't matter. Ryzen 5 3600 was ~ 13% faster here and the 10400 is even behind the Ryzen 3 3100.

If we switch to 7-zip, we see a 5% increase in performance for the 10400 when using the faster specification memory. Granted, a 5% increase is pretty small for a 20% increase in memory frequency, but that's more than what we saw in Cinebench. Using the same memory as the Ryzen 5 3600, the 10400 was 8% slower for compression and 12% slower for DDR4-2666 memory.

The scope increases when it comes to decompression performance, and here the 10400 was at least 22% slower than the 3600. In fact, the 10400 was slower than even the 1600 AF.

Next we have Adobe Photoshop, which prefers single-core performance, and interestingly enough, we see a 10% increase in performance for the i5-10400 when using DDR4-3200 memory over DDR4-2666. So that's important.

While the Ryzen 5 3600 is 8% faster than the 10400 when using the same speed memory, the 3600 in the Puget is a whopping 19% faster when the 10400 is forced to run on the B or H series boards with the 2666 specification System Photoshop benchmark.

When switching to DaVinci Resolve Studio 16, we see that the faster storage has little impact on performance. When comparing the DDR4-3200 configurations, the Ryzen 5 3600 was still 8% faster, not a big margin, but for a CPU that generally costs less, this is a good result for AMD.

At the end of the application tests with Blender, we noticed that the Ryzen 5 3600 is 8% faster than the 10400 when using DDR4-3200 and 10% faster when using DDR4-266 memory.

If we look at the power consumption, we see that the Ryzen 5 3600 is not miles better than the 10400, but uses about the same amount of power to get about 10% better performance.

Gaming benchmarks

Battlefield V shows that the Core i5-10400 performs very well in games. With the same memory, it roughly corresponds to the Core i7-8700K and is therefore about 5% faster than the 3600 compared to the average frame rate. In combination with a board of the B or H series, however, the 10400 corresponds to the 3600 in this title .

If you jump to 1440p, the margins will be largely reduced, and the 10400 will work approximately the same with DDR4-2666 or 3200 memory.

Far Cry New Dawn usually shows us a worst-case scenario for Ryzen, but the 10400 matches the 3600 here if the same DDR4-3200 memory is used. When using DDR4-2666, the 10400 slips back a little, but hardly.

When you switch to 1440p, the margins remain largely the same and it is impossible to tell the difference between 10400 and 3600, even if you use slower DDR4-2666 memory.

The Ryzen 5 3600 does very well in Rainbow Six Siege, especially when you consider the 1% low result. Here it was 11% faster than the Core i5-10400 and 20% faster when comparing the Intel processor with the DDR4-2666 memory. It is important to note that in the worst case, the Intel CPU still spat out over 180 fps in our test. How important this 20% margin is here is questionable.

If you jump to 1440p with an RTX 2080 Ti, which we think is a more realistic scenario, the 10400 and 3600 are indistinguishable in terms of gaming experience. We also see practically no difference between the configurations DDR4-2666 and 3200.

When comparing DDR4-3200 and 2666, we see a fairly significant difference in the performance of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Here, the faster memory specification increased the average frame rate by 11% and the 1% lower number by 13%.

As mentioned in the past, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is very CPU demanding, especially the open world area that we use for testing. In this sense, these results were not recorded with the benchmark we integrated. The feeling is not CPU-demanding enough and not an absolutely reliable way to test this title. Instead, we use OCAT to measure in-game performance later in the game, about 4 to 5 hours after the campaign starts.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is probably the most CPU-demanding title we test with. With Battlefield V, he is certainly exactly right. So it is interesting not only to see a big difference between the DDR4 memory configurations, but also to run after the Ryzen 5 3600 after the Core i5-10400 by 4% and beat it when using DDR4-2666.

Granted, when we switch to 1440p, the results are much more tied to the GPU, and as a result, the 3600 and 10400 deliver the same performance when both are configured with DDR4-3200 memory. In addition, the 2666 configuration is only 3% slower when comparing the average frame rate.

What we have learned

Is the Core i5-10400 worth $ 182? Probably not, but hey, it's up against the extremely aggressive and fantastic Ryzen 3600.

In our opinion, the main problem for Intel is AMD's aggressive pricing. Although the Ryzen 5 3600 should be the slightly more expensive CPU at ~ $ 200, it has been sold for just $ 175 (or even less) in the past few weeks. As you've just seen, the Core i5 processor is roughly on par with the 3600 in terms of gaming performance, while AMD's offering for productivity tasks is often up to 10% faster while consuming similar performance. One could argue that the price difference between the two is a wash.

However, if you consider the platform and board costs, the picture is darker for Intel. A decent Z490 board like the Tomahawk will bring you back $ 190, while the B450 Tomahawk will only cost you $ 115 – a price difference of $ 75. Both CPUs are equipped with box coolers and neither is particularly impressive. With a good motherboard, however, the i5-10400 costs more if you want to use the faster memory. There are cheaper Z490 motherboards worth $ 150, but they're damn terrible. With weak VRMs and lackluster features, you shouldn't buy them 100%.

Assuming that decent Intel B460 motherboards can keep up with the B450 Tomahawk in terms of quality and features, the 10400 costs about as much as a Ryzen 3600 rig, but is limited to DDR4-2666 memory where it is typically slower in games than the 3600 and up to 20% slower in applications.

All in all, the Core i5-10400 is a good CPU and definitely not a terrible purchase. He has a hard time competing with the Ryzen 5 3600, which is a cheaper option for most. If you happen to have a 10400, you will be satisfied with the performance.

As for the immediate future, we would bet that the Ryzen 5 3600 will continue to be sold for $ 175 or less. Rumors of an enhanced 3600XT are coming soon. In order for Intel to keep up in terms of value, the i5-10400 must be reduced to ~ $ 150, and of course upcoming Intel B460 boards must also prove their worth. Opening memory overclocking would certainly help Intel too. This is something you absolutely have to do at this point.

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