Intel has had some issues lately, which has made it even more difficult to compete with the incoming wave of Ryzen processors. This forced the chip manufacturer to be a little more creative and get along with its current product lines. Today we have the Intel Core i5-9400F on hand, which is nothing new in itself. Basically, it is an updated Core i5-8400 with a clock increase of 100 MHz. We basically say that because it is not a direct update, there is another change.
The Intel UHD Graphics 630 has been disabled and therefore the 9400F has no integrated graphics – just like the Ryzen 5 2600X. This is said to make the 9400F cheaper than the Core i5-8400, although Intel's list prices don't make this clear. In practice, the Core i5-9400F is available for $ 175, while the i5-8400 is still $ 215, newer chip costs about 20% cheaper. This also means that it's cheaper than the Ryzen 5 2600X, which is currently retailing for $ 190.
So what should you buy? Let's get that out of the way. Before this comparison test, we updated our best CPU function and we said you should choose the Ryzen 5 2600X because it has a better storage cooler, can be overclocked and the AM4 platform offers a much better upgrade path.
We stand by this assessment, but that won't stop us from running a few current benchmarks. We'll focus on gaming performance, which should make the life of the Intel CPU a little easier. For application performance information, see our first coverage of the Ryzen 5 2600X, which included the i5-8400. You can be sure that 94% F overclocking will make the 9400F no more than 1-2% faster than these numbers.
We'll also take a closer look at the i5-9400F's operating temperatures by using the box cooler as a mini-test towards the end of the article. The main event, however, is an 18-game benchmark with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti at 1080p, 1440p and 4K. The 4K results should typically simulate GPU-bound gaming with a lower-end GPU at a lower resolution.
There are two test configurations for each CPU. The Core i5-9400F was tested with the standard Intel box cooler for both configurations of the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master. The base configuration uses 16 GB DDR4-2666 CL15 memory, as this is limited to any motherboard that doesn't use a Z370 or Z390 chipset. Then we have an overclocked DDR4-3400 configuration.
The Ryzen 5 2600X was tested on the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi with the standard box cooler for the basic test with 16 GB DDR4-3400 CL15 memory. Then the second configuration is overclocked to 4.2 GHz with tight memory sub-times and the Corsair Hydro series H115i. All benchmark data was freshly collected for this review.
We started with Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and here we see at 1080p that the 9400F was 13% faster at maximum frame rates than the 2600X when comparing the basic configurations. Overclocking the 2600X reached the base 1% low before the base 9400F, but then it was enough to pair the Intel processor with faster memory to bring it back to the same level for the average frame rate .
Similar margins were observed at 1440p, and then, interestingly, the 2600X at 4K was a fraction faster or a lot faster when overclocked with fine-tuned storage times. You would expect the result here to be the same as we are, or at least 100% limited to the GPU, but that wasn't the case.
It continues with Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. I didn't expect the Ryzen 5 processor to do particularly well here, so the results were surprising. The faster memory didn't help the 9400F, while overclocking increased the average frame rate of the 2600X by 9%. When switching to 1440p, we're limited to the GPU, and the same goes for 4K.
The Core i5-9400F was a bit more punchy in Fortnite, but overall the margins were insignificant, the fastest configurations were separated by 4% at 1080p. Of course this margin was further reduced at 1440p and then at 4K we had a stalemate.
The 9400F was also a whisker faster in Apex Legends, but it's not worth it to be overjoyed. In essence, it is exactly the same experience with both CPUs.
If for some reason you're looking for high frame rates in Resident Evil 2, the Ryzen 5 2600X appears to be the CPU you need to get, at least over the Core i5-9400F. At 1080p in its basic configuration, the 2600X was 8% faster and then 6% faster when optimized for maximum performance.
That said, these margins were effectively eliminated at 1440p and 4K, so for the vast majority of you, these CPUs deliver exactly the same experience in this title.
Here's another example where the 9400F was faster by a small margin. When testing with Just Cause 4, the Intel CPU was up to 8% faster when comparing similar configurations, with the low results of 1% being largely the same.
Hitman 2 is a terrible title for AMD, and although the low 1% performance was competitive, the average frame rate has dropped quite a bit. This title is really bizarre when it comes to the relationship between CPU and GPU, although I would say that we are mostly tied to 1080p and 1440p.
Project Cars 2 is another title that isn't as friendly to the AMD hardware, but overall the result for the Ryzen 5 2600X is not that bad. At 1080p and 1440p resolutions, the CPU is limited, while things usually come together at 4K.
The Core i5-9400F is slightly ahead at 1080p in Rainbow Six Siege in average frame rate, but the low values of 1% are all very similar. There is very little difference between these two CPUs at 1080p and then basically no difference at 1440p and 4K.
The Battlefield V results are interesting … We use the single player campaign for repeatability and accuracy. We have done multiplayer testing in the past, but it is somewhat difficult to collect accurate data. Several patches have also occurred since our testing, and many have addressed performance. The single player part of the game mimics the little problem we saw with the 9400F in multiplayer …
The experience with the 9400F was mostly very good, but while the 2600X was silky smooth at all times, the 6-core Intel CPU suffered from strange frame stuttering here and there. At 4K, the 9400F with DDR4-2666 memory suffered a lot of performance degradation, although this was somewhat corrected by faster memory.
World of Tanks has been updated to support Ryzen CPUs optimally, and we can see that the 2600X works quite well. With over 100 fps, the performance was very good at all times and was also close to this mark at 4K.
The performance in Metro Exodus was competitive and there was no difference between the two processors. This isn't the most CPU-demanding game, but it was good to see that the 2600X matches the 9400F in this modern title.
Far Cry New Dawn is very sensitive to memory latency and turning up the Ryzen processor really helped here. The base configuration wasn't terrible, but we could see a performance increase of up to 15% when the memory was optimized and the cores were overclocked. Even at 4K, the 2600X struggled to get the most out of the RTX 2080 Ti without these improvements.
Both CPUs delivered similar performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and with DDR4-3400 both were able to maximize the RTX 2080 Ti at 1440p. Then we were completely GPU-bound at 4K.
When using the DDR4-2666 memory, the 9400F in Monster Hunter: World was a bit nervous, although this was solved with the faster DDR4-3400 memory. The 2600X had no such problem, although it was only tested with 3400 memory, as this CPU has no memory restrictions for any of the B and X series mainstream chipsets. After we increased the resolution to 1440p, the RTX 2080 Ti became a bottleneck.
Strange Brigade is not CPU intensive at all, but it is very well optimized and allows us to test with the Vulkan API. Overall, both CPUs performed well and got the best out of the RTX 2080 Ti at every resolution.
Despite a good show in Battlefield V, the Ryzen 5 2600X isn't as nimble in Star Wars Battlefront II, although both games use the Frostbite game engine. The 2600X follows the 9400F even at 1440p, although the margins are minimal after adjustment.
Finally, we have Division 2 and these are some very interesting results that we need to end. When using the DDR4-2666 memory, the Core i5-9400F reached a maximum speed of 120 fps at a 1% lower of 86 fps. Then the faster DDR4-3400 memory increased the average frame rate by almost 20%, which is quite significant.
This title seems to be very memory sensitive and we haven't seen any problems with the 2600X, which was only tested with faster memory. When we reach 1440p, we're limited to the GPU with the RTX 2080 Ti, and the same goes for 4K.
When it comes to games, it can be rightly said that there is no wrong option here and that Ryzen 5 2600X and Core i5-9400F are evenly coordinated. The 9400F is sometimes faster thanks to better game support and lower latency, but the 2600X can often provide more consistent frame rates thanks to its support for twice as many threads.
Keep in mind that the 2600X, with the benefit of faster DDR4-3400 memory, is not artificially restricted. He was able to customize the Core i5-9400F using DDR4-2666 memory. This memory speed is limited to the Intel CPU on all but the Z-. Series motherboards.
Releasing the 9400F with DDR4-3400 memory gave an average 5% increase in performance, while the 1% low improved by 6%. The 2600X basically saw the same increases in overclocking. These margins are reduced for both processors at 1440p, and at 4K we're GPU limited to the point where you don't see more than a frame or two difference.
For general calculations, the Ryzen 5 2600X can use the multithreading functions and is considerably faster than the 9400F when the application load is high. Keep in mind that the 9400F is only marginally faster than the 8400, so you can safely use the older model as a measuring stick. The 2600X is 30 to 50% faster for rendering and coding workloads.
For those who are wondering about operating temperatures, both CPUs run with the box coolers at just over 70 degrees and a room temperature of 21 degrees. However, where AMD's Wraith Spire is whisper-quiet in our blender stress test, the Intel box cooler in combination with the 9400F sounds like a jet engine. So you should spend at least another $ 25 on a decent cooler to make the thing bearable.
If you mainly play games on your PC, you are welcome to buy one of the two processors. Both turned out to be solid options and are evenly tuned with a slight advantage for the Intel chip if you don't optimize the Ryzen processor. The basic performance we showed for the i5-9400F can be achieved with $ 90 memory, while the 2600X needs $ 110 to $ 120 memory to activate the frame rates shown here. It's not a big cost difference, and right now you're less than GPU-limited with less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64.
Given these 1% low results, the 2600X may have been more consistent, but for the most part you wouldn't know which processor you were using. There may be exceptions like older games. StarCraft II, for example, plays much better on Intel processors.
Beyond the games, it's an easy win for the 2600X. The Ryzen upgrade path on B350, B450, X370 and X470 motherboards will support all upcoming Zen 2 processors. So if you buy a nice B450 board with the 2600X, you can use a Ryzen 3000 processor there later in the year or whenever you think it is necessary.
With this in mind, we recommend that you interrupt the purchase of a CPU until the Ryzen 3000 series arrives. It's just around the corner.