Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: The best CPU for entry-level gaming

Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: The best CPU for entry-level gaming

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake CPU family has new members now joining the likes of Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K. There are 22 new SKUs including both 65W and 35W CPUs. Some of them are even bundled with Intel’s new Laminar Coolers to keep the thermals in check. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how the new Intel Core i5-12600 compares against the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G to find out which one’s the best mainstream consumer CPU for entry-level gaming PCs.

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Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: Specifications

Here’s a quick look at the specifications of each processor before we dive deep into the comparison:

Specification Intel Core i5-12600 AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
CPU Socket LGA 1700 AMD AM4
Cores 6 (6P + 0E) 6
Threads 12 12
Lithography Intel 7 (10nm) TSMC 7nm FinFET
Base Frequency 3.3GHz 3.9GHz
Boost Frequency 4.8GHz 4.4GHz
Unlocked for overclocking? No Yes
L3 Cache 18MB 16MB
Default TDP 65W 65W
Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax) 100°C 95°C
Memory Support DDR4 3200MT/s | DDR5-4800MT/s
Up to 128GB
DDR4 up to 3200MHz
Up to 128GB
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD 770 Radeon RX Vega 7 Graphics

The new Intel Core i5-12600, as you can see, is a lot different from the unlocked version that came out last year. The most important thing to note about the non-K version of the CPU is the fact that it carries no efficiency cores (E-cores). We’re looking at a total core count of 6 and all of them are performance cores. This means the CPU should technically behave as if it has the standard cores that favor performance over power efficiency. That puts it more in line with the Ryzen 5 5600G which also happens to have 6 cores and 12 threads. Both CPUs also have an integrated graphics processor, making them a good entry point for gamers. The Intel Core i5-12600 comes with Intel UHD 770 graphics while the Ryzen 5 5600G uses RX Vega 7 graphics.

Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: Performance

The Intel Core i5-12600 brings 6 cores and 12 threads to the table. All six cores are said to be P-cores, which means they’ll work together to do the heavy lifting of all the tasks. The missing E-cores mean the core configuration acts more like the standard cores found on other mainstream CPUs including the Ryzen 5 5600G. Both of these chips have a lot in common. We’re looking at the same 6 cores and 12 threads configuration, with the default TDP set to 65W.

Grey retail box of the Ryzen 5 5600G processor

While the Core i5-12600 starts off slow with a base clock of 3.3GHz, it’s capable of boosting all the way up to 4.8GHz. The Ryzen 5 5600G, on the other hand, has a base clock of 3.9GHz, which further boosts to 4.4GHz depending on the workload. The Intel Core i5-12600 chip also lacks the Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency support as it’s only reserved for the higher-end chips in the portfolio.

Despite the missing E-cores and a couple of other features, Intel is claiming some big numbers when it comes to the overall performance of the Core i5-12600 CPU. In fact, the company is going as far as to say that the Core i5-12600 is more comparable to the Ryzen 7 5700G, leaving the Ryzen 5 5600G completely out of the equation. According to Intel, the Core i5-12600 is up to 30% faster in some day-to-day productivity workloads and up to 31% faster than the Ryzen 7 5700G when it comes to photo and video editing applications.

Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

The higher performance uptick could be because of a higher boost clock and support for faster DDR5 memory. The Intel chip is also able to stretch its wings further to increase the performance threshold with higher power consumption. We’ll wait to get our hands on the CPU before putting out a final verdict for performance, but Intel appears to have a good lead over the Ryzen APUs here.

One key aspect in which the Ryzen 5 5600G appears to remain undefeated is power efficiency. The Intel Core i5-12600 is rated to have a max turbo power of up to 117W. While it’s an impressive figure given how much power the unlocked 12600K draws, it’s still way more than what the Ryzen 5 5600G is known to hit. Again, we’ll have to test the CPU ourselves to plot a clear winner, but we have our doubts about Intel stealing the torch from AMD when it comes to power efficiency.

Platform & Compatibility

One thing that’s new about the Intel Core i5-12600 is the fact that it comes with its own CPU cooler inside the box. That’s right, Intel has announced the launch of its new Laminar CPU coolers. One of these will be bundled with the Core i5-12600. The new CPU cooler has a fresh design, and it’s compatible with the LGA 1700 mainstream CPU socket for the 12600. Intel has also announced the launch of the new Intel 600 series chipset SKUs, including the H670, B660, and H610. You’re still looking at a relatively high platform entry cost but we expect these new motherboards based on the updated 600 series chipsets to be more affordable than the Z690, LGA 1700 motherboards we have on the market right now.

Intel's new Laminar CPU cooler with a blue color LED

As for the Ryzen 5 5600G, this one drops in one of the existing AM4 platforms. There are plenty of compatible AMD motherboards on the market including a lot of affordable ones too. The Ryzen 5 5600G is also bundled with the classic Wraith Stealth CPU cooler, so there’s no need to spend more on a new CPU cooler too. You will, however, miss out on support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, both of which are available on the new Alder Lake CPUs. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but you might want to consider buying a future-proof CPU if you’re building a new PC from the scratch.

Pricing & Availability

The Intel Core i5-12600 is priced at $223, which is on par with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G’s $230 price tag. You may have to shell out slightly more depending on the availability but it’s safe to say that both CPUs are priced very competitively against each other. An Intel Alder Lake-based build may cost you slightly more than an AMD build mainly because of the high platform entry cost associated with buying a new motherboard, DDR5 modules, and more. Performance-wise, the Core i5-12600 appears to be a step above the Ryzen 5 5600G across the board. You may not witness a dominating performance, but there’s no denying that the new Intel chips are giving the existing AMD CPUs a run for their money. The only real advantage of the AMD Ryzen 5600G is perhaps in the power consumption department. This is where the AMD chips are expected to shine. We think it’ll be more obvious in this comparison due to the lack of E-cores on the 12600.

Intel Core i5-12600 vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600G: Final Thoughts

The Intel Core i5-12600 is a solid entry in the Alder Lake family, one that we think is going to be among the most popular CPUs in 2022. It offers a significant gen-on-gen performance improvement over the last-gen 11600, trading blows with the Ryzen 7 5700G. We’ll update this piece in the future after we test the Core i5-12600 ourselves, but it seems like a no-brainer over the Ryzen 5 5600G if you don’t mind spending a little more on your build. In the meantime, you can check out our Intel Core i5-12600K vs the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comparison to see which powerful mainstream CPU is better in 2022. Alternatively, you can also check out our collection of the best CPUs to buy for your next build.

    The Intel Core i5-12600 marks a solid entry point for those who're looking to build a new Alder Lake-based PC.
    The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a beast of an APU that’s well-equipped to go against some of the even best CPUs on the market right now.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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