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Intel Core i5 11600K CPU Review

The Intel Core i5-11600K is our favorite Gaming CPU in this new 11th Gen Rocket Lake lineup, it’s certainly ours so far. Intel’s new CEO has been speaking at length recently about his desire for the company to return to its heyday—are turn to the tick-tock CPU production cadence of yesteryear, and to putting engineering at the forefront of everything the company does.

Our Review

The i5-11600K has a little of the nostalgia chip about it to us; a return to the days when our recommendation around a new CPU architecture would inevitably fall to the Core i5 CPUs rather than the top-end i7s. In this case, it’s a really strong recommendation over the lackluster Intel Core i9-11900K.

This is one of the only new processors that should interest PC gamers from Intel’s 11th Gen desktop CPUs,and is probably the go-to chip for anyone looking to build a mainstream gaming PC today. You know, if you can find a graphics card to go with it….

It’s Intel’s top-end six-core CPU from the Rocket Lake range, offering solid clock speeds,Hyper Threading, unlocked multipliers for making with the overclocking, and a $270 price tag that makes the $350 Ryzen 5 5600X look positively pricey.

It’s a different proposition within the 11th Gen lineup compared to the 11900K, too. Where the i9 is weaker, on paper, against its last-gen equivalent, with fewer cores and lower overall clock speed, the i5-11600K improves on its 10th Gen forebear almost across the board.

The only point it doesn’t is in the almost irrelevant base clock figure of 3.9GHz.The Core i5-10600K has a nominally higher 4.1GHz base, but you never really see that in use anyway. But the all-core figure of 4.6GHz (which you do see solidly in multithreaded workloads)and the 4.9GHz single-core number are both one step higher than the Comet Lake i5.

Ports Support

It’s also got that PCIe 4.0 support baked into the CPU itself, though sadly not throughout the new Z590 chipset. We’ve not had the greatest experience with PCIe 4.0 performance from the Rocket Lake chips so far, neither from the top- end Core i9 or this i5-11600K. The ups and downs in our performance testing with the 11th Gen CPUs,however, do make us think this could be down to teething problems surrounding Intel’s inaugural PCIe 4.0 platform.

Good For Gaming

In gaming, the i5-11600K is generally capable of offering practically identical performance to the 5600X, give or take a few frames per second here and there. It’s also almost up there in comparison to Intel’s i9-11900K, too. Suffice to say,this is a more than capable gaming processor that won’t stand in the way of your graphics card’s ability to render its silicon butt off.

But where that was all the Rocket Lake i9 could offer, the i5-11600K goes toe-to-toe with the 5600X in the rest of our benchmarks.The only place where there is a significant delta between the Core i5-11600K and the Ryzen 5 5600X is when it comes to power. The 7nm Zen 3 architecture is seriously efficient, ably demonstrated by the chip’s peak wattage of just 76W. The Rocket Lake i5 hits 130W, and actually considerably more if push it in multithreaded workloads.

This,and the cheaper Core 11600KF (sans iGPU), would be recommendations for chips to buy in the new lineup. But it’s this i5-11600K that gives AMD’s 5600X a run for its money.We’re penny-pinching people when it comes to our builds,and the price/ performance value of the Rocket Lake chip gives it the edge for us. Sure, it’s more power-hungry than the Ryzen chip, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really bother you, does it?

Intel Core i5-11600K Benchmark

Intel Core i5-11600K Benchmark


  • Paul Alcorn

    As a teenager, Paul scraped up enough money to buy a 486-powered PC with a turbo button (yes, a turbo button). Back when floppies were still popular he was already chasing after the fastest spinners for his personal computer, which led him down the long and winding storage road, covering enterprise storage. His current focus is on consumer processors, though he still keeps a close eye on the latest storage news. In his spare time, you’ll find Paul hanging out with his kids or indulging his love of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals.

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