[SOLVED] Need help choosing between 12600K and 5600X

Dec 4, 2021
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Hi
I was asked to make my own thread even though there is already one with more or less the same title.

I'm between 12600K and 5600X. I need to get a new PC by the end of this year and it is now down to the CPU and what GPU I can find. I need performance just for the games, excel and things like that don't need much.

Build:
GPU: 3060 Ti or 3070
RAM: 3200 mhz ddr4 CL16
SSD: ADATA XS8200 PRO 1TB x2
PSU: Corsair mr850x
Case: Be Quiet! Silent Base 802
Cooler: Be Quiet! Dark Rock 4 Pro
OS: Win 11 or 10 if latter comes with free upgrade

I can get 12600K + Asus TUF Gaming Z690 Wifi D4 (ddr4) for 3 € less than 5600X + Msi B550 Aorus Pro Ax thanks to Asus cashback.

I have few questions though and I'm a noob.

1) What is the real 12600K power consumption? I read from somewhere that it doesn't use a lot of power unless it is pushed to the limits and even then it is not bad. But it can even use less power than 5600X since 5600X has to run with a higher load to reach the same level of performance as 12600K?

2) Is 12600K really so problematic as they say? That games don't work on it etc.? Is it a difficult CPU for a noob? Is it not expected that they will get rid of those problems with updates and such?

3) Does B550 offer better upgrade possibilities? I plan to keep my PC for a long time so one day I need to upgrade the CPU and GPU at least. And B550 is ok for 5950X and even the future 6000 series, but 12600K can probably only be upgraded to 12900K before it needs a new motherboard too?

It sounds like a no-brainer to choose the better CPU for the same price (motherboard is probably better too, at least with some future proof), but is it really that simple? Power consumption is important too even though energy is still fairly cheap, but it is getting more and more expensive every year.
 
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For the 12600K On a single-threaded (ST) load it can draw around 124w and on multi-threaded (MT) it can use around 223w. For the 5600X ST load draws about 75w while MT draws about 125.
For Cinebench R23 ST and MT scores are as follows for one reviewer Link.
Please note power draw can vary in this regard depending on how the games are designed to use the cores (some games are single threaded optimized while some are multi-core) and most of the time you are not using anywhere close to 100% of your CPU while gaming, at least with a relatively modern CPU, so your power draw may be even lower. In terms of which of these 2 CPU's does the most work

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The problem people are talking about is that Denuvu, a DRM service, cannot identify the 12600K's newly added performance cores and thus crashes. This however only affects old games that are no longer being services/worked on. So for people who want to play older titles from many years ago that have this DRM service cannot play them. However Gigabyte has released an unofficial software that can disable these performance cores and thus circumvent the problem. Whether or not Intel will find a way to integrate such a tool into official downloadable software is still yet to be known.

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No, B550 does not offer any better upgrade capabilities than the boards that support the 12000 series. B550 uses the AM4 socket which is compatible for every Ryzen chip from 1000 series and higher as well as other side series like Athlon. However, AM4 is to be discontinued as of the 5000 series. The next Ryzen series after the 5000 will be Zen 4 series which will run on the AM5 socket, so you will no longer be able to upgrade your CPU except for higher tier 5000 CPU's. or the coming 5000 series refresh line-up.
Intel on the other hand is notorious for always creating a new socket type for every other generation or so. So your 12000 series motherboard will not work on the next intel 13000 series chips (Raptor lake) since they plan to move onto a different socket type (LGA1700 ).

Overall I'd just go with the 12600K, it currently beats the 5600X in almost everything. The 5600X refresh coming out in a few months with AMD's new V-cache technology MAY be able to outdo the 12600K but that has yet to be seen.
 
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1 -
For the 12600K On a single-threaded (ST) load it can draw around 124w and on multi-threaded (MT) it can use around 223w. For the 5600X ST load draws about 75w while MT draws about 125.
For Cinebench R23 ST and MT scores are as follows for one reviewer Link.
Please note power draw can vary in this regard depending on how the games are designed to use the cores (some games are single threaded optimized while some are multi-core) and most of the time you are not using anywhere close to 100% of your CPU while gaming, at least with a relatively modern CPU, so your power draw may be even lower. In terms of which of these 2 CPU's does the most work

2 -
The problem people are talking about is that Denuvu, a DRM service, cannot identify the 12600K's newly added performance cores and thus crashes. This however only affects old games that are no longer being services/worked on. So for people who want to play older titles from many years ago that have this DRM service cannot play them. However Gigabyte has released an unofficial software that can disable these performance cores and thus circumvent the problem. Whether or not Intel will find a way to integrate such a tool into official downloadable software is still yet to be known.

3 -
No, B550 does not offer any better upgrade capabilities than the boards that support the 12000 series. B550 uses the AM4 socket which is compatible for every Ryzen chip from 1000 series and higher as well as other side series like Athlon. However, AM4 is to be discontinued as of the 5000 series. The next Ryzen series after the 5000 will be Zen 4 series which will run on the AM5 socket, so you will no longer be able to upgrade your CPU except for higher tier 5000 CPU's. or the coming 5000 series refresh line-up.
Intel on the other hand is notorious for always creating a new socket type for every other generation or so. So your 12000 series motherboard will not work on the next intel 13000 series chips (Raptor lake) since they plan to move onto a different socket type (LGA1700 ).

Overall I'd just go with the 12600K, it currently beats the 5600X in almost everything. The 5600X refresh coming out in a few months with AMD's new V-cache technology MAY be able to outdo the 12600K but that has yet to be seen.
 
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punkncat

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As aspect of this that I would mention is the roadmap/future of these CPU.
Ryzen 5xxx is a 'dead end'. That socket is being replaced in the next generation so there will only be a couple of CPU you could update to without changing the core component (mobo).
I am not really sure what Intel's plan in regarding the new 1700 socket. If they follow their status quo we should expect at least one other future generation to be capable of socketing into the 12th gen motherboards.

In many cases this is sort of a wash anyway, much like 10th and 11th gen Intel.
 
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Nighthawk117

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1) The 5600X uses significantly less power when all cores and threads are fully saturated, 75W vs 125W. Note however that it's also significantly less powerful in heavily threaded workloads, the 12600K is around 50% faster.

The 12600K is the more well rounded chip in performance terms. It is faster in most games and has the extra little cores for stronger performance in multithreaded workloads or heavy multi-tasking should you ever need them. Extra cores and an iGPU would make the intel option a better platform for streaming should you ever choose to do that.

2) Yes there are DRM issues with certain games like Assassins Creed, I would expect most of these games if not all to be patched to fix this problem going forward, I know some developers have already promised updates. One workaround at the moment is to simply disable the e-cores in the bios. https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/intel-alder-lake-drm-game-list-workaround/

3) AM4 gives you the option of adding a 5800X (don't do this), 5900X or 5950X at a later date. With Z690 you could add a 12th/13th gen i7 or i9, note 13th gen Raptor Lake will not be a meaningful upgrade over 12th gen Alder Lake in games due to most of the improvement coming from the addition of more efficiency cores. I'm not a huge fan of upgrades on the same platform though, if you feel you might need more than 6 cores, assuming it won't hurt you financially then I would advise buying a Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X or Core i7 12700K now rather than upgrade later.
 
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Dec 4, 2021
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Thanks guys for the many replies! They are valuable. I may not sound like a complete noob but I am. I am a guy who has bought his desktop from a shop for decades and only heard about case fans few years ago. I simply got annoyed at how I spent a lot of money on computers that were good only for a year or two before they got dated and struggled to even work without crashing all the time. So bear with me!

I read a little bit about Raptor Lake CPUs from here:
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-raptor-lake-cpu-falls-to-core-i9-12900k-ryzen-9-5950x-in-early-leaked-benchmark

It does use the same LGA1700 socket as 12600K (right?), so upgrade is an option at least. Even if it isn't good. But who knows, maybe downgrade is the next big thing.

And power consumption-wise, if Intel did use that roughly 60 watts more and I would use computer 8 hours a day on 365 days a year, it's 60x8x365/1000 for kWh, right? That's 175,2 and if 1 kWh = 0,1 €, that's 17,52 € higher electricity bill on Intel processor? If that's right, there's no point going with a lower wattage CPU. And of course that 8 hours a day is way more than I use it and I don't run CPU on max load all the time. And 365 days a year is not even close to true. But it's good to think about these things. If you could save that much money a year by choosing a more efficient PSU for example, which costs you 50 € more, it would pay you back that extra in roughly three years because of lower power consumption. And energy prices in the future can't get much lower at least.

he problem people are talking about is that Denuvu, a DRM service, cannot identify the 12600K's newly added performance cores and thus crashes. This however only affects old games that are no longer being services/worked on.
Okay, well that's a shame of course. I've not been able to play games for a very long time and, well, everything that has been released after 2015 is still new to me and perfectly fine in my eyes. Otherwise I rarely buy old games. It's hard for me to play something like Witcher 1 after you've seen Witcher 3. It is a bit like going back to CRT TVs, if you get what I mean. Some people can do it, but I sadly can't. But I would probably want to play 5 year old games.

2) Yes there are DRM issues with certain games like Assassins Creed, I would expect most of these games if not all to be patched to fix this problem going forward, I know some developers have already promised updates. One workaround at the moment is to simply disable the e-cores in the bios.
It's good to know that there is a solution, like the one that you mentioned or the Gigabyte software mentioned above, even though it does seem like a lot of work just to play an older game. But there are no problems with new games then?

If 12600K or Z690 motherboards do not suffer from any other issues and my power consumption calculations for annual kWh are right, then it indeed sounds like a nobrainer. Maybe. Asus Tuf Gaming Z690 Wifi D4 seems to have decent thermals too, according to this video:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSjGhAxR8d8

And here's Leo from kitguru.net taking a look at it, no thermals or anything else though.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nbnPn6vBbs


And that Asus Tuf Gaming Z690 Wifi D4 has better Wifi, more modern PCIe lanes for what they are worth and more M.2 NVMe slots than MSI B550 Gaming Edge Wifi. I don't know about the audio though. Some of the new Z690 motherboards are not clear about what audio codec they have. But I would think that it is at least ALC1200 which is what that B550 has.

B550 would allow upgrade to 5900x and 5950X though, that compare well with the Intel processors and have lower power consumption too. But that's relevant only if I upgrade my CPU to either of those and not to something entirely different, like 6000-series. I thought that 6000-series used the same AM4 socket but I was probably misinformed.

But anyway, for a non-competitive gamer who does some simple excel/word-stuff, is there really a big reason to even worry about which CPU to go with? I've never understood CPUs but they seem to be THE component that people advice you to save money on. CPU and motherboard. On everything else they tell you to max out the performance. RAM, GPU, SSD etc.
 
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Thanks guys for the many replies! They are valuable. I may not sound like a complete noob but I am. I am a guy who has bought his desktop from a shop for decades and only heard about case fans few years ago. I simply got annoyed at how I spent a lot of money on computers that were good only for a year or two before they got dated and struggled to even work without crashing all the time. So bear with me!
No worries.
This is actually a common problem with boutique shops and even OEM retailers who charge a premium for basic, middling, not-so-good equipment. It's not about the $$$ you spend it's mostly about the components you get.
I have seen systems whose primary components add up to under $900 yet the system carried a premium price of over $2000 due to the name brand (little plastic sticker on the outside).



I read a little bit about Raptor Lake CPUs from here:
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-raptor-lake-cpu-falls-to-core-i9-12900k-ryzen-9-5950x-in-early-leaked-benchmark

It does use the same LGA1700 socket as 12600K (right?), so upgrade is an option at least. Even if it isn't good. But who knows, maybe downgrade is the next big thing.

And power consumption-wise, if Intel did use that roughly 60 watts more and I would use computer 8 hours a day on 365 days a year, it's 60x8x365/1000 for kWh, right? That's 175,2 and if 1 kWh = 0,1 €, that's 17,52 € higher electricity bill on Intel processor? If that's right, there's no point going with a lower wattage CPU. And of course that 8 hours a day is way more than I use it and I don't run CPU on max load all the time. And 365 days a year is not even close to true. But it's good to think about these things. If you could save that much money a year by choosing a more efficient PSU for example, which costs you 50 € more, it would pay you back that extra in roughly three years because of lower power consumption. And energy prices in the future can't get much lower at least.
Re: Raptor Lake - be careful with pre-release/pre-announcement leaks. Things may change. Probably not the socket but you never know.
Yes, the average user isn't usually concerned with a tenner here and there through the year for higher performance.


Okay, well that's a shame of course. I've not been able to play games for a very long time and, well, everything that has been released after 2015 is still new to me and perfectly fine in my eyes. Otherwise I rarely buy old games. It's hard for me to play something like Witcher 1 after you've seen Witcher 3. It is a bit like going back to CRT TVs, if you get what I mean. Some people can do it, but I sadly can't. But I would probably want to play 5 year old games.

It's good to know that there is a solution, like the one that you mentioned or the Gigabyte software mentioned above, even though it does seem like a lot of work just to play an older game. But there are no problems with new games then?
This goes back to my first point. You have to shop smart - not just throw money at the situation.
New games shouldn't have any issues with the P and e cores. Even if they did it would probably be patched quickly.


And that Asus Tuf Gaming Z690 Wifi D4 has better Wifi, more modern PCIe lanes for what they are worth and more M.2 NVMe slots than MSI B550 Gaming Edge Wifi. I don't know about the audio though. Some of the new Z690 motherboards are not clear about what audio codec they have. But I would think that it is at least ALC1200 which is what that B550 has.

B550 would allow upgrade to 5900x and 5950X though, that compare well with the Intel processors and have lower power consumption too. But that's relevant only if I upgrade my CPU to either of those and not to something entirely different, like 6000-series. I thought that 6000-series used the same AM4 socket but I was probably misinformed.

But anyway, for a non-competitive gamer who does some simple excel/word-stuff, is there really a big reason to even worry about which CPU to go with? I've never understood CPUs but they seem to be THE component that people advice you to save money on. CPU and motherboard. On everything else they tell you to max out the performance. RAM, GPU, SSD etc.
Be careful purchasing something based on just one or two YouTube videos. Do your research. Maybe first decide on your absolute top spending budget and then find something to fit that (get the most bang for your buck).
The ALC 1200 and 1220 are perfectly fine for 99.9% of users. Even audiophiles would be hard pressed to hear the differences, in a blind test, between them and more expensive audio equipment since, with games, the source sound is already compressed.

Ultimately it will be your decision on where to save money. I usually use the tick-tock method with new systems/upgrades. GPU prices are still in crazytown so, if you can 'get by' with an older GPU for now I would say upgrade everything ELSE and carry over a cheap older GPU. Then, when prices come back down, pick up a good GPU to complete your system.
 
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Lafong

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But anyway, for a non-competitive gamer who does some simple excel/word-stuff, is there really a big reason to even worry about which CPU to go with? I've never understood CPUs but they seem to be THE component that people advice you to save money on. CPU and motherboard. On everything else they tell you to max out the performance. RAM, GPU, SSD etc.
Once again, you've stumbled into the truth in your first sentence.

The more you are a gamer and the tighter your budget is, the more likely the advice you receive will be tilted toward the video card and away from the CPU if necessary for budget reasons.

For a non-gamer like me, who has literally not even seen a video card in 10 years, CPUs are at the top of the pecking order alongside the motherboard.

There's a strong gaming emphasis on most forums, including this one.

I may upgrade in the next 6 months, but considering what I do with a PC, I don't expect to even notice that I've upgraded for 90% of what I do......................I tell myself that I'm upgrading because my current equipment is nearly 6 years old with over 30,000 hours of operation. Which of course is a poor excuse as long as it's working well now. And it is.
 
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Nighthawk117

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My thoughts on your long post above @Awe32. Yes Raptor Lake uses the same LGA1700 socket, however it's not a worthwhile upgrade over 12th gen for most people. Right now it seems that the number of P cores will remain the same but there will be many more E cores. The E cores won't be of much help in terms of gaming performance, that may change but not for quite some time. The P cores are said to be around 10% faster.

As you suggest you will not be running the CPU at 100% all the time so there probably wont be a significant difference in terms overall system power consumption on an annual basis. Of greater consideration for me would be the need for a better cooler and potentially higher operating temps.

B550 would allow upgrade to 5900x and 5950X though, that compare well with the Intel processors and have lower power consumption too. But that's relevant only if I upgrade my CPU to either of those and not to something entirely different, like 6000-series. I thought that 6000-series used the same AM4 socket but I was probably misinformed.
I have a rather polarising viewpoint on this, I realise everyone has budgets but to me it makes no sense to buy a CPU and then upgrade to another CPU on the same platform two or three years later. I mean it does in a sense you can extend the life of your PC. However if you think you might need more later on then I'd get something like a 5900X now, that way you have better performance today and you don't have the cost of buying two CPU's rather than one.

Zen 3 (5000) will also be the last on socket AM4, Zen 4 (6000) will be on socket AM5.

But anyway, for a non-competitive gamer who does some simple excel/word-stuff, is there really a big reason to even worry about which CPU to go with? I've never understood CPUs but they seem to be THE component that people advice you to save money on. CPU and motherboard. On everything else they tell you to max out the performance. RAM, GPU, SSD etc.
I wouldn't agree with this, RAM and SSD upgrades are generally easier and cheaper to upgrade later, premium RAM kits beyond 3600Mhz are also a complete waste of money. Your correct for gaming you'd generally spend more on your GPU than CPU as that's going to be the component that has the most influence on the performance you get.

However it's worth noting that the more powerful CPU's tend to age better than less powerful ones. The 8700K for example has aged significantly better relative to it's i5 and Ryzen counterparts of the same era. I invite Cyberpunk 2077 as my witness :)
 
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Dec 4, 2021
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Be careful purchasing something based on just one or two YouTube videos. Do your research. Maybe first decide on your absolute top spending budget and then find something to fit that (get the most bang for your buck).
The ALC 1200 and 1220 are perfectly fine for 99.9% of users. Even audiophiles would be hard pressed to hear the differences, in a blind test, between them and more expensive audio equipment since, with games, the source sound is already compressed.

Ultimately it will be your decision on where to save money. I usually use the tick-tock method with new systems/upgrades. GPU prices are still in crazytown so, if you can 'get by' with an older GPU for now I would say upgrade everything ELSE and carry over a cheap older GPU. Then, when prices come back down, pick up a good GPU to complete your system.
Even if I had super expensive headphones that could possibly reveal a difference between ALC1200 and ALC4080, I would still need a pair of good ears. Most people could probably not tell a difference between good quality mp3 and wav, myself included. But ALC1200 doesn't allow headphones above 32 Ohms and my next headphones will be for a guitar amplifier too so better audio codec doesn't hurt at least. It gives more possibilities.

As for the GPU, I think my Radeon HD 7850 is a bit dated by now:DWell it still gave me a fairly decent performance in something like World of Tanks few years ago, but I think it is time to move on, even with these horrible prices. I understand what you mean by first buying 5600X and then upgrading to 5950X would be stupid. But with GPUs it's a bit different. Where I live, RTX 3090 costs nearly 2000€ more than equivalent 3060 Ti model. So I'll get 3060 Ti or 3070 now and hope that it'll be okay long enough for the prices for RTX 3090 and 6900 XT to come down significantly after few years.

I thank you all for the advice that you've given! My final conclusion is that if I don't plan to upgrade my CPU in the next few years - and I guess as a gamer I may not need to -, both 12600K and 5600X are probably just fine. I don't know if more cores is really required. Like I said, I don't understand CPUs. Next CPU that I'll have to buy - because that day will come eventually - might support neither AM4 nor LGA1700. It could be 14th gen Intel, it could be Ryzen 6000. Z690 is also superior to B550 but only on paper, in my case they probably are the same. Listening to what you've said, 12600K seems to have problems at least with the games but one can expect them to be mostly fixed in 2022 and they may not even affect me personally as I won't be buying any games on that list mentioned before.

Which model from Ryzen 5000 or Intel 12th gen. CPUs will I get then? I'll probably have to think first. Then I make up my mind and regret it afterwards. 😄 My guess is 12600K.
 
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Nighthawk117

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I would say the 12600K was the better choice from the position of longevity, in terms of simply being able to play modern games successfully then both would probably last you over the next few years. If your at all interested in high refresh rate gaming then again the 12600K would be my pick.
 
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I've even considered B560 motherboard and 11400F. It would cost about the same as 12600K or 5600X on its own without motherboard. It would probably be good for couple of years at least and by then there would be - again - plenty of CPUs to choose from and DDR5 would probably be a good idea to get. Right now DDR5 is a bit of waste of money I feel. Not that I would even need it right now, but it is hard to see what is required in the future. But I guess DDR4 will still have a good few years to live, especially if overclocked.

Maybe I am just expecting too much from the future. Obviously hardware wll get better if I wait and wait, but maybe DDR5 or Ryzen 6000 series won't be the kind of upgrade that I really need in the next few years. I was actually surprised with how well my 10 year old i5 650 is still holding up, along with that Radeon HD 7850. They're still capable of running some of the new games in a bit medium low setup and they are both very old and i5 650 wasn't even a flagship model. If that 12600K can give me decent gaming performance for the next 5 years, it's totally worth it.

Somebody just tell me that DDR5 is not even worth a consideration here 😄No, I think DDR4 Z690 and 12600K might just be my choise, but I need to first do some calculations on how much more it will cost compared to B550 and 5600X. There just happens to be a decent bundle-offer with Asus cashback that makes 12600K tempting. Sure, the bundle comes with Kingston Fury Beast RAM which never seems to get a mention in RAM recommendation charts. But how bad can it be, I wonder.
 

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