Intel Core i5 11600K Review: six core wars

Six core CPU’s are pretty much now the standard for mid to high caliber computers, and Intel’s latest Core i5 11600K is their new top contender when it comes to that specific market segments. Based on the Sunny Cove microarchitecture, which provides improvements on what was basically five years of Skylake microarchitecture, the new CPU should clock in with a few surprises. The new CPUs offer new technologies such as PCI-E 4.0 support, more integer units in the CPU core, and a revamped memory controller. If you want to hear about the new CPU lineup, we did cover it in this article. Let’s see how this new 6-core mainstream CPU does!

The CPU top is pretty much just like the top layer on the 10600K.

Bottom of the CPU isn’t different by much compared to the 10600K, but do remember you need a 400-series or a 500-series motherboard to utilize the new CPUs.

Our test setup consists of:

Core i5 11600K

ASUS Maximus XIII Hero (WIFI) Motherboard

Trident Z 3600MHz C16 RGB 16GB (8GBx2) DRAM

Corsair 1TB MP600 PCI-E 4.0 M.2 SSD

NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Card

Corsair H150i Pro RGB All-in-One liquid cooler

Thermaltake RGB 850W PSU

We also did something different in our testing. Instead of showing you all the available CPUs on the market, like most other sites do, we went and picked the current and previous generation 6-core CPUs from both Intel and AMD, and pitted them together, but also with and without the new Windows 10 major update called the 2021 H1 update, and then also OCed the top contenders using XMP and their built-in proprietary auto-overclocking modes.

Intel doesn’t have the single core performance crown in this benchmark any longer, which is a hit to one of their major advantages. We see that the H1 update can help AMD systems. The OC tests utilize the H1 update, and on AMD we enabled XMP and utilized Precision Boost Overdrive, on the Intel platform we utilized XMP, and let the motherboard expand all power restrictions. Basically unleashing both CPUs in regards to memory and power restrictions to see how each does.

Intel is holding its own when it comes to wPrime, and we can easily see this. To be honest, this did come as a surprise.

Blender seems to be even between the two top contenders. We didn’t really expect this, but Intel and AMD both made strides over their previous generations CPUs.

Generation over generation Intel has made a decent stride to improve general CPU performance, but the new CPU comes just a bit behind its competitor on.

Check that out; the extra integer units in the new Sunny Cove architecture seems to be doing quite the job in AIDA. They blow everything away.

Intel’s new memory controller is also taking a lead here in both standard and overclocked memory tests.

Memory bandwidth is very similar to previous generation processors, but AMD has obviously made strides to improve their current generation processor memory latency.

Once again the H1 update seems to slightly hurt Intel’s performance, but Intel is doing better in SuperPI in general. SuperPI is very memory speed and latency dependent, so this is a more real world result of general memory performance.

Here we see the brands trade blows, it isn’t much of a surprise. The one big takeaway is that AMD also improved their memory c0ontroller performance.

With better PhysX scores (CPU dependent) AMD’s flagship 6-core processor proves to be a fierce competitor. We also noticed that in this benchmark, the H1 update improved performance across the board.

AMD and Intel trade blows back and forth between the 5600X and the 11600K. The update did seem to make a difference on the Intel side of things.

AMD has the lead here, but by a thin margin.

At 1080P, AMD’s performance advantage does decline a bit, but AMD still is ahead. While the lead is by a small margin, it is still noticeable in this synthetic benchmark.

Here we have our first game benchmark, and we can see that while Intel has made generational improvements, it isn’t yet beating out AMD’s flagship 6-core processor. While it isn’t losing by a big margin at all, it isn’t blowing AMD away like Intel processors used to do.

If you want to see almost every score in the margin of error, GTA:V isn’t a bad benchmark to play around with. All joking aside, Intel has kept up performance and produced a good improvement over it’s previous 10th generation Core i5 10600K to basically tie AMD at a few dollars less.

Intel is holding its own in generational improvements and against its main competitor CPU, and doing so for a few dollars less. AoS:E is very picky, but Intel seems to be doing a good job.

AMD did get Intel with this one. We are not totally sure why our 11600K results are slightly lower than our 10600K results. The game’s optimizations or lack there of for Intel’s new CPU might explain it.

The new CPU seems to use a lot more power than its predecessor and competition. We should also remember these are worst case loading with AVX numbers.

If Intel had launched the 11th Generation CPUs before AMD’s launched their 5000 series CPUs then we would have said it is a great competitor and still the top king. However, AMD’s 5000 series CPUs bring some hefty improvements in their latest iteration, which is possibly by Intel needed something to counter with. However, perhaps countering with a new CPU that utilizes a generational microarchitectural shift might have been a bit apprehensive. Intel is still able to keep up with the new generation AMD CPUs, but it isn’t a clear winner. In fact, we don’t really see a clear winner considering product availability and price. Intel did lower its pricing, and that was a saving grace for them and a welcome surprise considering how Intel almost never lowers its price points. One thing to remember is that we expect the performance of the new 11th generation CPUs to get better as code is more optimized for the new microarchitecture, as it is has been almost half a decade where Intel used the same microarchitecture. We welcome the new architecture, and can’t wait to see what it does.

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