Intel Core i5-9400F Review

Mid-range desktop processor released in 2019 with 6 cores and 6 threads. With base clock at 2.9GHz, max speed at 4.1GHz, and a 65W power rating. Core i5-9400F is based on the Coffee Lake Refresh 14nm family and part of the Core i5 series.
Price 87.5%
Speed 75%
Productivity 67%
Gaming 91%
Category Desktop
Target mid-range
Socket Compatibility LGA1151
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included Yes
Overclock Potential 0 %
Year 2019 Model
Price 169 USD
Number of Cores 6 Cores
Number of Threads 6 Threads
Core Frequency 2.9 GHz
Boost Frequency 4.1 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 4.1 GHz
Power Consumption 65 W
Manufacturing Process 14 nm
L3 Cache 9 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 128 GB
Price-Value Score 87.5 %
Speed Score 75 %
Productivity Score 67 %
Gaming Score 91 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 23.9 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 12 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 6 %
Overall Score 45/100

The Core i5-9400F is one of Intel's mid-range Desktop processors. It was released in 2019 with 6 cores and 6 threads. With base clock at 2.9GHz, max speed at 4.1GHz, and a 65W power rating. The Core i5-9400F is based on the Coffee Lake Refresh 14nm family and is part of the Core i5 series.

Core i5-9400F is also the successor of Intel's last gen Core i5-8400 processor that was based on the Coffee Lake and 14nm process and was released in 2017.

In our mind, the best processors are the ones that deliver outstanding performance at a reasonable price point. And, the Core i5-9400F absolutely nails this concept.

The Intel Core i5-9400F was rolled out on Feb 2019 for $169, which puts it in the same general price range as the last-generation Core i5-8400. This means that at least we're not seeing any considerable price jumps from generation to generation.

Intel has been having some trouble as of late which has made it even harder to compete with the incoming wave of Ryzen 5 processors. That has forced the chip maker to be a little more creative and make do with their current product lines. Today we have the Intel Core i5-9400F on hand, which in itself isn’t anything new. It’s basically a refreshed Core i5-8400 with a clock speed boost. We say basically because it’s not a straight refresh however, there’s another change.

The Intel Graphics have been disabled and therefore the Core i5-9400F has no form of integrated graphics -- just like the Ryzen 5 3500. This is meant to make the Core i5-9400F cheaper than the Core i5-8400, even though AMD's list pricing doesn't make this apparent, in practice the Core i5-9400F can be had for $169 while the Core i5-8400 is still $182, making the newer chip 8% cheaper. It also means it’s cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3500 which is currently retailing for $240.76.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the AMD chip if you don't tune up the Ryzen 5 processor. The base performance we showed for the Core i5-9400F can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Ryzen 5 3500 will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Intel Core i5-9400F 6-core desktop processor that was released in Feb 2019. Intel offers the Core i5-9400F without integrated graphics. It runs $169 shipped and is ideal for those that plan on using it a system with a dedicated graphics card.

One of the nice things about the Intel Core i5-9400F processors is that the retail boxed models come with a CPU cooler. So, you can pick something like the Intel Core i5-9400F up for $169 and don’t need to spend any extra money on CPU cooling.

The Intel Core i5-9400F retail boxed processor comes with the traditional ‘pancake’ CPU cooler. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done on this processor which is rated at 65W TDP. You do not need to have an aftermarket cooling solution unless you want to.

For a 6-core processor, Intel’s $169 flagship Core i5-9400F processor seems downright cheap. On paper, the cost of those 0 extra cores is almost an afterthought when you stack it up against its direct competitor, the $240.76 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 3500.

That said, Intel still lags behind in frequency when the Ryzen 5 3600 operates at 3.6GHz at any given moment and 4.2GHz when push comes to shove.

With Core i5, Intel continues to innovate on its new architecture and 14nm process. Like Core i5, Intel has engineered Core i5 to operate on a LGA1151 chipset with all the modern amenities of computing. This includes support for DDR4 RAM, the fastest NVMe SSDs and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Now the biggest question is can Intel’s Core i5 processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 91% in our benchmarks.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable, powerhouse CPU that both works and parties hard, this is it.

Fresh from a successful roll-out of mainstream Core i5 CPUs, Intel's attack on AMD now extends down into the mid-range with its Core i5-9400F processors, which the company is making available as of Feb 2019.