In­tel Core i5-8400

$190

Maximum PC - - BEST UPGRADES -

AT LAST, WE’VE SEEN it come to fruition. In­tel has fi­nally thrown off the shack­les of those four­core lim­i­ta­tions, and added an ad­di­tional two cores to the vast ma­jor­ity of chips in its arse­nal of main­stream pro­ces­sors. It is, in essence, an ef­fec­tive way of com­bat­ting AMD’s Ryzen eight-core parts, with­out hav­ing to re­de­velop an en­tire ar­chi­tec­ture to do so.

The Core i5-8400 is the ab­so­lute sweet spot in the lineup, and for those look­ing for a mid-range, no fuss chip, that gets the job done, it’s the new king of the hill. Al­though it still lacks the Hy­per-Thread­ing of its Core i7 su­pe­rior, the in­clu­sion of those two Cof­fee Lake cores on top of the usual four pro­vides a raft of ad­di­tional pro­cess­ing prow­ess, ca­pa­ble of de­mol­ish­ing the older Core i7-7700K. It is, by far, the best value pro­ces­sor you can buy to date, com­ing in at a faintly ridicu­lous $190.

That’s not to say there aren’t any lim­i­ta­tions with Cof­fee Lake, the big one be­ing tem­per­a­ture. In­tel is still re­fus­ing to in­vest in any form of de­cent ther­mal in­ter­face ma­te­rial be­tween the die and the IHS, and be­cause of that, tem­per­a­tures are toasty, even on this locked Core i5. Plus, al­though the socket may be the same, there’s no back­ward com­pat­i­bil­ity at all, mean­ing you’ll be in­vest­ing in a new moth­er­board as well.

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