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Ryzen 5 2600 vs Core i5-9400F, Battle for the Budget

Red versus Blue is an age-old battle, it’s the go-to of opposing forces, and the Information Age shows that there’s no stopping this trend.

The year 2000 marked the major blow in the everlasting battle of Team Red versus Team Blue in the consumer processor market. AMD managed to blow away the market with the first 1GHz consumer processor, paving the way for the amazing rivalry between the two companies.

Fast forward to 2017 and this war was hot as ever. Intel’s release of its 8th generation of Core processors back in 2017 rocked the budget market, even after AMD’s Ryzen initial debut. Though, take a step forward to 2018 and bask in the improved glory that is Zen+.

What a budgeter’s dream.

Now, we understand that it’s 2019 and the launch of Ryzen 3000 is just around the corner, but we don’t know exactly how the new line will hold up in price-to-performance yet. So, we thought we’d open the old filing cabinet and take one last look back on the best price-to-performance battle of 2018.

Ryzen 5 2600 VS i5-9400F


In AMD’s corner, packing a whopping 6 physical cores and 12 threads, the Ryzen 5 2600!

Price is the 2600’s specialty with an MSRP of $199, but you can find this CPU for well under that nowadays. The 2600 runs for around $150 on average with the new 3000 series on the horizon.

Running at a base clock of 3.4GHz, this puppy can boost all the way up to 3.9GHz, but wait there’s more! Just like the rest of AMD’s Ryzen lineup, the 2600 has all cores unlocked. This means overclocking, of course, and it’s no slouch in that department either.

The 2600 can hit up to 4.2GHz on all cores (with the right cooling, though the stock one is amazing), and for $150 that sounds like crazy talk. Imagine explaining that to someone from 1999.


On Intel’s side, also boasting 6 physical cores with only 6 threads, the i5-9400F!

The Intel i5-9400F is part of Intel's brand-new F-series lineup. The whole shtick of F series? No more integrated graphics.

Crazy, right?

After Ryzen's initial success against the 8000s, Intel sought to kick AMD right back with the 9000s. By removing the integrated graphics, Intel couldn't make too big of a performance jump from the 8400, but they did lower the cost greatly.

The 9400F sits at around $160, which is just amazing for an Intel hexacore CPU. Packing a base clock of 2.9GHz and a boost of 4.1GHz (a 0.1GHz improvement from the 8400), this CPU will handle whatever you throw at it, with a good cost to boot.


Now that you’ve met both of our competitors, it’s time to put them head to head in a direct performance comparison.

i5-9400F vs Ryzen 5 2600 Base

So, as you can see, Intel comes out on top by a slight margin on every field up until Multicore. Intel has always been known for its single core performance after all.


Now, this doesn't necessarily win the battle. One thing that AMD has always dangled over Intel's head, is officially supporting overclocking on all CPUs in their lineup.

Keep in mind that, if you do choose to overclock, you’re going to need an aftermarket CPU cooler. Most CPU coolers will fit inside of even the smallest ATX case on the market.

Although if you’re going to be working in a micro ATX or mini ITX case, you’re going to want to check for compatibility issues before buying.

With this information on the table, why don't we pit AMD's overclocked 2600 versus the 9400F's boost?

i5-9400F vs Ryzen 5 2600 Overclock

Well, huh, that's weird. AMD didn't really gain too much footing on Intel, other than even further widening the gap in the multicore category.


I guess we can really call them equal, they have about the same performance in most categories unless of course, you need that extraordinary multicore speed for your next budget workstation.

It seems like it's really just the fight for preference, whether you like one side over the other, but maybe there's something else.


What kind of component review would this be without some video game benchmarks so you've got a feel of what your ever-important FPS will look like?

Considering these are generally mid-range chips we decided to pair them with an AMD RX 580 which is one of the most popular mid-range graphics cards on the market right now.

Ryzen tends to fall behind the Core series in gaming, but not today. The 2600 held its own, trading blows with the 9400F and performing far better in a couple of games.

As we head through 2019 and further, developers are starting to notice the rise of higher core counts in CPUs, and they're adapting by allowing games to start taking advantage of these extra cores for a more efficient flow.


The final category we're going to look at before concluding is the price.

A price can make or break your purchase, and/or your bank, so making sure you're always getting the most performance out of your dollar is key.

First, we’ll look at their relative standing on the market.

i5-9400F vs Ryzen 5 2600 Pricing

The 2600 comes out on top in user rating by a huge margin, and the 2600’s market share versus the 9400F’s is 3.09% to 0.77% respectively, but take this with a grain of salt, as the 9400F has only been around for about 4 months compared to the 2600’s year of reign.

The 9400F comes in at a cool $150, while the 2600 comes in at just $5 less. Wow, they really are making it hard to make a decisive decision.

There is, however, one thing Ryzen has that Intel can't compare to.

Amazing stock cooling.

The 2600’s included Wraith Stealth cooler is one of the better coolers on the market, ignoring the fact that it's even stock. The fact that AMD was able to include it at this price point is baffling but quite welcome.

Taking this into account, it's hard to choose the 9400F. You'll have to spend extra on a good cooler to keep it under control, and that just ends up driving the price even further away from AMD's offerings.

When they put forward very similar performance, as they do, that cooler really pushes AMD into the spotlight as our choice between the two.

Don't just take our word for it though, do your own independent research before purchasing, and always buy what's best for you.

See Also

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