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Intel Core i5 11400F: performance analysis

The unexpected highlight of Intel's 11th-gen lineup.

We've run our benchmarks at the standard three resolutions: 1080p, 1440p and 4K, but we're focusing the bulk of our attention on those 1080p results, as this is where differences between different CPUs are most visible. (There's an argument for testing at 720p to make these deltas even more visible, but even mainstream PC gaming has long since moved onto 1080p.) We're using an RTX 2080 Ti for these results - you may have noticed than the RTX 3080 and 3090 that perform better are slightly hard to find right now - so you could expect CPU performance to make even more of a difference if you're lucky enough to be running one of these faster video cards.

This page is all about Doom-clones, or as they're more popularly known, FPS games. We start with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a game I've spent nearly 5000 hours playing for some reason, before moving onto two more recent titles: Rainbow Six Siege and Black Ops Cold War. Rainbow Six Siege is closer to CS:GO, with a focus on competitive action and high frame-rates, while Cold War is one of our new RT-enabled benchmarks, as we examine performance in the game's campaign.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Our first test comes from Counter-Strike. This game's go-to benchmark, available on the Steam workshop, is not particularly realistic - so we've selected a round from the game's 2018 major championship in Boston. The round includes a realistic amount of smokes, molotovs and other particle effects that can tank frame-rates plus some downtime, giving us a good chance to see how different CPUs fare under these different scenarios. We expect high frame-rates from every modern CPU in this game - after all, the game was released in 2012 - but with the advent of high refresh rate monitors and the importance of frame-rate consistency, some CPUs clearly do better here than others.

The 11400F acquits itself decently in CS:GO, with about six percent faster performance than the 10600K that it closely resembles in 2021 pricing. The 228fps average here is not quite enough to consistently max out a 240Hz monitor, but it's darn close. Interestingly, removing the power limits here doesn't unlock much extra performance; we noticed only a few extra frames per second when switching from our MSI board's 65W "box cooler" setting and its 255W "after-market cooler" option. To get higher frame-rates, you'll need a different CPU entirely - and Ryzen 5000 is the obvious choice for CS:GO, as we're looking at average frame-rates that are a whopping 42 to 46 percent faster at 1080p. The margin remains at 1440p, where the Ryzen 5000 advantage is in the realm of 34 to 40 percent, and even at 4K we're still CPU-limited with a single-digit advantage for Team Red.

CS:GO: DX9, Very High, AF off

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F [65W]
  • Core i5 11400F [255W]
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

Rainbow Six: Siege

Rainbow Six Siege is another title that benefits from even frame-pacing and extremely high frame-rates. There's not much in it here - even with the graphics set to the low preset, with a 100 percent render scale rather than the default 50 percent - the 11400F is dead-level with the more expensive 11600K. The 11900K holds a six percent lead over the pair of them, while Ryzen again shines with an eight to 11 percent lead depending on the model you're comparing with. The only real surprise here is the 10900K, which as in content creation benchmarks, is able to use its 12 cores to outdo its successor, the 11900K.

Rainbow Six: Siege: DX11, Low, 100% Render Scale

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Our final FPS on this page is the latest Call of Duty, Black Ops Cold War. Here, the focus is less on competitive performance and more on the single-player side of things, as we enable ray tracing and travel virtually to Vietnam in the mission Fracture Jaw. Interestingly, this part of the singleplayer campaign actually has RT disabled on consoles, even when the option is enabled elsewhere in the game, suggesting that the BVH building process here is particularly tough. The opening scene, as Bell joins Adler on the fields of Vietnam, is heavy on the CPU at the relatively low graphical settings we've chosen - and if we had an RTX 3090 on hand, we'd likely see a similar preponderance for processor power at a more problematic preset.

There's a clear staircase in effect here, with performance improving as we go up the Intel 11th-gen stack. The 11400F manages to deliver 115fps at these settings, with the 11600K six percent faster and the 11900K a more convincing 12 percent faster. The 11400F again falls between the 10600K and 10900K in performance terms, which is very impressive for a CPU that costs just £150. The 11400F even ties the Ryzen 5600X at 1080p, and that CPU costs nearly double!

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War: DX12, Low, TAA

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i5 11400F
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

We conclude our new standard gaming tests on the next page, where we take on Cyberpunk 2077 and two returning favourites: Far Cry 5 and DF favourite Crysis 3.

Intel Core i5 11400F analysis

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry  |  wsjudd

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.

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