The Core i5-12600 "Alder Lake" forms the leader of a sub-series of 12th Gen Core i5 processors. While usually non-K, K and KF-variants are quite similar as the only difference is integrated graphics or overclocking. The Core i5-12600 is a very different processor from the Core i5-12600K and i5-12600KF, though. Actually, the i5-12600 in this review has more in common with the very tempting i5-12400F we recently reviewed. With its 12th Generation, Intel branched its Core i5 desktop processor series out into two sub-series. The i5-12600K and KF are based on the larger Alder Lake C0 die and offer the Hybrid architecture, which has six performance "P-cores" working next to four efficiency "E-cores." The rest of the Core i5 series is based on a physically smaller die codenamed "H0," which only has six P-cores and no E-cores. The i5-12600 we are reviewing today is the fastest of these H0 processors you can buy. This also makes it the fastest Alder Lake processor without E-cores.
The Core i5-12600 is a traditional multi-core processor with none of the Hybrid processing elements found in the i5-12600K. It is a 6-core/12-thread processor with six "Golden Cove" performance cores and no "Gracemont" E-core clusters on the silicon. Each of these P-cores has 1.25 MB of dedicated L2 cache, and the six cores share an 18 MB L3 cache. The iGPU, uncore, and platform I/O is identical to the other Core Alder Lake processors, including support for DDR5 memory and PCI-Express Gen 5.
The Core i5 H0 series includes the i5-12400/F, i5-12500, and this chip, the i5-12600. The Core i3 quad-core models are carved out of this exact silicon by disabling two cores. The i5-12600 ticks at a base frequency of 3.30 GHz, with 4.80 GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency. Its power limits are identical to those of the i5-12400 with 65 W processor base power and 117 W maximum turbo power. The UHD Graphics 770 iGPU is based on the Xe LP graphics architecture and sees 32 EUs (256 programmable shaders) run at up to 1.45 GHz graphics clock.
Intel is offering the Core i5-12600 at around $240, which makes it $30 cheaper than the i5-12600K and just $20 cheaper than the i5-12600KF that comes with a disabled iGPU. As we mentioned earlier, you have to be very careful when ordering these chips as a misplaced "K" can land you with a significantly different chip. In this review, we find out if it's worth considering the E-core-free Core i5-12600 over its cousins with E-cores that promise you more compute muscle for just an additional $20-30.