When selecting a CPU for gaming, the most important characteristics are the clock speed (or frequency), number of cores and threads, cache size, and type of memory it supports. Additional considerations like integrated graphics and overclocking needs may also influence your selection.
In addition to discussing how good the 11600 is for gaming, this article will discuss our recommended:
When using Intel's Core i5-11600 CPU for gaming, you can expect good game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or mediocre game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler.
Check out our Recommended LGA 1200 Coolers below.
This performance assessment is based on the following characteristics of the CPU and their relevance to the latest graphics-intense games:
- 12 MB of L3 cache is mediocre for performance
- 6 cores allow for good performance
- 2.80 GHz base frequency
- 4.80 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)
- Max stock DDR4 speed of 3200 MHz can be good for performance
- Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance
- PCIe 4.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)
- The 11600 has integrated graphics support, but this performance assessment assumes you will use a graphics card. Integrated graphics support is mediocre or worse with the latest graphics-intense games.
A CPU's cache is a small amount of memory, close to the CPU cores, containing recently used data.
Games performance can improve as cache size increases, as it will reduce delays when retrieving commonly used game assets from memory.
An L3 cache capacity of at least 20 MB is ideal for game performance.
The Intel Core i5-11600 has an L3 cache capacity of 12 MB.
The 11600's 12 MB of L3 cache is mediocre for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Increased core counts can improve the performance of games that use them, but most modern games don't benefit from having more than 6–8 cores. Remember that cache sizes often increase along with core counts, so if you want to increase your L3 cache, you may need to get a CPU with more cores.
Intel's Core i5-11600 CPUs have 6 cores.
The 11600's 6 cores allow for good performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Single-core performance is essential for some games, as many don't take full advantage of multiple cores.
Turbo boost frequencies are only achieved under ideal circumstances. The safest strategy for consistent gaming performance with a basic cooler is to get a higher base clock speed processor. However, with adequate cooling, you may be able to maintain speeds near the max boost frequency.
The 11600 CPU's lack of support for overclocking cannot benefit performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
The processor has a 2.80 GHz base frequency and supports a 4.80 GHz single-core max turbo frequency.
The 11600 has a 2.80 GHz base frequency, which is the speed before boosting. You can reach these base frequencies even without a high-end cooler.
With a high-end cooler, the 11600's 4.80 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance with the latest graphics-intense games. You can maintain these frequencies with a high-end cooler.
Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i5-11600, for recommended coolers that can maintain these boost frequencies.
The 11600 CPU's support for DDR4 with a max stock speed of 3200 MHz can be good for performance with the latest graphics-intense games.
Faster PC memory can improve game performance and frame rates, but using the fastest RAM may not have as much of an impact as upgrading your CPU and graphics card or adding more RAM.
Learn about our recommended RAM for the 11600 in Choosing the Best RAM for Intel's Core i5-11600 CPU.
| N | "N" means it's a bespoke CPU for a company such as Apple. |
The 11600 model name doesn't have an F suffix. Non-F CPUs contain integrated graphics, and a separate graphics card isn't required if your motherboard includes video-output connectors (e.g., HDMI).
The 11600 model name doesn't have a K suffix. Non-K CPUs can not be overclocked.
A CPU cooler's TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating indicates how much heat it can dissipate in watts. If the cooler can't keep your CPU cool enough, your CPU may throttle (slow down), and your cooler will constantly run at full speed.
Intel CPU specifications indicate this power dissipation number as "Processor Base Power."
The Core i5-11600 has a TDP of 65 watts.
A CPU cooler can still work with a lower TDP rating than the TDP of a CPU. However, the CPU will eventually throttle itself to a lower frequency to allow itself to cool.
The CPU may not achieve or maintain maximum turbo speeds without adequate cooling.
Learn more in Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i5-11600.
For Intel's 11th generation Core i5 11600 processor, you'll need a motherboard with an LGA 1200 socket and a compatible 500-series or 400-series chipset.
Motherboards for Intel processors are made with chipsets provided by Intel. Each chipset offers a unique set of capabilities. However, motherboards must explicitly support features and capabilities for you to use them. Verify that a motherboard supports the features and capabilities you desire.
The lack of a "K" suffix in the model name 11600 means it doesn't support overclocking. Because of this, you may not need to use the top of the line Z590 or Z490 chipsets which support overclocking. Instead, you can use a motherboard with Intel's other 500 or 400-series desktop chipsets listed below.
For compatiblity with Intel's 11th generation Core processors, you can use any of the 500-series chipsets: Z590, H570, B560, H510. These are roughly sorted from most to least functionality. The W580 and Q570 chipsets are also compatible, but are intended for workstation and business use cases; their availability in stand-alone motherboards is limited.
While the budget-friendly 400-series B460 and H410 won't work with the 11th generation Core processors, the Z490 and H470 400-series chipsets are compatible. However, these chipsets were designed for the 10th generations Core processors, and will limit the capabilities of your system. The W480 and Q470 chipsets are also compatible, but are intended for workstation and business use cases; their availability in stand-alone motherboards is limited.
For a detailed comparison of these chipsets, check out my article Which Chipsets Work With Intel's Core i5-11600 CPU?.
- Find Z590 Chipset 11th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find H570 Chipset 11th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find B560 Chipset 11th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find H510 Chipset 11th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find Z490 Chipset 10th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Find H470 Chipset 10th Gen Motherboards on Amazon (affiliate link).
Best Feature Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero
- Our recommended feature-rich motherboard to pair with the Core i5-11600 is ASUS's ROG Maximus XIII Hero:
- Four NVMe M.2 slots, which is great! (two @ PCIe 4.0 speeds, two @ PCIe 3.0 speeds).
- This board includes various headers for accessories, including 3 ARGB headers for lighting control and separate liquid pump header.
- Audio noise canceling and an optical audio output port
- Z590 chipset supports overclocking for K-prefixed CPUs.
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Wi-Fi 6E makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
- Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
- Two 2.5 Gb Ethernet ports are faster than most Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
- Check the latest price of the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero on Amazon (affiliate link).
Best Value Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi
- Our recommended value motherboard to pair with the Core i5-11600 is the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi motherboard:
- Three NVMe M.2 slots, which is excellent (one @ PCIe 4.0 speeds, two @ PCIe 3.0 speeds).
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Wi-Fi 6 makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
- One 2.5 Gb Ethernet port, which is faster than most Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
- Check the latest price of the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi on Amazon (affiliate link).
Check out my article, Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i5-11600, for more info about how to choose the best CPU cooler.
Locked Intel CPUs may come with a stock CPU cooler. These CPU models do not have a "K" in the name. While stock coolers will prevent your CPU from overheating, your CPU will throttle its performance during games and other intensive tasks. Higher TDP coolers will keep your CPU at turbo speeds for longer durations. Stock coolers are often quite loud at their maximum speed.
Best AIO Liquid Cooler: Enermax Liqmax III 360
- This Enermax liquid cooler has an excellent cooling capability with a 360-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
- Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 2066, 2011-3, 2011, 1700, 1200, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150 and AMD AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1.
- Quiet operation at 14-27 dBA.
- Make sure your computer case dimensions support this, as it will take up a decent amount of space!
Best Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15
- Dual 140 mm fans provide 220-watt TDP (183 NSPR) of cooling capability.
- Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM2, FM2+.
- Quiet operation at 24.6 dBA.
Runner-Up - Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510
- This CPU cooler doesn't have any fancy LED lights, but the dual 120 mm fans do a great job of cooling LGA 1200 CPUs.
- Suppose you think this cooler will take up too much space. In that case, Thermaltake has a few single-fan TOUGHAIR variants which use different orientations.
- This CPU cooler has a 2000 RPM max speed for optimal cooling.
- 180-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power).
Before purchasing memory, review your motherboard specification to verify which speeds are supported. For example, if a DDR4 motherboard stated that it supports "DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000," that would mean that it could support DDR4-3400, DDR4-3333, and DDR4-3300 with memory overclocking, and DDR4-3200 and DDR4-3000 at stock speeds. Motherboard specifications also indicate the maximum capacity per stick of RAM (DIMM) and across all slots.
Recommended Stock-Speed DDR4
- At an effective frequency of 3200 MHz, this memory hits the fastest DDR4 speed supported by Intel's Core i5 11600 CPU without overclocking.
- The low-profile form factor ensures that the heat spreaders don't get in the way of other devices, including your CPU heatsink.
Recommended DDR4 for Overclockers
- This DDR4 memory is designed for overclocking to an effective frequency of 3600 MHz.
- Supports XMP 2.0.
- Compact heat spreaders avoid conflicting with a CPU cooler.
- Which Chipsets Work With Intel's Core i5-11600 CPU?
- Choosing the Best CPU Cooler for Intel's Core i5-11600
- Choosing the Best Power Supply for Intel's Core i5-11600
- Is the Core i5-11600 CPU Good for Gaming?
- Choosing the Best RAM for Intel's Core i5-11600 CPU
- Choosing the Best Motherboard for Intel's Core i5-11600
- How Many Cores Do Intel Core i5-11600 CPUs Have?
- What Is the TDP of the Core i5-11600 CPU?
You can find detailed 11600 specifications on Intel's site.
Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles:
- CPU Coolers:
- Graphics Cards:
- Power Supplies: