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The Intel Core i5 11400F is one of the best of the latest 11th Gen desktop CPUs, and it’s also one of the cheaper six-core, 12-thread processors you’ll find. For half the price of the equivalently core-happy AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, you’re certainly not getting half the gaming performance.

So yes, it has actually happened; Bizarro CPU World has come to pass. This strange new reality is one where the dominant processor player is AMD, with the most expensive, most powerful chips available to PC gamers, and Intel is the one providing the budget alternatives that punch way above their weight class.

This is a turnaround of epyc proportions :smug face: 

That ‘F’ suffix in the Core i5 11400F denotes a lack of iGPU in the processor package, which is no bad thing for a budget gaming CPU, and normally means a cheaper chip. Times are strange, however, and the Core i5 11400 is exactly the same CPU but with those integrated GPU cores enabled. It should be more expensive, but is actually available for a lot less right now. 

Performance should be practically the same between the two so you can almost pick which of those two versions of the 11400 silicon is cheapest and be happy with your choice. Because the Core i5 11400/F is a great budget gaming CPU.

Intel Core i5 11400F processor

(Image credit: Future)

As a CPU generation itself, however, Rocket Lake has felt kind of lacklustre. The top-end Core i9 11900K is a chip that only its parents could love. It offers fewer cores than its erstwhile Core i9 compatriot and features the bastardised Cypress Cove core architecture that pulled the 10nm Sunny Cove core back into the arms of 14nm manufacturing. 

This backport resulted in a bigger slice of silicon and meant it couldn’t fit the previous generation’s ten-core maximum into the top Rocket Lake chip, and if nothing else that made it feel like tangibly worse value.

But what Cypress Cove does deliver is higher IPC, and that has led to higher gaming performance across the board compared with previous Intel desktop chips. Though up top, considering what you’re missing out on compared with either the Core i9 10900K or Ryzen 9 5900X, the boon of higher gaming performance doesn’t make up for genuine lack in multithreaded grunt.

Lower down the stack, however, it’s a different matter. The Core i5 11600K is a great little chip, far cheaper and at least as effective a gaming chip as the popular Ryzen 5 5600X. Take the power shackles off in your BIOS, forgetting the dire situation we’ve put the planet in, and you can squeeze even more performance out of the chip. 

Even if it was the same price as the six-core Ryzen the Core i5 11600K would still look good.

Core i5 11400F specs

CPU generation: 11th Gen
Codename: Rocket Lake
Lithography: 14nm
Cores: 6
Threads: 12
Base clock speed: 2.6GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 4.4GHz
Cache: 12MB
TDP: 65W

The Core i5 11400F just takes it that little bit further. It’s cheaper still, has the same six-core, 12-thread design—thanks to Intel finally lifting the artificial Hyper-Threading embargo—and can still hit a healthy 4.2GHz all-core Turbo clock speed. If you stick to the Intel recommended limits that will only last a few seconds, but most motherboards give you the option to let the silicon run at its limits.

Letting our Asus test board take care of the power limits, however, means a constant 4.2GHz under full load. That blows the old Core i5 10400F out of the water in multi-threaded performance and means it’s not far off either the 11600K or the 5600X. 

But if serious multi-core rendering performance is a big thing for you then chances are that you’ll be up for spending more on something with a bit more grunt. What the i5 11400/F chips are about is budget gaming prowess with a decent enough thread-count to ensure you’re not left out further down the line.

I’m not saying that jamming a six-core CPU into your rig is necessarily future-proofing, yet since Intel allowed Hyper-Threading throughout the range even its budget chips have enough processing grunt inside them to not only deliver excellent gaming frame rates, but also offer a modicum of compute power too.

Intel Core i5 11400F processor

(Image credit: Future)

System performance

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

Our basic testing, using Intel’s recommended power limits, show the i5 11400F absolutely hosing the equivalent Comet Lake i5 10400F when it comes to single threaded performance. That just highlights where the benefits of the Cypress Cove core appears compared with the Skylake core at the heart of the rest of Intel’s 14nm chips. 

The lower base clock speed, however, holds it back when it comes to multi-threaded benchmarks. 

But that goes out of the window as soon as you flip the theoretical BIOS switch and unlock those arbitrary power limitations, something most of us would do to unleash the full power of the chip in our rigs. The Cinebench R20 multi-threaded score then leaps up to 3,869 compared with its base 2,741 score, and that only puts it a shade behind the 5600X and 11600K.

Gaming performance

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 11400F benchmarks

PC Gamer test rig

Intel motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero
Chipset: Z590
AMD motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
Memory: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB @ DDR4-3200
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Storage: 2TB Kioxia Exceria Plus
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB Pro
PSU: NZXT 850W
Chassis: DimasTech Mini V2

When it comes to gaming performance, even with the original power limitations in place, the higher IPC of Rocket Lake allows it to outshine the Comet Lake chip in CPU-heavy games and go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the rest. 

What you’re seeing is a budget chip that’s capable of delivering gaming frames to your graphics card just as capably as the most powerful processors on the market. If you’re looking to save some cash on dedicated gaming PC, then the question has got to be: Why would you pay more for any other CPU?

Intel Core i5 11400F processor

(Image credit: Future)

The Intel Core i5 11400F pricing is a bit frustrating now, however, but that’s likely down to current chip scarcity. On Amazon it’s $279 which puts it far too close to the 11600K for comfort, but with the tray price at $157 it ought to be under the $200 mark. The straight Core i5 11400 (the same chip but with the Xe graphics enabled) is currently retailing for less than the F-series chip, at $210.

Realistically though, you should be looking at a budget gaming processor, in the Core i5 11400/F, that’s at least $100 cheaper than the best gaming chips from the competition, and can perform essentially just as well.

Sure, Rocket Lake at the high end is a bit of a bust, and yeah, the Cypress Cove cores are a little thirsty for power at the best of times, but when you’re gaming like a hero on the i5 11400 with or without the F suffix, you’re not going to care. Especially if you’re able to take that spare $100 and add it to your new GPU fund. Y’know, whenever those appear.

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

Ubisoft DRM Breaks Might & Magic X: Legacy Single-Player, DLC

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A green-ish glowing spider faces a party of adventurers in Might & Magic Legacy: X

Old school role-playing with new school problems.
Screenshot: Ubisoft

On June 1 Ubisoft shut down online services for several popular games. One of those games was 2014’s Might & Magic X: Legacy, an old-school first-person hack-n-slash dungeon crawler with no online multiplayer components whatsoever. It did, however, require a one-time verification through Ubisoft’s Uplay system to activate the game. Without it, players can’t get past the game’s first act. Thankfully there’s a partial workaround for this entirely unnecessary snafu.

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Might & Magic X: Legacy is a game that anyone with a Steam account or access to the Ubisoft shop can purchase and download right now for around $25. As Redditor and outstanding name-haver SensualTyrannosaurus points out, it’s not exactly the best time to buy. Since Ubisoft shut down the game’s network services, players have been unable to get past the game’s first chapter without manually editing their game files, while the game’s downloadable content remains completely inaccessible.

Read More: Back 4 Blood Will Require An Always Online Internet Connection And That’s Terrible

In a post on the Steam forums, user ljmiii helpfully details how to remove four lines from the game’s “LevDialog.xml” file, effectively bypassing the initial ownership check that occurs at the end of Might & Magic X: Legacy’s first chapter. Again, while this workaround does give owners access to the rest of the game’s normal content, it does nothing to enable “The Falcon & The Unicorn” downloadable content.

Kotaku’s reached out to Ubisoft regarding the issue, and will update this post should it respond. Reddit OP SensualTyrannosaurus says they have spoken to Ubisoft support, and that they are aware of the situation.

This is another unfortunate example of the problems with requiring an online component for an otherwise completely offline game. This is not a massive, invasive digital rights management check. It’s just a quick-and-simple check-in with Ubisoft’s servers that’s now causing a headache for legitimate game owners. This isn’t something we should have to deal with. Hopefully, Ubisoft can issue a quick fix—and make the DLC available again—and Might & Magic X: Legacy fans can get back to their worry-free dungeon crawling.

 

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E-Games

Activision Shareholders Vote To Keep Paying CEO Bobby Kotick A Ton Of Money

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Illustration for article titled Activision Shareholders Vote To Keep Paying CEO Bobby Kotick A Shit-Ton Of Money

Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

Long-time Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick eked out another lucrative victory today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting with a narrow vote of 54% in favor of maintaining his generous salary and millions in annual bonuses. The win comes after a year-long campaign by CtW Investor Group to rein in what it calls the Call of Duty boss’ “excessive executive pay.”

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“We are pleased that, based on exceptional shareholder returns and responsiveness, Activision Blizzard shareholders again approved our say-on-pay proposal and reelected our Board directors with an average of 96% of votes,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard wrote in an email. While shareholders overwhelmingly voted to re-elect the company’s board of directors, only 54% approved of the say-on-pay proposal, the lowest number ever according to the CtW Investment Group.

Originally scheduled to take place on June 14, Activision Blizzard ultimately delayed the vote until today “based on requests from shareholders for additional time.” A say-on-pay proposal is a non-binding vote that lets shareholders either voice support or reject CEO pay terms. As Axios reported, a failed vote would put increased pressure on the company to further reduce Kotick’s pay.

“It appears Activision did just enough arm-twisting for its Say on Pay measure to pass, nearly failing to receive majority support with only 54% of votes cast in favor,” Michael Varner, director of executive compensation research at CtW, told Kotaku in an email. “Such marginal support for Say on Pay votes is extremely rare: fewer than 4% of companies in the broader Russell 3000 index receive support around 50%, with average support in the S&P 500 at 88.6%.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out at the very end of 2020 and was still the year’s best selling game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out at the very end of 2020 and was still the year’s best selling game.
Image: Activision Blizzard

Despite slashing his base salary from $1,750,000 down to $850,000 earlier this year, Kotick makes most of his money from annual bonuses. Even with the lower salary, he could still be on track to earn tens of millions more, as he has over the last several years thanks to Activision Blizzard’s exploding stock value during the pandemic.

For its part, Activision Blizzard maintains that the amended compensation will result in significant cuts to Kotick’s pay over the next year, and argues he deserves his massive past payouts for helping the company’s stock price balloon.

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“Mr. Kotick, the longest tenured CEO of a public technology company, has transformed Activision Blizzard, achieved record results, doubled the value of the company, and delivered more than $45 billion in additional shareholder value since his employment agreement took effect in October 2016,” a spokesperson for the company told Kotaku. “Under his leadership, he has turned Activision Blizzard into one of the most important and valuable entertainment and technology companies in the world, increased jobs, and led major strategic investments that have enabled the company to far outpace most of its peers.”

The shareholder vote comes after Activision Blizzard announced layoffs across various parts of the company back in March. The number of employees affected was less than 2% of its total staff, or around 190 people, Bloomberg reported at the time. Amidst these and other layoffs at the company, developers within Blizzard have been pushing for more transparency and equity around employee pay. According to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, some junior developers there reported being paid less than $40,000 a year, or less than a fraction of a percent of Kotick’s total 2020 earnings. But hey, Call of Duty machine go Brrr.

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is A Good Intro To An Old Series

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rivet in ratchet and clank rift apart

Rivet, a new protagonist, makes it easy to jump into a storied series.
Screenshot: Insomniac

Jumping cold into the latest entry of a long-running series is often a daunting proposition. Catching up with dozens of characters across decades of games? Checking out Wikipedia pages between missions? No thanks! An exception to this rule is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, released earlier this month for PS5, which doesn’t require even a wink of familiarity to be a good time.

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Despite being a lifelong gamer, I’ve largely missed Insomniac’s iconic space-faring Lombax. (Earlier this year, I played approximately 30 minutes of the 2016 remake before getting distracted by a cascade of newer but not necessarily better games. I haven’t found the time to return.) But I wanted to play Rift Apart, because, well, freakin’ look at it:

When John Walker described Rift Apart as “brain-dazzlingly stunning” in his review, that wasn’t hyperbole. The game also sports the pedigree of a studio responsible for gems such as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the tremendously overlooked Sunset Overdrive. Plus, it’s supposedly a showcase for the snazzy new features of the PS5—, like haptic feedback and instant loading screens— that bear a ton of potential but haven’t exactly been seen much in action since the console launched last November.

Going in, I fully expected to get a kick out of the gameplay but feel otherwise lost. I figured I’d be up to my shoulders in wiki lore pages, or at least pausing the game every five minutes to beg friends to explain references to me. Instead, I’ve found this game a breeze to jump into. The relationship between the two lead characters comes off as natural and earned, even though I missed its earlier chapters. Clank might be a robot, but he loves Ratchet to the moon and back—and that bond is reciprocated. Dr. Nefarious might be the bad guy, but that’s a blatant result of insecurity, which likely resulted from years of losing at Ratchet’s furry hands. I needn’t be steeped in Ratchet history to immediately grasp these concepts.

Read More: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is The Best Mascot Platformer In Ages, But There’s Not Much Competition

The ease of entry is further buoyed by the presence of a new character, Rivet, also a Lombax. In fact, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart even comes out of the gate with a cinematic sequence starring Rivet, a creative choice that seems designed to onboard newcomers who might not be up to speed on the decades-old PlayStation mascot. Rivet’s brand new to this fictional universe, just like those of us who haven’t played a Ratchet game before. It’s a lot easier to dive in cold when someone more capable than you is leading the way, even if they are of a species that doesn’t exist.

There’s also the matter that Rift Apart, perhaps more so than any game I’ve played for the PS5, is unabashedly a video game. There’s no need to hand-wave the more outlandish concepts—like the prominence of fully cognizant artificial intelligence, or the species of space beavers that are all individually and inexplicably named Mort—with some pseudo-scientific explanation that may or may not hold up to scrutiny. Much of Rift Apart is nonsensical in a way many video games aren’t these days. The primary upgrade material is called raritarium, for crying out loud. (Note: It doesn’t seem that rare to me.)

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I’ve no doubt that, by coming into Rift Apart with little to no understanding of the series, I’m missing out on various winks and nods that would make the game more enjoyable, at least in the “Oh, ha, I got the reference” way. But missing this stuff hasn’t cut into my enjoyment of the game.

If you really feel like you need to start with an earlier game, you have an easy avenue to play the previously most recent Ratchet game, provided you also subscribe to PS Plus. The 2016 remake is among a set number of well-received PS4 games that are free at no extra cost to PS5 owners who subscribe to PS Plus, and, by most accounts, it serves as a good introduction to Ratchet & Clank. You could start there. In my mind, you don’t need to.

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