The Intel i5-10400 and 10500 have similar specs, but what are the actual differences in performance in games and applications? I’ll show you in this comparison to help you decide if it’s worth paying a little extra to go for the higher 10500. When we look at the spec differences between these two chips, they’ve both got 6 cores with hyperthreading, 12mb of cache and a 65 watt TDP. The key difference is in the clock speeds, the 10500 is 200MHz faster.
Looking at the current prices, the 10400 is available for $197 USD, while the 10500 is $251, but this may change over time as 10th gen availability is still scarce.
I’ve tested both processors in the same system. I’m using MSI’s Z490 ACE motherboard, 16gb of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory in dual channel with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti. I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H2 paste for both CPUs so we can do a fair temperature comparison, though both do come with stock coolers.
Testing was completed with the same version of Windows and Nvidia drivers. With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications, followed by power draw and thermals, then gaming tests at 1080p and 1440p resolutions afterwards.
Starting with Cinebench R20, I’ve got the higher clocked 10500 up the top, and the lower clocked 10400 just below it. The more expensive 10500 was 5% faster in terms of multicore score, however the single core score saw a larger 10% increase. I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use it, and the margins were quite similar in this one too, with the single core score seeing bigger gains with the 10500 than multicore. I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks. This is another threaded test, and the slightly higher clock speed of the 10500 was allowing it to complete the classroom test 6% faster, and 5% faster for the shorter BMW test. Handbrake was used to convert 4K video to 1080p, and the 10500 was only completing the task 4% faster, so not much difference at all. Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K, and I’ve used VBR 2 pass so no iGPU usage, though again the 10500 was only able to complete the task around 4% faster. Premiere was also tested using the Puget systems benchmark tool. This tests more than just exporting such as live playback, and this time with more factors considered than just export time the 10500 was only scoring 3% higher. I’ve also tested the warp stabilizer effect in Adobe Premiere which is a less threaded workload and is used to smooth out a video clip, and like we saw in some of the single core results earlier, there was an above average 6% performance boost with the 10500. Adobe Photoshop was another that was tested with the Puget Systems benchmark tool, and was another where the 10500 was scoring just 4% higher than the cheaper 10400 processor. 7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds, and the 10500 was only 3% faster for compression, and 5.5% ahead when it came to decompression. VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption speeds, the 10500 was just 4% faster in decryption and 5% faster for encryption. The V-Ray benchmark uses the processor to render out a scene, and the extra 200MHz all core turbo boost speed is only getting us a 4% higher score with the 10500. Likewise the Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene, and again there was a similar 4% speed boost with the 10500. The differences were even closer in the Hardware Unboxed Microsoft Excel test, where the 10500 was completing the large number crunch test just 3% quicker than the 10400. The difference to single core performance with Geekbench was similar to other single core workloads tested, with an above average 7% boost from the 10500, while the difference in multicore was the smallest seen out of all applications tested.
Here’s how the much faster the more expensive i5-10500 processor is when compared against the cheaper i5-10400 option. In every case the 10500 is ahead, as expected, they’re basically the same except the 10500 is 200MHz faster. What I found interesting is all the single core workloads are at the top of the graph, indicating that the 10500 seems to be better when it comes to these tests compared to multicore workloads.
When we look at the total system power draw from the wall with the blender test running, the 10500 was using 15 more watts, and just as a reminder this was so that it could complete the task less than 6% faster. Here’s the package power as reported by hardware info so we’re not actually being limited to the 65 watt TDP spec with the MSI Z490 ACE, though both processors were able to max out at their all core turbo boost speeds without any problems. Higher power draw typically results in more heat, and with my 360 AIO the 10500 was running 7 degrees warmer to achieve these performance differences. Let’s get into the gaming results next, I’ve tested 16 games at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions, again only stock results as these processors do not support overclocking.
Look, honestly the differences aren’t that different between these two processors when it comes to gaming. Basically in some cases the 10400 was ahead, in others the 10500 was ahead, it varied by game and even resolution, while most of the differences were well within margin of error ranges anyway.
On average over these 16 games tested, the more expensive Intel i5-10500 was basically performing the same as the 10400 in games at 1080p once we average everything out. Even at the worst or best case I was only seeing a two percent difference in performance, which honestly isn’t something you’re going to be able to practically notice or really benefit from. Interestingly when we step up to the 1440p resolution where the processor typically matters less as the GPU takes on more of the work, the 10500 was a little slower on average, but at the end of the day, again the results are similar and still only going one way or the other by three percent.
When we factor in prices and look at dollar per frame results, the i5-10400 is of course offering better value. The performance was near identical, but the 10400 currently costs more than $50 less money than the 10500. Basically the 10500 does not seem worth getting if you’re gaming, save the money and go for the 10400 instead.
Outside of gaming the 10500 isn’t much better in productivity workloads either however it did see some bigger gains in less threaded workloads so depending on what you’re doing maybe it’s worth considering, but for 27% more money the value just isn’t there regardless of what you’re doing, so to conclude the 10500 isn’t worth it at the current price, I’d maybe consider it if it was only about $10 more expensive and gaming wasn’t the focus, but yeah for gaming it doesn’t seem to matter, just stick to the 10400 out of the two, unless perhaps the 10500 is equal in price or cheaper. Let me know which CPU you’d pick and why down in the comments, the 10400, 10500, or something completely different?