There's no time to explain: the Intel Core i5-12600K has a Black Friday deal. I mean that's weird, right? It only came out scant weeks ago and it's already on the sharp end of a meaningful discount. Not that I'm complaining, mind, as this Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake mid-ranger proved itself the best CPU for gaming immediately upon arrival.
Specifically, Overclocks has the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version of the Core i5-12600K for £245, as well as the conventional retail model for £260. In both cases, there's a chance to make a not-insignifcant saving on the £290 RRP; it does look like most retailers keep the Core i5-12600K closer to £280, but still, this is by far the cheapest I've seen it. And it's certainly less than I expecting to see it before the end of November, given it only went on sale on the 4th.
Obviously, if you're going to take the plunge, you should go for the OEM model for maximum savings. OEM chips aren't functionally or even aesthetically different to their retail counterparts - they just don't come in the usual shiny packaging. Sometimes without a warranty too, though Overclockers list a 3-year warranty on this one.
- Intel Core i5-12600K (OEM) - £245 from Overclockers (was £260)
- Intel Core i5-12600K (retail) - £260 from Overclockers (was £279)
How exactly is the Core i5-12600K an ideal gaming CPU? Let me count the ways. Mainly it's just really bloody fast, thanks in part to some high clock speeds but also to its all-new architecture. Unlike previous Core i5 chips, this is split up into six "Performance" cores and four "Efficiency" cores, which seem to handle multitasking much more effectively while getting smarter with heat management and power distribution. In games, the performance benefit particularly extends to those that can take advantage of as many cores as possible, like Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
The result is a CPU that consistently beats its closest rival, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, and stays on par with much more expensive chips on frame rate output. At £260, it's an even better buy, and at £245 it's a downright bargain. As such, I'd go for it quickly rather than hold out hope for further discounts, though keep in mind that you'll also need to invest in a motherboard with the new LGA 1700 socket.
There are plenty more processors, including current-gen Ryzens, on offer in our guide to the best Black Friday CPU deals.