Intel 12th Gen is at long last available for the mainstream PC market! While custom OEM-built parts of Alder Lake are still underway, system integrators (SI’s) can at least finally deliver the best Intel Core i5-12600K prebuilt gaming PCs to those ready to play the latest triple-A games right now.
Now to be fair, when it comes to pure gaming there isn’t exactly much to talk about in performance that you haven’t expected already with previous mid-range builds. But if you’re craving for Alder Lake’s updated architecture and fresh hardware potential, we have quite a few nice SI selections that you can roll out at any time.
Considerations when buying an Intel Core i5 12600K Prebuilt Gaming PC
Versus custom PCs
Performance – With the CPU and GPU combination at the very least, the chance of a mismatched setup is much less likely. Especially since each component is off-shelf, so system integrators are far less likely to use downright stupid OEM-style cooling solutions. You do lose the option to tweak the hardware combinations directly, and some SI’s might still insist on pre-installing bloatware to your fresh OS. But the performance difference of a proper prebuilt PC versus a similarly-built custom is now nearly negligible.
Convenience – Unless we are comparing instruction manuals from each SI, even current generation Alder Lake prebuilt gaming PCs would most likely be usable out of the box. This is without the need for the user to be familiar with building PCs in general right from the start. Inherently one of the best advantages prebuilt PCs traditionally have.
Cost – for the traditional downside, however, prebuilt PCs require overhead costs to pay for the PC being built (and sent directly) to its potential users/customers. This is, after all, the primary business model of such business entities. That being said, there was a brief time during the initial outbreak of the GPU crisis where buying prebuilt solely for their GPUs was the more economical option. Unfortunately, prices today have leveled in a way that this advantage is no longer usable.
Common Prebuilt PC Precautions
Inferior CPU cooling solution – double check if the cooling solution is robust enough for the TDP-tier of the CPU and not just some downdraft aluminum hockey puck. For the Core i5 12600K, it should either be a standard 120mm tower cooler, or (at minimum) a 240-rad AIO cooler.
Single-channel memory – it’s been shown and proven time again, that both SI and OEM prebuilt often cut costs by using only one stick of RAM (1x 16GB) instead of two (x2 8GB). Be absolutely sure that the prebuilt you’re getting has at least two sticks, inserted alternately in two slots if the motherboard is using four DIMM slots.
Non-optimal case cooling – so long as the front is a considerably flow-free mesh panel (or top if the intake direction is from above), you shouldn’t have any significant problems with airflow (and thus adequate cooling).
Questionable power supply – there are actually no solid pointers here (can’t request for change/swap), but at least make sure that the brand and model are known enough, and the 80+ plus efficiency certification is the one that you need.
Bloatware – SI-built systems are much less likely to have too much bloatware. That being said, it is quite recommended to (re)do a fresh reinstall of Windows if possible.
K&B “E-waste” – nothing extremely bad here. Just note that the included keyboard and mouse will usually be in the lowest quality ever passable for standard distribution. If not, then the prebuilt should be a tad bit more expensive to offset the higher-quality costs.
DDR4 vs DDR5 Memory
Long story short, if you are looking for a huge performance difference… you won’t. If you must choose a system right now, prebuilt with DDR4 memory will be a hundred bucks or so less expensive. It won’t different from DDR5 from practical use and gaming standpoint at all, and will still be relevant for many years so long as it is operable within its lifetime. (hint: Raptor Lake would still support DDR4)
Intel Core i5-12600K Prebuilt Gaming PCs
iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC / Computer Desktop SlateMono 238i
Balanced default components with a bit of wiggle room for smaller upgrades, best played right out of the box (no tweaks).
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i5-12600KF6+4-core Max P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 Ti 8GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB NVMeSSD + 1TB HDD
- Very balanced component combination
- Positive airflow somewhat reduces dust buildup
- Has a full-mesh front option
- Great out of the box experience
- Unimpressive front I/O
- Basic VRM heatsinks
iBUYPOWER, more than any other SI, has always held to its notorious reputation of always prioritizing style and looks first before the (thermal) performance. Well, that is actually still the case for this i5 12600K prebuilt. However this time, we have the option of using a full-mesh front panel to unleash the maximum intake potential of its default three 120mm fans. In fact, the entire complement of fans creates a small level of positive pressure within, theoretically reducing dust build-up ever so slightly.
As for the motherboard choice, it’s… okay. The lack of additional 8-pin CPU connectors plus the less-than-stellar VRM heatsinks means lesser overclocking fun for the otherwise well-cooled i5 12600KF, but it should still work perfectly in its default boost clocks for pure gaming.
Speaking of gaming, the balanced combination of an i5 12600K and RTX 3070 makes it perfect for current-generation Intel-based high-refresh-rate 1440p gaming. It could do 4K admirably as well, of course, but it sits very nicely at the upper end of what we can consider in 2021 as mid-range.
Storage options are not exactly remarkable. Pretty standard 500GB boot drive + 1 TB archive drive. Would recommend adding at least another 1TB DRAM-less SSD for additional games in the near future. RAM is also still pretty much stuck to 16GB, which is all that you’ll ever need unless you’re a Sims game addict or something.
YEYIAN Kunai X22 Gaming PC
Loses quite a few frames due to the lack of “Ti”, but is still a very versatile all-arounder especially since you can store so many more games with it.
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i5-12600KF6+4-core Max P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 12GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TBNVMeSSD + 2TB HDD
- Storage. Lots of storage.
- Stable base mid-range Asus build (Prime + Dual)
- Very upgrade-friendly quality case
- Limited case airflow for GPU without fan upgrade
- RX 6700XT upgrade not available for Intel models
YEYIAN’s mid-range offerings try to impress with component consistency and cleaner (less hardware clutter) configurations. But at least it doesn’t falsely parade itself as a champion of thermal efficiency when it doesn’t have to. A triple fan default configuration with the 240-rad AIO sitting on top is okay, but you could probably do better by adding a few case fans at the bottom of the case facing the GPU fans.
Most of the Intel-based versions of this prebuilt use a consistent combination of upper entry-level to mid-range Asus components. This one, in particular, uses a Z690 Prime + RTX 3060 Dual, which is a middle ground choice that doesn’t sacrifice features and build quality (hint: no plastic backplates)
Gaming performance for triple-A photorealistic titles in 1440p is… so-so. Anything else, and it runs like a beast like any other modern 30-series GPU. Especially since the i5 12600KF is never really bothered with multitasking issues of a modern gamer, despite being the cheapest unlocked Alder Lake SKU.
More than just its out-of-the-box usage, though, the simple layout of its cooling solutions, cabling, and case features makes it a bit easier to tweak and add components later down the line for those who need more to add (or to replace).
Cobratype Bushmaster Gaming Desktop PC
Nothing too remarkable, but performs quite nicely out of the box even with a standard 120rad AIO cooler.
SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core i5-12600KFMax P-core 4.9GHz Max E-core 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 12GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TBNVMeSSD
- Full airflow mesh panel
- Does what it can for its price
- Great motherboard performance potential
- 120-rad AIO cooler (compared to others in this list)
- Underdeveloped motherboard potential (default setup)
- Ketchup and mustard 24-pin PSU cable
Cobratype’s choice of entry-level and mid-range Thermaltake cases might seem odd for current-generation Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i5 prebuilt lineups. But, so long as it has good airflow (stable front and bottom intake), it’s not really a problem for us. What is potentially a problem, however, is the use of a 120-rad AIO cooler. Perhaps a measure to save costs using a separate rear fan? But if you ever have the primal urge to max OC your i5 12600KF (if ever), then you may find it a bit more challenging.
This is kind of strange since the SI went to the trouble of using the “bread and butter” Z690 mobo, the MSI PRO Z690-A, as its primary platform. Then again, there really isn’t any need to overclock top-of-the-line current generation CPUs nowadays so perhaps this is simply more of a power delivery and thermal stability perk.
Like the YEYIAN Kunai X22, gaming performance is relatively the same: can go ham on settings in 1080p, with a stable slice of 1440p gaming on the side. Storage is a bit limited without the extra HDD, but its 1TB SSD should still be enough to keep a good number of your favorite primetime games in check.
Lastly, the nice, open space in and around the case should give more tech-savvy users the freedom to add more stuff to it in the future, without having to remove anything else. Except maybe that gaudy 24-pin power connector.