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Intel 7th Generation Core i3 7350K Processor Review

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Intel 7th Generation Core i3 7350K Conclusion:

Back in late 2009 and early 2010, Intel pushed out an all-new product for the enthusiast on a budget. A dual-core product with Hyper Threading that was a pretty big success when you look at what it was able to deliver. The Clarksdale processors were the first overclocking enable K-SKU Dual core CPUs pushed out of Intel's labs. They delivered comparable gaming results without having to spend big coin on the CPU and motherboard. This allowed the end user to focus their spending on the video card, where you can see a higher return on the investment, as long as you are not CPU bound.

In a nutshell, what we have is deja vu! The caveat is that while in 2010 most games were not really optimized to utilize more than one or two cores, swing forward to 2017 and that dynamic has changed. Now we have games that do indeed show an FPS increase as the core count is increased. If you look at the results in Tom Clancy's The Division testing, you can see a 40 FPS and 33FPS swing when the game is not GPU bound at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1080. If you are GPU bound, then things tighten up a bit and bring those results closer together. In the Hitman (2016) testing, you can see where the results are within 3-4 FPS to illustrate the difference. Regardless of the FPS, most of us play at the best settings our discrete graphics card will allow with decent FPS. The Core i3 7350K does have an Intel HD 630 integrated GPU, much like the Core i7 7700K, so if you absolutely need to hold off on a discrete GPU you can use the integrated graphics. However, most current games are not playable with the IGP. It does, however, play HD content without an issue.

As a K-SKU processor, the Core i3 7350K is an overclocking enabled and unlocked processor. The expectation is that it should overclock as well as its full core count siblings, such as the Core i7 7700K. And that it does, with a fairly robust 4.9GHz clock speed with about 15 minutes worth of performance tuning. Depending on the motherboard you put this little gem in (it has to support overclocking), you should see a boost in performance across the board, which I did in each and every test. When pushed to the limit, the thermals never got out of hand, even when I was pushing the vcore up to 1.45v. Using an AIO liquid cooler helps tremendously in this aspect, but you could reach the 4.9GHz clock speed I was able to reach with a solid air cooler from Noctua or Phanteks.

Priced at $169 after Intel's latest price drops, the Core i3 7350K has higher out of the box clock speeds than most of the next level up quad-core non-HT processors, such as the Core i5 7600. This should bridge the performance gap to some extent and allow the end user to still stay on budget by saving up to $70. When the first K-SKU dual-core chips were announced in 2009, it's interesting to see that trend of delivering overclocking enabled budget products for all users is still in vogue. If you are a bit budget strapped, the Core i3 7350K offers decent performance for your dollar.

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Overclocking
  • IPC
  • 14nm
  • Low power

Cons:

  • Comparative performance
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