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Intel Core i3-7350K Review - Armchair Empire

Intel Core i3-7350K Review


  • 7/10
    Price - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Power Consumption - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Game Performance - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Single Core Performance - 9/10
  • 6/10
    Multi Core Performance - 6/10
7.8/10

Our Rating


Intel Core i3-7350K Quick Specs
Cores 2 w/ hyper-threading
Cache L3 – 4 MB
Base Clock Speed 4.2 GHz
Standard Overclock Speed 4.8 GHz
Base Power Consumption 60 W

Introduction

Remember the G3258 Pentium processor from the Haswell lineup? Back then it was a popular choice among overclockers because of how cheap it was and because of its lauded performance with games. The Core i3 7350K brings back these memories of yesteryears thanks to its overclocking prowess.

With the Kaby Lake series, Intel has moved away from the norm and decided to offer an unlocked i3. This is the first time they are giving you the opportunity to overclock an i3 straight out of the box using multipliers. Not just that but because it is 7th generation, the graphics card is top notch.

Let’s get started by stating the specifications first. In short, the Core i3 7350K is pretty much a Core i7 7700K divided by two! Exactly half the number of cores, half the L3 cache at 4MB – this processor packs the same base clock speed of 4.2 GHz albeit with lower price and much less TDP of just 61W. By the way, Turbo Boost technology 2.0 that features prominently among Core i5 and i7 7th generation is also absent in this processor.

Intel 7th Generation Core i3-7350K 4.20 GHz FCLGA1151 Desktop Processor (BX80677I37350K)
  • Socket LGA 1151
  • Intel 200/1001 Series Chipset Compatibility (1. Excludes Intel Optane Technology support)
  • Intel HD Graphics 630

Performance Analysis

This chipset from Intel is a drastic departure from the norms. If anything, it is what most enthusiasts were waiting for ever since the Pentium G3258 ran its course. Costing just a little more than the 7350K is the Core i5 base configuration of 7400 that has actual four cores but no Hyper Threading. That is the main competitor according to us for the 7350K and much of our review is based on performance comparisons between the two. By the end of the review, you will understand what a 7350K is good for and when not to take it.

Like with all Intel processors, the letter “K” signifies that it is top of the line in its segment. Naturally, this means that there is no gain in comparing the 7350K with any of the older or lower-end siblings. Another obvious statement would be that any review of the 7350K requires overclocking without which it cannot be called an exhaustive review. Hence, much of our review is based on how well it overclocks.

First off, to overclock this processor you need a motherboard designed for this purpose. You have two options. Either get the Z170 or the Z270. The latter costs more but is optimized best for overclocking 7th generation processors. However, the Z170 works just fine.

In all our overclocking tests, the Core i3 7350K did a wonderful job. Considering the fact that this processor does not support Turbo Boost technology, we were amazed to find that it managed to achieve 4.8 GHz with ease. We did not push it to 5GHz though as it would have been overkill. Memory overclocking too was splendid with 32GB DDR4 with four DIMMs went as high as 4GHz.

Basically, for the price you pay, you get an excellent overclockable CPU. If you do not want to spend much more but want something to overclock then this is the perfect processor to buy.

The iGPU on this baby Core 7th gen beast is the same as on the 7700K so naturally, its performance is the best among all Core processors. This iGPU comes with 4K decoding at the hardware level and can easily stream, encode and decode UHD content.

As for performance with a discrete graphics card, the framerates are all well within performance range. Bottleneck should not be a concern even with the costliest of current generation graphics cards.

One huge benefit of the immense overclocking capabilities of the Intel Core i3 7350K was that when it was pushed all the way up to 4.8GHz with the memory running at 3200MHz XMP, it matched the FPS of a 7700K stock setting. This was the case across all games we tested such as GTA-V, UNIGINE benchmarks and Resident Evil 6.

If you do opt for the Z270 chipset, you naturally get the best storage technology. Intel Optane is about to come out and that is the only reason why you should get the Z270 with the Core i3 7350K. Otherwise, as previously stated a cheaper alternative is the Z170.

The only concern with the 7350K is its actual lack of cores. In heavy applications that demand Core performance and greater the core count, better the performance – the 7350K will suffer. Even with Hyper-Threading, there is no substitute for Physical Core count. Thus programs like Blender, HandBrake, and other video editing software won’t run as smoothly on this processor as they would on actual four or more core CPUs.

Pros

  • Completely unlocked, meaning you can tinker as much as you want with voltage, clock speeds, and a lot of other things.
  • Packs in a superb iGPU that is designed from the hardware level for UHD tasks.
  • Gives you the same single core performance of a 7700K but without eating a lot of power.
  • Most economical option among all Intel overclockable processors out in the market.
  • Superb game performance and great benchmark scores.

Cons

  • Priced a tad higher than one would have liked.
  • Lack of physical cores does put a limitation on it.
  • Not meant for average users who simply want a sturdy processor out of the box.

Should You Buy The Core i3 7350K?

To be honest, the Core i3 7350K is kind of an oddity. It blasts the 7400 Core i5 in terms of sheer speed, possibilities, and a lot more only failing in terms of physical core count. The majority of buyers though will not feel disappointed with what they get straight out of the box. This is primarily because of the high 4.2 GHz base clock speeds.

The only folks who should never consider this processor are those who never intended to overclock in their life or are involved with heavy duty multi-thread applications such as Blender and Handbrakes.

Verdict

Those on a budget but desiring a cutting edge processor that they can overclock, Intel has finally answered your prayers with the i3 7350K. Yes, it is the costliest of all Core i3 processors but it is also a performer and if you mostly game then this is a superb choice.

We haven’t provided any actual benchmarking scores because honestly, the 7350K is a completely different hardware than anything else in the market. For the price and what it offers, there is a lot that one can get out of it but if you aren’t clear with why you are buying this in the first place, no benchmarking scores are going to come to your rescue.

In simple terms, this is an enthusiast level processor meant for folks who love playing with clock speeds, overclocking and do not engage in a lot of multi-core operations.