Intel has finally expanded its overclockable K-series chips by including its cheaper i3 range of chips. The Kaby Lake Core i3 7350K is the first fully unlocked i3 chip, designed to offer seriously high clockspeeds at the budget oriented end of the market.
However, the pricing of the new Intel Core i3-7530K starts at $168, which is quite steep compared to what you can get for that money on the market. Let’s put the chip to test and see what it can offer in terms of performance.
The new Core i3-7350K is a member of the 7th Generation Core CPU family. It is also the latest chip in a wave of 14nm silicon that optimizes the architecture found in last generation’s chips. These improvements include higher clock speeds, improved power efficiency, and newer graphics hardware for decoding 4K videos.
In terms of pure specs, the Kaby Lake i3-7350K is pretty much a 7700K divided by two. While it uses the same HD630 graphics core, it has exactly half the core count (2) and half the L3 cache (4MB) as the 7700K. Intel also decided to provide it the same base clock of 4.2GHz.
The new chip sits in the same LGA 1151 socket the previous Skylake CPU generation inhabits and can slot easily into either an old 100-series or newer 200-series motherboard. You may need a little BIOS update on your older board, but that should be about the extent of any installation difficulties.
Having said all of that however, the i3-7350K is really a top of the line i3 processor. In fact, it is right at the top of the i3 product category just like the 7600K is the top i5 and the 7700K is the top i7. And the good thing about the i3-7350K is that it can be overclocked.
The Core i3-7350K is designed to work with motherboards using the Intel Z270 chipset, which features improvements in memory management, including support for up to DDR4-2400. In the future, the processor and Z270 chipset will be able to support Intel Optane memory, which is based on non-volatile memory chips that retain data even when the system is turned off.
During our benchmarks, the Core i3-7350K was able to overclock to 5GHz without experiencing the lockups and crashes. Although the higher-end chip has more cores and a larger SmartCache (8MB versus 4MB), the overall performance of the i3-7350K is still remarkable.
Budget processors can be interesting, but they need to actually be budget components. The i3-7350K is more expensive than some of the fastest APUs and CPUs on the market right now, though it definitely is more power efficient. If you are on the look out for a very good processor for your PC and want a processor that can be overclocked, you could definitely consider the Intel Core i3-7350K.
Price: $168 onwards