Intel Kaby Lake i3 7350K Review
The capability of Intel to produce fantastic CPUs for a multitude of generations usually means that it is worth skipping one or two if you're planning on an upgrade. As you saw when we reviewed the i5-7600K and i7-7700K they didn't offer much that the 6600K and 6700Ks couldn't already do. So our conclusions always end up being along the lines of "great if you're starting afresh or on something old, but tough to justify if you've already got the previous generation".
With the i3-7350K though things are very different indeed.
We always liked the i3 processor as the underpinnings for a gaming system. If there is a negative to the way that console gaming has bled into the PC Marketplace it's the limitations of console hardware meaning that it is far more important to spend your money on a better graphics card. The difference between an 8-Core i7-6950X and a dual-core i3 was minimal at anything approaching a decent resolution. Of course we don't all just game on our systems though so there was a price to pay if you wished to do anything more strenuous than browse the net. With the i3-7350K that just isn't the case any more.
The combination of a dual-core CPU with hyperthreading has meant that all but the truly core-heavy tasks such as rendering or video encoding are able to be handled with aplomb. The real feather in the cap of the i3-7350K is the overclocking though. It's hardly a slouch at 4.2 GHz out of the box, but we easily got 5 GHz from its refined 14nm process. Couple this to some speedy RAM and you end up with a system that is a great all rounder. Our PC Mark 7 and 8 results were perfect reflections of this.
There are a couple of minor niggles. Firstly the i3-7350K is more expensive than previous i3s, largely because of that hyperthreading and overclocking. It's not significantly cheaper than an i5-7600K. The choice is yours, but it's slightly harder to recommend when its butting up against its bigger brother. Secondly it might be a monster overclocker that gets 5GHz but that overclocking comes at a significant power draw cost. Our OC'd system drew nearly twice the Watts at the wall of the stock system. It is by no means thirst, but it's something worth bearing in mind.
With great overclocking, good all round performance and fantastic gaming performance the i3 7350K is definitely worth considering if you know that you'll be gaming more often than not, and thus wins our OC3D Gamers Choice award.