It looks like Intel are rebadging the old Core i5 7600K for a budget K-series i3 release in the upcoming 8th Gen Core range of processors.
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Things sure are getting interesting in CPU land, and I’m not just talking about the upper echelons, where ten-core processors are starting to look passe. First, with the launch of the Ryzen 3 1300X, we’ve seen the budget end of the market getting some serious AMD silicon, and now we’re starting to see evidence of Intel fighting back.
The big blue chip maker released their first ever K-series Core i3 this year, with the i3 7350K CPU popping up in the Kaby Lake generation of chips. It packed a HyperThreaded dual-core chip into a design with a core clockspeed that started at 4.2GHz and went all the way up to 5GHz, with a little light overclocking.
And it was sadly pretty disappointing.
But, with the new 8th Gen Core chips coming, potentially very soon with a reveal on August 21, it looks like the K-series Core i3 is getting another shot and one hell of an upgrade. With the Core i5 range getting a host of Intel Coffee Lake-powered six-core CPUs Intel are able to bring the i3 chips up too, giving them another couple of cores to chew on.
The leaked specs for the Core i3 8350K have it sporting four discrete Intel cores and a base clockspeed of 4GHz. There’s no Turbo mode activated on this Core i3, like the 7350K, but as a K-series CPU it will have an unlocked multiplier. As an i3 though it is unlikely to come with HyperThreading this time around. There have been rumours that Intel would create a quad-core i3 with HyperThreading enabled, but an eight-threaded CPU would surely create too much competition against the more-expensive, six-threaded Core i5 range.
But still, this i3 8350K sounds essentially as though it is just a mildly downclocked Core i5 7600K from the Kaby Lake range. And, considering it has a rated maximum memory controller frequency of 2,400MHz, as opposed to Coffee Lake’s 2,666MHz maximum, it looks like this is going to be one of the Kaby Lake refreshes that have been spotted in some of the leaked Intel slides.
Which is awesome. The Core i5 7600K was our pick of the best gaming CPUs until AMD trumped it with the equivalently priced six-core Ryzen 5 1600X and its 12 threads of processing power. Having that chip at i3 prices, however, should give Intel some serious gaming chops at the budget end of the market.
The single-threaded gaming performance of Intel’s Core architecture is still superior to AMD and you’ve got to believe the prospective i3 8350K would be able to overclock way past the 1600X 4GHz all-core maximum.
That sort of chip, appearing in the Coffee Lake launch at $150, will make for an interesting holiday period indeed. Bring it on.