Not so long ago the concepts of “overclocking” and “inexpensive Intel processor” were considered to be contradictory. That is, initially they were perfectly compatible, but since 2010, when the microarchitecture Sandy Bridge came to Intel processors, the company decided to limit the list of available overclocking CPUs to just a few models of the special overclocker series that received the suffix K in the model numbers. At that time, Intel reasonably decided that the overclocking of processors everywhere is damaging to its revenues and turned everything upside down. In the end, instead of allowing users to continue saving through overclocking inexpensive chips, it began to charge an overclocker with overclockers for the right to own a processor with an unlocked multiplier. In addition to this, such processors were assigned exclusively to the number of flagship products in the Core i7 and Core i5 series, which put enthusiasts who want to operate the CPU beyond the passport frequencies, before having to part with a substantial sum of at least $ 240 or more.
However, judging by what happened afterwards, Intel’s decision to deprive buyers of inexpensive systems of any kind of access to overclocking was not so final and irrevocable. For the first time, the microprocessor giant gave slack three years ago, when the family of processors for overclocking suddenly appeared 70-dollar Pentium G3258 generations Haswell. And then it went and went: here you have the opportunity to overclock the blocked processors with the help of the BCLK frequency, and the Chinese engineers Core i7-6400T, and all sorts of options using desktop Xeon processors.
In general, the train can not be stopped: there are lots of options to save through overclocking when building a modern configuration with an Intel processor, and the company seems to have decided to abandon attempts to stick sticks in the wheel to inventive enthusiasts. Instead, the bet is now made in order to try and discourage buyers from all semi-legal options in favor of another inexpensive new-generation processor with officially supported overclocking – Core i3-7350K. This processor lowers the entry level in the overclocker’s club: its official cost is set at $ 168, which is 30 percent lower than the price of the Core i5-6600K or Core i5-7600K.
And indeed, the appearance of such a proposal as Core i3-7350K, calls into question the expediency of fussing with various variants of overclocking of neo-awkalker and engineering versions of Skylake, and also strikes a certain blow to the positions of AMD FX processors, which are now just moved to one with Core i3 price category. In favor of the Core i3-7350K, the high clock speed and the modern microarchitecture of Kaby Lake play here. However, do not forget that, like any other Core i3 processor, the 7350K is a dual-core processor. Therefore, by modern standards, this proposal Intel can give the impression of a compromise version of the same Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition. But not all so unambiguously. In Core i3 there is support for Hyper-Threading technology, which means that the Core i3-7350K, like the Core i5 processors, can perform four threads simultaneously, which is enough for today’s general-purpose systems.
Given that the Core i3-7350K is an overclocker processor of the Kaby Lake generation, which is distinguished by its ability to take frequencies at 5.0 GHz, check whether it has enough capacity to withstand the younger Core i5 and older AMD FX, very interesting. That’s why, as soon as our laboratory got a sample of Core i3-7350K, he immediately went to the test stand.
⇡ # Read more about Core i3-7350K
The third after the Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K overclocking processor generation Kaby Lake in its nominal characteristics does not seem particularly remarkable model. It seems to complement the line of Core i3 from above and, figuratively speaking, is a half of the Core i7-7700K, if we talk about cores and cache memory. In other words, Core i3-7350K is a dual-core model with support for Hyper-Threading and a cache memory of the third level with a capacity of 4 MB. The passport frequency of this processor, like that of the Core i7-7700K, is set at 4.2 GHz. However, the difference between the Core i3-7350K is that it does not support the Turbo Boost technology, and the 4.2 GHz frequency is its real operating frequency, observed under any load (if the processor functions without overclocking).
The nominal voltage of the processor in our hands amounted to 1.12 V. This is quite typical for Kaby Lake level, although it should be understood that the Core i3-7350K for the design of a semiconductor chip differs somewhat from the older processors of the series. The fact is that for dual-core CPUs in the arsenal Intel has its own silicon with an area of about 100 mm 2 . However, this has little effect on the consumer characteristics.
Despite the fact that Intel physically cut out two computing cores from Core i3, the graphics core remained untouched. Such processors, and the Core i3-7350K, in particular, have graphics of the GT2 class, that is, the built-in Intel HD Graphics 630 accelerator. Exactly the same GPU of the generation 9.5 with 24 actuators is used in the older LGA1151 processors of Kaby Lake.
The thermal package Core i3-7350K is set to 60 watts. This is 9 watts higher than the design heat dissipation of the remaining Core i3, but still slightly below the TDP Core i5 series. However, to assume that someone will buy Core i3-7350K for energy-efficient systems or HTPC, it is quite difficult. The fact is that the Core i3-7350K is more expensive than a similar dual-core without the allowed overclocking, Core i3-7320, almost by $ 20. And such margins make sense to pay only if you plan to use the processor in a freelance mode. Otherwise, instead of the Core i3-7350K, it’s better to stop the choice either on a cheaper Core i3 or on a quad core Core i5-7400, which differs from the Core i3-7350K at a price in the big direction by only $ 14.
In addition, we should not forget about the existence of such an option as Core i5-6400. This processor is also a full-fledged quad core, but related to the Skylake generation, thanks to which it can now be found in stores even at a lower cost than the Core i3-7350K. However, Skylake or Kaby Lake – the difference is small, and the Core i5-6400 can be used in modern systems with a LGA1151 processor socket.
Thus, Core i3-7350K is driven by Intel in a rather rigid framework in terms of internal competition. In the table below we compare it with similar alternatives.
Obviously, the main advantage of the Core i3-7350K in this environment is the ability to overclock the multiplier. And this means that to put this processor on the same level as the ideological associates of Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K.
One more important point should be added to what has been said. To overclock the system, you need not only a processor with an index K in the name, but also a suitable motherboard. In the LGA1151 ecosystem, overclocking is possible only on boards with Intel Z170 and Z270 system logic chipsets, and this applies equally to the dual core Core i3-7350K. Such fees are not cheap, so when planning the cost of an inexpensive overclocker system, this point should also be borne in mind.
Actually, overclocking is the main thing, for which it was worthwhile to test the Core i3-7350K. And here the processor did not disappoint. For the production of Kaby Lake processors, a modernized 14-nm process technology with improved frequency potential is used, and the Core i3-7350K also has a more compact semiconductor crystal than the Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in that our Core i3-7350K could easily take a 5 GHz frequency. To achieve this result, neither scalping, nor excessive voltage rise of the processor power, nor the application of the inverse multiplier AVX was required. The stability at 5.0 GHz was achieved when installing on the processor voltage 1.425 V.
Stability test in LinX 0.7.1 passed without any problems, the maximum temperature at use for heat dissipation of the Noctua NH-U14S air cooler was 95 degrees. Thus, it was the Core i3-7350K that became the first processor to pass through our hands, capable of stable operation at 5 GHz frequency without any preliminary preparation.
However, you need to understand that overclocking to 5 GHz for any instances of the Core i3-7350K is not guaranteed, although on average such dual-core processors with normal cooling should run at 100-200 MHz better than the Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K . So, judging by the responses that can be found on the web, it is necessary to count on overclocking in the range from 4.8 to 5.1 GHz.
As for the overclocking procedure, there are no differences compared to the Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K. In the case of the Core i3-7350K, exactly the same set of parameters is available for the change: the base multiplier, the BCLK frequency, the maximum and minimum multipliers for the L3 cache frequency. Available and specific for Kaby Lake reverse multiplier AVX, which allows you to slow down the processor when performing power-intensive AVX- and AVX2-instructions. Moreover, as it turned out, the frequency of Core i3-7350K is allowed to vary depending on the number of loaded kernels. That is, despite the fact that Turbo Boost technology is not supported in the processor itself, a similar mode of operation can be realized with overclocking. The Core i3-7350K does not have any artificial limitations in terms of overclocking. The processor allows to use all high-speed modes of SDRAM up to DDR4-4266.