Although the launch of the seventh-generation Intel processor series in January was a relatively uneventful affair, there were a few points of interest – the unlocked Core i3 7350K that caught most of Kaby Lake's headlines early on.
Despite this early intrigue, with a current retail price of $ 180, the 7350K is a powerfully expensive dual-core processor, and for another $ 20, you can land the quad-core i5-7400 (confusingly both cost in Australia and other countries the same amount regions). Given the similar prices, some of you have asked which purchase is better between the Core i3-7350K and the Core i5-7400.
The advantage of the slightly more expensive Core i5-7400 is that it has four cores and a larger L3 cache. The disadvantage is that it is locked at a base clock frequency of 3 GHz and a maximum single-core operating frequency of 3.5 GHz. There's a little bit more to this comparison, but that's the essence of it.
The Core i3-7350K, however, is clocked at least 20% higher, 40% even higher than the base clock frequency of the i5. This is also an unlocked K processor that can be overclocked to get even higher frequencies. I brought my chip to 4.8 GHz without fuss and that's almost 40% above the maximum turbo boost frequency of the i5.
A clock speed advantage of around 40 to 60% is enormous and with its support for Hyper-Threading the 7350K should really challenge the 7400. However, there are a few other factors that make the 7350K look much less enticing. Let’s address that before we even get to the benchmarks.
Consumers can get the most out of the Core i5-7400 on a $ 50 H110 motherboard with the standard Intel box cooler, while the 7350K requires a Z-series motherboard. Z170 boards start at $ 90 and Z270-based models start at $ 110. This is far more than an H110 motherboard. In addition, the 7350K needs an aftermarket cooler, so you can add another $ 30 to the price.
So you're looking for $ 250 for the Core i5-7400 with an entry-level motherboard, while the 7350K with a simple Z170 board and a tower-style budget air cooler earns at least $ 300. So in the end you pay about 20% more for the 7350K and its required components. With that in mind, let's find out how the two compare …
Test system specifications
Excel is an application that easily uses a large number of threads. Therefore, the Core i5-7400 is much more powerful than the 7350K. Even if the 7350K was overclocked, it just couldn't keep up with the 7400. The workload took over 10% longer.
Surprisingly, the overclocked 7350K was able to hold its own in the 7-Zip benchmark ahead of the 7400, which was only 4% faster.
Any kind of coding work with four physical cores always surpasses two cores with Hyper-Threading, and we can see that here when testing with Premiere Pro CC. Even at 4.8 GHz, the 7350K was 4% slower than the 7100 and took 18 minutes and 16 seconds to get the work done.
First, let's take a look at the single and multithread performance with Cinebench R15. Here we see that despite a massive clock speed advantage compared to multithreaded performance, the 7350K is still slightly slower than the 7400. That said, if the 7350K is overclocked, it seems to be almost 40% faster for single-threaded tasks.