Coming in with two cores I and four threads, the Corel i3-7350K fills a gap within B Intel’s offerings to the enthusiast market segment
This is the CPU many enthusiasts have been wanting for a few generations now. We were teased with the Pentium Anniversary Edition G3258. It was a playful little piece of processing goodness that was a hoot to overclock and play around with, but useful in any decent computing sense for little more than home theater PC duties. Finally, we now have a K SKU Core i3 to tinker with and enjoy.
Coming in with two cores and four threads, the Core i3-7350K fills a gap within Intel’s offerings to the enthusiast market segment. This is good news for many who have enjoyed overclocking for longer than the K SKUs have existed, still fondly remembering obtaining significant performance increases from CPUs that were otherwise overlooked by the general computing public with preference for the more expensive higher-clocked offerings.
With little in the scope of comparison, we are left to draw on similarities. Starting with the aforementioned Pentium Anniversary Edition G32S8 that clocked in at 3.2GHz and featuring 3MB of cache, the 7350K is a beefed up piece rocking an impressive 4.2GHz clock speed and 4MB cache. When comparing with the Core i5-7600K, it’s an intriguing evaluation as the 7350K possesses two-thirds the cache memory of its higher spec Core iS sibling — 4MB vs 6MB. However, sporting the same 4.2GHz frequency under load, the two CPUs align closer than enthusiasts may have expected.
Further looking at spec, it begins to make more sense to perceive this “little K” as half of a 7700K. This perspective comes into view when comparing central features, for example 4MB cache vs 8MB, two cores vs four cores and four threads vs eight threads. Not surprisingly, the Core i3-7350K delivers approximately 50% of the performance offered by the Core i7-7700K. This is particularly noticeable in multi-threaded applications such as processing X265 video instructions.
Performance wise, when compared with the other K variants, the Core i3-7350K provides an interesting purchasing scenario. Since the Core i3-7350K still requires a Z platform motherboard for operation, it requires a budget orientated motherboard to make sense as a price conscious purchasing scenario. Outside of this, the Core i3-7350K presents itself as a CPU to be bought and played with by enthusiasts that own multiple CPUs for the fun of technology, computing and pushing the limits within the boundaries the enthusiast feels comfortable.
For example, an overclocking enthusiast may operate a previous generation platform as their everyday PC — i.e. utilising Z87/Z97 with a 4th-gen Core K processor or transitioning from a Z170 with a 6th-gen K processor, while using the new Z270 and Core 7th-gen offerings as a tool for exploring and fueling discussion with other enthusiasts on forums and social media.
Whatever niche the Core i3-7350K carves out for itself, it provides an opportunity for PC enthusiasts – gamers, overclockers and hardware nuts alike — to explore the K SKU’s flexibility at a lower cost of entry. That sounds good to us!
Time will tell if the 7350K finds its price sweet spot, but for now, it's a fun novelty that fills a gap.