Intel Core i3-8350K Review

Written by Antony Leather

October 26, 2017 | 17:00

Tags: #coffee-lake #core-i3 #lga-1151 #z370

Companies: #intel

Overclocking

This is quite an important factor for any K-series CPU, not least of all because here, the Core i5-7600K could usually reach 5GHz fairly easily, plus AMD has a four-thread advantage that needs to be reigned in. Thankfully, the Core i3-8350K didn't disappoint, reaching a massive 5.1GHz albeit using a fairly hefty vcore of 1.34V.

Thankfully, though, temperatures were still reasonable, hovering in the low 80s under full load despite Intel's infamous use of thermal paste, cooled by a single fan 140mm AIO liquid-cooler. This is an awesome result, and even more important is that this is a retail CPU, not one provided by Intel.

Performance Analysis

We doubt many people would be buying this CPU to run it at stock speed, but it's still interesting to discuss the results against the old Core i5 and Ryzen 5 1500X. The three CPUs all hovered around the 150-second mark in HandBrake, so things were fairly equal here, with Intel matching AMD thanks to higher frequencies. With everything overclocked, though, Intel has a commanding lead over the Ryzen 5 1500X. PCMark 10's photo editing test was a similar story: victory to AMD at stock speed, but Intel edges out a lead once that massive overclock is applied. The CPU-Z multi-threaded test leaned more towards AMD, though, with the stock and overclocked Ryzen 5 1500X proving unassailable by either the Core i3 or Core i5.

Terragen 4 prefers Intel CPUs, so it wasn't too much of a surprise to the Core i3-8350K winning here in both stock and overclocked results. Switch to a less biased program, though, such as Cinebench, and the extra threads of the AMD CPU really come into their own, bettering the Intel CPU even when the latter added over 1,000MHz to its frequency. Games are still Intel's domain, though, although at stock speed things were fairly close in Ashes of the Singularity, while Fallout 4 is much less CPU-dependent. Deus Ex continues to be a problem for AMD with some big margins between its CPUs and Intel's, but the Core i3-8350K came out very well here. Finally, power consumption was another strong point for Intel with the some of the lowest figures on test.

Conclusion

The first question is whether the Core i3-8350K is basically just a cheaper Core i5-7600K. Amazingly, the answer is yes - it overclocks just as well and performs similarly, so in that sense, we're looking at a bargain quad-core compared to what we've seen recently and a CPU that's hugely more capable than the Core i3-7350K as well. Amazingly it matches the good old Core i7-2600K in Cinebench R15 too, despite having half the number of threads; if that doesn't make you Sandy Bridge fanboys lust after the Core i5-8600K and Core i7-8700K then we don't know what will.

The AMD question is, as usual, not clear. The Ryzen 5 1500X was still faster in some tests, even at stock speed with particularly strong content creation results. In addition to the Ryzen 5 1500X, you also have the issue of the six-core Ryzen 5 1600, which is a monster by comparison in those multi-threaded tests, yet costs just £20 more. As a result, the Core i3-8350K doesn't offer as much competition in the realms of general purpose CPUs that can handle themselves outside of games compared to AMD as the Core i7-8700K, which matched the eight-core Ryzen 7 CPUs in some tests despite a two-core deficit. However, as a gaming-focussed CPU for those with reasonable but not unlimited budgets and willing to overclock, it's perfect.


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