Intel Core i5s and i7s for several years have been considered as the best gaming CPUs for high-end gaming but it really gets confusing when you are stuck in choosing between the two if you are on a particular budget.
In the past few years we have seen a lot of changes in these two Intel Core processors and in this post, I will be concluding to what you should buy for gaming.
A lot of generations have passed and we are currently on the 9th generation of the Intel Core processors and these can be identified by the numbers in the CPU model no. itself. For example, an i5 6600k is the sixth generation Intel Core i5 processor while an i5 8400 is an eight gen. The same goes for the Intel Core i7 but the question is, “which is best for gaming?”
There is no question on it that both of these provide the best bang for buck due to their faster single core performance but in every generation, their core count differs which makes a good amount of difference between these processors. Let me explain it in brief-
Up to the 7th Gen, Intel i5s used to have 4 cores and 4 threads and i7s used to have 4 cores and 8 threads which meant that i7s had an upper hand in overall gaming as well as in programs that required more cores. 8 threads virtually are seen as 8 cores in the computer but their performance is comparatively slower than the processor with the real 8 cores. However, these 8 threads with 4 cores are still faster than a CPU with only 4 cores with no hyperthreading.
Intel made a big change in the 8th gen processors by equipping i5s with 6 cores instead and i7s with 6 cores and 12 threads. This made the i5s monster processors in gaming as there is no game that would require more than 6 cores at this time. But in a lot of games, the i7 with 6 cores and 12 threads still seem to have a little better performance in gaming due to the fact that hyperthreading helps in running background tasks with the help of virtual cores better than the i5s. Although, the performance difference is not huge.
With the 9th gen now, i5s are now having 6 cores and 6 threads, while the i7s are now octa-core processors without any hyperthreading. The real core count increase is a significant change in the i7 chip and thus it is still a better multitasking performance than the i5s but differs to the previous gen i7 CPUs.
Value to Price
As mentioned above the Core i5s of 8th gen and 9th gen are enough for any high-end gaming because they have 6 real cores which is the max which any game can utilize right now. Also, in a lot of benchmarks, it is clear that i5s don’t bottleneck any high-end graphics cards such as RTX 2080 or even RTX 2080 Ti.
Intel Core i7s on the other hand, are more like of future-proof chips which are needed for gaming along with processes such as rendering and video editing. If we compare the performance of gaming of the Intel Core i5 9th gen to Intel Core i7 9th gen in gaming, then you can clearly see that the difference is marginal but what is the deciding factor between the two is the price.
The i5 9600K costs $279.99 while the i7 9700K costs $409.99 on Amazon. There is hardly a 5% difference in fps in games but the difference in price is 68%. So, is it really worth to spend another $130 on i7 9700K?
No, absolutely not. While it would have been true in case you will be using a 7th or older generation Intel Core processors, but with the 8th gen and 9th gen CPUs, it’s best to stick with the Core i5s for the best value for the price.
While a lot of people like to buy the i7 for future-proofing their PCs but if you want the best bang for your buck, then i5s of the 8th and 9th gen are the best gaming CPUs that will handle any high-end graphics card without breaking a sweat. In case you want a CPU that will outperform in CPU dedicated applications, then it is best to go with the AMD Threadripper CPUs that are cheaper than the Intel counterparts and should save you a lot of money to spend on other components.