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Finding The Best Intel Core i5 Processor

Posted by Chris on October 1, 2018

The Intel Core i5 series is among the most popular of the Intel Core line, thanks to its great overall price/performance ratio. i5 processors are especially popular among gamers, who don’t typically need things like i7s in order to push the highest framerates in their games, which are typically more GPU-dependent.

If the i3 series is the entry to the mid-range, the i5 goes from midrange to entry-level high-range, depending on generation and the specific processor you’re buying. Generally boasting 4 or more cores, integrated graphics, and overall better performance than their i3 counterparts, the i5 series is great for mid-range gaming PCs.

Below, we’ll dive into more detail and tell you everything you need to know.

Where does the Intel Core i5 excel?

The Intel Core i5 series tend to flourish in the following scenarios:

  • Hardcore gaming. The i5 processors serve as great companions to GPUs from the GTX 1060 and onward. You don’t really have to worry about CPU bottlenecking all that much, especially if you’re using an unlocked i5 capable of overclocking. While the i7 and i9 may have marginally better performance in games, it’s just that: marginal.
  • Light Twitch streaming. Want to stream occasionally? You may need to turn down your game settings and resolution, but i5s can generally handle that workload just fine, especially if you have a dedicated GPU for the games and use integrated graphics to help with rendering. It won’t be enough for a pro streamer, but as a hobby…it should be fine.
  • Semi-frequent video rendering. Want to make a video or two each week and upload it to YouTube? The i5 should work great for that purpose. It won’t render nearly as fast as an i7 or i9, due to the lack of hyperthreading in i5 processors, but your average 5-minute 1080p video should render in an hour or two at worst.
  • General productivity, media playing, etc. If all you’re doing is browsing the web, listening to music, watching Netflix, etc, don’t even worry: the i5 will annilihate all of those tasks with ease. We do recommend opting for an i3 instead if that’s all you’ll be doing, though.

Is the Intel Core i5 enough for my usage scenarios?

Meanwhile, the i5 may fall short in the following scenarios:

  • Frequent Twitch streaming. If you want to be a full-time Twitch streamer, then an i5 simply won’t cut it. The compromises you’ll have to make to your gaming experience will create a worse experience for your users, especially if you’re an eSports player, where maximum performance matters more than anything else. We recommend at least an i7 for this purpose.
  • Daily or every-other-day video rendering. If you’re a career YouTuber or something of the sort, an i5 also won’t cut it. The time spent rendering, editing and uploading video is precious, not to mention the time actually getting the footage you need. If you’re doing content creation as a career, you need an i7.
  • High-end productivity tasks. This refers to things like data mining, compiling, rendering, financial modeling, etc. An i7, i9, or Xeon processor is needed for these kinds of tasks.
Everyone else

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