It might be true that in order to achieve good frame rates with the latest games, you need a relatively good processor. That means any processor above average will do right? Depends on what we consider as “average”. Many users will never use the 100% of their processor’s abilities, so it would be a smarter and cheaper choice to go with a less powerful processor. Many Intel Core i5 processors are capable of running the latest games and they are fast enough to run and process almost any application.

We are referring to quad-core models of course with a fast clock speed. While some modern graphics cards can do a fair amount of logical processing, the CPU takes the lion’s share of the workload. There is a lot going on underneath the hood of a CPU, but fortunately it can be broken down into a few overarching specs to make the selection process easier. If you need more information on how a processor works check our related article: How To Buy A CPU (Processor).

 

Budget Processor

Intel Core I5-6400

Starting with the cheapest option available, Intel Core i5-6400 is a very good processor for it’s price. It can reach clock speeds up to 3.3GHz when overclocked, but normally it runs at 2.7GHz which is not bad for a quad-core processor. It’s maximum resolution is 4096 x 2304 pixels meaning that it can render 4K image. Moving on, it features 6MB of Smart Cache memory and it can support up to 64gigs of memory. The cool thing about it’s that it automatically allocates processing power where it’s needed most whether you’re playing the latest games, editing photos, creating HD video or even composing digital music. It’s great and can get put against with any challenge it may face. Note it’s socket is LGA 1151 type.

Specifications:

Cache: 6 MB

Cores: 4

Threads: 4

Base Frequency: 2.7 GHz

Turbo Frequency: 3.3 GHz

Instruction Set: 64bit

Thermal Power Design: 65Watt

Lithography: 14 nm

 

Core I5-6500

Very similar to the above model (i5-6400), this is a cheap but great processor as well. Maximum clock speed is 3.6GHz overclocked and 3.3GHz normally. Compatible with Intel 100 Series Chipset Motherboards (LGA 1151 Socket) can produce 4K quality image. It’s fast four-cores can play any game at maximum settings with no lag (since you combine it with a decent graphics card). With intelligent performance that accelerates in response to demanding tasks you can do anything.

Specifications:

Cache: 6 MB

Cores: 4

Threads: 4

Base Frequency: 3.3 GHz

Turbo Frequency: 3.6 GHz

Instruction Set: 64bit

Thermal Power Design: 65Watt

Lithography: 14 nm

 

6th Generation Skylake

Intel Core I5-6600K

And how can we not mention Intel’s miracle? The 6th Generation i5-6600K performance is close to that of earlier-gen Core i7 chips on many tests and that’s very positive! It offers simplified overclocking options and it has an on-chip graphics as well. This model is ideal for all those who want to spend less on a processor but who still want good performance for those times when they need to edit some photos, create some sort of HD video or even animation. When it comes to gaming, this processor is an absolute beast as it runs at 3.9GHz when clocked. The only downside is that it’s thermal levels are a little bit higher than expected, as it doesn’t feature hyper-threading.

Specifications:

Cache: 6 MB

Cores: 4

Threads: 4

Base Frequency: 3.5 GHz

Turbo Frequency: 3.9 GHz

Instruction Set: 64bit

Thermal Power Design: 91Watt

Lithography: 14 nm

 

Final Thoughts:

Depending on how powerful you want your processor will be you will make your final choice. Even though I would definitely recommend buying the I5-6600Kas it’s not much more expensive than the others, but it delivers outstanding performance. It is absolutely worth the few extra bucks.

 

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