Power Consumption, Picking a Winner

This graph sums the situation up really well for me. The overclocked 7350K was 10% slower in the Excel workload and yet it consumed almost 80% more power than the 7400. For those wondering what you are looking at here is total system consumption.

Finally, here are the consumption results when running the Prime95 stress test, as you can see the overclocked 7350K burns almost as much power as the Core i7-6700K.

Core i5 Wins This Time

Despite being a lot of fun, going for an overclocked Core i3-7350K doesn't make a whole lot of sense. For the most part, the stock-clocked i5-7400 is just as fast or faster, consumes significantly less power, runs much cooler and ultimately ends up costing less. The 7350K should really be avoided. In fact, this goes for the entire Kaby Lake Core i3 range and even the higher end Pentium models such as the G4600 and G4620.

The reason for this is Intel's own Pentium G4560, which is an incredible buy at $64.

That's 22% cheaper than the G4600 which costs $82 and yet the G4560 is clocked only 3% slower. Likewise when looking at the G4620: the G4560 is 31% cheaper while it can't possibly be more than 5% slower.

Moving to the Core i3 range, we find the Core i3-7100 retailing for $117. Besides a bump in operating frequency along with slightly different integrated graphics, this is the exact same processor as the G4560.

Clocked at 3.9GHz, the i3-7100 may be 11% faster, but that doesn't make it worth an 80% premium and it only gets worse as you go on. The Core i3-7300 costs well over twice the price as the budget Pentium but comes clocked less than 15% greater.

Making matters worse for the i3-7350K, the Core i5-7400 doesn't require an aftermarket cooler to achieve maximum performance as its stock cooler is ample, and the 7400 can also get by with a cheap H110 board instead of something from the expensive Z-series.

Since the Z270 boards are the only models with overclocking support, I have to imagine this is what the 7350K will need. Throw in another $30 or so for a decent air-cooler and you are head and shoulders above what an entry-level Core i5 setup would cost.

Then there is the matter of power consumption. When overclocked, the dual-core 7350K drinks like camel.

Taking all that into account, I think you guys ought to steer clear of this unlocked Kaby Lake Core i3 processor.

Shopping shortcuts:

The way I see it, consumers looking to buy a seventh-generation Intel processor should choose between the Pentium G4560 at $64 or the Core i5-7400 at $200. As crazy as it sounds, everything in-between is pointless.