Intel Core i5 vs i7: Best CPU for Gaming in 2022? (2022)

i5 vs i7 – Which is better for gaming? One of the most important considerations for many who are looking for a new desktop PC or laptop is the type of processor the system should have. Two of the most relevant CPU families, especially for gamers, are the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7. And that makes the choice difficult, because the two processor types have a lot in common.

So where are the differences between the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7? When is which CPU worthwhile for you and how do both perform in concrete gaming scenarios? In this article, you’ll find out whether the i5 or the i7 is suitable for your system.

Intel Core i5 vs Intel Core i7 – the differences

The differences between the Core i5 and Core i7 can seem subtle and diffuse, especially when the prices for a i5 vs a i7 can sometimes be so close.

There isn’t always a clear, definitive answer as to which is better in a given situation. And often it just depends on your budget. But if you know the essentials about both processor families, you can make a smarter choice before you buy. Let’s get to the main differences between the Core i5 and the Core i7 of the current 12th generation.

Intel Core i5-12600KVSIntel Core i7-12700K
LGA 1700SocketLGA 1700
3.7 GHzBase Speed3.6 GHz
4.9 GHzMax Speed5.0 GHz
6+4Cores8+4
16Threads20
YesOverclockingYes
9.5 MBL2 cache12 MB
Intel UHD 770Internal GPUIntel UHD 770
150 WTDP190 W
YesHyper-Threading?Yes
CHECK PRICEPriceCHECK PRICE

Whether i5 or i7 is the right processor series for you depends mostly on what you want to use your PC for in the future.

Intel Core i5 vs i7: Best CPU for Gaming in 2022? (1)

To sum it up simply: A Core i5-equipped system is cheaper than a Core i7-equipped PC, if everything else is equal. If you now compare the same chip (desktop or laptop CPU) of the same generation, the Core i5 will always have a slightly weaker position. Mostly, this is expressed in the number of cores, threads as well as the clock rate, as can be seen in the table. If these terms don’t mean anything to you, you can read our article about the CPU, where everything is explained.

Overall, Core i5 and Core i7 chips differ in how they process information.

i5 processors usually have fewer cores and can therefore support fewer simultaneous threads. These threads are used by programs to manage multiple tasks at once instead of queuing everything individually.

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In other words, i5 CPUs aren’t as good at multitasking. Still, they’re great for most of us and perfectly adequate, especially for gamers.

When is an Intel Core i5 worth it?

We would say: Always. If you look at the FPS differences in gaming in the next section, it will become clearer why we think so. Especially price-conscious gamers or those with a tight budget are always well advised with an i5.

Nevertheless, an i5 is “only” a mid-range processor, which is why there is of course still room for improvement for those with more budget despite its good gaming performance. In general, Core i5 processors are great general-purpose chips that offer solid performance for gaming, web browsing, and light productivity tasks.

Intel Core i5 processors are simply at a very good price/performance ratio. For most users, an i5 is more than enough to handle everyday tasks and they are also perfectly adequate for gaming. Of course, there are differences between the models, but the currently strongest i5 processor (the 12600K) can keep up with all current titles without any problems.

The strongest i5 chips have six + four cores for the desktop and four + four cores for mobile devices. In addition, boost clock rates approach 5 GHz.

This allows running some intensive applications with an i5 as well, but the i5 rather shines in gaming. So if you want to play games, browse the web, and use a few apps like Adobe, get an i5 (assuming you have a decent GPU in combination with it).

There are currently three main i5 CPUs:

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  • i5-12600
  • i5-12500
  • i5-12400

Each step down is slightly weaker, so the 12600 leads Intel’s current i5 offerings in terms of performance, while the 12400 is the slowest.

Each of these processors is available in several variations. The 12600K, for example, is unlocked for overclocking, while the 12400F comes without an integrated graphics unit. You can deduce the processor’s characteristics from the suffix (K, F or T).

When is an Intel Core i7 worth it?

A Core i7 is usually better suited for multitasking, media editing and creation tasks, high-end gaming (on maximum settings and high resolutions in combination with a high-end graphics card) and similarly demanding tasks. The price difference is often smaller than you think, but you usually have to budget a good $100 more for an i7 in contrast to the i5 (on the same model).

Core i7 processors generally always have a bit more performance than their i5 brethren and are best suited for those who want to run compute-intensive applications and games at the highest settings.

In particular, the latest i7 CPUs for desktop PCs offer more cores and threads, as well as boost frequencies above 5 GHz. For intensive video and audio editing, an i7 is ideal, especially if you frequently use professional applications – particularly if you work with motion graphics, rendering, and simulations.

With the current Alder-Lake generation, there is a single i7 chip: the i7-12700. Just like the i5 series, this processor comes in several variants with different features. Especially for the desktop, the Core i7-12700K and the 12700KF are recommended, both of which support overclocking.

A Core i7 is especially worthwhile if you want to do some of the following things with your computer:

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  • Operation of 2 graphics cards at the same time in SLI or X-Fire connection
  • Overclocking for high-end gaming PCs
  • Demanding image editing, video editing, 3D rendering
  • Streaming: i7 CPUs are generally better suited for streamers
  • You play a lot of demanding RTS games or simulations
  • You want to do all this at the same time

i5 vs i7 Gaming – How do the FPS look in games?

But back to the actual question: i5 vs i7 for gaming – which is better?

In short: Yes, the Core i7 will always give you a bit more performance in terms of FPS (frames per second) when gaming. However, depending on the game, that’s “only” ~15% more FPS on a 1080p resolution and high settings. On higher resolutions, the differences become smaller. Especially since today’s games still demand more from the graphics card than the CPU, the differences between i5 and i7 are not that big.

Therefore, we say: The Intel Core i5-12600K is the ideal choice for gaming to save money and at the same time only minimally sacrifice gaming performance. The i5-12600K is everything you need for gaming and it offers you the best price performance.

Nevertheless, the i7, especially in the 12th generation, is not a bad series (on the contrary) and is recommended for those who have the budget left for the 12700K.

Bottlenecking: Can the i5 keep up with the i7?

Bottlenecking simply means that your CPU can no longer tell the GPU exactly what and when to render something (it creates a bottleneck in the system). This can lead to stutters or your graphics card can no longer give full throttle.

Is this the case with an i5 and should you be concerned about it? For most of you, the answer is no. You honestly only need to worry about bottlenecking if you want to get a graphics card that is much newer than your current CPU. Bottlenecking also becomes an issue with the i5 if you want to run multiple graphics cards at the same time! Otherwise, you don’t need to worry about it.

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You’ll hardly notice slight bottlenecking: Also, keep in mind that even minor CPU bottlenecks (which can occur when combining an i5 with a high-end graphics card) are no big deal. It’s definitely better to have a slightly slowed down GPU than to throw an i7 together with a graphics card that’s too weak.

i3 vs i5 vs i7 vs i9: The main differences briefly explained

In order to briefly contextualize our two processor series i5 and i7 once again, we will briefly explain the difference to the other Intel processors here.

Thus, there is still the cheaper i3 series, which serves as an entry-level segment for inexpensive systems. Although Core i3 processors are the cheapest representatives, they also offer the lowest performance.

Then there are the strongest CPUs from Intel, the Core i9 series. This is aimed at enthusiasts and professionals who really want to get the last bit of performance out of their PC.

So, if you are wondering which processor type you finally need, you can orientate yourself by the following points:

  • Core i3: Ideal for office PCs, casual gaming of eSports titles and browsing
  • Core i5: Mid-range CPUs with strong gaming performance and limited suitability for video editing
  • Core i7: For upper-class gaming PCs for even higher frame rates as well as multitasking and compute-intensive applications
  • Core i9: Absolute high-end class. Anything is possible with these processors.

Conclusion: Should you buy an i5 or an i7?

That depends entirely on your preferences, as both processor types have advantages and disadvantages. We clearly recommend the i5 for most of you, especially since the new generation i5 CPUs are really powerful. While the overall performance of your system is determined by many individual factors, a Core i5 processor won’t limit your gaming performance most of the time and the difference to the i7 is small. If your main focus is League of Legends, then the i5 is totally sufficient.

A Core i7 only makes sense if you don’t mind paying more money for more performance. Or, of course, for users who often run extremely demanding software and stream full-time. An i7 is especially noticeable in 1080p video encoding, but also when you run many applications at the same time and stream on the side.

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FAQs

Intel Core i5 vs i7: Best CPU for Gaming in 2022? ›

Core i7 processors generally have a bit more performance than their i5 brethren and are best suited for those who want to run compute-intensive applications and games at the highest settings. In particular, the latest i7 CPUs for desktop PCs offer more cores and threads, as well as boost frequencies above 5 GHz.

Is i5 better than i7 for gaming? ›

The Intel Core i5 is an all-purpose processor that offers solid performance for gaming, web browsing, and doing basic work. The Intel Core i7 has more processing power and is better for high-performance gaming, content creation, multimedia editing, and specialized applications.

Is a i5 good for gaming 2022? ›

For PC gamers and budget-constrained creative types, Intel's "Alder Lake" Core i5-12600K punches well above its weight in gaming and content creation alike.

Is it worth getting an i7 over an i5? ›

Intel Core i5 vs i7: What's the difference? Core i5 processors are great all-purpose chips, offering solid performance for gaming, web browsing, and light productivity tasks. Core i7 processors have a little more power, and they're best for users running demanding applications and games at the highest settings.

Is an Intel Core i7 good for gaming in 2021? ›

If you're an Intel diehard with an existing 300-series LGA 1151 motherboard, any compatible Core i5 or i7 CPU from the 8000 or 9000 series (say, the Core i7-9700K) should suit you just fine for gaming at least a few years.

Is i5 enough for high end gaming? ›

Best answer: The Intel Core i5-12600K is a brilliant processor for gaming. Rocking 10 physical hybrid cores and 16 threads, this CPU is more than powerful enough for the latest GPUs and PC games.

How much faster is i7 than i5? ›

Clock Speed and Price

The Core i5's clock speed is set at 1.6-GHz (3.4-GHz with Max Turbo), while the Core i7's is faster at 1.8-GHz (3.6-GHz with Max Turbo). The Core i7 also has a bigger processor cache at 8MB, compared with the Core i5's 6MB.

Which i5 is best for gaming? ›

Intel Core i5 12600K

The Core i5 12600K is the standout processor for gamers because it not only offers great gaming performance across the board, but it does so at a price point that isn't going to reduce you to tears.

What CPU do I need for gaming? ›

For ideal results, a machine running an Intel® Core™ i7 processor or better with at least 8GB of RAM is sufficient for playing games and streaming at the same time. If you're hoping for less impact on your gaming performance, an Intel® Core™ i9 processor makes for an even smoother experience.

Which i7 processor is best for gaming? ›

Intel Core i7-12700K

The Intel Core i7-12700K offers impressive real-world processing prowess for both general computing tasks and in the latest titles alike, making it easily one of the best CPUs for gaming.

Does i7 last longer than i5? ›

i7 sometimes gives you more cores than an i5. If you are okay with the i7 feeling more like an i5, you will stretch out the life of the i7 for a bit longer. about 1-3 years longer before computational needs start to drag it down to the i3 arena.

Is i5 slower than i7? ›

The base clock speeds on the i7 are faster than the i5 (meaning it's faster), and you can bump up to a higher clock speed on the i7 with Turbo Boost than the i5. So it's basically a naming convention, putting the i5 in the mainstream tier and the i7 in the enthusiast tier.

Do you need i5 for gaming? ›

While going through the market for processors that are ideal for gaming, the Core-i5 and the Core-i7 stand out. The Core-i5 is better priced, but the Core-i7 gives better performance while multi-tasking. If you are a streamer, then perhaps investing a bit more money and buying the Core-i7 makes more sense.

How much RAM is good for gaming? ›

16GB is the recommended amount of RAM for playing most games and will provide a noticeable increase in performance from 8GB. You will also be able to run applications in the background without affecting gameplay.

Is i5 11th Gen good for gaming? ›

If you're a gamer at heart and aren't expecting to do much in the way of streaming, or additional tasks, and you have the budget for a good GPU to take full advantage of it, the Core i5-11600K is arguably the best gaming processor of its generation.

Which is better for gaming Ryzen 7 or Intel i7? ›

Both the CPUs perform extremely well in terms of benchmarks but it is the Intel i7 that beats AMD Ryzen 7 5800X by a margin of up to 15-20% better performance.

Can i5 run all games? ›

Most games won't utilize multiple cores, and the GPU has the most impact on their performance. Games are, though, impacted by clock speeds. That makes a Core i5 a good starting point to run today's games well and to prepare for future games where more cores might be beneficial.

How good is I7 for gaming? ›

Is I7 Good For Gaming AND Streaming? Yes, the newer 10th and 11th gen i7 processors with 8 cores and 16 threads are particularly great for gaming and streaming. As mentioned earlier, streaming can eat through your core count. Hence a CPU with a high core count can certainly improve the experience.

Is 8GB RAM enough for gaming? ›

8GB is considered the minimum requirement for effective gaming on PCs. Anything below 8GB of RAM will result in slower performance speed, lackluster graphics settings, and more. Doling out the extra cash for at least 8GB of RAM is well worth it.

Do I need i7 processor for gaming? ›

For ideal results, a machine running an Intel® Core™ i7 processor or better with at least 8GB of RAM is sufficient for playing games and streaming at the same time. If you're hoping for less impact on your gaming performance, an Intel® Core™ i9 processor makes for an even smoother experience.

Is i9 or i7 better for gaming? ›

The i9 line is the top of Intel's consumer stack, representing the peak of what Intel can do on either desktop or laptops, while the i7 fulfills the niche of being a more modestly priced engine for prosumer content creation and a solid driver for gaming throughout.

How good is i7 for gaming? ›

Is I7 Good For Gaming AND Streaming? Yes, the newer 10th and 11th gen i7 processors with 8 cores and 16 threads are particularly great for gaming and streaming. As mentioned earlier, streaming can eat through your core count. Hence a CPU with a high core count can certainly improve the experience.

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