An 'Affordable' Unlocked Intel Core i3 Kaby Lake CPU Rumoured As Part Of Incoming Range Update
There might be good news on the horizon for hobbyist overclockers keen to scratch the itch with the latest CPUs without breaking the piggie-bank. According to perennial rumour-mill WCCFTech, Intel may be preparing to release a mid-range unlocked CPU alongside other members of the seventh generation core processors codenamed Kaby Lake, their first outside the premium end of the market since 2014's Intel G3258 Pentium Anniversary Edition.
WCCFTech identifies this upcoming unlocked CPU as the Core i3-7350K, sourced via a price listing on ShopBLT.com but without additional corroboration. Listed alongside known models such as the Core i5-7600K and i7-7700K, the assumption that it is an unlocked part (and hence capable of overclocking on appropriate motherboard platforms) stems from the SKU's 'K' suffix. Beyond that, perhaps most significantly this design is slated to be a dual-core CPU with hyperthreading that utilises the Kaby Lake evolution of Intel's Skylake architecture, and as a result can be stock clocked at a very high 4GHz as standard.
No information is provided on the graphics capabilities of the Core i3-7350K, but it's likely that such a CPU would incorporate the updated Kaby Lake graphics architecture rather than Skylake's older design. It's also possible, although highly unlikely, that the graphics portion of the chip will be disabled similar to the SandyBridge-era Core i5 2550K.
Two cores, hyperthreading and a high base clock clearly puts the putative Core i3-7350K in a different class to the Haswell-era G3258, but increasingly games are now using multi-core CPU architecture more efficiently. We'll be curious to see if such a CPU can keep up in modern titles, or whether lack of four physical cores is a significant impediment. Clearly therefore its target market goes beyond overclockers and into mainstream gaming, where budgets are tighter and the more capable Core i5 x600K models could be beyond reach.
So, is this rumour credible? It certainly seems so given Intel's persistent courting of the gaming and enthusiast market, and past overtures towards the overclocking fan base including the G3258. The new CPU would also lie in a segment of the market where margins are healthy rather than the tighter <$100 budget end, and that's certain to look more attractive to Intel. Priced at $177 (its current listing), it's a far cry from its budget overclocking predecessor but also a healthy distance from the ~$250 of the lowest price unlocked Skylake CPU.
Intel's 7th Gen. Kaby Lake CPUs are currently slated for early 2017, with a potential reveal at CES in January.