The computer market swarms with processors. From low to high end, there’s no end to it.
But when it comes to gaming performance and budget, the Intel i5 processor comes at the top of the list by balancing your expectations and pocket.
Every year new models appear, but each time a question arises whether it’s good for modern gaming. Well, the answer is very straightforward, and I’ll give a definitive explanation in this article.
So, let’s start.
Is the Intel i5 Processor Good for Gaming?
Yes, even in 2023, Intel i5 processors are great for gaming. It sits in the middle of Intel hierarchy and has an adequate specification to run AAA games pretty quickly. Intel i5 is an excellent value-for-money processor, capable of delivering a good gaming experience.
Intel has a variety of processors. From entry to the high level, the i5 processors are placed in the middle of the performance ranking.
Here is the performance hierarchy of Intel processors:
- Intel Celeron – Low End
- Intel Pentium
- Intel Core i3
- Intel Core i5 – Mid End
- Intel Core i7
- Intel Core i9 – High End
The Intel i7 & i9 processors are better, but overkill for most of the games in the market. The newer Intel i5 processors have sufficient cores and threads and are perfect for satisfying gamers’ needs.
With every generational upgrade, the core and thread counts are increasing to give a significant performance boost.
Follow the table to see the max turbo frequency, cores, and thread counts of the Intel i5 processors:
|Processor||Cores||Threads||Max Turbo Frequency|
Intel generally provides a significant uplift in every two generations. However, in the last three generations, Intel has presented a massive performance improvement compared to its predecessor.
The latest i5-13600K has almost double the core and thread counts than the i5-11600K processor. The uplifts are also very clear in the gaming performance.
Depending on the optimization and settings, the game performance may fluctuate from build to build. We’ve used an RTX 4090 and 32 GB RAM in our rig to test the following games.
See the charts below to check the performance graphs of i5 processors in some popular and latest games:
God of War
The God of War is a remarkably optimized game. It works very well in all the new generation i5 processors. With an ideal graphics card, their performance is pretty similar.
But when it comes to Cyberpunk 2077, we see a massive uplift from the previous generation. The 13th gen i5 processor has an almost 40% performance increase from the 12th gen and more than 80% from the 11th gen processor.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn is another remarkably optimized game. We’ve seen more than a 10% performance increase in each generation.
Far Cry 6
After running the new Far Cry 6 in our build, we’ve found a 20-30% FPS increase from the previous generation.
The latest i5-13600K processor has around a 30% performance increase from its predecessor i5-12600K and almost 60% from the 11th gen i5 processor.
Most games in the market play great with a quad-core processor. And for the heavier games, a 6-core and 6-thread processor is enough to run them smoothly.
As you can see from the above charts of some heavy and power-hungry games, the newer i5 processors are capable of running them well.
The above performance graph indicates that the new generation, mainly the 11th, 12th, and 13th gen i5 processors are one of the best in the current market to run modern games and meet your gaming expectation.
We have run the above tests in an optimal core setting. If you enable all CPU cores in Windows, the game opening time and latency will reduce for most games and improve the performance.
In addition, Intel has taken a smart move with the 12th gen processors and introduced efficient cores. It reduces power consumption when doing minimal tasks and switches to performance core when gaming.
The processor enables the Intel Turbo Boost to maximize performance and provide the best gaming experience.
Should I Buy an Intel i5 Processor for Gaming?
Yes, you should buy the Intel i5 processor if you have a limited budget. The Intel i5 is the undisputed king in the mid-range, with enough performance for all new title games. In addition, the specs are adequate for almost every upcoming game in the future.
Before buying a processor, you need to check its performance, ability to run modern games, and suitability for your everyday usage. Also, consider checking out the AMD equivalent of the i5 processors.
I’ve described the important points about the CPUs below. Consider reading it thoroughly to understand the capabilities of Intel i5 processors.
Single & Multi Thread Performance
For the gaming experience, the core performance plays a significant factor. Generally, the performance is measured with popular benchmarks, like Cinebench.
Most eSports title games are heavily dependent on single-threaded CPU performance. Faster single-thread performance provides a fantastic experience in these games.
The following chart shows the single-core performance of the Cinebench R20:
The above benchmark clearly demonstrates the power and capability of the new generation Intel i5 processor. The latest i5-13600K has surpassed the previous generation i9 processor in terms of single-threaded performance.
In big and highly intensive games, the multi-thread gives an advantage in the performance and gaming experience.
Check the following chart to understand the multi-threaded performance of the Intel i5 processor:
The Intel i9 and i7 have performed better in multi-threaded benchmarks due to more cores and threads count in the CPU.
Multi-core performance only matters for games that can use a high number of cores and threads. The Intel i9 and i7 processors outperform the i5 by a good margin in performance and price.
Still, the i5 scored more points than the recommended specification for most modern games.
Like Cinebench, the CPUs are benchmarked with the PassMark score to determine their capabilities.
The following table will provide the PassMark score of the Intel i5 processors:
Every game has a recommended CPU requirement to experience smooth gaming. We can compare the CPU capabilities with recommended specs by using the PassMark score.
Check the table below to see the recommended CPU requirements and PassMark scores of the CPUs:
|Game||Minimum CPU Requirement||Recommended CPU Requirement|
|Elden Ring||Intel Core i5-8400|
|Intel Core i7-8700K|
|God of War||Intel i5-2500K|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Intel Core i5-3570K|
|Intel Core i7-8700|
|Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020||Intel Core i5-4460|
|Intel Core i5-8400|
|Far Cry 6||Intel Core i5-4460|
|Intel Core i7-9700|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||Intel Core i5-2500K|
|Intel Core i7-4770K|
The above games are all modern and very processor intensive. But, all the modern Intel i5 processors are highly capable of running the games at maximum settings.
Elden Ring—Game of the Year of 2022—has a PassMark of 13867, but the latest Intel i5-13600K has almost a 3x PassMark score of 38428.
It shows the ability of recent i5 processors in extensive games. And will also perform outstandingly in future games
Value for Money
The best processor in the market is always better for extracting the most performance. Streamers, designers, and engineers require a high-config PC. But to everyday gamers, most CPU power is left out and extravagant for today’s game.
Most gamers choose their CPU by measuring the actual game performance, and the value for money rating helps to choose the best CPU from the market. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, consider checking out Ryzen 3’s gaming performance.
The value for money is determined by the CPU performance & MSRP, and the following table shows the best value for money CPU.
|Processor||PassMark Score||MSRP (dollar)||Value Point|
|Intel Core i7-12700F||31287||200||156.4|
|Intel Core i3-12100F||14342||276.81||124.7|
|Intel Core i5-13600K||38428||319.91||120.1|
|Intel Core i5-12600K||27791||248||112.1|
|Intel Core i7-13700K||47056||422||111.5|
|Intel Core i9-12900K||41573||404||102.9|
|Intel Core i9-13900K||59995||599.98||100|
|Intel Core i5-11600K||19754||211.99||93.2|
|Intel Core i3-10100||8740||99||87.9|
The Intel i5 processor sits relatively in the middle in terms of performance and value. Also, the integrated GPU in the K series gives you an advantage in gaming.
Evaluating all the single & multi-threaded performance, PassMark comparison, and value for money, the newer generation Intel i5 processors are worthy, and you can buy one of these for your rich gaming experience.
However, the gaming performance also depends on good RAM for boosting system responsiveness and improving frame rates. Check out some of the best RAM for your i5 processor to get the best experience.
If you use the same graphics card and upgrade your CPU to a slightly newer one, the performance increase will be minimal. To boost the gaming performance, you need to determine if you need to upgrade the CPU or GPU first.
Also, don’t forget to check the most suitable graphics card for the Intel processor to improve gaming performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Intel Core i5 is best for gaming?
The Intel i5-13600K is the best for gaming among the i5 processors. It’s ample for running the modern games without any problem.
Is Intel i5 high-end?
No, the Intel i5 is a mid-end processor, which sits in the middle of the Intel hierarchy. The Intel Core i9 is counted as the high-end processor.
Is the i5 processor fast enough?
The Intel i5 processors are more than enough for most daily users and gamers to handle tasks and games.
Intel i5 is a fantastic processor for gaming. It can provide more power than recommended specifications for most modern games.
The newer generation of i5 processors are highly suggested for gaming, and you don’t even need to wipe your pocket to get it.
This article has provided all the real-life gaming data, benchmarks, and comparisons to help you pick the best processor from the market. If you find this article helpful, don’t forget to comment.