Intel’s Core i5 used to be the bare minimum for a gaming PC. If you went below to a Core i3, Pentium or Celeron, you would be restricting your system to just two physical cores. With the launch of Coffee Lake, however, the Core i3 now offers four physical cores (but no Hyper-Threading), making it similar to earlier Core i5s – only cheaper. Our first look at the new Core i3 as a gaming contender comes from Overclockers UK in its Cobalt Overclocked Gaming PC.
The Core i3 in question is the 8350K, which is the obvious choice due to it being the only multiplier-unlocked version of the i3. It runs at a nominal 4GHz, but Overclockers has set the processor permanently to 4.8GHz across all four cores, and backed this up with a three-year warranty. In theory, you could be getting similar single-threaded gaming performance to a stock (not overclocked) Core i7-8700K, for half the price.
Alongside the Core i3 are 16GB of DDR4 memory and an ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo 6GB graphics card. There’s an SSD as boot drive and regular hard disk for plenty of game storage, capable Alpenfohn Brocken CPU air cooling, and an attractively LED-lit Phanteks Eclipse chassis to put everything in. All this comes for a reasonable £1,234.94 inc VAT, so the Overclockers UK Cobalt promises huge gaming abilities for a reasonable price. Let’s find out if it delivers on that promise.
- Phanteks Eclipse P300 Glass Midi Tower Case – Black.
- Phanteks RGB LED Strip Starter Kit.
- Intel Core i3-8350K 4.0GHz (Coffee Lake) Socket LGA1151 Processor (overclocked to 4.8GHz).
- ASUS TUF Z370-Plus Gaming Intel Z370 (Socket 1151) DDR4 ATX Motherboard.
- Alpenfohn Brocken ECO CPU Cooler – 120 mm.
- ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo 6144MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card.
- Team Group Vulcan T-Force 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 PC4-24000C16 3000MHz DDR4 Memory.
- 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2.5in SATA 6Gbps SSD.
- 1TB Seagate BarraCuda 7200rpm SATA HDD.
- Cougar VTX 550W 80 Plus Bronze Power Supply.
- Windows 10 64 bit.
- 3 Years Warranty – Collect and Return.
Price for this system (at the time of writing): £1,234.94 (inc. VAT)