Question Is it worth upgrading an intel core i3 to i5 or i7

Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
Hello, I am a beginner on this issue. I currently have a computer with 8gb of ram, and an Intel Core i3-7100 (Kabylake) 3.9 GHz Dual Core. I went to the hp website for my computer specifically, and it's telling me that I can upgrade to any of these two cores:
  • Intel Core i5-7400 (Kabylake) 3.0 GHz Quad Core
  • Intel Core i7-7700 (Kabylake) 3.6 GHz Quad Core
I use my computer for 3D-rendering such as daz or maya. I also occasionally game on stuff like sims 4. I was wondering if any of you guys can recommend an upgrade based on that criteria. Obviously the core i7 is the more powerful, but also more expensive. I wonder if it's worth the upgrade for me. My computer does seem to struggle sometimes, even for the most basic functions with the core i3. Thanks to everyone in advance.
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
think of it like this
the i3 is half an i7 at different speeds. 2/4 slower vs 4/8 faster cores
the i5 is an i7 with SMT disabled. the actual cores are faster than the i3 SMT threads. still slower than the faster clocked i7.
the i7 has it all, fast clocks, 4 full cores with SMT. (SMT AKA- hyper threading, symmetrical multi-threaded)
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
  1. I'm sorry, I don't know what rig specs are. But my computer specs are 64-bit hp desktop with i3-7100 (Kabylake) 3.9 GHz Dual Core and 8gb of ram.
  2. Yes, a bit too slow. I render models as a freelancer. But more than that, I see that sometimes my pc struggles a bit too much just to open googe chrome or even the file explorer. I just want a bit more power.
  3. The budget is around $300.
  4. I live in the U.S.A.
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
think of it like this
the i3 is half an i7 at different speeds. 2/4 slower vs 4/8 faster cores
the i5 is an i7 with SMT disabled. the actual cores are faster than the i3 SMT threads. still slower than the faster clocked i7.
the i7 has it all, fast clocks, 4 full cores with SMT. (SMT AKA- hyper threading, symmetrical multi-threaded)
Got you! Thank you very much for the info.
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
https://cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
download this. on the mainboard tab it will give you the motherboard information and model number, under the RAM tab it will show what mode your RAM is running. dual channel RAM will increase memory bandwidth to the CPU (never a bad thing). on the SPD tab you can cycle through the RAM and see how many slots are populated (how many sticks you have - dual channel needs 2) single channel will contribute to slow loading programs as well as a slow drive will slow the system. Ideally you want to work off an SSD for the fastest program access and load times. you can get graphics information about your system too.
the bench tab will have some preloaded profiles and can give a general idea (take with a grain of salt - not in depth to say the least but you get the idea) the differences a CPU change may bring.
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
https://cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
download this. on the mainboard tab it will give you the motherboard information and model number, under the RAM tab it will show what mode your RAM is running. dual channel RAM will increase memory bandwidth to the CPU (never a bad thing). on the SPD tab you can cycle through the RAM and see how many slots are populated (how many sticks you have - dual channel needs 2) single channel will contribute to slow loading programs as well as a slow drive will slow the system. Ideally you want to work off an SSD for the fastest program access and load times. you can get graphics information about your system too.
the bench tab will have some preloaded profiles and can give a general idea (take with a grain of salt - not in depth to say the least but you get the idea) the differences a CPU change may bring.
Wow, that is a very useful tool. So, do you suggest that I upgrade the ram as well? It is currently 8gb single channel
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
Generally not worth it unless you can find a deal on a used one for cheap. Otherwise you can typically get a 8th/9th Gen Intel or AMD Ryzen CPU that is or as good or better, plus a new motherboard, for the same price as a 6th/7th gen Intel chip.
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
$300 budget?
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 3 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($183.75 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Team Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($61.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston A400 480 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($52.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $298.73
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 16:58 EDT-0400


I would not suggest an i7 with slow storage and choked RAM. for a more balanced system I suggest the above, the actual cores with more onboard cache paired with more faster RAM and a faster storage system should give a nice performance boost for all tasks across the board.
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
$300 budget?
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 3 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($183.75 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Team Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($61.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston A400 480 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($52.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $298.73
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 16:58 EDT-0400


I would not suggest an i7 with slow storage and choked RAM. for a more balanced system I suggest the above, the actual cores with more onboard cache paired with more faster RAM and a faster storage system should give a nice performance boost for all tasks across the board.
Wow, you are amazing! Thank you so much! I will definitely be buying these
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
That CPU is a waste of money at that price. E.g. you can get an i3 9100F plus a new mobo for less than the price of that i5. Not only is the 9100F a faster CPU, it also provides a better upgrade path. The same could be said about a similarly priced Ryzen build.

Edit: For example:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i3-9100F 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock B365M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($78.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $168.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 17:22 EDT-0400


or

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($79.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $149.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 17:23 EDT-0400
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
That CPU is a waste of money at that price. E.g. you can get an i3 9100F plus a new mobo for less than the price of that i5. Not only is the 9100F a faster CPU, it also provides a better upgrade path. The same could be said about a similarly priced Ryzen build.

Edit: For example:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i3-9100F 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock B365M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($78.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $168.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 17:22 EDT-0400


or

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($79.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $149.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-20 17:23 EDT-0400
I see, so my computer will be able to handle the ryzen upgrades? I am new to this. If I replace the current motherboard with everything you told me, my computer can handle it?
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
I see, so my computer will be able to handle the ryzen upgrades? I am new to this. If I replace the current motherboard with everything you told me, my computer can handle it?
Also, I definitely want to do these installations myself. Do you recommend any tool kit as well as video tutorials I can follow?
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
Yes, if you replace your motherboard with an AM4 motherboard your computer will support Ryzen CPUs. Or if you get a 300 series LGA 1151 board, it will support 8/9th gen Intel CPUs. Either would be a better option than getting an i5 7400 for $180.

Edit: Do you do your rendering on your CPU or GPU? Do you have a discrete GPU?
 
Last edited:
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
Yes, if you replace your motherboard with an AM4 motherboard your computer will support Ryzen CPUs. Or if you get a 300 series LGA 1151 board, it will support 8/9th gen Intel CPUs. Either would be a better option than getting an i5 7400 for $180.
Got you, thank you for your information!
 

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
I should mention that replacing a motherboard is generally more work than just replacing a CPU. Both in terms of physically replacing the hardware, plus it's generally recommended to reinstall Windows when you swap motherboards.
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
Yes, if you replace your motherboard with an AM4 motherboard your computer will support Ryzen CPUs. Or if you get a 300 series LGA 1151 board, it will support 8/9th gen Intel CPUs. Either would be a better option than getting an i5 7400 for $180.

Edit: Do you do your rendering on your CPU or GPU? Do you have a discrete GPU?
Yea well, that's what I was going to ask. My current build is this:
Intel Core i3-7100 (Kabylake) 3.9 GHz Dual Core
If I upgrade to the ryzen, will I see an improvement?
I honestly don't know what the Maya/Daz programs use to render
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
I should mention that replacing a motherboard is generally more work than just replacing a CPU. Both in terms of physically replacing the hardware, plus it's generally recommended to reinstall Windows when you swap motherboards.
I was also wondering if the ryzen motherboard would fit my computer. I have a Lubin motherboard with these specs:
- Form factor: Customized: 20.5x22.0 cm (8.1x8.7 in)
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
the budget is limiting factor here. you could get a faster CPU and motherboard and keep the slow RAM and slow storage.
my suggestion above will balance the system you have and allow for an easy motherboard CPU swap later without having to mess with the RAM and SSD.

a standard HP system may or may not be able to just swap the motherboard. which model HP? this will tell us the case and any motherboard restrictions or even PSU restrictions placed on the system by HP. is it the slimline chassis?
 
Last edited:
Reactions: TJ Hooker

TJ Hooker

Illustrious
Herald
Ah, my mistake, didn't notice they have an HP prebuilt PC. Yes, definitely need to make sure that the case and PSU support a standard ATX motherboard.

From what I can find 3D rendering in Maya uses CPU and benefits from more cores. In which case you should see a significant improvement from going to Ryzen. I'd recommend either an overclocked Ryzen 1600, or a 2600X if you're not comfortable with overclocking.
 
Aug 20, 2019
13
0
10
0
the budget is limiting factor here. you could get a faster CPU and motherboard and keep the slow RAM and slow storage.
my suggestion above will balance the system you have and allow for an easy motherboard CPU swap later without having to mess with the RAM and SSD.

a standard HP system may or may not be able to just swap the motherboard. which model HP? this will tell us the case and any motherboard restrictions or even PSU restrictions placed on the system by HP. is it the slimline chassis?
This is my pc model: HP Slimline Desktop - 270-p027cb
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
the slimline chassis will need to be replaced when the motherboard is swapped out. the PSU on that system is only 180W.
if you upgrade as I suggested above, the next upgrade should be a chassis, a PSU and a motherboard as these three will need to be upgraded together.
 
Reactions: TJ Hooker

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS