Note: We are talking just about the Intel Core i5 Desktop CPUs (Not laptop or mobile CPUs)
Whichever Intel Core i5 CPU you have on your motherboard, it will have at least 2 Physical cores inside it. The first generation of Core i5 CPUs came with 2 cores which is definitely not a good CPU option for current games. There are numerous other i5 processors with similar configurations. The specifications vary as per the generations of CPUs.
So, your question should be:
Which Intel Core i5 CPU is best for gaming?
See, when we say Intel Core i5, we are talking about Intel’s Core Family processors in the i5 CPU Lineup. So, within this lineup, there are dozens of different processors. In other words, there could be a very weak Intel Core i5 CPU and there could also be a high-performance grade i5 CPU.
The best way to judge or identify the performance of any CPU is to look at its generation. Just like all other Intel CPUs, the i5 CPUs also start from the 1st generation, and in 2022, the recent 12th Generation CPUs have been released. So, if you choose to go with any CPU that has 4 or more than 4 cores in it, it is considered an ideal CPU for gaming.
Definitely, Intel Core i5 CPUs are good to run most of the latest game titles. But, in order to achieve good FPS and overall performance, you should go for the higher generation i5 CPUs. The higher the CPU generation, the higher will be the core/threads count and hence the performance.
A 12th or 11th Generation i5 CPU will be able to give you almost double the performance as you will get in the 10th or 9th generation i5 CPU. Total core/thread count, CPU architecture, PCIe version, cache size, and various other CPU specifications are there to make a CPU worth for gaming.
Because there are lots of CPU generations and then different types of CPUs, it is pretty easy to get confused. But, as a rule of thumb, you should always go for at least 4 cores if you want to play the latest games. So, any Intel Core i5 CPU with at least 4 cores and 4 threads will be a good start for gaming. However, 6 cores are now the minimum requirement of most of the latest games.
Don’t forget the main contributor in PC gaming i.e. graphics cards. Having a proper and balanced combination of both CPU and GPU is the only way to a good gaming experience. Also, the type of game will decide the type of hardware you should have. You can always check the required CPU and GPU configurations for any game on its system requirement page.
Intel Core i5 Processor Cores (Table)
To make it easy to understand, you can see this table and check how many cores and threads are there in any specific i5 processor.
|Intel Core i5 CPUs||Cores/Threads (Up to)||Socket||Launched|
|1st Generation (32 nm)||2 Physical cores/4 Threads||LGA 1156||Q1’2010|
|2nd and 3rd Generation (32nm, 22nm)||4 Physical Cores/4 Threads||LGA 1155||Q2’2011, Q4’2012|
|4th and 5th Generation||4 Physical Cores/4 Threads||LGA 1150||Q2’2014, Q2’2015|
|6th and 7th Generation||4 Physical Cores/4 Threads||LGA 1151 v1||Q3’2015, Q1’2017|
|8th and 9th Generation||6 Physical Cores/6 Threads||LGA 1151 v2||Q2,2018|
|10th and 11th Generation||6 Physical Cores/12 Threads||LGA 1200||Q3’2019, Q3’2019|
|12th Generation||6 Physical Cores/12 Threads||LGA 1700||Q4’2021|
Which Intel Core i5 CPU is best for gaming?
Well, any CPU with at least 4 cores is suitable for most of the games. However, if you can go for 6 cores, it will be able to give you great results for all the PC games out there. Surely, there are some games that will need much more cores and CPU power but games put less load on CPUs as compared to the GPUs.
So, if you can go for at least the 8th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, it will be good to run most of the games. Again, you will have to choose your CPU as per the graphics card you are choosing. You can use tools like this to see if you have any chances of bottleneck with your desired CPU and GPU.
In simple words, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Generation Intel i5 CPUs are good for gaming. You should always strive for the highest generation available but make decisions depending on your budget. Make sure to pick the graphics card properly and then decide the CPU if your main goal in gaming.
Is Intel Core i5 6th generation CPU good for gaming?
Firstly, it depends on the type of games you want to play on your PC. Games like Minecraft, Among Us, GTA-5, etc can work perfectly with the Intel i5 6th Generation CPU. For these games, even a weak GPU can work well.
However, if you want to play CPU-intensive games, the 6th Gen i5 may not be enough for you. Some examples of CPU-intensive games are Shadow of Tomb Raider, Far Cry 5, Read Dead Redemption2, and Total War: Warhammer 2. For games like these, you will have to spend good amount on not only graphics card but also on your CPU. The 6th Gen i5 will definitely bottleneck your high-end graphics card and even the 20 series NVIDIA cards.
But, if you are very tight on budget, it is possible to play even high-end games using 6th Gen i5. But, keep the resolution low and don’t expect very high FPS.
Which graphics card suits perfectly with Intel Core i5?
If you are talking about the latest 12th Generation Intel Core i5 CPUs, you will see the best results with RX5700 XT, RTX 3060, or RTX 3080. For below 11th generation, you can go with RTX 3050 or RX5600.
For 10th Generation i5, you can choose any mediocre card such as 1050 Ti, 1650 G5, etc. The 3080, 3070, or 3090 will also work but you can see some bottleneck issues with CPU-intensive games.
You can also take help from PCPartPicker to see which graphics cards are best for your specific Intel i5 CPU.
Don’t forget the benchmark?
When you make your decision on any CPU for gaming, make sure to check the benchmarks before you go further. Benchmarks are not easy to understand but sites like Passmark and Cinebench R20 makes things easier for you by ranking different CPUs depending on their performance.
Benefits of Intel Core i5 over Core i3?
Now, this again depends on the generation you are talking about.
For example, Intel Core i3 12100F (12th generation) CPU comes with 4 cores and 8 threads with maximum frequency of up to 4.30 GHz.
But, if your look at the Intel Core i5 7600K (7th Generation) CPU, it just has 4 cores and 4 threads with maximum frequency up to 3.8 GHz.
Now, you can say that the Core i5 is at a higher lineup and it should perform better than any Core i3. But, you saw that the generation of your CPU matters the most.
Basically, I am trying to say that if take the same generation of both Core i3 and i5, the i5 will definitely have more cores and more specifications in all terms. But, you can’t compare without considering the generations. In that case, the comparison is just a waste of time.
So, which Intel i5 is the best CPU for gaming?
If you just want to get the best performance from only an Intel i5 CPU, any 12th generation CPU will give you the best results. As you go for the lower generations, the core/thread count, cache, and frequency starts to decrease and hence the performance.
A 10th or 11th generation i5 CPU is also good and enough to work with most top-end and average graphics cards. But, the 12th generation is the most suitable pick for gamers.
I would suggest you going for the latest generation CPU if your games are going to CPU-intensive. However, if you just want to play games where it is all about frames, an 8th, 9th, or 10th generations i5 CPU is more than enough. You can easily search online to know how much resources your desired games need.
What if I dont’t want a GPU and just an i5 with integrated graphics?
In that case, you will have to pick the CPU that comes with the Intel integrated graphics. These inbuilt GPUs are good to run low-end games or other games at low-resolutions such as 720p. Also, the frame rates are going to be minimal. But, if you are having a good CPU such as 10th, 11th, or 12th generation i5, even the inbuilt UHD graphics are enough to make most of the games playable on your PC.
The latest Intel UHD Graphics 770 is the best integrated graphics engine to play your games without a dedicated graphics card. You can check this page to find a list of all Intel processors with integrated graphics.
Frequency Asked Questions
Try to pick your computer parts through PCPartPicker. Never go for an extreme CPU when you know you don’t have budget to buy a high-end graphics card such as RTX 3090. Also, don’t think that any CPU will work for gaming and you just need a good graphics card. There is no short answer to fixing the CPU/GPU bottlenecks. It is all about how you combine both the components as per your budget.
Yes. An Intel i5 4th generation CPU will work good if you are playing normal games where no huge CPU power is required. Games like CG: Go 2012 can be played even with these low-end CPUs.
I am Anshul Rana, an experienced author specializing in PC gear reviews and Windows 10 software tutorials. With a strong passion for technology and an in-depth understanding of the PC industry, I provide insightful and detailed analyses of computer peripherals, gaming gear, and software solutions. My writing style is concise yet informative, making complex topics accessible to both beginners and advanced users. Through my reviews and tutorials, I aim to offer valuable guidance, helping readers make informed decisions to enhance their PC experience and explore the vast possibilities of Windows 10 software.