Intel Sandy Bridge (Core i5 2500K & i7 2600K) versus AMD Ryzen & Intel Coffee Lake: worth the upgrade?

Does your Sandy Bridge build need an upgrade? 86 tests provide the answer!

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Introduction

Many Hardware.Info readers may still be using an Intel processor from the Sandy Bridge generation, such as a Core i5 2500K or 2600K. 2017 can be described as the year of an unprecedented processor struggle for the consumer attention. Is an AMD Ryzen or Intel Coffee Lake worth the upgrade, or are you still good with a Sandy Bridge?


The graphics card is usually the most popular PC component to upgrade. With all these high-res monitors and increasingly beautiful games, this part is subject to higher demands at a rapid pace. After two or three years a new graphics card means a serious upgrade in graphics capabilities, while the rest of your system can often last for a few years.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Boxed
Thanks to the AMD Ryzen CPUs, you suddenly get a lot more processor for your money.

At the beginning of last year, however, AMD turned the processor market upside down with their Ryzen CPU range and in October, Intel followed with its Coffee Lake models. Partially thanks to the competition, you get much more value for your money when you buy a processor now than you did a year ago. So in our upgrade poll of mid-September 2017, a majority of you indicated that you planned to buy a new processor and a new motherboard. With 32% of the voices, that option was more popular than a new graphics card (27%)!

We got two of the most popular processors from the Sandy Bridge generation through our current test procedure to determine whether a fast Ryzen or Coffee Lake is really worthwhile. For this we selected the Core i5 2500K, a quad-core without HyperThreading, and the Core i7 2600K, a slightly higher clocked model with HyperThreading.

Read more from our CPU upgrade series:

Intel Haswell (Core i5 4670K & i7 4790K) versus Ryzen & Coffee Lake: worth the upgrade?

AMD Bulldozer (FX-8370E) versus AMD Ryzen & Intel Coffee Lake: worth the upgrade?


Compare

two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

Intel Core i5 2500K

Socket 1155, 3.3 GHz, 4 cores, 95 W, 32 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

Intel Core i7 2600K

Socket 1155, 3.4 GHz, 4 cores, 95 W, 32 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

Also read these processor articles on Hardware.Info

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