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.
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: