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Is it worth upgrading an ageing 4670K for 1440p gaming?

by Liam Major
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One of the best features of modern gaming is that games are designed to support a wide range of hardware. This means that the days of a gaming PC feeling outdated and useless within a year or two are long gone. But that doesn’t mean there are no benefits to upgrading. In fact, even fantastic gaming CPUs like the aged Intel Core i5 4670K can hamstring a gaming PC more than you might think.

Upgrading your 4670K CPU to something more modern can make a big difference, especially in games that take advantage of more threads. While 1440p resolution isn’t quite as CPU bound as 1080p, it’s still demanding on modern CPUs and older chips like the 4670K might be holding back your frame rates.

Intel 4670K vs. 9600K and 10600K

Intel’s 4670K was released in June of 2013, along with other important chips in the Haswell range. It’s a Core i5 CPU with four cores and no hyperthreading, so only supports four simultaneous threads, and features a boost clock of 3.8GHz out of the box. As a K-series CPU it’s overclockable, though, and many gamers and enthusiasts have been able to push it to 4.2GHz on air cooling alone.

Close up front-on image of an Intel 4670K CPU

The 9600K

With a launch price of around £250, the most relevant contemporary Intel CPUs to compare the 4670K to are the ninth-generation Core i5 9600K, and the 10th-generation 10600K. The 9600K is a six core, six thread CPU with a boost clock of 4.6GHz on a single core, and up to 4.3GHz across six threads at the same time. It also supports faster DDR4 memory, and is a fantastic overclocker in its own right. Chillblast even covered that phenomenon near its launch, noting that many gamers had managed to push their chip to over 5GHz without much difficulty.

It does have a slightly higher TDP (thermal design power), so you may want more capable cooling with a 9600K than the 4670K, but there’s not a lot in it.

The 10600K

The 10600K is the latest of these mid-range Core i5 CPUs and though it has the same six cores, it also supports hyperthreading, so can support 12 simultaneous threads – that can be a big deal in some games and productivity tasks. It also has a higher 4.8GHz boost clock on one core, and can maintain a 4.5GHz clock speed across all cores and threads at the same time.

Its TDP is substantially higher at 125w, though, so you’ll definitely want a decent cooling solution in place. Especially if you overclock. Which is worth doing, as this chip can hit over 5GHz without too much difficulty.

Don’t feel confident overclocking yourself? Don’t sweat it. That’s a service Chillblast offers to all customers. If you buy a PC from us and want some added performance for free, consider our overclocking solution. It can add as much as 20 percent to the overall performance of your system and it’s still covered by our fantastic five year warranty.

So, it worth upgrading a 4670K for 1440p gaming?

By the numbers, it might seem like modern CPUs, especially the 10600K, offer quite a lot more than the 4670K in terms of specifications and therefore performance. But how does that actually work out in games, especially when playing at 1440p resolution?

In modern mid-tier games like Apex Legends, or slightly older AAA games like The Witcher III, you’re likely to see performance comparable to lower-tier modern CPUs, even if you overclock your 4670K. Somewhere between an Intel core i3 9100F, and an i5 9400, or an AMD Ryzen 2600. That’s perfectly fine for gaming at 1440p, especially if you have a reasonable graphics card.

Screen capture image from the games The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

But you are leaving frame rates on the table. Especially in the newest of AAA games, which can take advantage of more threads and higher clock speeds to deliver greater frame rates and higher detail settings. Today, the 4670K is in a similar category to budget gaming CPUs and with its limited number of supported threads, you’re really going to run into frame rate dips if you have lots of additional applications running. Modern games on the 4670K tend to consistently run with the CPU at 100 percent, which is no good if updates or virus scans suddenly start running.

All of this means that that if you want to play games that aren’t at the low-end of the detail and frame rate spectrum, it’s worth upgrading.

What should you upgrade to?

If you’re an Intel fan through and through, there are some fantastic new options to upgrade your 4670K to for 1440p gaming. Chillblast has a wide range of ninth-generation Intel gaming PCs, featuring the fantastically affordable Intel Core i5 9400F, to the brilliant mid-range 9600K – which is a monster of an overclocker, remember. When combined with a modern GPU, like the excellent Nvidia GTX 1660 Super, and RTX 2060 Super, they offer amazing midrange gaming performance which will see your frame rates and detail settings skyrocket in everything from competitive esports games like DotA 2 and Valorant, to high-end AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and Doom Eternal.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion Crystal Lite GTX 1660 Super Gaming PC

If you want cutting edge Intel CPU performance, though, there’s also a wide range of new, 10th-generation Comet Lake CPUs to pick from. The eight core, 16-thread 10700K is an absolute monster of a CPU, offering clock speeds up to 5Ghz right out of the box – something that was restricted to only the most powerful of gaming CPUs just a few months ago. 

If you want the absolute fastest gaming processor ever made, though, then you want to consider the Intel Core i9-10900K. Taking advantage of Intel’s new Thermal Velocity Boost algorithm, it can hit frequencies as high as 5.3GHz on a single core, easily eclipsing even the fastest of last-generation CPUs. It can even hit 4.9GHz across all 10 of its cores (and 20 of its threads) under the right circumstances and with the right cooling.

There is nothing out there today that can match the performance of this CPU and if you want the best 1440p gaming experience money can buy, this is the chip to do it.

What about AMD?

But if you don’t mind considering the competition for a moment, AMD’s third-generation Ryzen processors offer some of the best value for gaming and productivity work. The Ryzen 3600 is an amazing entry-level gaming CPU that’d be a perfect match for a new 1440p gaming system where sticking to a budget is important, with plenty of headroom for upcoming titles as we edge towards the release of next-generation consoles.

Arguably the best bang for buck gaming CPU AMD offers in mid-2020 is the Ryzen 3700X. With eight cores, 16 threads, and a boost clock of 4.4GHz, it doesn’t quite measure up to Intel’s best chips in gaming, but at just a few hundred pounds, it’s fantastically affordable and pulls ahead of even some of Intel’s most costly chips in multitasking. If you stream and game at the same time, or like to do anything else while you play, the 3700X is one of the best processors for the job.

Check out this blog for a more in depth look at which AMD CPUs are the best for gaming!

Give us a call

If you need any more advice on what to upgrade your 4670K to, Chillblast’s highly skilled and experienced system builders are always just a phone call away. We’ve seen the progression of processors over the years and 2020 is an amazing time to upgrade. There’s more competition and more choice than ever and prices are only getting better.

If you have an ageing 4670K gaming PC and are considering an upgrade, we’ll talk you through just what kind of great gaming experience we can give you.

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