The i5 represents the middle ground in Intel’s series of processors. But how strong is the Core i5, and how well can it handle gaming and streaming?
Is i5 Good for Gaming?
The Core i5 is good for gaming. Although some of the older generations might not run as well as the newer ones, it’s a great all-around processor, especially for people gaming on a budget.
Most of the biggest games today can be played with an i5, but you might need to tune down your graphic settings to run the newest AAA games at 30-60 FPS.
Ideally, the best choice for gaming would be an i7 processor, but the i5 is no slouch. It is a good option for people who want something more powerful than an i3 but cheaper than an i7.
If you’re a heavy gamer, I highly recommend you set your sights on getting one of Intel’s higher-end processors if you can afford it. Their i7 and i9 CPUs are better equipped to handle the biggest games at buttery smooth frames.
That said, the i5 will get the job done just fine. However, just how well does it stack up outside of gaming? Can you stream with it?
Is i5 Good for Streaming?
The Core i5 is good for streaming in most scenarios. If you plan on software encoding your streams, which relies on the power of your CPU, then you may want to consider the i7 or i9, which are better choices for streaming video games.
The performance of your i5 chip will vary depending on the generation you choose. Below the 8th generation, most i5 chips come with four cores, while the later ones ship with at least six.
For the best performance, opt for at least an 8th generation i5 chip.
When considering which chip to choose for software encoding your streams, pay particular attention to the single-core speed of the processor.
While more cores will provide some benefit, streaming is more dependent on the speed of each individual core than on the number of cores your processor has.
That being said, you can always choose to encode your streams on your GPU, which is called hardware encoding.
Most modern NVIDIA GPUs have onboard encoders. So by adjusting the settings of your streaming software, you can bypass your CPU altogether and stream solely using the power of your GPU.
Is i5 Good for Gaming and Streaming at the Same Time?
The Core i5 processor can perform some level of gaming and streaming at the same time. But if you’re planning to stream live games to a platform like Twitch, you might want to consider upgrading your processor.
While the quad-core i5 processors can handle relatively heavy tasks, it still has limits.
Trying to stream and game on these processors simultaneously might cause severe performance drops, disappointing you and your streaming audience.
If you genuinely want the best experience, consider going for one of the more expensive Alder Lake processors.
Admittedly, the price can get a bit steep, but considering the performance boost you’re getting, it’s well worth the price.
Now, let’s go over a few of the most popular games you may want to run with an i5, starting with Valorant.
Is i5 Good for Valorant?
The i5 is an excellent processor for Valorant. Valorant is an extremely well-optimized game even for lower-end PCs, so the i5 will run the game well even on medium graphic settings.
An i5 processor is significantly higher than the minimum requirements to run Valorant. In fact, with a 4th gen i5 processor and a decent onboard GPU, you can push your game to about 144 FPS.
That said, this performance might not be uniform across the board. Valorant is a tactical-hero shooter that’s in a middle ground between CS:GO and Overwatch.
As a result, there can be quite a lot happening on your screen sometimes.
Agents in Valorant have a variety of abilities, so with enough powers being thrown into the mix simultaneously, you could drop frames. However, with an i5 processor, these drops should be minimal, if at all.
Sadly, it’s a different story with COD: Warzone.
Is i5 Good for Warzone?
The Core i5 processor is good enough for Warzone. Since the minimum required processor is a Core i3 with 8GB of RAM, an i5 will let you run the game at high FPS with the right GPU.
However, there is a caveat. More important than the processor here is the graphics card on your PC. Unlike Valorant, you cannot run Warzone in a playable condition without an onboard graphics card.
Valorant is an arena-based game that places all players within a relatively small arena. As a result, the environment the game has to process is effectively reduced.
On the other hand, Warzone is a kind of sandbox with a significantly larger map. The game also features a variety of vehicles, buildings, trees, and killstreaks.
These all have to be processed constantly, and your CPU is likely to underperform without a GPU built for parallel computing.
Apex Legends also relies mostly on GPU, but it’s more forgiving than Warzone.
Is i5 Good for Apex Legends?
You can play Apex Legends comfortably with a Core i5 processor. However, Apex Legends is far more GPU intensive, requiring very little from your CPU outside of a few generalized tasks. A GPU is a lot more important.
The minimum system requirement to play Apex Legends is a core i3 processor, so a core i5 is almost overkill. However, you also need an onboard GPU to run it.
That said, the minimum requirements to run Apex Legends are objectively low. You’ll need only 1 GB of RAM on your GPU and a 3.8 GHz processor. Both are incredibly affordable.
You might even be able to get away with running the game on an ‘obsolete’ GPU with 512 MB of RAM. For gamers without a discrete GPU, an integrated option might also get the job done depending on its ability.
This video from Wooden PC on YouTube is a good example:
Here the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G (available on Amazon.com) does most of the work. This processor is excellent, especially for gamers who don’t want to splurge on a separate GPU.
An extra consideration you should make is that Apex Legends, like Warzone, has huge maps that hold up to sixty players. This, combined with player abilities like a Bangalore or Gibby Ultimate, could occasionally cause a few frame drops.
Luckily, there are many games that let you get away with very low specs, and Fortnite is one of them.
Is i5 Good for Fortnite?
The i5 is a very good processor for playing Fortnite. Fortnite is one of the few battle royale games that is well optimized for low-end PCs. As a result, you can get away with playing it without a dedicated GPU.
However, if you want better gameplay and smoother graphics, it would be better to get a dedicated GPU, especially if you play other games.
That’s it for gaming, but what if you’re a programmer?
Is i5 Good for Programming?
The i5 is a very good processor for programmers. Most i5 processors ship with at least four cores and eight threads, allowing your PC to make the most of the available hardware.
Since most i5 processors are in the mid-range, they tend to get a bad rap. Many people think isn’t sufficient for programming.
However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. With a bit of research, it’s easy to see that the i5 is a fantastic processor that can handle a wide variety of tasks.
The Core i5 is a great mid-range chip for coders. In fact, it’s what I’d recommend for most beginner developers.
It’s powerful enough to handle most of what you throw at it but cheap enough that you can test the coding waters without plunging your bank account in head first.
However, that’s only for beginner coders. For more advanced programming, a bit of nuance begins to seep in. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to coding, as different types of programming require varying levels of hardware.
Game development, for example, will require significantly more power than web design. So, before jumping in with an i5, assess your needs first.
What type of programming will you be doing? Do you need a laptop or a proper workstation? What’s your budget?
To be safe, aim for an i5 processor that’s at least 8th gen or above. They come with more cores and, by extension, more threads.
However, you might want a higher-end processor if you’re doing anything that requires a bit more processing power.
Is i5 Good for Video Editing?
A Core i5 processor can be good for editing, provided you choose the right one. The Core i5 works without problems for low-end video editing. However, for higher-end tasks involving complex color correction, higher resolution video, or intense compression, you’ll need a more powerful processor.
On the lower end of the video editing scale, you can get by with almost any decent processor—low-end i5s included. Since most of what you’ll be doing here is basic arrangements and cropping, you don’t need anything too powerful.
However, if you know you’ll be doing some heavy editing, it’s vital to invest in a processor that can handle it. At the very least, you should be going for an 8th gen processor in the i5 series or upwards.
For the best results, consider buying a 12th-gen processor like the i9-12900k. It’s far from the cheapest option available, but still, it’s a great processor for the cost. A cheaper 12th gen alternative like the i5 12600k is also a great buy.
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Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.