There have been seven generations of Intel i5 processors since the release of the Lynnfield line in 2009.
While gaming performance is typically tied to the power of your graphics card, not all i5 processors perform the same in today’s latest games.
HardwareUnboxed tested a processor from each of the seven generations using today’s most demanding games. They based their game choices on pure graphical fidelity (a game like Battlefield 4 for example) and games that would require substantive CPU calculations (like the recently-released Ashes of the Singularity).
The most noticeable differences can be found in the jumps to Sandy Bridge and Skylake, but even the Lynnfield processors can put out very playable framerates when paired with a recent GPU.
Here are the results of the different processors paired with a GTX 980 Ti.
You can find a complete breakdown of the processors’ performance and how they compare with other graphics cards here.