Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3 Comparison
Intel’s Core CPU lineup, Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processors have been there for a quite bit of time by now. There is a lot of marketing hype going beyond this line of processors. In this article, I will pit three processors from Intel against each other in terms of performance. I will also try to explain the technology besides the multi-core processors, Intel’s philosophy, and finally help you decide which processor will suit you best.
Rather than taking the traditional geeky processor comparison path by posting screens of a bunch of benchmarks, game performance specs, etc, this article will focus on simply explaining the “core series” of Intel’s lineup. Although benchmarks are useful for heavy computer gamers, they pretty much greek to the average computer user. This guide should help you pick out a computer, with a good processor for your needs, without having to know what Cinebench or Crysis means.
You may already have a pentium processor and you may be wondering, is now a good time to buy a PC with a Core processor? The answer is yes, now would be an okay time to get a computer with a Core series processor. I have explained why in this related article on Multi core vs Single core processors will simply explain you what is the practical difference between a single core and a multi core processor.
It’s dissappointing to go buy something, and find out the next day that the company just released a better model. Processor’s and Intel have a history of keeping product lines around for several years. Just look at their Core 2 Duo lineup as an example. Core 2 Duo processors first made their entry in June 2006, 4 years ago. Computer manufacturers are just now starting to weed out their lineups of the Core 2 Duos. As we mentioned above, Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processors are still pretty young, meaning they should be around for at least a couple more years. Below, is a current screenshot of some computers that Dell is offering as their Studio lineup.
Buying a Dell Studio for 750 USD is totally not advisable as it is a very high price for a PC with an outdated Core 2 Duo processor. But at the same time buying a Dell Inspiron 580 which is cheaper than the Studio but cones with an i-series is a better idea. You are right. Intels i-series of processors (i3, i5, i7) are cheaper then the older Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs.
Core i3 is Intel’s low cost budget processor. Even though the Core i3 is the lowest of the bunch, it’s still a verygood processor that has received good to outstanding reviews by the majority of experts and customers alike. The technology behind Core i3 processors includes dual core base, hyper threading support, and virtualization. Core i3 processors do support 64-bit versions of Windows. By taking advantage of Intel’s new chipset and 32nm technology, Core i3’s have even been known to perform closely to lower end Core 2 Quad processors.
Core i5 is the budget “mid-range” processor by Intel. A step up from the Core i3, i5 processors will give you a noticeable difference in speed, depending on what type of applications that you run. If you are playing solitaire, you aren’t going to be able to tell a difference between Core i3 and Core i5 processors. If you are editing multiple files in Adobe Flash, with virtualization software, you may notice the Core i5 to be snappier.
Technically, Core i5 processors are marketed a bit differently. Core i5 Processors come in two types – dual core and quad core. Dual core i5 processors have 32nm technology, hyper threading support, virtualization support, and Turbo Boost technology. Quad core i5 processors have 45nm technology, virtualization support and Turbo Boost technology, but do not have hyper threading support.
Do the two types of Core i5 processors offer similar performance? Yes, in most situations. However, one may be better than another when running multi-threaded applications. Be sure to know in afvance the specific Core i5’s are dual core vs. Core i5’s that are quad core, if you are heading to the market to buy a new i5 processor.
Do you need to go still faster? Here is the fastest Intel processor, the Core i7. Core i7 are the current top of the line, out of all the Core series processors. They are also the most expensive. Core i7 is available in two different varieties. So what makes the two varieties different? It is the chipset.
Core i7 processors are available in either a LGA1156 chipset or a LGA1366 chipset. Both chipsets offer quad core performance, virtualization support, hyper threading, and Turbo Boost Technology. However, the i7 9xx series processors, which utilize the 1366 chipset, are considered to be slightly faster than the “best of the best” AMD processor. Both variations of the Core i7 CPU will offer similar performance in most cases, and that performance is screaming fast. The i7 9xx may perform slightly better in heavy gaming.
Advice for choosing your i-series processor
Who needs a Core i3 processor?
People who use their computer for basic tasks such as word processing, email, surfing the web, etc., a Core i3 processor is more than enough to handle all of that with ease. A core i3 processor is a solid, affordable choice for the vast majority.
Who needs a Core i5 processor?
If you like doing video editing and gaming, and more than enough performance to do basic stuff like word processing, internet surfing, and email, a Core i5 processor is for you. It offers enough performance to do stuff like that at a great, mid-range price. It is for the multi taskers.
Who needs a Core i7 processor?
As mentioned earlier an i7 processor is not needed for the vast majority. But if you want the latest and fastest, that’s what the i7 is what you should get your hands on. For average video editing / rendering, Intel’s Core i5 is enough. If you are an avid overclocker, Core i7 is just for you. If you have a deep pocket,consider going the Core i7 Extreme Edition, and enter lightning speeds. But for me, an i5 will do.
Whatever processor you have finally decided – Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, stay assured you will be getting best performance offered by high quality i-series CPUs. All three models in the Intel Core i-series are appreciated by enthusiast all over the world and the major differences as we discussed between the three is the number of cores, multitasking and of course the price. I advice you to buy a computer that suits your needs within your budget. What i don’t advise is getting a high priced computer with an Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad which is old. Not that these aren’t good processors, why buy them if you can get the better Core i3-i5-i7 processors with the latest chipset at a lesser price?
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- 3.6.11 / 3pm