Intel Core i7, i5, and i3: Which one to choose?

Are you planning to buy a new laptop, but feel insecure because you don’t understand the expressions “Intel Core i7,” “Intel Core i5,” and “Intel Core i3”? Do you need help understanding these labels?

You’d better not worry, as it is common for today’s consumers not to know these terms. People usually feel confused, and the only way for them to become enlightened is to do their online research, study, and get help from the explanations provided by online articles written by computer professionals (such as this one So!).

This brief review provides an easy way to understand the differences between “Intel Core i7,” “Intel Core i5,” and “Intel Core i3.” You will also find out which option of processors is best for you.

Intel and the laptop’s central processing unit

Before you learn more about the Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 processors, it’s best to discover what Intel is. This American company is a multinational technology company, based in Silicon Valley, in Santa Clara, California, United States.

The founders of Intel opened the company on July 18, 1968. For more than 50 years, the technology company has grown to become the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips by revenue.

In addition, Intel is the developer of the computer processors found in most laptops and computers: The x86 microprocessor series. This company manufactures various devices and products related to computer science and communication.

Intel’s offerings include processors, motherboard chipsets, graphics chips, flash memory, and integrated circuits and network cards. It is the supplier of microprocessors for leading computer system manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo, and HP.

Intel is behind the computer processors Intel Core i7, i5, and i3. As you know, the processor or central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer.

Intel uses the names “Core i7”, “Core i5”, and “Core i3” to label its CPU products. Understanding the differences between these processors can help you decide which one is right for your needs.

Comparison of Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 processors

You may feel baffled when you hear about Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5, and Intel Core i3 CPUs. This scenario may cause you to take more time before deciding to purchase a new laptop.

FeatureIntel Core i3Intel Core i5Intel Core i7
PerformanceLowResourceHigh
HyperthreadingnewYes NoYes
Turbo boostnewYesYes
cache size4MB to 8MB6MB to 12MB12MB to 24MB

Clear comparison of Intel Core i3 vs. i5 vs. i7.

The following information sets these CPUs apart. They can help you choose the right computer processor for you.

Intel Core i7

Performance

intel i7

When you hear the phrase “Intel Core i” and the number, keep in mind that these are just designations to indicate the relative performance of the processors. Intel Core i7 is a more recent generation of computer processors.

It usually comes with a quad-core or even hex-core configuration and higher overclocking speeds than previous generations. The latest generation of Intel Core i7 CPUs comes with quad-core, Hexa-core, and octa-core configurations.

You can say that the Intel Core i7 CPU is better than the i5 and the i3. One of the reasons is that it outperforms its predecessors by being much faster in terms of performance.

Hyperthreading

The Intel Core i7 CPU features hyper-threading. You can better understand this property by first knowing that the physical cores determine the speed of a processor to a large extent.

But with the way today’s processors work, you have to learn that hyper-threading speeds up virtual cores. This property allows a single physical core to act as two virtual cores.

Thus, the CPU performs multiple tasks at once without activating the second physical core. These four virtual cores will compute faster if both processors are hyper-threading and running.

Remember that physical cores are faster than virtual cores. So a quad-core CPU will perform much better than a dual-core with hyper-threading.

Turbo boost

The Intel Core i7 CPU features turbo boost, just like its predecessors, i5 and i3. This proprietary technology from Intel intelligently increases the clock speed of a computer processor when the application requires it.

So, for example, you are playing a video game, and your computer is asking for extra horsepower. Turbo boost then kicks in to compensate. This feature is useful for people who run resource-intensive software, such as video games and video editors.

Cache Size

The Intel Core i7 processor series is newer than its i5 and i3 predecessors. It has a larger memory cache, which is between 12 MB and 24 MB. Remember, the bigger the cache size, the better.

As you know, the cache is the CPU’s own memory and serves as a repository for your frequently accessed data. It functions as the processor’s own Random-access memory or RAM.

The cache helps the CPU by preventing it from relying on the hard drive to store data. So simple tasks don’t take much time, and everything on your computer runs fast.

Why you should buy the Intel Core i7 processor

The Intel Core i7 processor is ideal for you if you are a power user. This feature means that you usually multitask with several windows open at once.

Moreover, the Intel Core i7 CPU is a preferred choice for users like you, if you tend to run applications that require a lot of horsepowers. You should buy this processor if you don’t like waiting for something to load either.

The top-tier Intel Core i7 processor will do the work you need to do most of the time and could save you a lot of your hard-earned cash in the process.

Intel Core i5

Performance

intel i5While the Intel Core i7 is better than the Intel Core i5, if you’re wondering if it’s better than the i3, you can pick the latter. Intel Core i5 processors are relatively older processors. They usually come with a mixture of quad-core and dual-core processors.

Hyperthreading

Hyper-threading used to be owned only by the Intel Core i7 processors. However, that scenario changed when Intel’s 10th generation CPUs hit the market.

Intel seems to be chopping and changing with every processor generation. So you will have to check the individual processor for its hyper-threading capabilities as this can always differ.

Turbo boost

The Intel Core i5 CPU comes with the turbo boost function. So you can expect this processor to respond the same way when your computing activities require extra horsepower.

Cache size

The cache size of the Intel Core i5 processor is relatively smaller than that of its i7 successor. It has between 6 MB and 12 MB Intel Smart Cache memory.

Why should you buy the Intel Core i5 CPU?

You should choose the Intel Core i5 processor if you are an average computer user. It’s also highly recommended if you’re looking for a balance between price and performance.

Don’t forget that the Intel Core i5 CPU is ideal for playing video games and is therefore often found in budget gaming laptops. In this situation, you need to buy a Q or G processor with a dedicated graphics processor.

Intel Core i3

Performance

intel i3You can say that the Intel Core i3 CPU is the “dinosaur” compared to its i5 and i7 successors. This model Intel CPU is the oldest of the three.

You will also notice that the Intel Core i3 processor has only dual-core processors. So you should not demand a lot of speed and high performance from it.

Hyperthreading

While some Intel Core i3 processors had hyper-threading, you’ll only find a few these days.

Turbo boost

The Intel Core i3 CPU is ideal for simple computing tasks, such as using Microsoft Office and surfing the Internet. Therefore, its turbo boost function does not have much influence.

Cache size

You will find the latest generations of Intel Core i3 processors with 4 MB to 8 MB Intel Smart Cache memory. Yes, these cache sizes are smaller than the Intel Core i7 and i5 CPUs.

Why you should buy the Intel Core i3 CPU

The Intel Core i3 processor is the type that is most suitable for you if you are a simple computer user. It is also an economical option.

In addition, the Intel Core i3 CPU is perfect for social networking, surfing the Internet, using Microsoft Office, and video calling. If you are a professional computer user or an avid video gamer, this processor type is not for you as your CPU requirements are more demanding.

This comparison has enabled you to understand the differences between the three Intel Core processors. Going through more online reviews can help you discover which type of CPU to choose.

Reading about the Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 CPUs may make you ask more questions, because of the many jargons used in the discussion. However, you can take advantage of the basic advice and reviews that you can find from other online reviews, which will help you better compare and decide which processor or laptop to buy.