Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, does it really matter?

Intel processor

Intel is a great processor manufacturing company but they have a way of confusing the buyers with fancy names like Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. I am sure you would have heard these terms at least once in a while and wondered what they mean. Today we will discuss the basic differences between Core i3, i5 and i7 processors which i think would help you a lot in choosing your next PC.


Back in the days, CPU power was rated as a result of the clock speed at which it runs. The clock speed of a CPU gives us a nice understanding on how fast a CPU works but not actually how powerful it really is. For example a CPU with a 3.0 GHz runs faster than a CPU with 2.5 GHz but the later one may be able to do more work per cycle enabling it to outperform the first one. Intel introduced naming the CPU’s differently (AMD was the first to do though but it didn’t work well for them)  using ‘Core’ naming to move out of the clock speed race.

What is the Difference between Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 ?

If you want a plain and simple answer, then generally speaking, Core i7s are better than Core i5s, which are in turn better than Core i3s. Nope, Core i7 does not have seven cores nor does Core i3 have three cores. The numbers are simply indicative of their relative processing powers.

In general, Core i3 chips are found in budget PCs and laptops. For a normal user that uses his or her computer for basic computer operations like browsing, using Ms office, watching videos, etc, Core i3 works just fine. Core i3s have a low Cache size.

The mainstream or mid-range systems usually  have i5. Systems with Core i5 are good for a moderate user and light gamer.

The Core i7 CPUs are reserved for and usually found in high-end, expensive laptops and PCs examples; hp envy, hp elite book, etc. These are used by users who wish to do video editing( For example using premier pro), Lot of Gaming and other CPU intensive stuff.

Number of cores: Core i3, i5 and i7

The first thing you’ll notice from the table is that Core i5 and i7 processors have four cores, while Core i3 models only have two. Out of all the differences between the Intel processor ranges, this is the one that will affect performance the most.

Each core works effectively its own processor. your PC would still work with just one core enabled. Having multiple cores means that the computer can work on more than one task at a time more efficiently, which will help keep your system running  swiftly even if you have tasks such as an antivirus scan running in the background.

However, having several cores can also drastically increase the speed at which certain programs run, games for example. This doesn’t apply to all applications, as creating software that takes advantage of multiple cores is difficult. While two cores are now the accepted minimum in a processor, if you generally only tend to have a handful of tabs open in a web browser and your most demanding application is a word processor, you won’t see a huge benefit from a quad-core chip. Nevertheless, modern games benefit from quad-core chips as does video encoding.

Typically all the Core i3s comes with Hyper-Threading capabilities in them. Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (HT) uses processor resources more efficiently, enabling multiple threads to run on each core. As a performance feature, it also increases processor throughput, improving overall performance on threaded software.
This simply means even with a core i3 PC, you can:

  • Run demanding applications simultaneously while maintaining system responsiveness
  • Keep systems protected, efficient, and manageable while minimizing impact on productivity
  • Provide headroom for future business growth and new solution capabilities
  • Intensive graphics without compromise
  • With Intel® HT Technology, multimedia enthusiasts can create, edit, and encode graphically intensive files while running background applications, such as virus protection software, without compromising system performance. 
Some versions of Core i5s have Hyper-Threading and Turbo boost features enabled.

While all core i7s  comes with Hyper-Threading, Turbo boosting and Overclocking abilities.
Processors with both Intel® HT Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology deliver better performance and can complete tasks more quickly. The combination of both technologies enables simultaneous processing of multiple threads, dynamically adapts to the workload, and automatically disables inactive cores. This increases processor frequency on the busy cores, giving an even greater performance boost for threaded applications.

Core i7s are the best Intel has to offer (for now) for general consumers while Core i3s is the most affordable in the series ( forget Pentium).

So yes! It matters. 


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