Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 belong to the same family of processors, but each differs in terms of performance. Typically, an Intel Core i7 performs better than the i5 which, in turn, has the upper hand over the Core i3. The processor is a computer’s main component, and it acts like its brain. This is why you should know which is the best option for your needs before investing in one.
Unfortunately, understanding the entire family of Intel processors can be difficult, especially if you are not tech-savvy. While all of them perform amazingly for multiple purposes, they differ in a few aspects, such as turbo boost, cache size, and processor type.
So, what is the difference between Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3 processors? If you are looking to find the answer to this question or wondering which is right for you, keep reading till the end!
Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Best for||Power users or multi-taskers who work with multiple windows simultaneously or use apps that require significant horsepower||Intermediate users, ones who need balanced performance, and gamers (but with a G or a Q processor with a specific graphics processor)||Basic users and for web browsing (not good for gamers or professionals)|
|Cache size||12-25 MB||4-20 MB||4-12 MB|
Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3: What’s the Difference?
The names of the chips are similar, so figuring out the differences might be confusing. Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3 comes from the best in the business. All three of them perform better than their competitors and have been capturing the market since their release.
So, what exactly makes each different from the others? Here is a quick breakdown of how Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3 serve different purposes.
- 16 cores (8 P-cores + 8 E-cores) and 24 threads. Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770 included
- Performance hybrid architecture integrates two core microarchitectures, prioritizing and distributing workloads to optimize performance
- Up to 5.4 GHz unlocked. 30M Cache
- Compatible with Intel 600 series and 700 series chipset-based motherboards
- Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, and PCIe 5.0 & 4.0 support. Intel Optane Memory support. No thermal solution included
Hyper-threading transforms a physical core into two virtual ones. This enables it to perform different tasks simultaneously without activating the second core or requiring more power. If your device’s processors are active and utilize hyper-threading, the virtual cores perform faster. However, physical cores are still quicker than virtual cores.
With hyper-threading, a quad-core CPU can even perform better than a dual-core. Previously, only Intel i7 CPUs used to come with hyper-threading, excluding i5 and i3. But with the launch of the 10th Generation, the i5 CPU also features hyper-threading and selected models in i3.
Therefore, when deciding which Intel processor is best for your needs, you should check its hyper-threading potential. This feature usually changes with each processor generation. In fact, the current core i9 also features hyper-threading, which means it is a good thing to consider.
- Intel Core i5 2.50 GHz processor offers hyper-threading architecture that delivers high performance for demanding applications with improved onboard graphics and turbo boost
- The processor features Socket LGA-1700 socket for installation on the PCB
- Its 18 MB of L3 cache is good enough to carry routine data and process them in a flash giving you fast and smooth performance
- Built-in Intel UHD Graphics 730 controller for improved graphics and visual quality. Supports up to 4 monitors.
All the latest Intel Core processors come with a turbo boost feature for enhanced speeds. Previously, the Intel i3 was deprived of this feature, resulting in slower CPU speed than the other processors. Fortunately, with the Core i3-8130U, Intel started integrating this frequency mode into all of its CPU series, including i5, i7, and i9.
With turbo boost, the processor’s clock speed becomes enhanced, allowing several applications to run simultaneously. This means if you are using an app that requires extra horsepower from your system, the turbo boost will help fulfill this power requirement.
- Intel Core i3-12100F Desktop Processor 4 (4P-0E) Cores Up to 4.3 GHz Turbo Frequency LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 58W Processor Base Power
Data cache acts like a processor’s RAM or private memory. Thus, if your PC has the latest CPU with a large memory cache, you can enjoy many features simultaneously. The processor stores a repeated task in its cache and immediately acts upon the task whenever you perform it again.
The latest Core i3 Generations have 4-12 MB of cache size, and the i5 has 6-20 MB. The i7 and i9, of course, offer more cache sizes with 12-25 MB and 16-30 MB, respectively. This means the higher you move onto the processor’s lineup, the larger the cache size you will get.
All Intel graphics come under Intel Graphics Technology. It consists of different generations of graphics represented by both generational and series names. Depending on their use cases, the following are the best Intel graphics that most processors come with:
- Intel HD Graphics — These were the first graphics that Intel released in 2010. Regarding development, Intel HD Graphics belongs to the 5th Generation.
- Intel Iris Graphics & Intel Iris Pro Graphics — These graphics came out in 2013, belonging to 7th Generation graphics units. At the time of their release, Iris Graphics & Iris Pro Graphics Became the talk of the town as they integrated DRAM into their modules. This enhanced the graphics performance.
- Intel UHD Graphics — This is an example of Intel’s 10th Generation graphics for mobile CPUs. The UHD graphics unit is only available on specific laptop processors.
- Intel Xe — This is the latest rendition of Intel graphics belonging to the 12th Generation. The Intel Xe transformed the industry with its newer architecture that delivers more enhanced graphics performance than all the previous generations. In fact, a few of the Intel UHD graphics units also use Intel XE architecture.
You can easily understand the graphics used on your PC by looking at Intel’s naming system. For example, if your processor’s model has “HK” at the end, it integrates high graphics and an unlocked CPU. However, if it ends with a G, the model has a specific GPU and no Intel chips.
Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3: History
The i7 is a series of microprocessors manufactured especially for high-end users. They offer advanced technological features, which allow them to handle a huge burden without failing. It was released in 2008 and is one of the most high-performing microprocessors out there.
Just a year later, Intel introduced the Core i5. It was the time after the retirement of the Core 2 family. Whether it be the price or the performance, the Core i5 is the well-balanced version of both the Core i3 and i7.
The Core i3 is Intel’s dual-core processor, first released in 2010. The i3 is included in the four types of processors that end with the “i” series, namely i5, i7, and i9. It is available for both laptop and desktop computers.
Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3: 5 Must-Know Facts
- The latest CPU generations do not necessarily come with Core i7. Instead, they may have Core i9.
- The Intel Core i7 processor includes octa-core, quad-core, and 12-core configurations. This makes them a better option than the Core i5 and the entry-level Core i3 counterparts.
- The Core i7 doesn’t indicate a seven-core processor. Instead, the “7” is the number that means the processor’s relative performance. The same applies to the other processors as well.
- You can identify your processor’s generation by checking the first digit in its model name. For instance, the Intel Core i7-12700K belongs to the 12th Generation.
- You can also assess your processor’s performance from the three digits present in its model name. For instance, the Intel Core i5-8145U is better than the Core i5-8109U because 145 is greater than 109.
Intel i7 vs i5 vs i3: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
The Intel i7 might be newer, but it still doesn’t make the i3 or i5 any less impressive. All three processors are manufactured by Intel, meaning no matter what you opt for, you will be satisfied in terms of performance.
Remember that all three of these processors differ greatly in price. So, you should consider your budget when deciding which is great for you. Not only that, but you should also assess why exactly you are looking for the best Intel Core processor.
For instance, if it is just for your personal use, you can rely on i3 as it works amazingly for small tasks, such as web browsing and gaming. Similarly, if you are looking for a processor for intermediate-level tasks, i5 offers the perfect balance between price and performance.
Lastly, if you want to perform high-level tasks, the i7 Processor would be ideal as it supports multiple windows at the same time. But, overall, the i7 leaves its counterparts way behind.