Intel Core i5 vs. i7; which processor suits your needs?

For many consumers who are on the hunt for a new desktop or laptop, one of the biggest considerations is the type of processor. Two of the CPUs most often in contention are the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7.

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Intel’s Core i5 and i7 CPUs are still the most popular processors you can buy and for good reason. But what’s the difference between them? Knowing the differences between the two can help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each, and enable you to decide which processor is right for your needs.



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The 8th-generation Core i5 is a strong option for anyone who needs to balance multi-threaded performance, clock speed, and price. While the Intel Core i5 and Core are both quad-core processors with the ability to process eight threads simultaneously, their clock speeds are slightly different. Core i5 CPUs can have higher clock speeds than an i7 chip. What does this mean? A quad-core with a high clock speed will beat a six-core with a low clock speed in applications that don’t use many cores; the six-core will be quicker in applications that do and will be better at multitasking. If the six-core has more cores and a higher clock speed, it will always be quicker. The Core i5’s clock speed is set at 1.6-GHz (3.4-GHz with Max Turbo).

Core i5 is Intel’s mainstream processor line, sitting between the more economical Core i3 chips and high-performance i7 and i9 models. Laptops with Intel Core i5 processors will be less expensive than those with Core i7 processors. For a laptop like the Lenovo ThinkPad T480, you’ll find the Core i5 model to be about  £78 less expensive than a similarly equipped Core i7 system.

Desktop and laptop computers with Intel i5 processors are extremely capable devices. If you use your home computer or laptop for Internet browsing and light application work, consider an Intel Core i5.



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Intel Core i7 processors are typically faster and more capable than Core i5 CPUs. Many of Intel’s Core i7 processors are quad-core chips with Hyper-Threading enabled. The latest i7 chips offer up to six cores and 12 threads, making them better suited for advanced multitasking. Computers with Core i7 processors are considered ideal for multimedia consumption, high-end gaming and demanding applications.

Furthermore, Intel’s dual-core mobile Core i7 chips typically have higher clock speeds than their Core i5 counterparts, Core i7’s is faster at 1.8-GHz (3.6-GHz with Max Turbo). In addition to generally faster base clock speeds, Core i7 processors have larger cache (on-board memory) to help the processor deal with repetitive tasks faster.On currently available desktop processors, most i5 CPUs have up to 9MB of L3 cache, while most i7 processors have up to 12MB.


In summary, Intel Core i5 is made for mainstream users who care about performance, and Intel Core i7 is made for enthusiasts and high-end users.


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