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



Intel Core processors are among the best you can buy, but choosing which of the 3 different models best suits your needs can be confusing. Get the knowledge with our plain-English guide...

Laptop

Think of the processor as your computer's brain. It determines how fast your machine runs and its ability to handle multiple tasks at the same time.

 

Introducing Intel Core

Intel Core processors are the most powerful. They have multiple cores for more power and smoother multi-tasking.

There are 3 main categories: the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. Each has numerous spec options, but strictly speaking a Core i5 will be superior to a Core i3, and a Core i7 superior to a Core i5.

 

what is the difference between Intel Generations?

Each year the i3, i5 and i7 are updated. The 2017 updates are known as 7th generation; while last year’s was the 6th generation and so on.  

You can work out the generation of any processor by its serial number. For example, we know the Intel Core i7-7820HQ is 7th gen because of the 7 that appears after the hyphen.

 

Core i3 - Everyday users – web browsing, Word and media streaming

If you’re looking to use your laptop for everyday computing tasks like web browsing, video streaming and office-type work, the Core i3 is great. Its dual core means regular tasks will be slicker and easier. Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology also makes more efficient use of its power.Computer

The most budget-friendly laptops usually run on a Core i3. However, if you need to run demanding creative or scientific programs this isn’t the one for you. 

With a Core i3 you can:

  • Browse the web – multiple webpage tabs should run smoothly
  • Work on reports and essays in Word, or in basic spreadsheets in Excel
  • Stream movies and TV shows from Netflix
  • Listen to your favourite playlists and albums on Spotify
  • Multi-task efficiently with Intel Hyper-Threading technology 

Check out laptops with an i3 processor

Core I 3 4th Gen

Look out for this Core i3 logo when you are looking at laptops or desktops

Core i5 - Busy multitaskers and Adobe-using creatives

If you like to run Excel or PowerPoint while streaming Spotify and browsing Facebook and scanning webpages all at the same time, the Core i5 is a great option.

Similarly, designers and photographers who work in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be well catered for – provided the laptop also has plenty of RAM and good built-in graphics. 

Budding PC gamers too will find much to like about the right Core i5.

Some Core i5 processors are dual core, but most are quad core – this means they have 4 cores and can handle more jobs at the same time. It’s the quad-core i5s we’re focusing on here.

With a Core i5 you can:

  • Multi-task – work on spreadsheets while streaming music or video, with Facebook and webpages open too
  • Work on complicated tasks like rendering a big Excel file
  • Smoothly edit photos in Photoshop and sketch out graphics in Illustrator
  • Benefit from faster repeated tasks thanks to the large cache size
  • Stream from multiple sites at the same time
  • Get a temporary boost when using demanding programs with Intel Turbo Boost technology

If a laptop or computer has a dual-core i5 it will use hyper-threading technology – but a quad-core i5 won’t.

Check out laptops with an i5 processor

Core I 5 4th Gen

Look out for this Core i5 logo when you are looking at laptops or desktops

Core i7 - Serious video editors, designers and gamers who crave power

If you work in the creative industries and are handling advanced video editing in programs like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere you need to be looking at a Core i7.

Video editing is one of the most demanding tasks you can throw at a laptop, so you need the fastest processor and good graphics. The same can be said for 3D modelling software used by students of architecture.

Gamers wanting the absolute best performance should also go Core i7.

With 4 proper cores, and technology to create another 4 virtual cores, it has enough power for the most demanding tasks.

With a Core i7 you can:

  • Encode video more efficiently (encoding processes every frame in your video and can take hours – you can cut a few seconds off every minute)
  • Work smoothly in 3D modelling programs like AutoCAD
  • Smoothly edit photos in Photoshop and sketch out graphics in Illustrator
  • Crunch numbers on spreadsheets more efficiently
  • Enjoy working more efficiently when using demanding creative programs like InDesign – each core uses 2 ‘threads’ rather than 1 thanks to Intel Hyper-Threading technology
  • Benefit from faster repeated tasks thanks to the large cache size

Get a temporary power boost when using demanding programs with Intel Turbo Boost technology.

See the fill range of i7 processors

Core I 7 4th Gen

Look out for this Core i7 logo when you are looking at laptops or desktops

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