There are various Intel processors available for purchase. They are grouped into several categories. Intel processors are designed for use on workstations and servers, while Intel Core and Pentium processors are intended for consumer applications.
Just because Intel is designed for servers and workstations doesn’t mean some performance-obsessed gamers won’t build their gaming PCs.
Within the Intel Core processor family, there are three different families: the Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processor families. Within each of these processor families, there are several processors with varying speeds of processor and prices.
To complicate matters further, you can always buy a processor based on older architecture, in this case, Haswell or Broadwell. There are three main types of processors to choose from when building your gaming computer: Intel Core i7, i5, and i3.
How to choose between them? The Intel Core i7 processor is a top-tier processor, offers the highest performance, and is also the most expensive.
Many newcomers to gaming PCs are just fine with the i7, but it’s not always the right answer, especially if you’re keeping your graphics card budget within budget.
Table of Contents
- Core i5 vs. Core i7 Desktop PC
- Clock Speed and Price
- Overall Performance
- Video Transcoding
- Battery Life
- Which Intel Processor Should You Buy?
- i5 vs. i7: Current Specifications
Core i5 vs. Core i7 Desktop PC
Intel’s October 2017 update for the Core i5 and Core i7 was the first significant change in core count since Sandy Bridge 2011. Over the past six years, the Intel Core i5 family offered four cores without Hyper-Threading, and the Core i7 family offered four cores with Hyper-Threading.
Hyper-Threading enables two simultaneous “virtual” centers for each physical core and distributes the workload between them.
Intel’s 8th generation processors in October 2017 increased the number of cores and threads in each of these families by 50%, and in the case of the Core i7-8700K, they also increased the core clock. Core i5 and Core i7 processors with model numbers starting with 8 (like the Core i7-8700K) now have either six cores or six cores + Hyper-Threading.
8th Generation Intel processors are generally more expensive than the processors they replace, although this varies somewhat. Total processor costs in these segments continue to decline per core, and improved performance from additional cores often pays off.
If you are unsure which generation of Intel processors you have, the first digit of the four-digit model code is the model number. If you have a Core i7-2600K, “2” means that this processor is a second-generation Core i7 processor, also known as the Sandy Bridge.
Intel’s decision to increase the number of cores in all three desktop processor segments (the Core i3 also gains two cores and loses Hyper-Threading for the 4C/4T configuration) makes it an exciting buying time.
Although some single and dual-core applications still exist, Windows is designed to distribute multiple single-threaded workloads across multiple cores. A dual-core and quad-core app running at the same time will be significantly better on the new Core i5 compared to previous versions.
Clock Speed and Price
Although the Intel Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U processors are quad-core processors with the ability to process eight threads simultaneously, their watches are slightly different. The Core i5 is set at 1.6 GHz (3.4 GHz with Max Turbo), while the Core i7 is faster at 1.8 GHz (3.6 GHz with Max Turbo).
The Core i7 also has a larger processor cache of 8 MB, compared to 6 MB on the Core i5. Intel Smart-cache determines how much space the processor has to remember certain functions and performs them faster than usual.
The numbers seem pretty modest, but how much will those numbers cost you? Well, the two XPS 13s we’ve tested currently cost $1,759 (Core i5) and $1,959 (Core i7), creating a price gap of $200.
The $200 delta continued when I installed the Acer Aspire 5, but when I installed the Lenovo Think-pad X1 Carbon, I only saw a $150.
To test the overall performance of the laptop, we used a synthetic benchmark called Geekbench 4. The CPS i5 processor of the XPS 13 processor scored 13,179, well above the device average of 12,941.
However, the Core i7 did not make a significant difference with a score of 13,995, which is 5.8% higher than the Core i5.
In the HandBrake benchmark, which examines how long it takes a machine to transcode 6.27 GB of 4K video, 12 minutes and 30 seconds to 1080p, the Core i5 XPS 13 processor took 18 minutes and 28 seconds, which is slipping even further. 20:21 category average.
However, the Core i7 did it in 17 minutes and 19 seconds, leaving a gap of 1:09 (6.2%) between them.
High power comes with high power consumption, so we decided to give it a try so that every laptop continually scans the internet through a Wi-Fi network at 150 nits brightness. The Core i5 lasted up to 10 hours and 51 minutes, the maximum average of a 9:06 ultra laptop.
However, the Core i7 kept its own and survived 10 hours and 49 minutes, which was an imperceptible 0.3% difference from the Core i5.
Which Intel Processor Should You Buy?
While the Core i7-8550U outperforms the Core i5-8250U, that wasn’t much. At best, the Core i7 is only 6% faster in overall performance, which is quite disappointing considering the price difference. Saving a minute while editing a video is not worth between $150 and $200.
i5 vs. i7: Current Specifications
Different factors affect the speed of the processor. Therefore, the speed of the connected computer:
- The number of cores it has
- The clock speed (measured in GHz)
- All the additional features added by the manufacturer
When comparing Intel i5 and Intel i7 chips, it is essential to consider all of these specifications.
Intel i7 chips’ main advantage includes Hyper-Threading, which is a multitasking mode, which along with multiple caches (to store system data where it can be accessed quickly), gives them an edge over Intel chips.
Both processor families are available with similar clock speeds and run on four or six cores, although i7 configurations are generally superior.
While you can create an intelligent machine with an Intel i5 processor, the best hardware options use the Intel i7. It can process video encoding and play the best games with premium i5 chip; But those videos will encode faster at higher resolutions, and these games are likely to hit higher frame rates, switching to i7.
Most users will accept the Intel i5 processor, especially the new 8th generation “Lake Lake” version. If you’re serious about gaming or creative work, consider upgrading to an Intel i7 processor.