What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?

We take a look at Intel's Sandy Bridge family of chips

Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs have been around for over a year now, but some buyers still get stumped whenever they attempt to build their own systems and are forced to choose among the three. With the more recent Sandy Bridge architecture now on store shelves, we expect the latest wave of buyers to ask the same kind of questions.

Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 — the difference in a nutshell

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.

Image credit: Intel.

Their relative levels of processing power are also signified by their Intel Processor Star Ratings, which are based on a collection of criteria involving their number of cores, clockspeed (in GHz), size of cache, as well as some new Intel technologies like Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading.

[Read: Intel's new Core i7 Extreme Edition series: Gaming power for those who can afford it]

Core i3s are rated with three stars, i5s have four stars, and i7s have five. If you’re wondering why the ratings start with three, well they actually don’t. The entry-level Intel CPUs — Celeron and Pentium — get one and two stars respectively.

Note: Core processors can be grouped in terms of their target devices, i.e., those for laptops and those for desktops. Each has its own specific characteristics/specs. To avoid confusion, we’ll focus on the desktop variants. Note also that we’ll be focusing on the 2nd Generation (Sandy Bridge) Core CPUs.

Number of cores

The more cores there are, the more tasks (known as threads) can be served at the same time. The lowest number of cores can be found in Core i3 CPUs, i.e., which have only two cores. Currently, all Core i3s are dual-core processors.

Currently all Core i5 processors, except for the i5-661, are quad cores in Australia. The Core i5-661 is only a dual-core processor with a clockspeed of 3.33 GHz. Remember that all Core i3s are also dual cores. Furthermore, the i3-560 is also 3.33GHz, yet a lot cheaper. Sounds like it might be a better buy than the i5. What gives?

At this point, I’d like to grab the opportunity to illustrate how a number of factors affect the overall processing power of a CPU and determine whether it should be considered an i3, an i5, or an i7.

Even if the i5-661 normally runs at the same clockspeed as Core i3-560, and even if they all have the same number of cores, the i5-661 benefits from a technology known as Turbo Boost.

Tags pc componentsCPUsintel

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David Parkinson

PC World

261 Comments

jeeva

1

can u help me to buy computer which is the best

Rafa

2

Great explanation, just the simplelist and best explanation i could find :D

Bill

3

Exactly the overview I was Googling for. Clear, concise and understandable. No one else has put this in plain terms. Thank you PC World, good article.

David

4

Really good explanation. I understood the difference well now. Thanks ;)

Mark Tran

5

Thank you very much for an useful information

Mike

6

Thanks for the explanation - I think I see it all now!

Cameron

7

great explanation - until I found this outline I was starting to think that I would never find a useful overview.

bijil

8

i like your explanation. Very usefull for beginers,
Thx alot

Murrh

9

Concise, if all cores active, can turbo boost increase clocks still? amd turbo core will only initiate when less than 3 cores active on their hex chips 1055t 1090t.
if maxing out the processor on all cores, for extended periods, would there be any difference between the i5 dual and an i3 similarly clocked?

colleen

10

just purchased a dell i5 notebook - 17.3 inch screen for $850.00 from qvc is this a good deal?

Richard

11

just wow. now i fully understand what to buy now, tnx for this great explanation

indar

12

This is a nice explanation . Great Work .

Joshua

13

which computer would be best for gaming but is also cheap because my price range is 250 to 350 dollars

Steve Holanov

14

Apparently no one proof reads these articles. Why do you say that someone interested in performance is better of buying an i5 than an i3 when you cleary state that the i3 supports hyperthreading and the i-5 doesn't? There is nothing that clearly indicated the benefit of an i-5.

Hari

15

Hey, This is good post for me. Now I can have idea of i3,i5 & i7 concepts. Thanks

SUPERMAN

16

INTERESTING EXPLANATION,TELL US SO MORE ABOUT THESE INTEL CHIPS

Synchro

17

"However, the Internet browser you use to access Netbank or your email client is not"

Sorry, that's just plain wrong. Any app that does more than one thing at once (e.g. a web browser that loads multiple images simultaneously; a mail program that gets mail from more than one account at once) is extremely unlikely to NOT be multithreaded.

I'm on OS X (and any other modern OS will be similar) on an 8-core machine and right now I can see that my IDE is using 66 threads, Aperture is using 45, Firefox 26, Safari 13 (and another 9 content threads), iTunes 17, Skype 23, Mail 16 and many, many others for a total of over 800 threads in 175 processes. As you can see, any one of those everyday apps will happily spread their work across all the cores I have available. What matters is how much the CPUs are actually being utilised for this workload - on my system, I run out of disk bandwidth long before my CPUs get choked up, so I'd be better served by an SSD upgrade. I suspect this is common - I'd expect an i3-based system with an SSD to run rings around an i5 with a regular HD for everyday tasks.

Gabriel Vincent

18

Does the core i7 processor have 8mb memory?

Chris

19

Thanks for making that clear as day!!!!!

Tommy

20

Nice article, but you can this info off intel's website or even the CPU box in some cases. Technology really is making people less intelligent. A lot of the comments here reflect that, but not being able to remove the battery cover off a phone is priceless. Seriously PC World, please look at the comments being posted on your site.

Antisynchro

21

In reference to Synchro's comment: I'd expect an i3-based system with an SSD to run rings around an i5 with a regular HD for everyday tasks.

Please get your head out of your anus, you are likely to suffocate.

The reason you have so many threads running, is that you have quite a few different apps running. Web browsers are typically single thread apps. Sure, they load quite a few items very quickly. But, it is linear data transfer. Not raw processing power.

Sachin

22

Simple and great explanation.. Thanks.

Paulette

23

The explaination was great. Help me decide which computer to buy that will last a while. Thanks

Neha

24

Great article. Really well explained in clear, simple terms. Definitely gave a good insight into what laptop to decide on. Thankyou!

larry

25

How many hours can i used continiously Toshiba core i7?

Speckk

26

@Steve Holanov Glass Houses and stones.

4 full native cores in an i5 are more powerful than the i3's 2 hyperthreaded cores (which can only run simple instructions in parallel some of the time).

That and the i5 has turboboost and 6mb cache compared to 3mb cache.

rohit yadav

27

i just wanna buy new laptop can any onehelp me which one is best for me , my oly purpose is for surfing , little bit gaming ...advice me a affordable laptop it sholud be of hp ....

Pmull

28

You can get the Asus U46e at bestbuy

Pmull

29

Asus u46e is a good buy and comes in i5 or i7. I have two of them!!

NIck the head

30

As a headteacher and a prospective purchaser of 10 new laptops for staff you have just saved us about £750, so many thanks!

rjtkumar81

31

According to me i7 is the best. I have i7 which is of 2.8Ghz and is quadcore and I compared it to my friend's i5 which was of 3.33 Ghz and was dual core. In my windows experience index I had 7.4 for the processor where as my friend had 7.0 anly for his processor.

gavinT

32

I don't get it. Im looking to buy a 13 inch mac with i7 and it says it's a dual core. Only the 15 inch is a quad core.

djSamKenyan

33

Simple and precise. thanx

Justus

34

Thanx for the explanatn u gave...so dual core processor n core-i3 processor's the same..jst name differ...rite?

SpEcTaToR

35

Thank you for the simple explanation.Now I'm thoroughly clear why an i3 is not an i5 and why an i5 is not an i7.
Happy computing!

Barb

36

I was in a large electronic store yesterday shopping for a new computer. My old one has 3MB memory and when I buy I like to upgrade. I have been looking at computers with 6 to 8 MB. The salesman said that if I purchased one with i7 that it would run hotter and burn out faster. Is this true or was he just blowing smoke?

ProSynchro

37

In reference to AntiSynchro:

"Please get your head out of your anus, you are likely to suffocate." How pleasant - starting your comment with an (undeserved) insult.

"The reason you have so many threads running, is that you have quite a few different apps running. Web browsers are typically single thread apps. Sure, they load quite a few items very quickly. But, it is linear data transfer. Not raw processing power."
Very few non-trivial applications operate in a single thread - I haven't worked on one professionally in my entire career in software engineering. To suggest that IE is processing all that Javascript, downloading, rendering text & images, collecting user input and protecting you from malware ALL IN ONE THREAD is fanciful. How is it that I can interact with a webpage whilst elements of it are still loading? Because separate threads are handling the user input & rendered output. I don't usually bother to respond to inane threads like this so, I guess congrats are in order for you - I have been successfully trolled by your post into responding...

maria

38

hi! im looking to buy a very good and high speed laptop 16.4 inches for a simple use at the present and maybe in the future i will use it for something more advance.. can you help me find something?? and also could u tell me what do u think about the sony vaio VPCF22M1E/B ...

pandiyan

39

hwllo sir, i need some information,first one is:what is improve of i5then differend between i3 and i5,plz reply me

GANESH

40

good explanation.i just thought i3 have 3 cores,i5 have 5 cores and i7 have 7 cores wrongly.thanks for the explanation and difference in intel cores

pandiyan

41

Thanks for your explanation.This is very useful to learn the new comers.

ZZ-k

42

Just what I was looking for, clear, simple yet informative. Thanks!

Annie

43

That was really helpful as I am considering buying a new PC. Thanks!

sayali tayade

44

i need a laptop with core i5,..which will be best in that case with lowest price but best quality..

sheeba

45

Good explanation !!!

Mazhar

46

Very well explained.

Starr

47

Thank you so much for the break down. I now understand about i3, i5, and i7 Intel Cores.

haider

48

i3 has 4 processor
i5 has 8 processor
i7 has 16 processor

Brandon

49

Short, concise and to the point. Thanks for the easy to understand explanation. You've now helped me rule out the i3 process for my laptop computer selection. Now I just need to decide between the i5 and i7 mobile chips...and then each chipset thereafter under i5 and i7...

Js

50

I finally get it. Thank you so much!

lulu..

51

ahh haa! now i understand all the hoopla is about. my pc usage is well below i3s. but still good to know for future reference. THANK YOU.

Murthi

52

Tanq nw i m clear abt hyper threading,boosted and all...

Tony

53

Just wanted to say thanks for the advice on differences in i3 to i7... For a lay person with a little knowledge on computers this has helped greatly.

Rob

54

Concise explanation. Thank you.

Suresh

55

Very nice explaination. It helped me a lot to decide what I should buy.

Kay

56

i lyk de explanation

halla bol

57

+1 like

Ghayth

58

WOW, This article is AMAZING, I'm a computer engineer and I find it very useful, THANK YOU!!

wakilnikzad

59

Okay guys,
I don't know the meaning of core i3, i5, or i7
what does the i mean here?

I heard that i3 means (4 cores) i5 means (6 cores) and i7 means (8 cores) is it true?

please if anyone knows help me thank you in advance

Balaji

60

Okay. Whether is it good or well suited to buy these processors in laptop or PCs in performance wise?
Please anyone of you illustrate this..

Kwadwo Kay

61

nyc explanatio..........me lyk it

IFremen

62

Wow, what a thorough, clear, and easy to understand explanation! Thank you so much.

Gurulucious

63

nicely explaned i dont quite understand the part where u said that all i3 are duo core i have a toshiba core i3 with a quad core please help am lost! happy computing

bg in Georgia

64

Perfect - thanks for the clear and useful explanation! I don't usually stop to say thanks, but this was great.

xIN3N

65

W()W You're a great 1 in IT field Parkinson...........!

David

66

For every day needs like email , web , a movie any one of them is ok . When buying the extremly fast computer , processors unless you have a need for this you are often paying extra for things you wont use fuly most of the time . I am using a core duo E4300 still. It dos every think plays HD movies ,web , emails ,every day things .

B M SANGANI

67

thank's for the answer of the cpu

MichaelCornish

68

Tons of help i loved it! Just one thing what is the difference?

nandessha

69

great explaination !!! thank u !!!

Grant Carlisle

70

Actually. I'm not a 100% sure about the rest but i do have a Vaio VPCCW21fX with an I3 That does infact have 4 Cores. I have also seen a couple I5 with dual cores. can you explain this?

wingxero

71

Hi im planning to buy a laptop can i ask something which is better??

Acer 4755 - i7 and 8GB ram
Or
Sony Vaio S Series i5 8GB ram?

Of course sonny is a little expensive than acer but what do you think might be the one i need? Will use it for games and ordinary downloading on the go

Many thanks

TheGoldenDread

72

THANK YOU PC WORLD!!! THAT WAS NICE AND SIMPLE!!!! Geesh everyone else i looked up was giving like super detailed like i understood any of it..smh.

Thanks Again PC world for making that simple.

Ramarao

73

a good basic computer knowledge for Tyros

ramarao

74

a good basic computer knowledge for Tyros
Thank you

Kaushal

75

Thank u very much!

This is a very useful article!

Rich

76

Thanks for the insightful article. Simple and to-the-point - finally!

Ned

77

I agree with Rich: this has been an extremely lucid, focused and user friendly explanation, of great relevance to consumers of the new computers. As a technical illiterate who does not keep up with what is often incomprehensible (and who has in the past been incorrectly advised because I tend to underestimate what I actually end up doing on my computer!), I struggle with so much: but even I understood this and can apply it to my next purchase. Thank you so much!!

suhail

78

in i3 or i5 , i stands for what? as p stands for pentium i stands for?

Samba Julius

79

Insight view; so helpful, but could you please shed light on the turbo side of it. thanks

no

80

The comments on this page are some of the stupidest things I have ever read.

Ozone

81

Yeah hitting the point pap! on the head. Thanks.

Tua TARARO

82

I have the i5661, stock speed 3.33ghz, but now running at an overclocked speed of 4.60ghz. Air cooling with a mux120 push/pull fan setup.Very stable with core temps around 40ish deg celcius, love it.

Early Grayce

83

I still use a i5 750 and a GT460 for gaming and can play Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 with no problems even though I only have 4GB of Ram

Abby

84

Wow! I actually got it!

Thank you for making it simple. :)

william daw

85

you have enlighted me,than for the good work

Fred Botz

86

Sheesh...I have a headache from reading some of these idiotic questions: "...I would like to know what is the best chip for my computer? I want to play killer games but only spend 150.00? How much ram does the I7 have? What is the best computer to buy? How fast will my computer go with one of these? Will this make my disks run faster?"

Some people should just stay away from computers altogether...

jithesh

87

seriously i didnt understant.....

snake

88

thanks clearned alot of my doubts and filled alot of grey areas! great article :)

Karambir

89

A good basic computer knowledge for Tyros.

Thank you for making it simple.

mohit jain

90

i7 processor is so good

Chase

91

Thanks for the explanation. Well, I'm off to order an alienware with an i7 processor... cheers :D

A part of a brain

92

Thanks, you explained something so complicated in such simple terms. It makes it a lot easier to understand

Jasmine

93

Very good article. Concise, informative, and easy to be understood. Thank you!

Jake

94

My laptop's i5 (560M) has both Turbo Boost 2.0 AND Hyper-Threading (I can see 4 graphs on Task Manager). But still with only 3MB cache.

Vijay Chimtekar

95

I wanted to buy core i3,is this good for enjoying internet????

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Cycle Heart

98

Highly descriptive blog, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

anon

99

WRONG!
i3 = dual core
i5 = dual core + dual threads + turbo
i7 = quad core + dual threads + turbo

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Very good article. Was able to under to stand what to buy. I wanted to buy i7 as I knew it gave more processing power but did not know how exactly.

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I really like it when individuals come together and share ideas.
Great blog, keep it up!

Crackerjack

113

If you go into Device Manager and click on Processors you can count how many CPUs you have
I have Core i7 and it reveals that I have 8 CPUs

Rajesh

114

explained in a simple manner. Thanks for the article.

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Cameron

118

Thank you very much for this overview I've been researching for months about processor's and nowhere else has explained it as well as this. I spent months researching when I could have spend 5 minutes right here and know all I need to know about what I need to get that fits me best so again I say thank you very very much.

Biker_Billy

119

The best way to gauge processors is to run a benchmark test on the competeing processors, that way each processor is tested at the same level. Unfortunately each benchmark has it's own strengths and weaknesses so to get a true comparison you would need to run several benchmarks that exploit or test different aspects of the processor. That being said, as a rough gauge download this comparison sheet and use it to see if that outstanding buy opportunity is exactly that or not. I'm not sayin this is the end all be all of benchmarks but it is a fair description of processor performance. For streaming video look for benchmarks between 2000 - 3000; for gaming at the low end don't go below 3000 of course for serious gamers the top end would be infinity; to actively edit video and do graphics rendering you need to have something from 3000 to 5000 for amateur work; industrial grade video and 3D work requires from 5000 to infinity.
PassMark - CPU Benchmarks - List of Benchmarked CPUs http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php If you already have a system and want to gauge it's capability graphics and CAD wise google search for SPECview and download their free graphical benchmarks. If your just the average computer user don't buy anything less than an i3 in the 2.5 GHz range and higher cause anything less is ancient history before you clear the door at Best Buy. For quality manufacturers Asus is the clear winner so shop for the bargains. For feature packed low cost computers Gateway / Acer are ok but you need to screen them as soon as you get them home ... any sign of a defect and race back to the store to exchange them.
I hope this has helped. BTW I do tend to be an Intel bigot, as an engineer I find them difficult to work with but their stuff does what they say it will do.

Chamari

120

Thank you for giving details to share with us.

Lorenzo

122

I've been sufficiently enlightened with your explanation about the differences of the Intel processors. Thanks!!!

Decky

123

Great explanation, cheers!

zahid

124

crysis 3 will be able to operate in pentium dual core

Sudheesh B

125

Great Expalanation. Help me a lot.

jared

126

who needs a good pc,there is an #packard bell# ixtreme.
a really good proccessor; intel core i5 3ghz_with turbo 3.3GHZ.a good 2TB hard drive,nvidia GEforce, 8gb ram and much more < AND ITS JUST FOR 550 EURO

Great explanation

127

This is a really excellent description of the differences in the technology. Great work, thank you.

Michael W.

128

Wow, I've always figured that I7 was better than I5 and I3 but now I know why. Although I have a 2nd Gen I7 2.2 GHz with 8Gig Ram @ 1600Mhz it still seems slow compared to my old Intel DualCore 2.1 with 4Gig Ram @ 800MHz. What gives?

More information

129

Should I buy you of those Mini Laptops for my business?

ubaid

130

this has clear my concept easily

nithin

131

pls help, what is the main diffrence between core i3 & i5

patjar

132

I use a computer for email, searches, facebook, general reading. The programs I use are 2010 versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, Access, Printmaster. I also use Gimp and other photo editing software and Bible study software. Sometimes I have 2-3 programs running. Do I need an Intel Core i5 processor or will an i3 series be fine?

shan

133

the whole derivative of the article to understand it, is the last line!!

Dwiti

134

its fentastic.

Sanghavi Mohit M.

135

Can you help me to buy a best laptop in today in the lowest price ?

Muhammad Waqas

136

i like your explanation. Very usefull for beginers,
Thx alot

SOURAV YADAV

137

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF I3 CORE PROCESSOR

ruby

138

can u say what is the difference between dual core and core i7

asif iqbal

139

great explanation i hope other guise are easy understand single core, dual core, and multy core

Iruka6

140

i3=mom or grandma
i5=student or small business owner
i7=Gamer or Power User of High Performance apps (i.e. Photoshop)

nuff said.

geoffrey

141

Thankyou.....very resourceful article for a young computer science student like me who is looking forward to buy a laptop

Mr Bean

142

Johhny Cakes cook rite on i3 but not i7 so i3 better be

Family Computer Club

143

Good article. Well explained. Easy to understand and appreciate eevn for a beginner. Thank you!

neelgo.com

144

Can you suggest me to buy right processor for average server ? what ihave decided is i5 according to my budget? What you say?

cfarles

145

Not so fast i5 4 cores not all example:http://ark.intel.com/products/53449/Intel-Core-i5-2415M-Processor-3M-Cache-up-to-2_90-GHz\\

look specs re read: and

http://ark.intel.com/products/53428/Intel-Core-i3-2130-Processor-3M-Cache-3_40-GHz

raza abbas

146

xcEllnt xplaintion........<3

Lace

147

@lruka6... tooo funny!! Probably true but made me laugh! :)

mscml

148

This was a great article. You should be a teacher.

sach

149

i want to buy a new laptop in range 35000.
Kindly tell me, which laptop would be best in this range.

Misha

150

Very simple and informative indeed. :))

girisk

151

thanks a lot

Davinci15

152

This is a well written article that explains the difference between the Intel processors but...There are many factors that determine how well a computer performs. The processor is only one of them. The amount of RAM, its speed, the video adapter, its RAM and speed, hard drive, software, the chipset used, how well the drivers are written, operating system, manufacturer,anti virus software and more are all factors that affect performance. In a side by side comparison of my old Core 2 Duo laptop and a new i5 laptop using Windows 7, I have found that most apps run equally as fast until pushed to their limits. Some apps actually start faster on the older laptop. I recommend for most to get the best computer you can afford so start with a budget.
A couple of comments:
a dual core computer with hyper threading will show in the operating system as using 4 processors. That is not equivalent to a quad core processor with no hyper threading.
An application that runs with multiple threads will not necessarily allow for the processing of those threads simultaneously. Meaning that even if you have multiple cores, some applications can only use one of them at a time and in many cases only one thread can be processed at a time. The thing is, computers operate so quickly that it seems that many things are happening at once.
For those of you who browse the web, use email and post to Facebook just about any new computer will do. Gamers, engineers, graphics folks, etc. will want to go for the high end. For the rest, the choice is yours.
And, steer clear of Asus if service is important to you.

TT

153

... Because none of the Core i3 CPUs have Turbo Boost...
... Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which all of them have...

They seem contradicting statements to me.

Arun

154

Good Piece of information for those who gets into lot of confusion, while choosing the Intel i-core family of processors... Thanks to Mr. David Parkinson.

Paul

155

You missed an important point about hyperthreading: 1 Core, Hyperthreaded looks like 2 CPU cores. At best, it will perform as 1.3 CPU cores. This is a significant advantage of i3 over i5.

Ramkumar

156

Superb!!! I've grabbed a lot:) thnk yu:)))

Fair go Guru

157

At a rough guess, the " i " in this case would stand for Intel.

In the same way the original i-Pod BAPI (Before Apple Pinched It.. the name)
Who had I-Pod as a registered business name in Brisbane
before Apple even had their I-Mac Back in 1995.
In that case the " I" stood for Information or Internet. and the " Pod" was used
with an inference to a seed pod Full of new life, information and ideas,

Sandy

158

This is a really excellent and helpfull description on this technology. Great work, thank you.

Sandy
www.usaeducationnews.com

sheraaz

159

Does the core i7 processor have 8mb memory?

Will

160

You helped me understand the difference between these processors with ease.This was very enlightening for me thanks.

krishna Bhattarai

161

currently I m a computerscience student,so I want to buy a new laptop ,can any one help me with approperate answer

Anahit

162

Hi David,
thanks for the explanation. Now I know that I need to buy a desktop with i5 or i7 processor. What other features I should concentration on when choosing a computer for business use. I use accounting software but I keep the data on the external hard drive?

Anahit

163

Hi David, I forgot to mention that I have to buy a computer with Windows 7 since all my programs work with Windows 7, I have tried Windows 8 it did not worked with my accounting programs and Microsoft Office that I have

varma vicky

164

better information i got from this site.
thank you.
i use i5 but i really like i7
:-)

Kanagaraj

165

simple and excellent

UhuffIpuff

166

@Tommy "Nice article, but you can this info off intel's website or even the CPU box in some cases. Technology really is making people less intelligent. A lot of the comments here reflect that, but not being able to remove the battery cover off a phone is priceless. Seriously PC World, please look at the comments being posted on your site."

Getting the facts off of a site that has an economic interest in pushing product? Why would anyone trust their opinion of their product? When you search for explanations, they give you infotainment. I went to Intel's website and saw their explanation of TurboBoost. It's a CGI cartoon of jet plane. Even when they cite "facts" they substitute their own commercial language for honest descriptions (for example, look at how HD TV's have substituted out MHz, which is a generic term for such abominations as "clear vue 120" to describe a 60 Mhz television). So, no, we won't be looking at the manufacturer's sites for clear and honest explanations of their products, we'll be looking to the sites of more neutral parties.

ankit

167

good

devpreet

170

what about i9 processoR?

Dan

171

2 pages, and still no explanation of why it's called i3 i5 i7? 3 what? 5 what??

Stephanie

172

Thanks so much for writing this!

Patrick

173

Very informative article! Now I know..

Nick

174

First of all, great article. Has pretty much everything you need to know if you're looking to buy a new computer. Just to clarify...although i7 is much more expensive, the i5 can do almost as much as the i7. I'm currently in the process of buying a pretty beast desktop computer. I've done a ton of research on this subject, and you could easily buy the i5 and still have an amazing computer. I'm in my Freshman year, (college) and am getting into computer programming and computer engineering. I'm also a big gamer. You really only need and i5, as long as you even out the power with some strong other components, such as a higher amount of RAM, and a decent graphics card. (If not two) Anyways, GREAT article. This really helped me out, even thought there's a bit more you could add. Thanks!

danieldan

175

A very good explanation. At least I've learned something today.

danieldan

176

Thanks a lot to David Parkinson.

LG

177

Hyper Threading and Turbo boost are not new technologies that came out way back in the day

David

178

could some one recommend for me what the next CPU is I should buy- and do I need to upgrade considering what I have: I have a desktop Duo core 2 E8500 @ 3.16GHz, 2 cores, 5GB RAM (ddr2 I think). Presently I use the computer for Facebook, surfing the net, reading the SMH etc ( watching video clips using online media which seems to me a bit slow), uni, occassional emails, the odd youtube clip and I do not download or watch movies but I may want to do this in the future (in descending order of usage). I am thinking of getting a dSLR camera and doing some basic to medium photographic work on the computer but nothing intensive. I guess I am asking for what sort of new motherboard, CPU and amount of RAM to upgrade to. I have a Dell 2413m screen and would like to upgrade to a 27inch model which I may pair with what I already have. I am happy to spend money but mostly I am asking for the sweet spot that will last for 2-4 years until the next upgrade cycle kicks in. And is it more sensible to but bits and pieces or just a whole new system. Thanks.

Alok Kumar

179

I just wanna buy new laptop can any one help me . Which one is the best for me. My only purpose is for surrfing, little bit gaming and programming because i am a student of computer science. Advice me a affordable laptop.

Joni DiMaggio

180

I'm surprised so many comments here from people who have very little experience in pc's say its a great article, it clears up all the mysteries, great article, I understand it all now, and the compliments go on and on. I suppose thats great for the inexperienced (and even the few so called "experienced" pc engineers & programmers, who raved about its concise and very helpful explanations) to continue down their paths of the blind leading the blind. But I would rather know the truth so I don't continue to waste my hard earned money on buying crap.

I'm very experienced with both hardware and software and I promise you the article is vague at best and misleading at worst. It leaves out valid comparisons between Intel cpu models. He gives some good info on Cache, but it ends there. Vague info on Turbo-Boost, poor info on Hyper-threading and even worse wrong info on Number of Cores. He leaves out a very important facts and the multitude of variations that effect his so called "simple" explanations.

Just one example, he says: "Remember that all Core i3s are also dual cores"

Absolutely WRONG. i3's are essentially the same as the Core2 duo microprocessors which simulated 2 cores (well that was their claim anyway but it wasn't and still isn't the truth). i3's use "virtual" cores called hyper-threading which supposedly act as separate cores. But the reality is that neither of Intel's Core duo's or Dual Core's Hyper-Threading handle speed and efficiency as real non-virtual cores do and more importantly some websites and applications don't support virtual cores or hyper-threading so both types of architecture are useless as far as giving you more speed and effenciency. In fact it handles duties slower than single processors in some cases.

There are also many issues with the Sandy Bridge versions which is the 2nd generation of icores. At the very least I would advise all intel cpu users to be sure its the Ivy Bridge series (3rd generation) because some of the issues in the Sandy Bridge versions were fixed.
I could go on but I'm sure this sounds boring to some. Bottom line is this article isn't worth the "virtual" ink its printed with. If you want the truth or real facts don't rely on a magazine article that's written by someone who is PAID by intel to promote their products. Go to Wikipedia or a tech forum and read the different opinions by truly knowledgeable techies.

And btw, this also is not the proper venue to ask questions like what pc to buy, or how much ram does the i7 have (it doesn't have ANY ram. RAM is a completely separate piece of hardware that is NOT built into or a part of a CPU) Its just an article people its not a Q and A forum ok?

vipul

181

I want buy pc but i dont know which is better for me i3 or i5, i want to use of graphics work, like corelDraw, photoshop etc, can u suggestion to me

Ammar

182

very nice

San Anand

183

Well I am a Computer Science Student and I can tell you there is some false information in this article. All i7 don't have 8MB Cache and in fact I am working on an i7 3610QM processor and it has 6MB cache and so do more than a few other models of i7 chips. Your description is also outdated as you are only talking about Sandy Bridge and didn't mention the new processors all running Ivy-Bridge. I'm going to go ahead and say that your section on Cache is just wrong....

srinivasan

184

gud post friend/////

Linus

185

thank's a lot for sharing your knowledge.. very usefull

naveed

186

very simple yet very very useful, thanks for sharing, readers (@187) may check the date of the article; its May 2011 so obviously some info will appear outdated to them. Nevertheless, its a very article to get started. Hope to see you come up with revised one as well :)

sahil afridi

187

really its a good explanation of core ... thank u a lot of.....prayer

bhanu prakash

188

Can you help me in finding a best laptop with i7 processor

Chris

189

Great article... horrible posts. I have just lost a certain percent of faith in the collective intelligence of the world.

Dharmendra

190

Hi All,

I am using a I7 QM laptop and I can tell u guys the practical observation over it...
Somebody asked that whether I7 will get hotter n all ....definitely it'll be more hot that a I5 so if u really wants to some complected tasks like extreme gaming then only go for a I7 else I5 would be great option....For a normal user like me (Though I does lots of thing at a same time) I5 would have been a great choice!!

Nofil Siddiqui

191

Hey i am buying a pc next week..plz tell me which core should i buy becuz i am just 13 and want to use mostly MS office , internet and Skype for my skool projects,,,,plz tell me what should i buy, i have no range cuz i have money

karthik j

192

thanks know i learned difference between i3,i5, and i7

Rohit

193

Dude u r d man... Great Knowledge ... Served :)
thanks.

Pelina

194

can u help me to find information about core i7.....
thanx.......!!!

rima kaide

195

mine is an i3 but keeps me satisfied everytime..proper maintenance is a key.

Mahi

196

The article is simply worth reading. it is really helped me a lot in buying my own laptop and Now i am even suggesting some of my friends as well as....

versocharly

197

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LeMartian

198

The best article on the topic, extremely high quality yet simple write up.

Max

199

Most of these comments are "great explanation, now I know what computer to buy" and to all the people who said that, you're all stupid. Don't buy a pre-built PC, make your own because you can make it however you want and because it will usually cost almost half of what a retail PC would cost, yet keeping the same preformance.

linadraperqxzlhdhdf

201

The script was affixed to the nurses' mobile workstation on a laminated card. A contingent of occupy wall street supporters marched around lower manhattan in an act of solidarity with the protests in canada!

Jalu Priyanto

202

I'm using my computer for heavy simulations. Can you help me find a good processor for that?

Subramanian Krishnakumar

203

Thanks for such a clear explanation!! Helps me choose my next system easily

Holi DBoruah

204

Well explanation!
this help me alot.

Abhishek

205

great explanation.exactly searching for the same.. thanks.....

saif

206

hay i am buying a macbook pro and i cant decide
which one is better for me i5 or i7 because i am 14 year old.

test

207

"><script>alert("Th3 0n3");</script>

Mastouril

209

Amazingly well written article! All the relative information and presented smoothly and I say that after having read a handful of my google search results. David Parkinson thanks a lot!

tarikye

210

I really love it!

Brandon

211

Nice write up. I just purchased an i3 for $119 at www.atdcomputers.com ...

I believed before reading this that the i5 or i7 would automatically be the best one for me, however, I don't do a ton of multi-tasking or run any high demand programs, so the i3 is more than what I need and still plenty fast,

SURESH BABU

212

Thank you for the simple explanation.Now I'm thoroughly clear why an i3 is not an i5 and why an i5 is not an i7.
Happy computing!

vijay

213

hi
i am confused which laptop is best.
give me reply.

vijay

214

hi
i3 processor or i5 processor in this which processor is best.

ram

215

hi vijay sir ,i am ram from gadgetworld online mobile and laptop shopping , best laptop is dell,Acer and thoshiba,our branches at tnagar,purasaivakkam and mountroad, with free home delivery.
ph 044 39155555

Dilan

216

NIce and wonderfull explanation. Got lot of things.. :) thanks..

Trisnoadi Wikantoro

217

Dear pcworld, my processor is Core i3 but it has 4 cores. I bought it in October 2011. I think you should edit this article

Jagan

218

Good explanation sir !!
thanks for your information

jhgbcf

219

but which is fastest ?

Derrick

220

Im drunk and didn't understand any of this.

Gil. E

221

Thanx a lot man, that's mach more clear now what the difference :-)

Sirram Bull Terriers

222

Hi thanks for the info. (Just remember the info is now old).

thomas

223

very good explanation !

turbo snail

224

can you hyperthread an additional 8mb ram on each core while turbo boosting the bus side cache?

worried

225

yeah but do I still need to use a mouse pad?

Beef Eater

226

my girlfriend has a nice set of i7's............sch-a-wing!

Run Fast

227

this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.......

Arun Y

228

Simple, clear and informative. Thank you, Keep posting...

Adeel

229

MR DCA.Sir u gave an awesome explanation for this topic.I knew much about these generation but the way u defined has made me more clear.In my Language(URDU) LUSH kardia bhai apne.Good keep it up

Dijasf

230

Nice Artical with great knowledge... Thanks

Anonymous

231

@"Furthermore, the i3-560 is also 3.33GHz, yet a lot cheaper. Sounds like it might be a better buy than the i5. What gives?"

2 x 3.33 = 6.66 D: Illuminaty!

Joe Dean

232

I'm looking for a decent gaming laptop that can also use Microsoft Word under $600 any suggestions for which processor? I3 or I5

Anonymous

233

You said an i3 has only 3Mb cache and dual core processor... and an i5 6Mb and quad core processor, but the i5-2410M is only 3Mb cache and a dual core. Still confused. Perhaps this is what Intel is going for.

You're all wankers

234

LOL at the thank you thank you please help me dickheads on here. Get back to your call centres you morons.

revealer

235

tht was great man...........the related extreme knowledge is also on http://techingtools.blogspot.com........try it....its grt....

yup

236

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404675,00.asp

yup

237

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404675,00.asp

Hakeem

238

Excellent Lecture, cleared my need. Yet, I would like to know if there is also Quote to Quote processor like Dual Core, Quote core processors. Anyway, it is a good article. Thanks for the writer.

Simmo

239

Great, easy to read example. Thanks cobber.

Madsailor

240

why can't Intel be easier to tell how many cores the processor have like AMD?

JD

241

Very good summary. I had been hoping to find something like this they spells out the basics of Intel processors and this did the job very nicely. Thank you.

Waqas

242

Well Done.

L

243

I want to buy laptop...thinking about sony vaio fit e 14....but not sure which toi buy i3 or i5.
If im gonna be using it just for movie watching, excel work, internet, pictures etc...no gaming...would core i3 be enough for me? cuz the price for i5 is quite costly.....and i dont really wanna spend money if im not gonna need it...
Thanks

byte.me

244

@L

Yep, an i3 would be more than sufficient for you.

@Others

I think this article only covers desktops. Laptop processors are more modest in design because they are portable and, thus, contain smaller, power-efficient (albeit weaker) components. In electronics, it's basically: more power = more heat. Keeping components cool is key to performance stability and prolonging hardware life. Laptops have limited cooling capacity thanks to crammed parts and a small chassis. This is precisely why desktops can be more powerful than laptops, as they can afford to handle tremendous heat generated by stronger components.

Also, if you intend to do serious (modern) gaming, be sure the hardware you're looking into has a dedicated graphics card to handle all the graphics load. Integrated graphics (e.g. Intel HD Graphics series) are much weaker for this purpose. Although, they have vastly improved over the years, especially on the Haswell chips.

I'd take a stab that this article only provides the most basic information to differentiate between the i3, i5, and i7. It's probably best to keep the more technical details out for the average reader.

If you're looking to buy a new PC, make sure to search the web for PassMark benchmark scores so you can gauge how well they perform compared to others. For example, my 4th-gen (Haswell) i7 laptop processor outperforms the best i5 desktop processor out there to date by a small margin in terms of PassMark scores.

At the moment, there are no quad-core i5 laptops -- only desktops. If your PC says it have "X CPUs" (where X = a number), it's referring to logical CPUs/cores (aka threads). Not all i7 laptops are quad-core. There are very few i7 laptops with an 8 MB cache size; most have 6 MB.

To help you differentiate between desktops and laptops, make sure you watch out for alphabets on the model names:
*No letter or K = Desktop (e.g. Core i5-2400 or Core i7-4770K)
*M = Laptop (e.g. Core i3-3120M)
*Q = Quad-core (for laptops only; e.g. Core i7-3630QM)
*X = Extreme (top-of-the-line quad-core laptops; e.g. Core i7-4930MX)
*U = Ultrabook (low-power, slim laptops; e.g. Core i5-4200U)
*Y = Extreme Low-power (e.g. Core i3-4020Y)

I'm merely a simple consumer with basic PC knowledge.

shivam

245

i7 is very poor procsssor

Aaqib

247

Is it good to buy dual core 2.5 to 3 GH processing? What is the difference between this and new processors?

shobhit pareek

248

this is one wonderful information shared which has certainly provided lots of Insight on I's tagging on Processors.I was looking for information something like this which can clearly compare and explain the difference and help me in buying the best laptop companion .
Thanks again.

Peter James

249

If you facing any problem with the latest core i3,i5,i7 .Please contact us TollFree @ 1-877-778-8566 .

noufal

250

thanx alot PCworld....i was looking for this ..very simple and understandable explanation...

Shubham Pandit

251

waiting for intel core i9.....expectedly hecta core....10 mb cache memory....ABOVE the all..

sararajpoot

252

I always find such amazing posts on this website and today's post was really amazing chack this. Thank you
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Wyatt Greenway

253

Actually, your comment about browsers not being multithreaded is technically not true. All browser use multiple threads to process things such as scripts, streaming of data, and even "Web Workers" in HTML5 (which allows a script to directly start and control a thread). Is it possible you meant to say Multicore?

https://www.google.com/#q=multithreading+in+chrome&safe=off
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1977875

Muhd Ilyas

254

Thia guy is
awesome. nice explanation.
so,i5 is compitable for gaming right?

Tanweer

255

Could any one guide me, the list of compatible processors for Laptop Acer Aspire E1-571 (Motherboard s989 Q5WV1 LA-7912P)?

sundar

256

Simply explanation. Thank u so much.

Gurwinder Singh

257

I want to buy the best processor of laptop for the course of computer science in medium range of prices
Please tell me the the company of laptop for me.

Cheri

258

Greate article. Keep writing such kind of info on your site. Im really impressed by your site.
Hello there, You've done an excellent job. I'll definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I'm confident they'll be benefited from this web site.

Brigitte

259

When some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she wishes to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

subha

260

wonderful explanation...!!! even any non-technical person can understand it easily the way you have explained....very nice!!!!

techno-troglodyte

261

Thanks for that concise explanation which is clear even to a struggling technophobe like me.

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