Intel i3 i5 i7?

23
Found 3rd Apr
My old core 2 quad 3.0ghz has served me well but I'm looking to build a new system before too long. Apologies if this is too general a question but I'm a bit out of the loop gear wise. What are the differences between i3 i5 and i7 processors apart from the number of cores and clock speeds?
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23 Comments
Its like buying a car with different type engines. You can often buy cars with say 1L 3 stroke engines, 1.4L 3 stroke engines, 2L 4 stroke engines. Does the same thing but with more of a grunt and speed.
As an oldie I don't think the is a great deal of difference at the lower end of use and you also have consider with heat processors lose speed so it's a very confusing area where one i3 system could easily out perform a bad i7. So the best way to look at it is how you intend to use the computer.
Don't go for i7 if you can't buy the very best cooling system but you won't get the advantage you think. I face this decision about a year ago and for £75 I got a Mboard, i5 & ram second combination from a charity on eBay added a quite case. The system has been running with centos 7 now for 8 months without a reboot.
Edited by: "4TheMenyNotTheFew" 3rd Apr
It depends on what you use your PC for. For browsing, watching streams and videos, Office and so on, an i3 is more than enough.

If you plan to game and occasionally do some demanding stuff then go with an i5 at least. Even if the most important component with gaming is the video card.

If you do very demanding stuff then there's always the i7, which is the most powerful.
It's for music recording, so would be using multiple plug ins etc at the same time. I'll probably need quad core which rules out i3 after reading the article above. There does seem to be a bewildering number of variants with the other 2 though.
GB996 m ago

It's for music recording, so would be using multiple plug ins etc at the …It's for music recording, so would be using multiple plug ins etc at the same time. I'll probably need quad core which rules out i3 after reading the article above. There does seem to be a bewildering number of variants with the other 2 though.


Go for the top end i7 as the plugins will hammer it.
GB999 m ago

It's for music recording, so would be using multiple plug ins etc at the …It's for music recording, so would be using multiple plug ins etc at the same time. I'll probably need quad core which rules out i3 after reading the article above. There does seem to be a bewildering number of variants with the other 2 though.


The new Coffee Lake i3 processors are now quad core... That article is a bit outdated in regard to that specific detail.
It's still ok to have an idea of the general differences like cache size, turbo boost etc.
Always used to be that the i7s did hyperthreading and the i5s don't but that was back in the 1155 days.

Music production though, I'd say more RAM and SSDs will be better worth the money than an i5 to i7.

RAM will be vital for this and you ideally want software on one drive, data to be read on another and then written to a 3rd to maximise speed and performance. Ideally all SSDs and the read drive can be a regular HDD if you want to keep the costs down.
Towelie14 m ago

Always used to be that the i7s did hyperthreading and the i5s don't but …Always used to be that the i7s did hyperthreading and the i5s don't but that was back in the 1155 days.Music production though, I'd say more RAM and SSDs will be better worth the money than an i5 to i7.RAM will be vital for this and you ideally want software on one drive, data to be read on another and then written to a 3rd to maximise speed and performance. Ideally all SSDs and the read drive can be a regular HDD if you want to keep the costs down.


Yes my current setup uses multiple drives but regular HDD. Ram is essential when loading soft synths. I have 8 gig but that would be the minimum for me in a new setup. Is hyperthreading as good as multiple cores?
hearts2228 m ago

The new Coffee Lake i3 processors are now quad core... That article is a …The new Coffee Lake i3 processors are now quad core... That article is a bit outdated in regard to that specific detail. It's still ok to have an idea of the general differences like cache size, turbo boost etc.


I'm guessing a quad i5 is still more powerful than the coffee lake i3?
The i7 label denotes a CPU with everything turned on, while the lower grades (i5, i3, Pentium, Celeron in that order) denote various things disabled, and often a reduction in clock speed or fewer cores.

The exact differences depend on which model line you're looking at. The 65W models have completely different segregation to the 15W models.

Number of cores are only comparable between the same design of processor, so a modern dual core will be comfortably faster than your Core 2 Quad. Hardware.fr benchmarked a stock i3-7350K as 52% faster on average across a range of applications than a 3.2Ghz Core 2 Quad:
hardware.fr/art…tml
GB9914 m ago

I'm guessing a quad i5 is still more powerful than the coffee lake i3?


Of course as it will go to higher clock speeds and have more cache etc.
EndlessWaves8 m ago

The i7 label denotes a CPU with everything turned on, while the lower …The i7 label denotes a CPU with everything turned on, while the lower grades (i5, i3, Pentium, Celeron in that order) denote various things disabled, and often a reduction in clock speed or fewer cores.The exact differences depend on which model line you're looking at. The 65W models have completely different segregation to the 15W models. Number of cores are only comparable between the same design of processor, so a modern dual core will be comfortably faster than your Core 2 Quad. Hardware.fr benchmarked a stock i3-7350K as 52% faster on average across a range of applications than a 3.2Ghz Core 2 Quad:https://www.hardware.fr/articles/965-2/performances-applicatives.html


Thank you. Not sure what you mean by segregation?
kester762 h, 4 m ago

Go for the top end i7 as the plugins will hammer it.


I9 is the most top end thoghe
Splice24 m ago

I9 is the most top end thoghe


I choose not to acknowledge the i9s as they're well out of most people's price brackets. I've just upgraded my PC to an i7 8700k, 16GB of ddr4 3200 14 cas, liquid cooler 360, and a z370 x hero motherboard. This lot totalled £850ish which is still cheaper than an i9 CPU alone

Joking aside I would recommend the i7 8700k. Cpus are expensive and upgrading too early is a pain. I'm retiring my FX8350 as it's running off a 7 year old motherboard and it's has issues that were resolved in later revisions. I doubt I'll be upgrading again for another 5 years.
master103 h, 8 m ago

Its like buying a car with different type engines. You can often buy cars …Its like buying a car with different type engines. You can often buy cars with say 1L 3 stroke engines, 1.4L 3 stroke engines, 2L 4 stroke engines. Does the same thing but with more of a grunt and speed.


3 stroke engine?
Don’t bother with i3! I bought an i3 and now regret it.
kester7643 m ago

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_cycle_three-stroke_engineI think … https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_cycle_three-stroke_engineI think it's more a name than an actual thing.


I think he means 3 cylinder
I’ve got an intel i7 8700k, I don’t regret it!
Agreed the i9 are way too expensive for the average user. The i7 8700k looks a good balance of power/price/TDP.
Thanks for the info everyone, it's given me a much better idea of the differences.
GB9916 h, 5 m ago

Yes my current setup uses multiple drives but regular HDD. Ram is …Yes my current setup uses multiple drives but regular HDD. Ram is essential when loading soft synths. I have 8 gig but that would be the minimum for me in a new setup. Is hyperthreading as good as multiple cores?



I don't completely understand it if I am being totally honest, just remember what I learnt when building a gaming/video ripping PC about 5-6 years ago and an i7 would have been a pointless upgrade for me.

From memory though, I think hyperthreading ability depends on the software being used - ie not all software is written to benefit from it so it may be worth checking with the software you are using as an i7 could be pointless if not but I may be incorrect on that!

I'd say you'd probably want more than 8GB of RAM though although I guess this depends on the size/quality of the samples you are using and the size/quality of your output files.

Definitely get at least one SSD in there though as it is about the best performance upgrade you can do to a PC - even if you just put one in your current set-up you would notice huge performance increases with your current set-up and you can always switch the SSD into your new build when you go down that route in the future. You may find a SSD upgrade right now will give enough performance increase on it's own to keep you happy for a bit longer to save you rushing into a new purchase.
Towelie42 m ago

I don't completely understand it if I am being totally honest, just …I don't completely understand it if I am being totally honest, just remember what I learnt when building a gaming/video ripping PC about 5-6 years ago and an i7 would have been a pointless upgrade for me.From memory though, I think hyperthreading ability depends on the software being used - ie not all software is written to benefit from it so it may be worth checking with the software you are using as an i7 could be pointless if not but I may be incorrect on that! I'd say you'd probably want more than 8GB of RAM though although I guess this depends on the size/quality of the samples you are using and the size/quality of your output files.Definitely get at least one SSD in there though as it is about the best performance upgrade you can do to a PC - even if you just put one in your current set-up you would notice huge performance increases with your current set-up and you can always switch the SSD into your new build when you go down that route in the future. You may find a SSD upgrade right now will give enough performance increase on it's own to keep you happy for a bit longer to save you rushing into a new purchase.


Thank you, I'll look into that
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