In these days, Intel Core I Series processors are very popular for the Desktop, Laptop market. It is always seen from time of Celeron, Pentium the maker Intel has good tendency to make their technology name so confusing that even engineers get confused to identify the main nature of the processor.

Look Back

If we look back then you will find that earlier processors used to be defined as the Clock Frequency. The more clock, it would be the better one was the main criteria to choose a processor. It would be more powerful if that processor is having more clock. Then the multicore era has started. The term Core was first coined by AMD but it did not go well for them. Then Intel also came up with similar kind of Core concepts and the new era  got started. Now lets look into that what is happening inside the Core’s of these new Intel generation.

Intel Core Processors

Like the Pentium was family, Intel always tries to make like series of the processors as evolution. Core is the recent generation family of them. These family members are called Core i3 (or Core m3), Core i5 and Core i7, but the differences between them aren’t the same on laptop chips as on desktop. The difference between laptop chips will be explained at the bottom of this article also. So keep reading…

The naming and functional convention of the desktop chips follow a more logical pattern, so we’ll cover them first. There are common technologies are like number of cores, cache, Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading, are common across both desktop and laptop. For this reason, even if you’re only considering buying a laptop, you should still go through the desktop section before moving onto the laptop part of the article.

The desktop processors in the Core i3, i5 and i7 are very similar to each other in the underlying factors. All are based on the common key processor architecture (codenamed Kaby Lake for the latest generation). They have the same instruction sets and fit in the same socket and have uses similar graphics chipsets.

Though of their underlying similarities, what are the key differences which affects each model’s performance. First, have a look at the table below :

Number of cores

From the table you can see that Core i5 and i7 processors have four cores, while Core i3 models only have two or four. Out of all the differences between the Intel processor ranges, this is the one that will affect performance the most.

Each core is basically a processor. Having multiple cores enabled your operating systems can drive your computer to work on more than one task at a time more efficiently, which will help keep your system running snappily even if you have tasks, such as an antivirus scan or video render, running in the background. In that way it will help your multiple working together smoothly.

Turbo Boost

I think, till now you already got that question that what is turbo boost. This is very interesting and contradictory feature. You will see that Core i3 processor runs in higher clock speed than the Core-i5 and i7. Now the role of the Turbo mode come into this picture. In the Core-i3 your processor will run in higher clock speed means it will draw more power continiously. But in the i5 anf i7 it will be in lower clock speed in normal mode and will go to turbo mode when it will be required in dynamically.

Hyper-threading

This is confusing to explain as a concept in a small post. We will elaborate it more detailed manner to you. But. it will be more confusing as it’s available on the top-end Core i7 and low-end Core i3 chips, but not the mid-range Core i5. Normally you’d expect to see more features implemented as you go up the processor range, but not here.

A two-core Core i3 processor will appear as four virtual cores in Windows’ Task Manager, and a four-core i7 chip will appear as eight cores.

Finally which processor would you choose

Processor choice become very critical while buying processor for Gaming or Multimedia work purposes. But if you do in-depth analysis, you usually won’t gain much by choosing a Core i7 chip over a Core i5. Because the hyper-Threading makes small difference in most games. Even very popular games like Battlefield 4 only really take advantage of four cores, so the extra four virtual cores Hyper-Threading provides won’t be much use. There are exceptions, though. The latest Total War games are taking benefit from the more Core i7’s power due to the more number of units  are interacting with each other on the battlefield.

If you’re buying a desktop processor to play games, and aren’t into hugely epic strategy titles, we say you just get a quad-core Core i5, and preferably the top-spec Core i5-7600K. If you ever find this processor is holding you back, you can always overclock it well beyond 4GHz.

Laptops

Intel has really changed the parameters of the core definitions for the laptop series. Basically, all Core i3 chips have two cores, and none of them Turbo Boost to increase their clock speed dynamically (the ultra-low-power ‘Y-Series’ Core m3 does have Turbo Boost, however). All laptop Core i3 chips have Hyper-Threading, so your operating system will see two physical and two virtual processor cores for a performance boost in certain situations. Meanwhile, all Core i5 and Core i7 chips have Turbo Boost.

In summary

Intel’s processor family distribution is far from simple. They are more about technical than it seems. Desktop chips are perhaps more logical than laptop processors, but for both you should look beyond the Core i branding and check number of cores, clock speed and Hyper-Threading to truly understand what sort of power you should be expecting.
While buying the next computer or laptop you just look into the point that what will be your end use case for buying this. What will be your budget and how will you fit your requirement into it.
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