The Intel Core series is the best that Intel can offer when it comes to processors. Again and again we have heard the infinite dilemma in processor selection for gaming rigs: the mid-range Intel Core i5 or the famous Intel Core i7?
From a processor chipset to the number of cores, the i5s and i7s have their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Today we’re going to summarize what makes your ideal processor to choose from. In addition, we will discuss the inherent advantages of using one processor over another depending on your budget, purpose, and gaming platform.
What makes a great processor?
Thanks to modern technological advances, the processors have reached a high level of performance at reasonable price ranges. Of course, you can just point out that the Intel Core i7 series is better than the i5s (though it’s more expensive).
However, it goes deeper. Suppose you can even opt for the high-end Intel Core i5 and still achieve more than remarkable frame rates in the game. It all depends on what you can afford and what you want to achieve with your rig.
In terms of hardware, these are the key factors to consider when choosing between Intel Core i5 and i7:
- Number of cores
- Hyper threading
- Turbo boost
- Processor cache
Number of cores
The Intel Core i5s and i7s offer at least two cores and can hold up to ten cores in the upper range of the spectrum.
The processor cores are responsible for performing the tasks of a computer. This means an improved power output with more cores involved.
However, most applications and games generally use dual-core and quad-core processors.
If you want to stick to document and office work, a dual-core processor is sufficient. In contrast, sticking to quad-core processors is efficient unless you do high-intensity video and photo editing.
In summary, hyperthreading improves processor core performance by dividing tasks to improve efficiency. In particular, the Intel Core i5 series does not use hyper-threading technology compared to the Intel Core i7 series.
In terms of performance, the vast majority of game titles use little or no hyper-threading. If you just want to play all day, a high-end Intel Core i5 is enough for your setup.
Although future titles may use hyper-threading, it will be a long time before this becomes a reality. In this regard, the Intel Core i5 is superior in gaming value for money.
With Turbo Boosting, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors can achieve higher clock speeds to do resource-intensive tasks. The extent to which a processor can increase its clock speed depends entirely on the situation.
However, the Turbo Boost is largely used if the processor temperatures remain below the permissible values.
In these ideal scenarios, turbo boosting has proven itself when working with processor-intensive processes such as image reproduction and video coding.
However, when it comes to games, limited titles benefit from the effects of turbo boosting (like GTA, Call of Duty and Hitman).
The cache size of a processor is primarily responsible for how quickly a system can switch to and from processes. Increased cache sizes naturally mean faster system response times.
It is worth nothing that differences in cache size tend to have a minimal impact on the frame rates of the games for the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.
Gaming on the Go vs. Home workstation
On the platforms, the Intel Core i5s and i7s have a mobile range of processors for use in laptops. Therefore, the Mobile Edition of the Intel Core series is far inferior to the desktop versions in terms of performance. In terms of pricing, the laptop edition of the processors tends to be more expensive than the desktop processors.
Despite all these disagreements, a laptop is an invaluable workstation of choice for people with a mobile lifestyle. The main advantage of the mobile series is the portability of the laptop compared to the bulkiness of a desktop rig.
However, it should be noted that the above features in one processor (number of cores to processor cache) still apply in mobile processors. It’s up to you whether you want to invest in a laptop’s freedom of movement compared to the raw firepower that a desktop willingly brings to the table.
Now you know the basics for choosing a processor based on its hardware specifications. Once you’ve listed your budget and considered what you want to do with your gaming rig, you can decide which series and model to work with.
If you’ve looked up Intel processors, you’ve probably seen the naming schemes that come with each model. Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-7700K, Intel Core i5-6600T – what do all these mean?
In order to give a rough overview of the naming of processors, the first digit after the brand (i3, i5, i7) is the generation of the processor. Typically, the three digits listed thereafter are the defining feature that indicates the processing speed of the CPU. Rule of thumb: The larger the three digits listed, the faster the processor. The later the generation, the better the processor (compared to previous generations).
The last letter is the product line suffix that describes the performance output of the processor model. The product line suffix varies from Unlocked (K), Ultra-Low Power (U), M (Mobile) etc.
Example: The Intel Core i7-8650U is part of the 8thth Generation of Intel Core processors with the product line suffix U (Ultra-Low Power). Conversely, the Intel Core i5-8600K is part of the 8thth Generation of Intel Core processors with the product line suffix K (Unlocked). The Intel Core i5-8600K outperforms the Intel Core i7-8650U in terms of performance. However, the Intel Core i7-8650U is more energy efficient than the Intel Core i5-8600K.
We give you a head start and show you entry-level, mid-range and high-end processor models of the Intel Core i5s and i7s.
Entry level: Intel Core i5-8400 ($ 182-187)
The Intel Core i5-8400 is definitely nothing to make fun of, although it is less expensive than its co-processors. The Intel Core i5-8400 can do everything a beginner wants, as well as intensive applications.
Middle class: Intel Core i5-8600K (257-258 USD)
The Intel Core i5-8600K is characterized by its market price, its performance and its efficiency as a processor. If you are looking for a processor unit that can run resource-intensive games (with a sufficient graphics card) and creative editing tasks, the Intel Core i5-8600K is your first choice.
High-quality: Intel Core i7-8700K (359-370 USD)
After all, the Intel Core i7-8700K is the top processor for your workstation requirements. The Intel Core i7-8700K offers the ability to handle the highest gaming experiences a
nd the highest workload, and is a real asset for professionals in the field.
The Intel Core i5s and i7s offer a wide selection of models with different prices. All in all, the Intel Core i5 is aimed at advanced users who are looking for performance and affordability. At the other end of the spectrum, the high-end Intel Core i5 processors offer excellent performance that’s suitable for gaming.
Conversely, the Intel Core i7s offer unprecedented performance for those looking for professional-level hardware at the workstation level. Therefore, the Intel Core i7s should only be used for intensive editing work on your rig.
Tip: Invest the savings you would get by buying a high-end Intel Core i5 (compared to an Intel Core i7) in a high-end graphics card.