i5 vs. i7

i5
i7

How much faster are Intel Core i7 processors compared with Core i5 processors and are they worth the higher price? Core i7 processors perform better because they have more cache (great for repetitive tasks), higher clock speed (advantageous for CPU-intensive tasks like video encoding), and hyper-threading (for faster multitasking).

For most mainstream consumers, i5 performance is more than sufficient; they will not need the extra performance of the i7 series if their use is limited to web browsing, email, watching video and office/productivity apps. Core i7 processors have an advantage for processor-intensive applications such as video encoding and rendering, 3D modeling, high-end graphics work and gaming. While both i5 and i7 processors can be used for gaming, high-end gaming PCs still tend to use dedicated GPUs.

Comparison chart

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i5

User Rating (277):

i7

User Rating (161):
Performance Mid-level (4 star) High-level (5 star)
Desktop Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, Sandy Bridge
Mobile Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge
Cores 4 or 2 4
L3 Cache 6 or 3 MB 8 MB
Socket LGA 1156, rPGA-9884, or BGA-988A. LGA 1156, rPGA-9884, or BGA-988A.
TDP 77 W, 65 W, 45W, 35 W, 17 W, 13 W 130 W, 95 W, 77 W, 65 W, 55 W, 45 W, 35 W, 25 W, 17 W
I/O Bus Direct Media Interface, Integrated GPU. Direct Media Interface, Integrated GPU.

Contents: i5 vs i7

Intel Core i7-940 LGA 1366 Pins
Intel Core i7-940 LGA 1366 Pins

edit Performance

Intel Core i7 is a high-end processor. The higher clock speed, bigger cache and hyper-threading features in i7 processors make them more suitable than i5 processors for certain applications like video encoding, data crunching, graphics-intensive work, multitasking, and high-end gaming.

Computer processors are rarely the bottleneck in performance these days. Instead, memory (RAM) and storage (SSD instead of an HDD) provide greater bang for the buck for increased performance from a computer.

edit Gaming Performance

According to a study by APC, the difference between the Core i5-3450 and the top-end Core i7-3770k is about 10%. With 1080p, the i5-3450 delivered 81.6fps on Crysis, while the top Core i5, i5-3550 delivered 86.7. The i7-3770K delivered 89.3fps.

edit Video Editing

According to APC Magazine, there is some benefit to using i7 if ripping DVDs and converting them to .MKV files. However, they suggest that the i5-3750K is the best option, as it is perfectly between the i5-3450 and the i7-3770K in terms of performance, but is far closer to the i5-3450 in price.

edit Price

i5 systems are typically cheaper than comparable i7 systems by about $150. According to APC Magazine, only $40 separates the different i5 chips, with a $120 difference between i5 and i7.

edit i5 vs i7 Specifications

There are several generations of Core i5 and i7 processors, the latest being Ivy Bridge, preceded by Sandy Bridge, Westmere and Nehalem. This comparison will focus on the latest (Ivy Bridge) models. Concise, useful information about older models is available on Wikipedia (for i5 and for i7)

edit Turbo Boost

Turbo Boost is Intel's terminology for overclocking CPUs, allowing them to run faster than their base clock speed. Both Core i7 and i5 processors support Turbo Boost.

edit Hyper-threading

Intel Hyper-Threading increases CPU performance for multi-threaded tasks and is helpful for multitasking when several applications are running simultaneously. As discussed above, all Core i7 processors and mobile i5 processors support hyper-threading.

edit Specifications for Desktop i5 and i7 CPUs

All Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors for desktop have 4 cores and a Direct Media Interface with Integrated GPU.

Desktop versions of both i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors are quad-core. i7 processors on the desktop support hyper-threading while Core i5 processors on the desktop do not.

CPU Model Frequency Cores L3 cache Release price Power consumption
i5-3330 3 GHz 4 6 MB $182 standard power
i5-3330S 2.7 GHz 4 6 MB $177 low power
i5-3335S 2.7 GHz 4 6 MB $194 low power
i5-3350P 3.1 GHz 4 6 MB $177 standard power
i5-3450 3.1 GHz 4 6 MB $195 standard power
i5-3450S 2.8 GHz 4 6 MB $195 low power
i5-3470S 2.9 GHz 4 6 MB $184 low power
i5-3470T 2.9 GHz 2 3 MB $184 standard power
i5-3470T 3.2 GHz 4 6 MB $184 standard power
i5-3475S 2.9 GHz 4 6 MB $201 low power
i5-3550 3.3 GHz 4 6 MB $213 standard power
i5-3550S 3 GHz 4 6 MB $205 low power
i5-3570 3.4 GHz 4 6 MB $205 standard power
i5-3570K 3.4 GHz 4 6 MB $235 standard power
i5-3570S 3.1 GHz 4 6 MB $205 low power
i5-3570T 2.3 GHz 4 6 MB $205 ultra-low power
i5-4570T 2.9 GHz 2 4 MB $192 ultra-low power
i5-4430 3 GHz 4 6 MB $182 standard power
i5-4440 3.1 GHz 4 6 MB $182 standard power
i5-4570 3.2 GHz 4 6 MB $192 standard power
i5-4670 3.4 GHz 4 6 MB $213 standard power
i5-4670K 3.4 GHz 4 6 MB $242 standard power
i7-3770 3.4 GHz 4 8 MB $278 standard power
i7-3770K 3.5 GHz 4 8 MB $313 standard power
i7-3770S 3.1 GHz 4 8 MB $278 low power
i7-3770T 2.5 GHz 4 8 MB $278 ultra-low power
i7-4770 3.4 GHz 4 8 MB $303 standard power
i7-4770K 3.5 GHz 4 8 MB $339 standard power
i7-4771 3.5 GHz 4 8 MB $320 standard power
i7-4770S 3.1 GHz 4 8 MB $303 low power
i7-4765T 2 GHz 4 8 MB $303 ultra-low power
i7-4770T 2.5 GHz 4 8 MB $303 ultra-low power

edit Specifications for Mobile i5 and i7 Processors

For the mobile versions of Ivy Bridge i5 and i7 processors (used in laptops and netbooks), things are a little different. Core i5 mobile processors are dual-core and so are some i7 processors, while other i7 CPUs are quad-core. All Core i5 and i7 mobile processors support hyper-threading. So there is a smaller performance gap between i5 and dual-core i7 mobile processors. Quad-core i7 mobile processors do deliver increased performance but may sacrifice some battery life to do so.

CPU Model Frequency Cores L3 cache Release price Power consumption
i5-3210M 2.5 GHz 2 3 MB $225 standard power
i5-3210M 1.5 GHz 2 3 MB $250 ultra-low power
i5-3210M 1.5 GHz 2 3 MB $250 ultra-low power
i5-3230M 2.6 GHz 2 3 MB $225 standard power
i5-3317U 1.7 GHz 2 3 MB $225 low power
i5-3320M 2.6 GHz 2 3 MB $225 standard power
i5-3337U 1.8 GHz 2 3 MB $225 low power
i5-3340M 2.7 GHz 2 3 MB $225 standard power
i5-3360M 2.8 GHz 2 3 MB $266 standard power
i5-3380M 2.9 GHz 2 3 MB $266 standard power
i5-3427U 1.8 GHz 2 3 MB $225 low power
i5-3437U 1.9 GHz 2 3 MB $225 low power
i5-3610ME 2.7 GHz 2 3 MB $276 standard power
i7-3517U 1.9 GHz 2 4 MB $346 ultra-low power
i7-3517UE 1.7 GHz 2 4 MB $330 ultra-low power
i7-3520M 2.9 GHz 2 4 MB $346 standard power
i7-3540M 3 GHz 2 4 MB $346 standard power
i7-3555LE 2.5 GHz 2 4 MB $360 low power
i7-3573U 2 GHz 2 4 MB $346 ultra-low power
i7-3610QE 2.3 GHz 4 6 MB $393 standard power
i7-3610QM 2.3 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3612QE 2.1 GHz 4 6 MB $426 low power
i7-3612QM 2.1 GHz 4 6 MB $378 low power
i7-3615QE 2.3 GHz 4 6 MB $393 standard power
i7-3615QM 2.3 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3630QM 2.4 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3632QM 2.2 GHz 4 6 MB $378 low power
i7-3635QM 2.4 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3667U 2 GHz 2 4 MB $346 ultra-low power
i7-3687U 2.1 GHz 2 4 MB $356 ultra-low power
i7-3689Y 1.5 GHz 2 4 MB $362 ultra-low power
i7-3720QM 2.6 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3740QM 2.7 GHz 4 6 MB $378 standard power
i7-3820QM 2.7 GHz 4 8 MB $568 standard power
i7-3840QM 2.8 GHz 4 8 MB $568 standard power
i7-3920XM 2.9 GHz 4 8 MB $1,096 standard power
i7-3940XM 3 GHz 4 8 MB $1,096 standard power

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"i5 vs i7." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 22 Jul 2014. < http://www.diffen.com/difference/i5_vs_i7 >

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