Intel's Core i3 and i5 processors are among the newest from the company. i3 is low-end (like Core 2), i5 is mid-level and i7 is high-end (like Xeon).

Both Core i3 and Core i5 are based on the Nehalem microarchitecture, which includes an integrated DDR3 memory controller as well as QuickPath Interconnect or PCI Express. The Front Side Bus used in all earlier Core processors has been replaced with Direct Media Interface. The processors have 256 KB L2 cache per core, plus up to 12 MB shared Level 3 cache.

Comparison chart

i3 versus i5 comparison chart
Edit this comparison charti3i5
  • current rating is 3.65/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(212 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.78/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(456 ratings)
Launch date January 7, 2010 September 8, 2009
Positioning Low-end Mid-level (between the mainstream i3 and Core 2, and the high-end Xeon and i7)
Price $133 $176 to $256
Turbo Boost Core i3 processors do not support "Turbo Boost" Core i5 processors support dynamic overclocking of the CPU (Turbo Boost) to enhance performance.
Integrated GPU (graphics processor) All models of Core i3 have an integrated GPU Core i5-6xx processors have an integrated GPU; others do not.
CPU clock rate 2.933 GHz to 3.2 GHz. 2.4 GHz to 3.33 GHz; Max. CPU clock rate 3.6 GHz Overclocked up to 4.5 Ghz

Architecture and Specifications

The first Core i3 processor was launched on January 7, 2010. It was Clarkdale-based, (desktop) with an integrated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and two cores.

Intel Core i5 was launched on September 8, 2009. The first such processor was Core i5 750, a quad-core Lynnfield Desktop processor. Later, dual-core mobile processors based on Arrandale microarchitecture were released, followed by Clarkdale-based Core i5-6xx processors. These i5-6xx processors are very similar to cheaper Core i3 processors, with Turbo Boost being the main feature that is missing in the i3.

Processor L3 Cache Socket TDP I/O Bus
Clarkdale Core i3-5xx 4 MB LGA 1156 73 W Direct Media Interface,
Integrated GPU
Arrandale Core i3-3xxM 3 MB µPGA-989 35 W
Lynnfield Core i5-7xx 8 MB LGA 1156 95 W Direct Media Interface
Core i5-7xxS 82 W
Clarkdale Core i5-6xx 4 MB 73–87 W Direct Media Interface,
Integrated GPU
Arrandale Core i5-5xxM 3 MBµPGA-989 35 W
Core i5-4xxM
Core i5-5xxUM 18 W

Turbo boost

Turbo boost is the technology that automatically speeds up the processor when the PC needs extra performance. This is done by "dynamic overclocking" i.e. increasing CPU clock-speed. This technology is available in Core i5 processors and does not exist in any of the i3 processors.

HD graphics and Hyperthread technology

Hyperthread technology is a four-way multi-task processing that allows each core of the processor to work on two tasks at the same time. HD (High Density) Graphics and Hyperthread technology is available in both i3 and i5 processors except Core i5 750.

Video Explaining the Differences


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"i3 vs i5." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 Feb 2019. < >