Intel Corporation, commonly called as Intel has been releasing a wide range of microprocessors over the last few years. A very significant batch of these microprocessors is Intel’s Core I Family. The Core family comprises of the basic entry-level processors successfully replacing the previous Pentium and Celeron family of processors.
There are 3 variants in the core I family, namely, i3, i5 and the i7 processor. These processors have been named on the basis of their performance, with core i3 beginning at the base level performance, i5 as mid-range performance and i7 as high performance processors.
1. Core i3:
It is an entry level dual core processor with X86 architecture. It also comes with integrated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) but lacks Turbo boost functionality, hence running at lower clock speeds than the other core variants. The lowest number of cores is found in Core i3 CPUs as it comes with only two cores. As of now all Core i3s are dual-core processors. The Intel i3-560 with a clock speed of 3.33 Ghz has the highest clock speed amongst the core i3 variants.
2. Core i5:
The core i5 comes as a quadcore(i5-661 being the only dual core variant) processor with integrated GPU. The clock speeds here are relatively higher than the core i3. It also comes with Turbo boost technology which helps in meeting the processor based demands of heavy applications. The Intel i5-4440 has a clock speed of 3.33 Ghz, which is the highest processor speed amongst all the i5 variants.
3. Core i7:
The core i7 is a quad core (4-Core), 64-bit processor which offers significantly higher clock speeds than the previous processors. It has Turbo boost technology as well as hyper threading enabled which makes it one of the best competitors in high end consumer market. The Intel i7-4790K has the highest clock speed of 4.0 Ghz with turbo boost up to 4.4 Ghz
Difference between Intel Cores
The Intel cores have a variety of differences, but to put it simple and straight forward manner, the i7 packs the heaviest punch of the three Intel core processors. That is, the i7 is powerful in terms of processing capabilities than the rest and the i5 delivers more performance than the i3. A more technical insight is provided below:
Number of Cores:
With greater number of cores, more processes or threads can be executed at once thereby directly affecting the computing as well as multi-tasking capabilities of the processor. Here, the i7(8 and 4 Core) and i5(4 and 2 core) are hands down, better than the i3 which is a dual core. For example: Consider yourself simultaneously working on 10 different applications on your system. You will be getting a better experience in multi-tasking on the i5 and i7 processors as they can execute more processes simultaneously, whereas the i3 will relatively lag behind.
Intel Turbo Boost:
The Intel Turbo Boost technology allows the processor to increase its clock speed whenever need arises depending on the processor temperature, number of active cores etc. The i7 and i5 come with this technology whereas the i3 lacks the feature. A small illustration here will give you a better insight of the Turbo boost technology. Suppose an i5 as well as an i3 processor is locked at 3GHz. Now when a heavy application runs on both processors, the i5 can notch up from the 3GHz limit when required leaving behind the i3 processor.
The cache memory is a high speed memory which stores the most frequently accessed data from the Main memory (System Hard Drive). As a result, the application or data which is frequently accessed by you, is available instantly for use, just like the RAM(Random Access Memory). Both the RAM and the cache, store the frequently accessed data. Without them, the CPU would have to always read the Main memory to access data, which would eventually slow down the processes. The basic difference between RAM and cache is that, the RAM helps to minimize the interaction of the CPU with the main memory whereas the cache helps to minimize the interaction of the RAM with the CPU. This is because the cache memory is directly embedded into the CPU and is therefore faster than the RAM. Now, with higher cache size, more frequently used data can be stored thereby speeding up the processes. The i3 merely has a 3Mb cache size whereas, the i7 and i5 have 8MB and 6Mb cache size respectively. This clarifies why the i7 out shines over the i5 and i5 over the i3.
Hyper-Threading technology by Intel allows the processor to execute more than one thread (processes) simultaneously. (A thread is the smallest unit or sequence of an instruction that the CPU performs.)The i3 and i7 have the hyper-threading capability whereas the i5 (except a few variants like i5-661) lacks the functionality.
So, if you are looking for a high performance system which exploits multi-tasking then you should probably opt for the i7 or in case of moderate usage, the i5. But if you are looking for more of an entry-level system with some light usage, then i3 is the processor to go for.
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