How to Choose between an i3 and i5 Processor for your Laptop?

The Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 processors are among the most popular processors today, powering hundreds of thousands of new PCs each year. But which is the best option for you? Should you spend a little more for a Core i5 model's increased performance and features? Is a Core i3 machine a better fit for your needs, or do you need something more affordable?

It's a critical choice. The CPU determines not just the price of a new PC but also the kind of work you can do. Like, what video games you can play and how long your system can operate on battery power.

Core i3 processors are suitable for general-purpose computing. One of them will do if you're using web browsers, Office apps, media software, and low-end games, but don't expect a Core i3 component to perform content creation, major picture editing, or video production. It will also slow you down in heavy games.

For most of these workloads, Core i5 components are superior. They'll be better at editing in general and gaming. If you want a system that can handle everything but the most demanding gaming and productivity activities, go with one of these processors.

Also, keep in mind that a high-end Core i3 chip will frequently outperform an entry-level Core i5 and that the top Core i5 may occasionally outperform the cheaper Core i7 CPUs. If you'd prefer to have faster clock speeds than more cores, this is a simple method to save money.

Laptops and desktop processors follow the same guidelines, while laptop users should focus on low-power CPUs for longer battery life.

Remember to examine the core count, clock rates, and cache no matter which chip you choose. Remember to include in your budget; and what you want to do with your new CPU.

When buying a new desktop or laptop computer, you have many options, but one of the most significant is the CPU. In this sense, it's critical to understand the differences between the Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5, as these two processors are the most common in today's budget/mainstream PCs and laptops. Except for Intel Core i7 processors, and AMD processors (which are the subject of a separate article), the distinction between Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors can be confusing, especially when the prices are so close once the systems are assembled.

The simple response is that "Core i5 is for mainstream customers who care about performance, whereas Core i3 is for folks who only require an Intel computer," although this distinction can be oversimplified. We take a closer look.

Price and Marketing:

pricing for laptops

Systems with an Intel Core i3 processor will be less costly than those with an Intel Core i5. With current-generation Core processors, Intel has shifted to a capability-based marketing message. Core i5 processors, in general, offer more capabilities than Core i3 processors. Core i5 is better for media production and multitasking, and it will boost your PC's performance if you frequently complain about it being slow. For those who want a PC that's speedier than an Atom-powered tablet or laptop but don't want to pay more than they have to, the Core i3 will suffice.

Core i3 processors are also less costly than Core M processors, designed for longer battery life, and come in compact, fanless packages. When looking at a device like the Lenovo Yoga 2 11, a Core i5-4202Y-equipped configuration is around $100 more expensive than a Core i3-4012Y-equipped laptop.

Confusion at the Core:

The Core i5 components will, on average, outperform the Core i3 parts in terms of CPU performance. Dual-core and quad-core Core i5 processors are available. A real quad-core CPU will almost surpass a dual-core processor, especially when it is about multimedia applications like video transcoding and photo editing. Dual-core processors are standard on all Core i3 processors. Occasionally, an older Ivy Bridge processor like the Intel Core i3-3130M will be found in a system for the same price as a system with a newer Haswell CPU like the Intel Core i3-4012Y. The most recent systems use Broadwell processors from the fifth generation, such as the Core i3-5020U.

Because the older CPU doesn't have a year's worth of advances, the system will live longer with the newer processor. If all other parameters are equal, we recommend purchasing the newer CPU unless the older system is on sale at a significant discount. The main lesson within each generation is to acquire a CPU with a higher model number to achieve higher performance (e.g., a Core i5-5020U should have generally better performance than a Core i5-4010U).


Core i5 CPUs feature a larger cache (on-board memory) than Core i3 processors, which helps the processor cope with repetitive tasks faster. Your CPU shouldn't have to refresh the framework the numbers are in if you're modifying and calculating spreadsheets. Because this information is stored in the cache, the computations are virtually immediate when you alter a number. Multitasking is also aided by larger cache sizes, as background processes will be ready when you move attention to another window. i5 CPUs have up to 6MB of L3 cache on currently available desktop processors, whereas i3 processors have 3MB to 4MB.


Intel's "overclocking" technology, Turbo Boost, is integrated into its CPUs. While only one or two processor cores are required, it permits the CPU to run faster than its base clock speed. Most Core i5 processors employ Turbo Boost. The Core i5-4300U CPU, for example, has a base rate of 1.9GHz but can dynamically clock its cores up to 2.9GHz when the workload demands it. Turbo Boost isn't available on Core i3 CPUs. Turbo Boost is not available on Core i3 CPUs.


Intel Hyper-Threading makes a processor appear to have more cores than it does to the operating system and programs by using multithreading technologies. Hyper-Threading is used to improve speed in multithreaded processes, such as a user running multiple applications. It may be used for other tasks, such as multimedia operations (transcoding, rendering, and so on) and Web browsing (loading different elements like Flash content and images simultaneously).

Core i5 uses Hyper-Threading to turn a dual-core CPU into a four-core chipset. However, a Core i5 processor with four actual cores will not feature Hyper-Threading. For the time being, the Core i5 can only handle four streams, utilizing either four cores or two cores with Hyper-Threading. In this case, they are dual-core processors that can manage four threads.

Integrated Graphics: 

graphics card

Intel HD graphics, integrated graphics embedded into the CPU core, debuted with the Westmere series of Core processors. Previously, Intel Integrated Graphics were incorporated onto motherboard chipsets rather than the CPU itself. Older Sandy Bridge CPUs have DX10-compatible Intel HD Graphics 2000/3000, whereas older Ivy Bridge processors have DX11-compatible Intel HD Graphics 2500/4000. Intel HD Graphics 4200/4400/4600/5000 and Iris 5100 graphics are available on Haswell-based CPUs, and Intel HD Graphics 5500/6000 and Iris 6100 are available on Broadwell-based processors.

Because the same mathematical rules apply, Intel HD Graphics 4000 outperforms Intel HD Graphics 2000. Intel HD graphics are available on Core i3 and i5 CPUs, relying on the component number. The Intel Iris 6100 is the current top dog for Core i5, and depending on the game, it will allow you to play 3D games at low to moderate settings.

Core i5 processors will provide you with superior overall performance than Core i3 processors in the long run. In other cases, though, the opposite is true. With so many various models to choose from, the easiest way to decide is to look at each system's performance data before purchasing. With our laptop and desktop evaluations, we can also assist. Keep in mind all the points before buying any laptop or PC. For more assistance, feel free to contact Acom Distributors. Our expert team will help you with the best choices. 



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