If you are in the market for a new Intel CPU, you must have noticed that the model names are always something like “Core i3-10100” or “Core i7-10700”. So, how can you know which one is more powerful and what do these letters and numbers mean? What is the difference between i3 i5 i7 and i9?
The higher the number, the more powerful the CPU. So, an Intel Core i7 is more powerful than an Intel Core i3 and Core i5 but less powerful than a Core i9 within the same generation. More powerful CPUs have more cores and are clocked at a faster frequency. Intel’s “i” and number naming scheme is a good way to immediately know how powerful a CPU is.
But what is the difference between i3 i5 i7 and i9 that matters for your usage scenario? Is there a difference in the number of cores, threads, and frequency? Do more powerful CPUs have better features? You can learn more about this topic by reading the rest of the article.
What Is the Difference Between i3 i5 i7 and i9?
Intel CPUs have been around for a long time, but they haven’t started using the “i” nomenclature until 2008. This is still used today by Intel, so it is important to get yourself familiar with it. You might have heard the term “brand modifier” used to indicate the “i” model. It may be the most important and easiest way to tell which CPU is more powerful.
Note that the difference in performance between i3, i5, i7, and i9 is only easy to understand when comparing two CPUs within the same generation. For example, the new Intel Core i7-11700K is more powerful than the Intel Core i9-9900K. Intel Core i7 and Core i9 actually have the same number of cores and threads nowadays. However, the Core i9 CPUs have much faster cores, which allows for better performance.
On the other side of the spectrum, Intel Core i3 CPUs used to have only 2 cores. Nowadays, they have 4 cores and 8 threads, which some consider the bare minimum for any gaming. And Intel Core i5 CPUs sit comfortably in the middle with 6 cores and 12 threads, which makes it the perfect choice for most gamers and professionals.
So, what is the difference between i3 i5 i7 and i9? The main difference is the number of cores, threads, and CPU frequency. All Intel Core i5 CPUs have more cores and threads than Intel Core i3 CPUs and are almost always clocked at a higher frequency. The same applies to Intel Core i7 and i9 CPUs. The higher the number, the better the performance.
In terms of features and support, there are very few differences between the four model ranges. They all support technologies such as Intel Optane and use the same sockets and motherboards. However, more powerful CPUs tend to have better support for higher RAM sizes and frequencies as well as higher overclocking speeds. This is because the cores are much faster, to begin with.
So, which one should you go for? If you want a basic entry-level computer, you can’t go wrong with an Intel Core i3. You will be able to get everything done and play all games. However, the performance may not be good enough for you if you want more than 50-60 FPS.
Most people like Intel Core i5 CPUs because they match the number of cores and threads with great single-core performance. You can pair an Intel Core i5 with almost any graphics card for great performance and they are good for work and general use too.
And if you want an extremely powerful gaming PC or want to do video editing, the Intel Core i7 or Intel Core i9 is for you. They offer the best performance available today, but they come at a high cost, which means that they are not great value picks.
Intel Core CPUs use a naming scheme for their CPUs that is easy to understand. The higher the number, the better the performance. How much you need to spend on a CPU depends on what kind of performance you expect from it.
If you can afford an Intel Core i7 or even a Core i9, go for it because they have excellent performance. But most people will be completely satisfied with an Intel Core i5 or even a Core i3 for some basic tasks and gaming.