Which CPU Should You Buy? Intel Core i5 vs i7. How many cores in i7

Intel currently offers its Tiger Lake processors for thin and light laptops. These chips pack as much power as possible while keeping energy and temperature requirements low.

All Core i7 Models

This is a series of quick reference tables showing the main specifications of all Core i7 models released to date. Updated with models “Haswell.

Core i7 is a series of processors manufactured by Intel, designed for high-end computers. In this tutorial, we will introduce a series of quick reference tables to compare the main differences between all the models released so far.

Incidentally, the correct name for this processor line is “Core i7”, not “Intel i7.”

There are currently four different generations of Core i7 processors available. The tables below describe the main differences between these generations and the model series within each generation.

† Except for “UM” and “UE” models which only support DDR3-800 memory.

‡ There are three ports, two of which support 1 × 16, 2 × 8, 4 × 4, 8 × 2, and 16 × 1 speeds, one of which supports 1 × 8, 4 × 2, and 8 × 1 speeds. The “best” configuration allowed is x16 / x16 / x8, however other configurations such as x8 / x8 / x8 / x8 / x8 are supported.

* Except for “U” models which have PCI Express 2.0 controller.

Now let’s look at all the Core i7 models introduced so far in detail.

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There isn’t always a clear-cut, final answer that is better for a given situation, and it often comes down to your budget. But knowing the basics about each one can help you make a smarter choice. Let’s move on to the key differences between Core i5 and Core i7. (Also check out our Core i7 vs. Core i9 explanation.)

How Many Cores Is Enough?

Simply put, a system equipped with a Core i5 will be less expensive than a computer equipped with a Core i7 if everything else is equal. But in most cases, if you compare apples to apples (i.e a desktop chip with a desktop chip, or a laptop chip with a laptop chip, and the same generation to the same generation), the Core i5 will have less or limited capabilities. A Core i7 will typically be better for multitasking, multimedia editing and creation, advanced games, and similar demanding tasks. Often, however, the price difference will be small, so it’s worth experimenting with the online configurator of any computer you buy to see if you can afford a machine with a Core i7 processor.

When you use software that can use as many cores as possible (modern authoring programs like the ones in Adobe Creative Suite are excellent examples), the more cores you have in your CPU, the faster it will do.

Most of the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors have four or more cores, which we consider to be the best place for most users. Many of the latest Core i5 and Core i7 desktop models have six cores, and several ultra-high-end gaming PCs are equipped with eight-core Core i7. Meanwhile, a few very energy-efficient Core i5 and Core i7 laptop processors only have two. You’ll find them mostly in ultra-thin laptops.

The same strict core nomenclature has been used in many generations of Intel processors. To make sure you are buying a system with the latest generation processor, look for the Core ix-11xxx or Core ix-10xxx naming structure. Some processors designed for thin or popular laptops have a “U” or “Y” added to the end of the model name, while others have a “G” followed by a number that signifies the graphics processing capabilities of the chip. Chips designed for laptops with power supply usually have a “H” or “HK” ending; and those intended for desktop computers end with “K” or “T” (or just end with zero).

Unless you shop in the used PC market, you’ll find eighth and ninth generation (or earlier) Core i5 and i7 chips in end-of-life / retirement systems and some budget PCs, while you’ll find 10 and 11th generation chips in most new models . General guide if you don’t want to go too deep: For better performance within each generation and each class (Core i5 or Core i7), buy a processor with a higher model number. For example, Intel Core i7-1065G7 generally has better performance than Intel Core i7-1060G7.

A Quick Word on Cache

In addition to generally higher base clock speeds, Core i7 processors have a larger amount of cache (memory installed on the chip) to help the processor cope with repetitive tasks or frequently used data faster. If you are editing and calculating spreadsheets, your CPU should not reload the structure where the numbers are. This information will be cached, so when you change the number, the calculations are almost instantaneous. Larger cache sizes also help with multitasking as background tasks will be ready to switch focus to another window.

The cache size is not a make-or-break specification, but it illustrates progress from generation to generation and from family to family. The latest Core i5 and Core i7 processors for laptops have a cache of 16MB or less.

Rocket Lake only has one i7 chip: the i7-11700. Like the i5s, this processor comes in several varieties with different features. If you are purchasing a desktop computer, look for the 11700K model. It should be the most readily available chip and it supports overclocking.

What About Six-Core HEDT Customers?

Intel’s High End DeskTop market segment is, as its name suggests, the official segment of Intel’s high-end desktops. These chips typically don’t handle as much RAM as their Xeon counterparts, and may lack other features such as ECC RAM compatibility, but have historically offered more cores and threads than Intel’s main i7 core processors. For the sake of simplicity, we only compare HEDT six-core processors with the Core i7-8700K. While Intel previously sold HEDT processors with 8-10 cores, we cannot make a simple rule that an older HEDT processor with more cores would be better than the narrower and faster Core i7-8700K.

If you’re using an early HEDT model such as the Core i7-3930K or Core i7-4930K, the 8700K is sure to be a step forward. Both of these CPUs had all the turbo clock cores that were well below the 4.3 GHz Core i7-8700K frequency and used older, less efficient architectures. Between the higher clock speed and the higher performance of the 8th Gen Core i7 processor, you can reasonably expect a performance improvement of 1.2 to 1.4 times, depending on the workload, how much the previous processor has been boosted at full load, and whether the applications use SIMD instruction sets such as AVX2. Memory bandwidth sensitive applications should also see significant increases after switching from DDR3-1600 to DDR4-2666. The age of your current HEDT system will make a big difference.

If you’re one of the relatively few customers using Intel’s 1st Gen six-core architecture, codenamed Westmere, you should definitely notice a significant performance boost after upgrading to 8700K. Intel’s top-of-the-line Westmere processors had full-core growth below 3.7 GHz in all cases, and the old Nehalem architecture was significantly less efficient than Intel’s second-generation Sandy Bridge architecture. Westmere also lacked support for features like AVX and AVX2. The Core i7-8700K is clocked 1.3 times higher than the old Core i7-980 and should offer at least 1.15 times the performance thanks to the architectural improvements. A performance improvement from 1.45x to 1.6x from Westmere to Coffee Lake would not come as a surprise to us.

Putting It All Together

Intel’s decision to introduce more cores across the entire product stack means that the upgrade has some theoretical benefits, even if you already own a 7th generation processor. However, for practical reasons, we assume that most customers with 6th or 7th generation processors are not interested in buying a new motherboard and CPU so soon after the last update.


We’ve thrown in a lot of numbers and numbers in this article, but don’t worry if you feel a little dizzy trying to sort things out. The above slide show includes a series of charts to help you understand the improvements and value of upgrades depending on the actual situation and product family.

To make things even more confusing, Intel also offers the 10th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 Comet Lake chips. Overall computing performance is much higher than Ice Lake’s due to the higher clock speeds, but graphics performance is poorer again.

Intel Core i7 8th Generation

You can check out all 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processors here.

This generation was first released in the third quarter of 2017, however most of them were released in 2018 as well as in 2019.

Intel Core i7-8086K processor for 6-core desktops.

6 cores / 12 threads; 4.00GHz to 5.00GHz Max Turbo / 12MB Cache; Compatible only with motherboards based on the Intel 300 Series chipset

desktop Intel Core i7-8700 6-core processor.

6 cores / 12 threads. Intel UHD 630 graphics; 3.20GHz to 4.60GHz max turbo frequency / 12MB Cache.

Intel Core i7-8700K processor for 6-core desktops.

Key Notes :

The eighth generation Core i7 has a maximum of 6 cores, as opposed to the 8 cores in the ninth generation Core i7 processors.

However, all eighth generation processors have hyperthreading enabled. Therefore, this generation has a maximum of 12 threads.

It is also the first generation to deviate from the usual quad-core configuration of Core i7 processors. It is the first generation to offer more than 4 cores.

The most powerful processor in this generation of desktops is the Intel Core i7-8086K processor.

The most powerful laptop processor of this generation is the Core i7-8700B.

U-marked processors are reserved for energy-efficient machines such as Ultrabooks, convertible laptops, and other compact and portable devices. These processors can also be used in many popular laptops.

“G” processors are high-performance processors that are equipped with a powerful integrated AMD Vega graphics card. In terms of performance, the Core i-8706G is better than the 7th generation Core i7-7920HQ processor.

The “Y” series processors are the weakest processors, but they are found in most compact devices such as tablets. They are passively cooled and therefore have the lowest TDP.

There are currently four different generations of Core i7 processors available. The tables below describe the main differences between these generations and the model series within each generation.

What about Core i9?

Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors may be powerful, but they are mainstream processors designed for consumers. Intel’s top-of-the-line Core i9 chips are typically aimed more at professionals or the wealthiest gamers who need even more power, and most of the chips bearing this nickname have cost more than 400,000 in the past. However, along with eighth and ninth generation Intel processors, it introduced several Core i9 processors which are also worth considering.

The 10950HK rules the mobile space by packing eight cores and 16 threads into the laptop’s CPU. It comes with a 2.4GHz base clock, but ramps up to a staggering 5.3GHz. Some laptops, such as the extremely expensive Alienware Area-51m, come equipped with an i9 desktop computer.

However, for desktops, the latest offering from Intel is the i9-11900K. As powerful as it is, we recommend sticking to the last-gen 10900K instead. Not only is the 10900K cheaper, it also has fewer power and thermal problems, plus two extra cores and four extra threads.

You can find 10900K for around $ 400, which is only slightly more expensive than the competing i7. If you have loads that can use the extra power of the i7, consider getting the i9 (especially if you can buy the last-gen chip).

Laptops are a different beast altogether. Even the fastest laptop processor can run poorly in the wrong PC, so it’s important to read individual laptop reviews.

Are more cores and threads necessary?

There is now a smaller difference between the i5 and i7 processors thanks to Intel’s latest round of offerings, especially for desktop users. Your CPU can process more information simultaneously thanks to more threads and cores. Instead of putting a load on a single core or thread, the CPU distributes the load. So the benefit of more cores and threads is obvious: it allows the CPU to do better with multitasking.

Computer components are complex; What seems like a small feature can make a big difference to your device’s performance. Some applications are clearly optimized to use multiple threats in combination with most file compression and decompression applications, Adobe Premiere and Handbrake.

There are only a few applications that still use a single thread or computer core. Most applications use all threads and CPU cores to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.

When you buy the latest generation i5 or i7, you get around four cores and eight threads. These cores and threads are suitable if you use your computer to browse the Internet, use word processors, and perform similarly lightweight tasks.

If you’re looking for the best gaming option, you’ll need at least six or eight cores for smooth graphics and no lag. Anything more, the only benefits you will see are production applications like video editing and transcoding.

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Core i7-12700K vs. Ryzen 7 5800X: Features and performance

source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Headquarters

12th Gen Intel Core processors have brought the battle for the CPU back to AMD, which is good for all PC enthusiasts. Intel’s “Alder Lake” generation has a new hybrid Big.LITTLE core design that is similar to what we’ve seen with ARM and Apple. It combines multi-threaded Performance cores (P cores) and single-threaded Efficient cores (E cores) in the same chip.

P cores are free to handle higher workloads that require multiple threads, while E cores handle low priority tasks. In the chart below comparing the i7 and Ryzen 7 you can see the split cores. The Core i7 has a total of 12 cores, eight of which are reserved for performance and four for performance. The Ryzen 7 has a total of eight cores without any hybrid design.

Core i7-12700K Ryzen 7 5800X
Cores 12
(8P, 4E)
Threads twenty 16
TDP 125W 105W
Base clock P: 3.60 GHz
E: 2.70 GHz
3.80 GHz
Increase P: 4.90 GHz
E: 3.80 GHz
4.70 GHz
Turbo Boost max. 3.0 5.0 GHz Thread
Ability to overclock Yes Yes
L3 cache 25MB 32MB
Production node 10nm 7nm
Memory DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800
Up to 128 MB
Up to 128 MB
Integrated graphics Intel UHD 770 Thread
Electric socket LGA 1700 AM4
Cooler Thread Thread

Intel runs on a 10nm manufacturing process even though they call it “Intel 7” – nice try, Intel – while AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processors are made with a 7nm process. The Ryzen 7 5800X runs at a lower TDP of 105W, while the Core i7-12700K runs at a TDP of 125W. Both can be overclocked for increased performance. Only the Core i7 comes with integrated graphics, but that’s less of a problem as these high-performance processors are usually paired with one of the best graphics cards out there.

The Core i7-12700K adds support for PCIe 5.0, ahead of the PCIe 4.0 standard that Ryzen 7 5800X supports. The Core i7 can also support faster DDR5 RAM, while the Ryzen 7 is limited to DDR4. It should be noted that the high prices of DDR5 RAM and poor availability make this feature a moot point. At least for now. The best DDR5 RAM for 12th Gen Intel Core processors is almost all the time sold out, though that will change in the future. This makes the Core i7 a better decision for anyone who doesn’t want to upgrade for several years.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

source: Windows Center

Upgrading to the Ryzen 7 5800X will cost less for the CPU itself, and its compatibility with AM4 sockets means you won’t have to replace your motherboard if you’re already an AMD user. A modern motherboard is always recommended if you want to get the most out of your CPU, but with the Ryzen chip, you can do the upgrade a little slower. If you buy a Core i7-12700K, you will have to invest in a new motherboard as the chip requires a new LGA 1700 socket. This will increase the cost of an already more expensive processor. Our collection of the best motherboards has tips on where to start in both.

Next-gen Intel for the future

The new Intel Core i7-12700K processor offers a large.LITTLE hybrid core design, 10nm manufacturing process and plenty of power for gaming or specialized work. It beats the Ryzen 7 5800X in stringent benchmarks, but the CPU itself will cost more, as well as the new motherboard to accommodate the new LGA 1700 socket. Nevertheless, with DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 RAM support, it’s a good preparation for the future. Check out our guide on how to choose the right 12th Gen Intel Core processor if you don’t think a Core i7 is right for you.

12th Gen Intel power

Intel Core i7-12700K

The Core i7-12700K is a big step forward for Intel, bringing it back into the firing range of the AMD Ryzen line. It will cost more, but will provide better performance and better protection for the future.

Core i5 and Core i7 chips have all sorts of integrated graphics capabilities. At the bottom are Intel HD Graphics and Intel UHD Graphics. Iris Plus is a step up, available on many 10th generation chips. The newest and best integrated graphics card is Iris Xe, only available on a few 11th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 models.

What Are the Differences Between a Core i7 and a Core i9?

Aside from the different number of cores and processor speeds, the differences between the i7 and i9 ultimately reflect the needs of the professional user.

When it comes to processors, there is usually a close relationship between power consumption and performance; an ongoing challenge with the x86 architecture is to maximize power in a constrained power envelope. In its desktop and mobile settings, the i7 tends to use less power (and on the mobile side, it’s available in less powerful Y and U versions), while the i9 generally represents performance without compromise.

Patrick Moorhead, founder and lead analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, says that both the i7 and i9 have their place in the office, but the Core i9 generally makes most sense for high-performance computing (for tasks such as graphics visualization, video production , 3D modeling and multitasking).

“Overall, Intel Core i9 processors offer higher performance because they have more cores, higher frequencies, more cache, and use more power,” says Moorhead. “If you or your users demand top performance with single or multi-threaded workloads, the i9 is the one to go for.”

Is It Worth Upgrading an i7 to an i9?

In many cases – especially for laptop users – the i7 will provide more than enough performance. But if you can live without some of the perks of a weaker CPU, such as longer battery life, it may make sense to go for the i9.

“The tradeoff with the i9 is generally higher power draw, more fan noise, and a higher price,” says Moorhead.

Quijano says that despite the extra cost, many companies are keen to consider high-end options as i9 processors strike a good balance between the solid single-core performance of the Intel Core series and the multi-core performance that excels in Xeon processors. It adds that mobile workstations, traditionally preferred by on-site workers, have found a home with multiple workers during the pandemic, given the need for maximum power on the go.

“The pandemic has made mobile workstations the most flexible multi-user systems,” says Quijano. “And since we plan to return to our offices one or two days a week, mobile workstations are the perfect solution.”

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