Core i3 vs i5 vs i7 vs i9 Processors | Which CPU Should You Buy?

What makes the computer the intelligent machine that it is?

Yes, it is the CPU, also known as the Central Processing Unit. When you decide to buy a computer or a laptop, the first thing you check out is the configuration.

The CPU is an integral aspect of this configuration. Intel and AMD Radeon are the two most commonly used CPUs in the industry.

When it comes to Intel, you would have noticed different terms like Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and so on. These are the four tiers of Intel’s leading Core processors. Intel has other series, as well, such as Pentium, Celeron, and Xeon.

The Pentium is at the lowest end of the scale below the Core i3 and others. Mobile devices usually have the Celeron processors, whereas the Xeon series is exclusively for mainframe servers and professional users.

As far as the standard user is concerned, it is always one amongst the Core i3, i5, i7, and i9. The question now is, ‘Which among the four is the best one.’

We shall now compare these four tiers and check out the best one for you, depending on your usage.

What type of user are you?

A lot depends on the type of user you are. If you are the casual user who uses the computer for activities like browsing the internet or watching a movie, the Intel Core i3 CPU should be more than enough.

However, if you are looking for performance and use the computers extensively for various activities other than gaming, the Intel Core i5 processor should be the ideal one.

Ardent gamers and those involved in heavy-duty jobs like video editing and so on should invest in a high-end Intel Core i7 CPUs.

The Intel Core i9 processors are excellent for gaming, as they come with fantastic features, high speed, fast connectivity, and so on.

While on the topic of processors, let us understand the specifications. It will help us decide the best processor for our computer.


Before 2005, there was no concept of dual-core, quad-core, and so on. All the computers had a single core. The CPU and the core were the same at that time.

The first dual-core CPU to see the light of day was the AMD Athlon X2 3800+. Since 2005, we have seen multiple cores on CPUs with more than one core.

Even today, each core operates as its processor. You can still find many cores left inactive, especially in our daily usage.

If your usage is restricted to web browsing and watching movies, you do not need more than a couple of cores. However, for multitasking work like video rendering, gaming, and others, multiple cores are necessary.

One should understand that all CPUs have cores, irrespective of whether it is an Intel or AMD processor. Intel has confused people by naming their CPU series as Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9.

The Intel Core i3 CPUs usually have two cores with some of the latest generation CPUs having hyperthreading.

The latest 10th generation Intel Core i3 CPUs come with four cores.

The Intel Core i5 processors come with two, as well as four cores. Usually, the dual-core Core i5 CPUs come with hyperthreading, whereas the quad-core CPUs do not.

The latest generations come with six cores, as well.

The Intel Core i7 CPUs come with four or even six cores along with hyperthreading and Turbo Boost functions.

The top-tier Core i7 CPUs have eight cores to deliver a powerful performance.

The Intel Core i9 processors are the most powerful of all, with a minimum of ten cores. The high-end CPUs in this series come with even 18 cores, especially in the latest generations.


A thread is a virtual core. It is how your operating system sees your physical core. In the olden days, the CPUs had cores and threads in a 1:1 proportion. Therefore, there was not much difference between the two.

With the introduction of Simultaneous Multithreading Technology, each physical core can have up to two threads. As it functions without any dip in the performance levels, having multiple threads or hyperthreading doubled the processor’s capacity.

Thus a dual-core processor with hyperthreading can function as good as a quad-core CPU without hyperthreading.

Activities like video rendering, live streaming of games, and other heavy-duty work require more cores or threads. Generally, gaming does not require more than four cores. However, the latest action games perform better with more than four cores.

The Intel Core i3 has a dual-core base with some of the latest generations having hyperthreading support. The latest 10th gen Core i3 CPUs come with four cores but without hyperthreading.

The Intel Core i5 processors, especially the dual-core CPUs, come with hyperthreading. However, those with four cores and six cores do not.

The Intel Core i7 processors feature hyperthreading and Turbo Boost for overclocking. Thus, the latest 10th gen Coffee Lake Core i7 series has six cores with hyperthreading to effectively give 12 threads.

The Intel Core i9 CPUs are the most powerful of all the Intel processors. The top range of Core i9 CPUs has 18 cores. It entails that they come with 36 threads because of hyperthreading, thereby making them the most potent of all.

Clock Speed

Clock speed is one of the most-often used marketing terms in a processor.

Clock speed measures the speed of your cores in Giga Hertz.

The CPUs in the Core i7 and Core i9 series support overclocking, a feature that allows the user to enhance the speed themselves.

However, one should note that the K-series CPUs are the only ones that can overclock. Secondly, your computer should have a compatible motherboard.

The best aspect of clock speed is that it has not changed much in time in all the versions.

Therefore, you have Core i3 CPUs having a similar base clock speed as the Core i7 or Core i9 processors. The Core i3 chips do not overclock, whereas the other series of CPUs can.

Today, you have some of the top-end Core i9 CPUs touching a Turbo speed of 5GHz.

We have discussed three significant technical aspects of CPU that should help you make the right choice of CPUs to have on your computer. We shall now proceed with discussing which of the processors is the best one depending on the usage.

  • The 10th generation CPUs are now not available on desktops. You have them only on laptops and 2-in-1’s.
  • We shall compare the 8th generation CPUs and see which of the series amongst the Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 suits you the best.

8th Generation CPUs

These CPUs have the following additional features apart from the regular ones.

  • Users can have incredible VR experiences.
  • It is possible to watch high-quality 4K UHD content on the 8th gen CPU-equipped computers.
  • The 8th generation CPUs have seen the addition of two more cores from the original Quad-core processors.
  • The Intel Core i9 and X-series computers and laptops start from the 8th generation CPUs.

8th Gen Intel Core i3 processors

These 8th gen processors are perfect for accomplishing your daily tasks like MS Office work, web browsing, and video streaming.

Using the 8th gen Core i3 CPUs, users can,

  • Browse the internet smoothly
  • Stream movies in HD from platforms like Netflix
  • Work using MS Office
  • Listen to music on Spotify
  • Using hyperthreading, you can multitask efficiently

8th Gen Intel Core i5 processors

The Intel i5 processors in the 8th generation have up to six cores, thereby proving excellent for multitasking. Gamers would also love the latest generation i5 processors.

The 8th generation i5 processors allow uses to,

  • Browse the web, work with MS Office, and stream music simultaneously
  • Render massive Excel files
  • Use Photoshop for editing photos
  • Apart from watching 4K content, users can also create and share it
  • Play the fastest action-packed PC games with ease
  • The larger cache size helps to do your repeated tasks faster
  • Stream simultaneously from multiple sites
  • Use Intel Turbo Boost technology to get a temporary boost when using demanding programs and apps

8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors

The Intel Core i7 processors are exceptional for video editors, gamers, and designers, especially those who desire power.

The Intel Core i7 processors are fast and deliver excellent graphics performance. The 8th gen i7 processors come with six cores with hyperthreading, thereby providing tremendous power to accomplish the most demanding tasks.

With an Intel Core i7 processor, users can,

  • Efficiently encode videos
  • Work smoothly in 3-dimension modelling programs
  • Edit using Photoshop
  • Watch as well as edit 4K UHD content
  • The large cache size allows users to benefit from faster-repeated tasks
  • The Intel Hyperthreading technology enables users to use two threads with one core

8th Generation Intel Core i9 processors

The 8th gen Core i9 processors are the most powerful of the lot. At the same time, these are the most expensive, as well. These processors come with 18 cores and 36 threads. The Turbo Boost Max Technology makes these processors amongst the most efficient in the industry.

The 8th gen i9 processors allow users to,

  • Work smoothly in 3D modelling programs
  • Edit in Photoshop
  • Produce, edit as well as share 4K UHD content
  • Produce and edit high-quality music
  • Have tremendous gaming and VR experience
  • The large cache size makes it possible for users to benefit from repetitive tasks.


  • If you are a budget-conscious person and not a heavy user, the i3 CPUs are the best.
  • A performance-oriented user with budgetary concerns can choose the computer with the i5 CPUs.
  • Avid gamers, video editing professionals, and heavy users should opt for i7-equipped computers.
  • Users who want nothing but the best in all fields should find the i9-equipped computers to their liking.

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