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

At times, purchasing a computer or a laptop can be a tricky task.

One has to consider various factors. Generally, you seek the advice of an expert, maybe a computer engineer in the house.

Does it solve the problem? It does, to a certain extent, because a lot depends on how you propose to use the computer.

If you require a computer for browsing the internet, watching movies, and send the odd email or two, you do not have to invest much.

On the other hand, if you are more into the multitasking type, you need a computer with the right configuration.

When you discuss configuration, the first thing that comes to mind is the CPU. Now, you should know the difference between one CPU and the other to make a measured choice.

Usually, the budget is a significant issue. If you have a small budget, you cannot think beyond Intel Core i3 or the Intel Core i5 processors.

The Intel Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs are expensive and usually found in high-performance systems.

Intel Core i3 Vs. Intel Core i5

Before you purchase your computer, you should have an idea about the differences between an Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 processor.

Generally, the price of the i3 CPUs is lesser than that of the i5 CPUs. However, specific additional configurations can result in the overall pricing of the computers to vary.

In straightforward terms, the Intel Core i3 computers are ideal for those who wish to have an Intel computer.

On the other hand, the Core i5 computers are for those who care about performance. We shall elaborate on this topic further down in the discussion.


An Intel Core i3 system will be less expensive when compared to an Intel Core i5 computer. It is because the i5 chips have more capabilities than its i3 counterparts.

  • If you are using an Atom-powered laptop or a tablet, switching over to an Intel Core i3 CPU should be the ideal thing to do.
  • The Core i5 chips would be better for people who love multitasking and media creation.

However, the pricing does not depend on whether it is a Core i3 or a Core i5 processor alone.

Specific additions can increase the price of the overall computer. Thus, you can find some systems with Core i3 to be more expensive than the Core i5.

The general conception is that the Core i3-powered systems will be cheaper.

The Cores

Performance-wise, a Core i5 chip will be better than the Core i3 processor, any day.

As a rule, the Core i3 CPUs are dual-core CPUs, whereas the Core i5 can be dual-core or even quad-core. Thus, the more the number of cores, the better is the performance.

Some of the 8th and 9th generation Core i5 computers come with six cores. Similarly, you have a couple of 10th generation i3 CPUs with four cores.

The latest Core i3 CPUs come with hyperthreading. Thus, you can have two threads on a core, thereby giving the impression of having more cores than it has.

The i5 CPUs come with Turbo Boost facilities that allow for overclocking.

Cache Memory

Apart from faster base clock speeds, Core i5 processors have a higher cache memory.

The cache is the on-board memory that helps the processor deal with repetitive tasks quicker.

The cache memory serves its purpose when editing and calculating spreadsheets. It ensures that the CPU does not reload the data every time. Thus, you get instantaneous results when you change a number or two.

The larger the cache, the better is the multitasking. It is also useful when you switch between different windows.

The i5 CPUs usually have up to 6MB of L3 cache, while the i3 processors have between 3MB to 4MB. Therefore, the i5 CPUs are faster than the i3 chips.

Turbo Boost

Turbo Boost is an Intel overclocking feature that allows the processor to run faster than the base clock speed.

The i5 CPUs have this feature, whereas the i3 processors do not.

Faster clock speed also improves the booting times of a computer. For example, the Core i5-4300U processor has a base clock speed of 1.9GHz. However, if needed, the processor can overclock its cores up to 2.9GHz.


The dual-core i3 processors come with hyperthreading features. Thus, it can handle four threads at a time functioning like a Quad-core CPU.

The dual-core i5 processors have hyperthreading, whereas the Quad-core chips do not have them, at present.

Hyperthreading is useful for running multiple programs simultaneously. It is an excellent feature to help in multimedia operations and web surfing. Thus, when it comes to cores, the i5 processors are better than the i3 counterparts.

The 8th, 9th, and 10th generation CPUs

Selecting the ideal CPU has become more challenging today, with the latest generations tending to confuse you even more.

However, you should note that the 10th gen CPUs are not yet available on desktops. As far as desktop computers are concerned, nothing can compete with the 9th generation models.

The 9th generation i5 CPU is any day better than any of its previous generations.

When it comes to laptops, the 10th generation i5 CPUs are excellent. They have higher clock speeds, making them excellent for activities like gaming and heavy video editing, as well.

If you require a computer for internet browsing and entry-level gaming, you can settle for an i3 CPU. It will fit your budget perfectly.

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