When shopping for a new computer, one of the specifications you might see is the “Intel Core” processor, with something like i3, i5, or i7. What do those numbers mean to you? Unfortunately, Intel likes to make this a bit confusing, so we’ll try to make things a bit simpler for you:
First off, the differences between the various Core i-whatever processors are best compared inside their respective generation. Comparing feature sets of an i3 8th generation (model number starts with an “8”) to an i3 9th generation (model number starts with a “9”) will be fruitless endeavor as the feature sets change. So these comparisons are relative inside the respective generation they’re a part of. But the concept remains. And note these are mostly generalizations about specific product lines, as we could spend dozens of articles digging into the fine details of each of the product lines. And if any of these terms below confuse you, that’s fine – just email our sales folks to help you decide on a computer. As you move up the numerical line, you generally move up in cost.
Core i3: These are generally the lowest end processor you should ever buy (and we generally won’t even sell these). They’ll handle less RAM than other processors, have less processor cores, and have lower on-board cache memory (which helps with processor performance tremendously). For very basic tasks, these processors are fine, but we generally go with the next line up to make sure the CPU isn’t the bottleneck of the system.
Core i5: Core i5 processors are our starting point when we’re quoting out PCs. They generally include more processor cores than the i3, can handle more memory, higher clock speeds, have better built-in graphics, larger processor cache and can support more RAM. This line of processors is generally our go-to for a typical office PC.
Core i7: Until recently, the Core i7 was the top-of-the line processor line. While there is still performance gains between the i5 and the i7 (more core, higher clock speed, some extra cache), but the difference isn’t as dramatic as it has been in the past, now that Intel has higher-end line. It’s still a higher-performance processor, just doesn’t have the gap like it used to on the i5.
Core i9: The Core i9 is the new top-end desktop processor line for Intel. This is where you’ll find more processor cores, HyperThreading, fastest clock speeds, more cache, and better built-in graphics performance (though at this level, most users have an add-in graphics card). This product line also includes intel’s Core X (basically Core i9 Extreme Edition), which is Intel’s recently-released a line of ultra-high-end desktop processors for the prosumer-type of high-end desktop professional, targeting gamers, enthusiasts, content creators, etc… . They include a ton of processor cores, HyperThreading, high clock speeds, etc… but are also crazy expensive.
Still confused after all this? Contact our sales team who can discuss your needs with you and make sure you get the right computer for your business.