Intel Core i7, i5, i3 What microprocessor do I need?

Intel Core is Intel’s main line of microprocessors for the consumer computer market. They are offered in Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 versions, in addition to others such as Ultra Low Voltage Core M and other brands such as Pentium or Celeron.

Intel offers an informative web page that allows you to know its specifications in detail through its model number. Useful to know the  characteristics of the specific chip installed in a computer or when choosing the right processor for your computing needs.

However, it is not always easy to differentiate between so much model, variant and platform that completes a huge catalog . A few months ago we offered you a special where we examined the different Intel architectures for sale and today we are going to review the main differences between the Core i7, i5 and i3 .

Understanding model numbers

The numbering system helps us to know the basic features and primary focus of a microprocessor without having to read the full real specifications. Of course, before making a purchase decision it is advisable to check all its details on the page .

Basically speaking, it is very simple.¬†An Intel Core i7 processor has a higher performance than a Core i5, which in turn is superior to a Core i3.¬†We see it as¬†‚Äúbrand modifier‚Ä̬†in the numbering system used.


Another of the numbers to consider is the¬†‚Äúgeneration indicator‚Ä̬†.¬†The number 6 corresponds to the sixth generation of Core processors, Skylake;¬†number 5 corresponds to the fifth generation of Core processors, codename Broadwell and number 4 would correspond to the fourth generation or Haswell.

The next three digits correspond to the¬†‚Äúmodel number‚Ä̬†, which usually in the same series, offers superior performance the larger it is.¬†As an example, an Intel Core i3-5350 would be superior to a Core i3-5200.

Optional suffixes

The letters that accompany the model number indicate the product line . Among others:

  • ‚ÄúK‚ÄĚ: Desktop ‚Äď Unlocked multiplier to facilitate overclocking
  • ‚ÄúT‚ÄĚ: Desktop ‚Äď Optimized for power
  • ‚ÄúHK‚ÄĚ: Portable ‚Äď High performance graphics and deblocked multiplier
  • ‚ÄúH‚ÄĚ: Portable ‚Äď High performance graphics
  • ‚ÄúHQ‚ÄĚ: Portable ‚Äď High performance graphics and quad core CPU
  • ‚ÄúU‚ÄĚ: Portable ‚Äď Ultra low consumption
  • ¬ęY¬Ľ: Portable ‚Äď Low consumption ‚Äď Used on previous lines


Typically, the Core i3 series only has models with two physical cores , while the Core i5 and Core i7 series have both dual-core and quad-core processors .

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In addition, Intel uses a technology called Hyper-Threading that enables the execution of multiple processing threads  in parallel within a single processor, increasing the use of the execution units. Hyper-Threading simulates two logical processors within a single physical core increasing performance. The Core i3 and Core i7 series feature this technology while Core i5 does not have it enabled.

Turbo Boost

Another technology that Intel implements in some series to  increase its operating frequency, automatically , in certain circumstances when an application or game requires more resources.

For activation, Turbo Boost calculates active cores, consumption and temperature of the microprocessor. Turbo Boost is useful in the execution of software that makes intensive use of resources.

It is enabled in the Core i5 and Core i7 series , while it is not used in Core i3 processors.

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Cache size

Another important difference is the microprocessor’s internal memory or cache memory. It is much faster than the RAM of the computer or storage units. Like RAM and usually, the higher its capacity, the higher the performance of the processor .

When the microprocessor is performing a task over and over again, it will keep that task in its cache. If a processor can store more tasks in its internal memory it will execute it more quickly.

The Core i3 series has normally has up to 3 Mbytes of cache. The Core i5 series has between 3 MB and 6 MB cache, while the Core i7 series has between 4 MB and 8 MB cache.

Integrated graphics

Since Intel began integrating a graphics chip into its processors, the choice of the model has also become another important point of purchase. Currently, the company offers three general levels of integrated graphics,  Intel HD, Intel Iris and Intel Iris Pro .

If the equipment where the processor is integrated does not have dedicated graphics and will always work with the integrated processor, it is another element to consider when choosing the processor.


In general terms we could differentiate Intel Core easily according to the purpose of use and budget.

  • Core i3:¬†¬†Users looking for a basic and economic team.¬†Ideal for running applications such as office suites, navigation and Internet services, and multimedia entertainment.
  • Core i5:¬†¬†Intermediate equipment for users looking for the balance between performance and price, and all kinds of uses.
  • Core i7:¬†¬†The most powerful models in process performance with up to 4 cores and 8 threads, and also in graphic power if combined with Iris Pro.



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