Earlier, cracking the code of Intel’s microprocessors was trivial. Intel rolled out a series of Pentium chips, each one faster than its predecessor in terms of clock speed. The introduction of the dual and quad core microprocessors changed it all and computing was at a different level altogether. All this while, it has been extremely difficult to predict the best processor for an average user. In this article, I set the record straight on the core i5 and i7 by explaining the technologies behind them; without going into detailed technical specifications and helping any user decide which processor is the best suited for their requirement.
When choosing processors, the important things that one looks out for is the processor clocking speed, the processor cache size and the number of cores because higher is the speed or the cache size or the number of cores, faster is the microprocessor chip. Another important factor which is of considerable importance is the kind of socket into which the chip is fit. The last thing which, as a user you should look out for is whether multi-threading or hyper-threading is enabled because it allows multitasking.
The i7 processors are the most powerful as they come with 6 hyper-threaded cores which come with Turbo boost technology which increases the clock speed of the CPU dynamically. This technology is also made available in certain processors of the i5 series. Another feature of the i7 which makes it faster than the i5 is the technology of the quick path connection bus. Generally, the most powerful processors are those with the six core based architecture with a clocking frequency of 3.33 MHz, with a maximum of 3.6 GHz with Turbo boost technology.
For a gaming enthusiast, the i7 wins hands down on performance because of its sheer processing power. With regards to cost, there is a big difference in the prices of the i5 and the i7. The i5 processor cost varies from 177 to $216 and clock speeds between 2.8 GHz and 3.3 GHz. The two i7 products offered by Intel i.e. i7-2600 and i7-2600K, both have a clock speed of 3.4GHz and the former is priced at $294. Paying $80 more for the 100MHz increase in the clock speed for the i7 is because of the hyper-threading in the i7.
A question which hence arises is- do the two processors offer similar performance? The answer is yes in most situations. A difference may arise when multi-threaded applications are run. Hence, in most situations, a core i5 is the best bet because it offers performance enough for video-editing, gaming and basic stuff like email, word processing and net surfing.
The core i5, though not as fast as the i7, is perfect for home users. A significant difference in performance is felt only if you are multitasking very frequently because multi-threading creates a difference here which comes with the i7. To conclude, if you are a power user who is into a lot of multitasking or heavy programming, then the i7 is the best option. Ultimately, the cost is the deciding factor.