Having a laptop is a necessity if you’re looking to replace your desktop. You probably have a video to edit, a game to play, or currently in a project that involves power-demanding tasks. Intel Core has many different processors and listing them all and their specification will be confusing to the none tech orientated general public. Intel has different classes of processors, some are ultra-low powered, others low power, then normal laptop chips and finally desktop versions. Each category is then broken down to Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 which gives you an approximation of performance compared to other laptops in the category you are looking at. Knowing the difference between the three can give you an advantage when you finally decide on buying a laptop powered with an Intel Processor. If you don’t know what each spec of a laptop does, then you should before going further in this guide. Let’s get into comparing the advantages that each processor can offer to a users’ laptop!
Generation & naming
Similar to most technology, new CPUs are released on a semi-regular cycle, typically every year. Intel makes it quite simple to differentiate between the generations by following the Core i3/5/7 part with a number and sometimes a letter. The leading number indicates the generation so Core i7-8705G is the latest 8th generation chip.
The performance will relate to what the chip designed for so an ultra-low voltage chip will be decent for day to day work but not so great for powerful applications. Its low battery requirements mean it can fit inside an ultra-thin ultralight laptop.
The second digit in the CPU name denotes its purpose. Y is for ultra thing laptops, 2 if for everyday laptops, and 5 is for more powerful laptops.
It can be a bit confusing but normally the size of the laptop is a giveaway, if it is a convertible or very small and light, it will be using one of the lower powered chips.
Level of Processing
It makes sense that from i3 through i7, the levels of processing become higher and higher. The i3 is only in a starter level, meaning it can only handle tasks that don’t need that much power. Core i3 laptops make good budget laptops while the middle of the road i5 model is more than adequate for a regular, everyday user who is not doing intensive graphics work, engineering/science or gaming. Core i7 sits at the top of each category of chips but its level of performance will be dictated by its class, if it is an ultra-thin laptop it won't perform as well as a large 15-inch laptop.
The processor cache of a laptop deals with how fast they can process information. The higher the number, the faster it is. Of course, laptops with i7 processor will be the winner in this aspect, too. The Core i7 has up to 12 MB of cache while the Core i5 has up to 9 MB. Now let’s not mention the processor cache of i3 which will clearly be in a different level from these two, in a negative way. Having a higher cache level gives you the ability to open up dozens of tabs in Google Chrome or work in different software without having to deal with lag, perfect for multitasking on your power-demanding work.
The processor within a processor, a Core is capable of working on one discrete task while the other core(s) does something else. Most laptop CPUs have two cores, but some of the higher-performance models have four cores. With 8th Gen Core, mainstream Core i5 and Core i7 laptops will now have four cores also.
While it is possible to have a dedicated graphics card, many laptops use the graphics built into the processor itself. Another one of those specs that makes the i3 look bad while the i7 gets all the attention. The i3 processor has much lower graphics compared to the two other processors. While laptops with the i7 processor undoubtedly give you the best graphics you can get. As always, i5 is in the middle of these two, and while some may say that the best would be in the middle, they technically have no idea of what features of the Intel Processor make Intel special. In the next comparisons, you will witness the true power of laptops with i7 processor.
The clock speed of a gadget or device is measured in Hertz and it simply tells you how fast your device can work. It also tells you how many clock cycles can be done by the processor within a fixed amount of time. If you have a processor with 3.4 GHz, that means it can process 3.4 billion clock cycles per second, now that’s a lot! But it’s also important that you take note of how much work can be done in each cycle, this is what makes i7 great. On top of having the highest clock speed, it can also do more work in each clock cycle than the other two processors.
Hyper-threading is used by Intel to make the processors think that they have more cores than they actually have. This would obviously let you work faster and increase the performance of your laptop. If all the Intel cores use the hyper-threading feature, it would seem pointless buying an i7 processor, right? I’ll just let you know that hyper-threading is a feature only supported by i3 and i7, and i5 doesn’t have such benefit. Now that i5 is out of the equation, let’s get into another feature of Intel.
Turbo boost is the ability of a processor to run at higher speeds than the base clock speed. That means that if you have a laptop with 3.4 GHz, the turbo boost can make it higher than that. Again, it’s useful and using that feature in all the core processors won’t make it an advantage for i7. Since i3 already has the hyper-threading feature, the turbo boost is only supported by i5 and i7 leaving i3 behind. Remember, i7 has two Intel features while i5 and i3 only have one.
So, we’re definitely at a point where you’ll have to think very carefully before proceeding with buying a laptop. In most of the comparison of specifications, the i3 is the lowest while i7 is the best. That also applies to the pricing of these laptops. You just have to know if they’ll be worth it, whether tolerating the slowness of i3 or contemplating how much you spend on i7.
If you understand that you’ll enjoy buying a laptop with i7 processor, then you would also need to compare the prices and specs of different i7 laptops. Hopefully, you’ll finally know the best i7 laptops out there.