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i5 Vs i7: What's the Difference?

The main difference between i5 and i7 is that i7 processors are way faster, which allows users to perform high-end operations hassle-free.

Hyper-threading, which is responsible for running multiple processes simultaneously in Intel Core i7, is absent in Intel Core i5, making i5 much slower than i7. Other differences between both are in terms of power consumption and cache memory, which again results in better speed.

As a result, users can expect a massive difference between the prices of both processors. Both i5 and i7 have different architectures for laptops and desktops. This means that users cannot install an i5 or i7 designed for laptops on a desktop and vice versa.

What is an i5?

Intel Core i5

The complete name of i5 is Intel Core i5 since it's a core/central part of a computer. It's compatible with LGA 1150 and LGA 1155 sockets on the motherboards. The most general i5 processors are usually quad-core, which means there are four cores present in them.

The concept of a core in i5 is to work like four individual processors so that the computer can run four processes at once. More cores mean a faster processor. There are different versions in i5, categorized as generations such as 1st generation, 2nd generation, and so on. Intel has released more than ten generations in the i5 processor flagship.

There are three speeds in i5: slow, medium, and fast. The power consumption of each three of these results in the sped difference. Computers using i5 processors are nowadays common for everyday use, business-class computers, lightweight and moderate tasks, including entry-level gaming.

What is an i7?

Intel Core i7

Intel Core i7 is designed for speed, heavy performance, multitasking, and gaming. It's a perfect CPU choice for gamers and many servers. Most i7 processors support overclocking, which allows the CPU to go beyond its usual limits for increased performance.

However, increased workload and performance also lead to overheating. This is why many users go for liquid CPU coolers instead of air coolers to keep their CPU, motherboard, and other components installed on the motherboard from damage. A limited-edition variant was launched by intel for their i7 flagship processors. The price of i7 processors is very high due to the maximum performance that it offers. Intel i7 processors support several features that are absent in the i5 series.

Using i7 processors demands installing SSD in the computer since hard disk will keep the computer frozen most of the time. This happens because there's a massive difference between the hard disk's and i7's performance. As a result, high-speed SSDs are mandatory to complement the work performance of i7 processors.

Differences Between Intel Core i5 and i7

Cache Memory

The cache memory holds the most recent data processed by the CPU, which can be called again if the user initiates the same process again.

For instance, if the user launched Windows Explorer and closed it, the data will still be in the cache memory of the CPU. When the user reloads Windows Explorer again, it'll open up quickly since the data was fetched from the cache memory instead of RAM or hard disk.

CPUs with high cache memory tend to store more data for faster retrieval, which leads to improved performance. Intel i5's cache memory ranges from 3MB to 6MB, and i7's ranges from 4MB to 8MB.

Core And Thread Count

The concept of core is to provide the power of multiple CPUs in a single chip. More cores result in faster processing. A core is a physical part of the processor, while the threads are the virtual parts of the CPU. Intel i5 has 2-4 cores and 4-8 threads, respectively, while i7 has 4-6 cores and 8-12 threads.


Intel's i5 doesn't support hyper-threading, while i7 does support it. Some i7 processors might demand enabling hyper-threading from the computer's BIOS settings.

Clock Speed

Clock speed defines the processor's speed, which is measured in Hz. Intel's i5 has a clock speed ranging from 1.2GHz to 3.6GHz, and i7 has a clock frequency ranging from 1.3GHz to 3.5GHz.

Bus Structure

Bus structure defines how a CPU sends and receives data to/from other components on the motherboard. Intel i5 uses DMI bus structure, and i7 uses QPI bus structure.

Comparison Chart: Intel Core i5 Vs Intel Core i7

AreaIntel Core i5Intel Core i7
SuitabilityEveryday activities, internet surfing, moderate tasks and gamingGaming, video editing, running heavy software, and heavy multi-tasking
Compatible socketsLGA 1150 and LGA 1155LGA 1156 and BGA 998A
Built-in GraphicsMid-range built-in graphicsBest built-in graphics, capable of running newest games at the lowest graphics settings and low resolution
Cache Memoryfrom 3MB to 6MBfrom 4MB to 8MB
Core And Thread Count2-4 cores and 4-8 threads4-6 cores and 8-12 threads
Clock Speedfrom 1.2GHz to 3.6GHzfrom 1.3GHz to 3.5GHz
Bus StructureDMIQPI
Pricing StructureAffordableSlightly expensive

Similitudes Between Intel Core i5 and i7

Both i5 and i7 were launched together when Intel announced first-generation i3, i5, and i7 processors. New generation i5 and i7 are launched together. Both of them offer built-in graphics, but the performance differs. Intel i5 and i7 are available for desktops and as mobile chipsets (for laptops).


Is there any significant difference between an i5 and an i7?

Both the processors do not house major differences that could create a buzz. The primary difference is the performance and a few features that aid performance. Some people have a misconception that i5 and i7 have a lot of differences, which isn't true. However, some modern games and software do demand i7 as a minimum CPU requirement.

Is an i7 worth investing extra money?

Absolutely, yes, if you're a user looking for a CPU for gaming, video editing, media creation, and running heavy applications like Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk 3Ds Max, Maya, etc., you are basically looking for a high-end CPU, which is i7. Investing is worth every penny.

Does an i7 last longer than an i5?

There's no such rule of thumb that supports the claim. Lacking cooling, prolonged use, and exposure to high temperatures for a long time will depreciate i7 faster than expected. If you install liquid cooling, both i5 and i7 can last for several years or more than a decade.


By now, it's safe to say that i5 and i7 are fantastic products offered by Intel. Going for i5 isn't a good idea if you're a gamer. It's very important to buy the right processor as CPUs are bought in the long term. So always keep in mind the purpose and make sure that the CPU you're buying today doesn't depreciate in the next 2-3 years.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
All Posts Written By Nicolas Seignette

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