Intel Core i3 or i5: which processor to choose?
Since the introduction of basic computer components, there have been many options available to consumers. Unfortunately, there are many options available on the market for each category… perhaps too many.
Like any other component, processors experience this problem. Even though there are only two major processor manufacturers (at least for games), it can still be overwhelming. In particular, one question I often get asked is: Which Intel Core i series is better? nine0003
I7 is better than i5, which is better than i3, right? Well, it is this last question — Intel i3 vs i5 — that we will discuss today.
- Intel Core i5-8600K
- Intel Core i3-9100
- I3 range
- I5 range
- I3 or I5 tests
- Blender and LuxMark
- Intel Core I3 or I5: which is better?
Intel Core i5-8600k
Speed-3. 0-4.1 GHz
Nucleus (Streams)-6 (12)
- Good number of cores and threads for a midrange CPU; good for multitasking and streaming.
- Good price.
- Not suitable for high CPU content creation.
Intel Core i3-9100
Processor speed-3.6 GHz
- supports the memory of Intel Optane.
- 4 cores / 4 threads.
- Decent price these days.
- Cooler included.
- No integrated graphics. nine0016
What is the difference between I3 and I5?
Each processor line has several seemingly similar models. This can be confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for.
So we’ll describe each processor in both lines, compare the specs, and look at some benchmarks. This will allow us to see where each line shines so you can choose which one works best for you.
The i3 line is suitable for budget and casual gamers, as well as anyone who wants to use their computer for simple tasks such as word processing, web browsing, etc. Since it ranges from 130 up to 180 dollars. nine0003
There are five models in the i3 line, each of which occupies a niche. You can choose from low power (T) and overclockable (K) models, as well as unmodified models.
None of the models in the i3 line are unlocked for Turbo Boost, so they won’t auto-overclock under heavy load, meaning if you don’t jump to the 8350K and overclock it, you’ll be stuck with the processor always at the same speed.
This can be a problem if you are looking for an energy efficient solution but still want flexibility. nine0041
The i5 line really shines if you want to go over 60 FPS in AAA games or even jump into 1440p games. The line is also great for multitasking and resource-intensive tasks like streaming and content creation. It fluctuates from 170 to 260 dollars.
Like the i3 range, the i5 also offers unmodified models as well as low power (T) and overclockable (K) models to choose from.
However, unlike the i3 line, we are now seeing Turbo Boost unlocking which allows for efficiency gains as the processors can idle at a lower clock speed when not in use. This makes the i5-8400T a great choice as it already has a TDP of 35W and can go up to 1.7GHz while still having plenty of headroom for gaming when you need it. nine0003
I3 or I5 benchmarks
When looking at the benchmarks, you can really see where each processor line shines and clear up some of the confusion as to why there are multiple lines.
We’ll look at the top contender for both the i3-8350K and i5-8600K lines, as well as the i5-8400 in some of the more recent benchmarks where the i5-8600K didn’t have great data.
In terms of gaming, the i3-8350K and i5-8600K work very well, they can run 1080p and most 1440p games at 60 fps without any problems. However, we will use several different tests to see how good each one is:
- The folks at Tom’s Hardware did a great job demonstrating benchmarks for each processor for both games and workstations.
- Techspot also ran some great tests on the 8600K in 1440p games.
- For the i3 line and 1440p games, we’ll also look at benchmarks done by the folks at Gamer’s Nexus.
Intel Core I5 or I3 gaming benchmarks
Before we get into both charts, it’s important to know how processors are measured. In this case, gaming performance is measured in frames per second, or FPS. This is how many frames of the game you see every second. The more frames displayed every second, the smoother your gameplay will be. The higher the FPS, the better. nine0003
Interestingly, in this case, i3 actually outperforms i5 (although it’s only by a few frames, so it doesn’t really matter).
GTA V is a bit more demanding than Shadows of Mordor. And in this case, we see that the i5-8600K is ahead of the i3-8350K; however, when the i3-8350K is overclocked to 5.0GHz, it takes the lead. Sure, the i5-8600K would be even better with OCed, but they haven’t tested that so we won’t see it.
The two charts above only track i5, but still show us some useful data. For example, the i5-8600K isn’t really far behind the pair of i7s we tested.
It’s worth noting that this is another GTAV test, but the i3 performs better than the tests above at 1080p. Well, this is obviously because the GPU is better in this case.
Be that as it may, we again see that the OCing i3-8350K outperforms all tested i5 models. Yes, and i7 models also have it. nine0003
Overall, when it comes to gaming, the i5-8600K is only slightly ahead of the i3-8350K in benchmarks. This makes sense since games rely more on your graphics card than on your processor, and this is often where you find the biggest bottlenecks.
Intel Core I3 or I5: Workstation Tests
Unfortunately, Tom’s Hardware only used the 8400 i5 line during workstation tests, but it still shows the difference between the two lines in terms of CPU usage. nine0003
In addition, the 8600K would perform even better than the 8400 in these tests, especially since it can be easily overclocked.
This category will give you an idea of how well each line will handle more complex tasks like streaming and rendering video for content creation.
Blender and LuxMark
Both of these programs test the limits of your processor for many complex tasks.
The Blender score is actually measured in seconds it took to complete the task. LuxMark uses a score, where a higher number means your processor can handle more. nine0003
This will give you an idea of which processors are best suited for heavy multitasking processes such as content creation and streaming.
Here we see the i3 start to really struggle. While the OCing i3-8350K kept it competitive in gaming—even with the i7 in some cases—the base i5-8400 easily stumps it. The further you move up the i5 line, the worse it gets for the i3.
Looking at these tests, we can see that the extra cores and threads are starting to matter. Each thread can process one task at a time, so adding more cores and threads allows more tasks to be processed at the same time, and a faster processor can complete those tasks even faster. nine0003
The LuxMark benchmark uses the LuxRender engine to create a 3D scene using the power of your CPU, GPU, or both. During the test, it determines how well the selected hardware performs by giving the system a score. The higher the score, the better it works.
Intel Core I3 or I5: which is better?
Now that we have an idea of what’s available to use, and we’ve seen where each CPU excels, what does it all mean and how does it help you make a choice? nine0003
When it comes to gaming, the CPU doesn’t really have much of an impact until you start playing extreme games and try to get the frames as high as possible.
The i5 has more cores and threads to process tasks, and higher clock speeds to help those tasks move faster, freeing up those threads faster. These extra cores and threads matter most when performing heavy CPU tasks such as streaming and content creation. nine0003
In terms of gaming, the Core i3 lineup is great for casual gamers and anyone who wants to use their PC as a lightweight workstation.
The Core i5 line is a great option if you want to start streaming and create your own content. Of course, this is also very good for games.
Intel Core i3 or i5
|1080p games||1440p games||Power efficiency||Low power models||yes||yes||yes|
Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processor comparison tests in professional applications and games GreenTech_Reviews
Core i5 processor comparison
Core i7 Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake series in professional applications and games
In this article, we will review the performance of five processors from the Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake series. nine0003
There will be three materials on the topic of testing processors. You have already got acquainted with the first one (open the material), study the second one now, and the third one will contain almost the entire extremely productive Core i9 line, including the i9-7980XE.
Core i3-7350K — 2-core processor with an unlocked multiplier.
The maximum clock frequency allowed for everyday work of our copy was 4.8 GHz. nine0009
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Core i5-7600K — 4-core model without Hyper-Threading.
Our sample conquered 5 GHz.
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Core i3-8350K is a very interesting model, since the 8th generation Core i3 processors have four physical cores.
In comparison with the analogue of the previous generation, the overclocking potential has slightly increased. And even though the novelty has all four cores, not two.
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Core i5-8600K also received a noticeable improvement — now the Core i5 has six cores.
Everything is fine with overclocking:
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Core i7-8700K is the flagship of the Coffee Lake series. In this material appears solely for the sake of interest. The results of its testing will be of the greatest value in the next article, where we will collect all the monsters, including the 18-core one.
nine0002 It accelerates «as lucky» — an average of about 5 GHz. But to fight the Core i9, we set the frequency to 5.2 GHz.
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Let’s start with the very first thing that can be noticed when turning on the PC — the boot time of the operating system. The shorter the time, the better for the user.
Reading data from RAM. The difference is small, it is unlikely to notice “by eye” in real use.
nine0002 The speed of writing data to RAM is generally the same.
Archiving data using WinRAR. Responds well to the number of cores. But the increase in clock frequency gives a small increase.
The situation is similar in the 7-zip archiver.
Let’s move on to complex testing.
Let’s start with not the newest version of PCMark number 8.
Testing in Home mode. To a greater extent, the result depends on the clock frequency, and the presence of two additional physical cores practically does not make itself felt. nine0009
In Creative mode, where testing is carried out with various multimedia content, the number of computational threads in general plays the greatest role — especially if their number is equal to the number of cores.
If we take classic office applications (including WEB-surfing), then there is more dependence on the clock frequency.
The current version of PCMark is 10.
Testing in Express mode. The clock frequency plays a major role, and an increase in the number of cores is not beneficial, on the contrary (the results have been rechecked). nine0009
Standard test suite. The situation has not changed.
And extended (including WEB-surfing). And already here, an increase in the number of cores somewhat improves the result.
In FullHD video encoding (x264), both the number of cores and their clock speed are important.
If you encode FullHD x265 video, then increasing the number of cores of your processor will noticeably speed up the task.
Especially if it’s a heavy 4K video. nine0009
MAGIX (aka Sony) Vegas is both clock speed and core count important. But he did not react to Hyper-Threading in any way.
Let’s move on to the ROG RealBecnh test suite.
The first test is image editing. The higher the frequency, the better the result. The number of cores more than four is no longer interesting to the application.
When encoding video, the number of cores plays a decisive role, in the background — the clock frequency. Hyper-Threading is in use.
In multitasking testing, things are about the same, because one of the tasks running in parallel is video encoding.
Many people love Cinebench.
For starters, version R11.5.
Result of test execution by one core. Direct dependence on clock frequency.
When using all available cores and threads, the picture is expected:
Current version R15.
Result of test execution by one core.
nine0002 When using all available cores and threads, the result is not surprising.
Corona Renderer is a photorealistic renderer for 3ds Max. Likes a lot of cores and loves Hyper-Threading very much.
And now 3ds Max 2017 itself, but with the V-Ray RT renderer. Test scene render time in minutes.
KOMPAS-3D v17 — design of products, structures and buildings of any complexity. Does not like many cores and Hyper-Threading, but responds well to increasing clock speeds. Although he liked six cores. nine0009
Create an HDR image in Photoshop from RAW photos. Not a bad response to an increase in both clock speed and cores.
The situation is similar when creating a panorama.
The same as for creating and working with layers.
Similarly, with the creation of effects.
Let’s move on to testing in 3D applications.
Unigine Superposition, minimum settings. Two cores is not enough, and more than four is no longer needed.
nine0002 Unigine Superposition, maximum settings — all processors show similar results.
Another light graphics test is 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme. The clock speed is doing its job.
The processor test also reacts to the number of cores.
But with Time Spy, the picture is completely different — again, all processors demonstrate the same performance in the graphics subtest. Let’s go to the video card.
But in the processor test, everything is completely different. nine0009
Medium game — Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (DX11). The final result is more dependent on the clock frequency.
Same for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (DX11).
And something new and interesting — World of Tanks on the latest enCore engine.
Minimum settings, minimum and average frames per second. It affects both the number of cores and their clock frequency.
Medium settings. The difference in results is reduced, but the influence of clock speed and cores is still noticeable. nine0009
And ultra settings. Two cores are not enough for this game — an additional pair of cores will give about 50% increase in the minimum number of frames per second.
In this article, we got acquainted with the performance of Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors in professional and 3D applications.